Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm F/4.5-5.6G ED VR II Lens Review

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Among all of the Nikon lenses, the 80-400 mm lens has been updated for some time. The old lens had a reputation for being slow and clunky. Fortunately, this new lens may not be like so thanks to the autofocus mechanism, Nano-Crystal coating to help control light and reduce vibration. However, it costs about $3,300. In this article, we will find out its handling activities and improvements.

Features and Handling

The product image

The product image

This lens is heavier than the old ones; its tip weighs less than 1.6 kg. Although this is normal from a lightweight lens, the size and design make this weight relatively easy to process. As a result, it is on par with the Nikon D600 used for testing, even when there is no MB-D14 battery grip. The bar is made from a combination of high-quality plastics and metal and is sealed.

Autofocus is equipped with a silent wave motor, and the autofocus is fast and accurate. Manual adjustments can be applied at any time via the focusing ring. The wide focusing ring, which lies close to the camera body is smooth, and also reduces the size, which makes the adjustment by hand easily. Autofocus is also possible using a 1.4x remote converter with autofocus support at aperture as low as f/8.

The product image

The product image

Closest focusing distance is 175cm when using autofocus mechanism, and 150cm when using manual focus. When focusing made with the 77 mm filter that does not rotate; but we had better use the lens with graduated filters and polarizers. A tough metal tripod collar is included with the lens, which is easily removed when it is not necessary.

The anti-vibration system promises to shoot at shutter speeds up to four stops slower than without the technology. Like other VR lenses, there is a short pause before capturing a photo for the best results. With care, hand-held shooting at 1/25 sec is possible at 400 mm with a reasonable amount. There are around four stops slower than normal. The VR system in this lens really enables the viewfinder to stabilize well, which helps with focusing at telephoto focal lengths.

The product image

The product image


At 80mm maximum aperture, sharpness in the center of the frame is really excellent, and the sharpness at the edges of the frame is great. Stopping down the aperture to between f/8 and f/11 gives the result of striking sharpness across the frame.

Performance is similar to the lens zoomed to 200mm, with stunning sharpness in the center of the frame; and clarity is not far behind towards the edges of the frame at maximum aperture. Like the case at 80mm, peak clarity across the frame reaches between f / 8 and f/11, where sharpness across the frame is excellent.

Finally, zooming to 400 mm does not reduce the sharpness, but the lens still works well. At f/5.6, clarity is very good in the center of the frame, and good towards the edges of the frame. Stopping down to f/11 results in mainly focusing across the frame made ​​with this focal length, with excellent sharpness in the center and very decent clarity towards the edges of the frame.







How to read the charts

The blue column stands for sharpness in the center of the frame at various apertures and the green is from the edges. The red column presents the average.

The ratio on the left side shows the actual image resolution. The taller the column is, the better the lens performance is. It is simple.

In this article, the lens was tested on a Nikon D600 using Imatest.

For a super-telephoto lens, chromatic aberrations are well controlled. Fringing is the most popular towards the edges of the frame at 80mm with the aperture established at f/16 or more. Even then half a pixel width of fringing is hardly exceeded.







How to read the charts

Chromatic aberration is meant that the lens is unable to focus on the sensor or film all colors of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration produces a remarkable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the image. It may be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses features special lens elements aspheric, low dispersion, etc. to minimize the problem, therefore, they usually cost more.

In this article, the lens was tested on a Nikon D600 using Imatest.

Illumination towards the corners is reasonable for a telephoto zoom lens. At maximum aperture of 80 mm, the corners are only 1.3 stops darker than the image center; and visually uniform illumination is achieved with the lens stopped at f / 8 or beyond. At 400 mm, the corners are 1.66 stops darker corners; and visually uniform illumination is done with the aperture stopped at f/11 or more.

Imatest detected rather consistent pincushion distortion throughout the zoom range from 0.6% at 80 mm and 0.768% at 400mm. This is the low level of distortion that should not raise too many issues. If the lines are completely straight, you will be glad when the distortion model is uniform throughout the zoom range, which should apply corrections in relatively simple image editing software. 

Thanks Nano Crystal coating of Nikon, the ratios of glare and ghosting rarely happen, conversely mounts very well, even when shooting in light at the maximum aperture. A deep hole with a bit of cut-out flower comes with the lens, which does not have enough functionality to shade the lens from extraneous light that is likely to cause problems.

Sample images

Sample images


Just like with any lens that has just been launched, the asking price seems to be a first point of attention, especially when the lens is currently priced at $ 3,300 compared with other available lenses that cost under half that. Even with the difference in price, this lens is still a worthwhile purchase, as an upgrade, or simply because you need a lens like this. The difference in performance between the two is such that the new lens is much easier to use, and generally gives better results.

Those who have a limited budget might also take a look at Sigma's 120-400mm DG OS HSM lens, which is available for around $ 945. This lens has many similar features, including optical image stabilization and static autofocus, but it does not offer the same performance level as the Nikon lens.

Nikon Nikkor ED VR II

Nikon Nikkor ED VR II


Nikon has updated the 80-400mm lens for a year, and now it's here to prove that it is worth the wait.

It provides sharp images, focuses fast and is easy to use. In reality, its asking price of $ 3,300 is almost negligible. I said almost, because, partly it is still a reasonable amount of cash.


·         Product name: Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

·         Price: $ 3,300


·         Sharpness is great.

·         Static focusing is fast.

·         CA is very low.

·         Distortion is low.

·         It does not make the changes of colors in spite of the weather

·         VR System is effective.


·         It may be considered to be expensive at current prices

Technical specifications


·         Lens Mounts: Nikon AF


·         Focal Length: 80mm - 400mm

·         Angle of View: No Data

·         Max Aperture: f/4.5 - f/5.6

·         Min Aperture: f/32 - f/40

·         Filter Size: 77mm

·         35mm equivalent: No Data

·         Internal focusing: Yes


·         Min Focus: 150cm

·         Stabilized: Yes


·         Blades: 9

·         Elements: 20

·         Groups: 12

Box Contents

·         Box Contents: Lens Case CL-M2, Lens Cap LF-4, Lens Cap LC-77


·         Weight: 1,570g

·         Height: 203mm


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