Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 ED TC VR first look review and sharpness comparisons by Steve Perry

Nikon AF-S 180-400mm f/4 ED TC VR first look review and sharpness comparisons by Steve Perry

I’ll admit it; curiosity got the best of me.

I’ve been seriously considering adding the new Nikon 180-400mm F/4 lens to my kit ever since the announcement. And that’s the problem – “considering.” I wasn’t 100% sold on it just yet (and, truthfully, I’m still not 100% sure I’m ready to pull the trigger even after testing it, but I’m closer).

Online information is limited to say the least with no comparison tests as far as I could find.  Sure, there are a number of reviews that will tell you it’s built like a tank and that you could probably press it into service as a hammer if the need called for it. However, nothing really comparing sharpness between various lenses.

Plus, sharpness wasn’t the only aspect of this lens I had questions about.

So, I decided to do a brief rental with the lens and do my own evaluation. I took it out shooting, I tested it against the 200-500, 80-400, 300 PF, and 600 F4. I played with all the switches and buttons. And the video below will tell you everything I’ve discovered so far.

That said, please note this is NOT one of my full-on field reviews, but more just a video to discuss what I feel are the best aspects of the lens and, of course, to compare it to some of its siblings. I figured since I was testing it for myself anyway, might as well share what I’ve learned.


As I mentioned, my time with the lens was very limited, but I did want to share a couple shots I captured with it. Not contest winners or anything, but they do hint at what the lens can do.

Great Blue Heron, Nikon 180-400 @400mm Nikon D850, 1/60th, F/4, ISO 450

Tufted Titmouse, Nikon 180-400 @400mm Nikon D850, 1/800th, F/4, ISO 2500

PS – After the video, check out the blog post at my site if you want to see out the test images for yourself. Plus, there are lots of other videos and articles hanging around over there, along with my e-books, Secrets To The Nikon Autofocus System and Secrets To Stunning Wildlife Photography.

More sample photos are available on Steve’s website.

Nikon 180-400mm f/4E FL ED VR pre-order links: 
B&H | Adorama | Amazon | Park Camera | WEX

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