Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

Lens Summary

Brand: Nikon

Also Known As: Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G VR

Lens Type: Zoom Lens

Format: Full Frame / FX

Focus: Autofocus

Lens Mount: Nikon F

Release Date: 2013-03-05

MSRP Price: $2696.95

Made in: Japan

Infrared Rating: Good

Production Status: In Production

Lens Description: Travel light and shoot with confidence. Capture beautiful portraits with softly blurred backgrounds, then zoom in with super-telephoto power and capture nature, sports and more. Nikon\'s second generation Vibration Reduction (VR) enables shooting at shutter speeds up to 4x slower than would otherwise be possible and makes a tripod optional; but when one is needed, the lens automatically delivers specialized VR correction for tripod shooting.

Photography Life Review Summary: At its current price of $2,699, I struggle to see good value with this lens. Yes, it is better than any other zoom lens in its class overall, but lenses like Sigma 50-500mm OS typically go for almost twice less that amount and give you a much better value. Read the full Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Review by Photography Life.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Specifications

Lens Specifications
Lens TypeZoom Lens
Focal Length80-400mm
Mount TypeNikon F
FormatFull Frame / FX
Compatible Format(s)Nikon FX, DX, FX in DX Crop Mode, 35mm Film
Compatible with TeleconvertersYes
Zoom Ratio5x
Maximum Reproduction Ratio1:5
Vibration Reduction (Image Stabilization)Yes
Aperture Information
Aperture RingNo
Maximim Aperturef/4.5-5.6
Minimum Aperturef/32-40
Maximum Angle of View (APS-C or smaller format)20°
Minimum Angle of View (APS-C or smaller format)
Maximum Angle of View (Full frame or larger format)30°10'
Minimum Angle of View (Full frame or larger format)6°10'
Optical Information
Lens Elements20
Lens Groups12
Diaphragm Blades9
Extra-Low Dispersion Glass Elements4 ED, 1 Super ED
Nano Crystal CoatYes
Super Integrated Coat (SIC)Yes
Focus Information
Built-in Focus MotorYes
Silent Wave Motor (SWM)Yes
Internal FocusingYes
Minimum Focus Distance1.75m
Focus Mode SwitchAuto, Manual, Auto/Manual
Distance InformationYes
Filter Information
Filter Size77mm
Accepts Filter TypeScrew-on
Physical Characteristics
Weather / Dust SealingNo
Mount MaterialMetal
Tripod CollarYes
Dimensions95.5 x 203mm
Other Information
Available in ColorsBlack

Lens Construction

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Lens Construction

MTF Chart

Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR MTF Short Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR MTF Tele

Sample Images

Nikon 80-400mm Sample (27) Nikon 80-400mm Sample (16)

Nikon 80-400mm Sample (17) Nikon 80-400mm Sample (2)

Nikon 80-400mm Sample (3) Burrowing Owl - Nikon 80-400mm + 1.4x TC

Nikon 80-400mm Sample (12) Nikon 80-400mm Sample (32)

About Nasim Mansurov

Nasim Mansurov is the author and founder of Photography Life, based out of Denver, Colorado. He is recognized as one of the leading educators in the photography industry, conducting workshops, producing educational videos and frequently writing content for Photography Life. You can follow him on Instagram and Facebook. Read more about Nasim here.


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Could you please make a review of this lens?

Felix Staub

When I saw the MTF chart for this lens I couldn’t wait to buy one. Sadly, I have been quite disappointed with what I got. The AF at first was rather pedestrian. However, changing the setting to Active AF improved this considerably to the point where I am actually quite satisfied with the AF.
My real problem is the optical performance. Despite fine tuning my D800E, and using all the other tricks that I can think of, I have never managed to get a really sharp image from this lens. The optical performance is generally no better than that of its predecessor (that cost a lot less) and has severely dented my faith in Nikon’s ability to consistently produce top lenses for top dollars.


William Jones

I waited to purchase (in case of launch failure, like with the D800 and D600), and finally bought. However, I either got a bad copy anyway, or I am asking too much of the lens (due to distances involved in polo). I shot over 4,500 pictures in two days of polo action, on a D800E, and had a hit ratio of less than 40%, even in cases of slow moving action (an instructional session for children). Both days were bright light, shutter speeds of 1/2,000th or 1/2,500th, all at f/5.6, with auto ISO. All shots were done handheld, some while standing, and others while sitting in a chair. Focus was set at AF-C, and I tried both Single Point and 9 Point Dynamic. Have used same camera with a 300mm f/4 and a 70-200 VR II, and gotten better hit ratios (same settings), so I don’t believe is either me or the camera.

In testing, it seemed to me that if I used the AF Fine Tune feature, and set up the focus for distance X from me to the subject, then when I shot at that distance I had a better hit ratio. Hower, since I am using for sports, and the distance varies constantly, only a low portion of the shots are at that distance, and the hit ratio drastically dropped the further from distance X the subject was at. I tried shots both with and without VR on (at the above shutter speeds, VR should not be needed).

Having used the old version of this lens on a D3X, and getting a 90%+ hit ratio with that combo (until I wore out the old lens), I am not happy with my copy (sending it back to Adorama today).

Sample shots (unedited/uncropped) can be posted to my website if anybody wishs to see. Note: Will be at a photo shoot for few days, so could not post those samples before May 22nd or 23rd.

Any comments or suggestions are welcome.


Tim Davis


I have the lens and had problems with focus and found that nearby objects weren’t a problem but further items were. Suspected it may be the filter and swapped it out for a Carl Zeiss T* UV Filter and it’s performed to my expectations. I’m unsure if this advice is applicable.




I know, it’s expensive! But WOW,the IQ is truly superb. Bought mine Mar14, have shot over 1K images so far on both D600 and D7000. As a prior owner of the 80-400D for 12 years, the AF-S in continuous focus at 5FPS is tack sharp, CA is gone and mechanics flawless. AF is dead-on up to f8 and it is an absolute joy to use. Just stunning images. The best money I have ever spent. Congrats Nikon! (An advanced amateur).