About Nasim Mansurov

Nasim Mansurov is a professional photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. He is the author and founder of Photography Life, along with a number of other online resources. Read more about Nasim here.

Reader Interactions


  1. 1) John
    June 18, 2013 at 6:10 pm

    I rented one the first day it was available. It is a great range for outdoor soccer. The older model did not focus fast enough. This one does, and it is sharper, if the subject is in focus! In AF-C mode, f/5.6, on a D700, the thing would “chatter” trying to AF. It was not moving back and forth much, but the frequency was annoying. Some shots were in focus, some were a bit off. It was great in AF-S mode, but if I could live with that I would get a nice used older 80-400 for a fraction of the price and live with a little softer images.

    My 70-200/2.8 does better focusing with the 2.0 TC, but sometimes the action gets too close with that combo. Even the 70-300 VR gives me a higher percentage in focus than the 80-400 did, and I can program the function switch to DX mode to give me up to a 450mm equivalent at lower resolution.

    Because of the AF issue, I would not even think about this for birds or anything that moves quickly. It would work well for slow moving subjects, but why not just use the 300mm/4 with a TC and put the extra $1000 towards a D400 later this year :)

    • June 19, 2013 at 12:17 am

      John, yup, both 80-400mm units I tested had the same AF chatter / hesitation. It is a very annoying problem for sure! The 300mm f/4 is the way to go for reliable AF…

      • 1.1.1) Global
        June 19, 2013 at 1:26 am

        Ugh… I hate that “chatter” on the 70-300VRII. I thought that was just my copy. Is it the AF? Or is it the VR..?

        I cannot fathom why Nikon crippled this 80-400 with VR II and didn’t implement VR III (which is not available in lenses that came out before the 80-400). Its not really correct to call this VRII as “new” — its quite old by now and VR III is much improved, adding nearly another stop and even another axis of support.

        Nonetheless, I would seriously consider this lens (I love throwing money at Nikon) — but it is just too damn expensive. Without a proper foot, without the newer VR III, and with focus chatter… I could not justify this expense and will consider the Sigma 50-500. I just wish Sigma would make 300-500 or 300-600, we can pretty much get 70-300 covered in a large number of ways already.

        I think Nikon in many ways was backwards thinking in this lens — (1.) it should have been 135-500, not 80-400 — the market is moving to 500 and Nikon does not have an option. (2.) It should have had VR III, not VR II. (3.) It should not suffer from the chatter weakness of nearly a decade older 70-300VR. (4.) The pricing is outrageous for a non-fixed aperture lens. [(5.) And there should be some consideration somehow for video; I don’t know what the verdict is on that, but the Tamron 24-70VR is apparently great with video vs. Nikon and Canon. Not that there is a viable rival at these lengths, but chatter and old VR sounds terrible for video, considering the direction of the market as a whole.]

        Won’t be buying unless the price drops sub $2 grand.

        • Falk Lumo
          June 19, 2013 at 6:12 pm

          The generation of VR isn’t part of a lens designation. The 80-400G has the newest generation VR (same as 70-200/4G). Nikon appends II to a lens designation only if there already existed the same designation for an older lens. II applies to the lens, not VR.

    • 1.2) Keith
      July 12, 2013 at 8:46 pm

      My Father’s Day present was to have my entire “kit” stolen out of my truck including my 300 f4 AF-S with the 1.4E-II teleconverter. I’ve since replace my “kit”, but I bought this new Nikon lensas it was in stock for about $2,700 thinking that I’d at least be close to what I had. Shame on me for leaving it in my truck in my driveway overnight….a mistake I won’t make again.

      Boy was I wrong!!

      This new Nikon lens is very disappointing! Yes the VR is nice, but when I it can’t resolve the level of detail that the 300 f4 with the 1.4 teleconverter can resolve, what’s a fellow to do?

      I’m a good customer to my local camera shop and they’ve already said they’d take this lens back with no restock fee, but I don’t want them to take a hit either.

      You’d think for $2,700 it would be close to equal to the 300 f4 with the 1.4 teleconverter. In my opinion, it is not!

      If you live at the long end of the range, I caution people to really check this lens out compared to their 300 f4 with 1.4 teleconverter rather closely.

      I am supremely disappointed in this lens!!! In all honesty, I think Nasim’s tests paint a bit of a rosy picture for this lens, but I can’t blame him as I really wanted this lens to work well too. He did warn warn though. Ohhh, how I should’ve listened!

      Just thought I’d relay my experiences.

      Keith Confer
      Anchorage, AK

  2. 2) FrancoisR
    June 18, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    I’m glad I stayed away from that non sense glass. At $2700.00 this is robery. I have a 300 f4 and I’m very happy with it. I used to have a 70-300 VR which I sold for $350.00 used. That’s almost seven times less!!! And it performs almost equal? Okay less reach but still… When will Nikon come up with the 300 f4 VR? This $3k lemon is not for me. I had a 400L 5.6 which was equal or better than the 300 f4 at $1350.00. Even a Sigma 50-500 would be a better option. IMHO a lense that can’t focus right is good for the fish tank lol.

    As usual, thank you very much for this review Nasim!

    • 2.1) John
      June 18, 2013 at 7:23 pm

      The 80-400 is definitely sharper than the 70-300, when it hits the focus. I think it is similar in sharpness to the 70-200/2.8, but the AF was irritating.

    • June 19, 2013 at 12:21 am

      Francois, the new AF-S 80-400mm outresolves the 70-300mm VR – I was referring to the 80-400mm AF-D when I made that comment :)

      I am really hoping to see the Nikkor 300mm AF-S soon, I can’t wait!

      • July 20, 2013 at 3:08 am

        Hio Nasim,

        If Nikon came out with new 300mm AF-S VR, what do you think the price would be? Will it overtook the sales of the 80-400mm AF-S VR II?


        • Nasim Mansurov
          July 21, 2013 at 10:53 pm

          It will depend on the quality of the lens. If it is a killer lens (which I am sure it will be), I will expect it to be in the $2500 range.

    • 2.3) Paul
      June 26, 2013 at 6:19 pm

      Francois, British Nikon lowers price of this lens by 20% according to Nikonrumors.com.

    • 2.4) Kunntal Samanta
      March 7, 2014 at 1:57 am

      Thanks a lot for your review, can u give me an advise “purchasing a 300 f4 along with a 2x converter is better than purchasinga new 80-400 afs vr ii”?

  3. 3) Nicolas
    June 18, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    Hi Nasim,

    Thanks for the test. Since the vignetting, distortion and chromatic aberrations can be corrected with Lightroom (and also DxO I think), would it be possible to add to the test (and perhaps to all the next ones) the values of vignetting, distortion and chromatic aberrations AFTER corrections. The resulting values would be of more interests for most of the users.

    Thank you.


    • June 19, 2013 at 12:22 am

      Nicolas, but what’s the point? Once you remove them in post, those problems are gone – a chart would literally look flat, or near flat…

      • 3.1.1) Nicolas
        June 19, 2013 at 6:33 am

        For my Nikon 24-120 f4, at 24mm there is still vignetting after corrections by Lightroom. Moreover, some wide-angle lenses such as the new Nikon 18-35 will probably have a lot of distorsion at the lowest focal distance, not always easy and straighforward to correct with softwares, even in automatic ways. So this would give an idea of how good are the corrections made by Lightroom or DxO. I agree that most of the time for vignetting the results should be perfect, but for distortion it will be less often

  4. 4) Mako2011
    June 18, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    Excellent review, as always. Thank you for the time and effort. A lens I am seriously considering.

    One thing I’m not so sure about though. You write, “VR needs time to stabilize to work effectively and is not very useful for situations where action happens fast” There are two VR modes. Pre-exposure mode gives you a stabilized image in the view finder, and is what you notice when you say “needs time to stabilize”. This mode has nothing to do with the final captured exposure so no need to worry about letting it happen. It is very useful for assisting focus and helping the photographer stay on target. When you go from half press to full press of the shutter release button, The VR mode changes. The VR element is re-centered and the VR algorithms change from “pre” to “during” exposure mode. This all happens during the time the mirror goes from down to up. For VR to maximize it’s ability to mitigate camera shake, exposure mode VR does need the first mode to settle the image in the viewfinder before full shutter release.

    There is actually an easy way to see how effective it is. Using the self timer function, it’s easy to see the dif and confirm the 2 modes. Set your self timer for 5 seconds. Now using your VR lens at a shutter speed 1/4 to 1/10th the focal length, set VR to “on”…hand held. Point at a good target with lettering or the like and press the shutter release and let go. You will hear the VR motor start and see it work in the viewfinder. A second or so later you will hear the VR motor stop and see VR stop working in the view finder (That was VR pre-exposure mode starting and stopping). In a few seconds (as the timer continues) the shutter will release and a picture will be taken. Note that VR was not engaged and had stopped prior to the shutter releasing. Now do the exact same thing with the VR set to “off”. Compare the two images and you should find that VR was indeed operating fully during the first exposure…even though we heard it stop prior to the shutter release. Now shoot normally with VR and let it stabilize before the shot. You may find the two VR captures look about the same regards VR’s ability to lesson the effects of camera shake. That all assumes Nikon hasn’t changed how VRII operates. Again, excellent review and thank you so much. One of the few places with really solid data.

    • June 20, 2013 at 11:24 pm

      Mako, thank you for your detailed feedback, I appreciate it!

      I did not want to get into image stabilization too much, so I just wrote a couple of sentences regarding VR. Yes, I am aware of the two modes, however, I do not agree with you when you say that pre-exposure mode has “nothing to do with the final captured exposure”. In fact, your pre-exposure stabilization behavior does impact the way VR will engage when the shutter release button is pressed. The pre-exposure phase is when the system sees which way you are moving, so when the actual exposure happens and the VR gets reset back to the center, it uses this data to determine where to offset the movement to. Without engaging VR prior to shutter release, this data is non-existent and while the lens will generally do its best to stabilize, it can result in blurry photos.

      As an experiment, try this – set VR on, half-press the shutter button, wait for 1-2 seconds then take a shot. Before doing this, make sure that your shutter speed is slow enough – maybe at half or 1/3 of the value of your focal length (otherwise this experiment might not work, since the shutter speed is too fast). Do this several times and let the system stabilize for a few seconds before taking each shot. Next, turn the camera off, turn it back on, and without half-pressing the shutter button take some pictures. Now compare images from the first batch to the second batch. Which ones are sharper? I have done this a number of times as an experiment, and my shots after stabilizing VR always turned out to be sharper than the ones that I shot right away.

      To make it a little clearer, I added a couple of sentences to the VR section of the review :) Either way, I think a more detailed article explaining how VR works might be useful, since many people have been asking me about it.

      • 4.1.1) Mako2011
        June 24, 2013 at 8:11 pm

        Thank you so much. An excellent test and addition to my understanding. May help in panning as well. I’ve been doing the test with mixed results. In general my results are equal when the subject is stationary with the 70-200 but not the case with the 105 macro. Have not been able to tell VR stabilized examples from non-stabilized ones with the 70-200 (with many tries and steady finger control). More work to be done. I’m also limited to the 70-200, 24-120, 16-35, and 105 macro. VR results do benefit from stabilization at half press (105mm macro at 1/30s ) and VR will still have a positive impact even if not allowed to stabilize first…but stabilization adds to the positive effects. Really would be nice if Nikon would be a bit less secretive. I’m not sure all VR units are created equal. Also note I get different results when using back button focus on the D7K (AE-L/AF-L does not engage VR) vs turning camera on and off. Strange stuff and always interesting to explore. Thanks again and appreciate the feed back. Excellent site!! Your readers are well served.

        • Mako2011
          June 24, 2013 at 8:20 pm

          Additionally, if you get bored and find yourself with nothing to do (unlikely) try the same comparison using the self timer to initiate the tests. That takes subtle differences in finger control out of the equation. Good luck and sorry to bother.

  5. 5) Chris Weller
    June 18, 2013 at 10:33 pm

    Great review. I have the 300 f/4 and the 70-200 2.8 vii as well as the 1.4 and 2.0 converters. It’s clear to me that this 80-400 would not give me anything I don’t already have. Love the comparison to the 70-200 with the 2x converter at f/8.

    Thanks, Nasim

    • June 19, 2013 at 12:25 am

      Thank you for your feedback Chris!

      • 5.1.1) Chris Weller
        June 19, 2013 at 7:31 pm


        Btw, don’t let all those negative people tell you that your d400 post was out of line. I found tremendous value in it. I WANT to hear information like that. People want to jump down your throat for anything could possibly not be true….whatever. Your source is credible and the detail of the information is useful. Please don’t let their negative posts discourage you from sharing information like this with your readers. That would truly be a disservice.


  6. 6) Biho
    June 18, 2013 at 10:43 pm

    Nice review, thanks. This lens would be great for birders on the Nikon 1 system with the adaptor. I wished to see in- field differences with its direct competitor from Sigma the 120-400 OS.

    • June 19, 2013 at 12:27 am

      Probably – I have not really played with the FT-1 adapter yet. Looks like all Nikon 1 cameras have gotten a firmware update now, with continuous AF option.

      As for the Sigma 120-400mm OS, I did not have it during the time of the test. Perhaps next time and I will also include the 150-500mm.

    • 6.2) John
      June 19, 2013 at 12:29 am

      I also tried the 80-400 on the V1, but was not pleased with the images. The firmware update had not been out at that time, but it still gives you AF-C on just the central focus point. I was happier with the OM-D and Panny 100-300mm , even though I am only at 600mm equiv (and 16 MP) instead of the 1080mm (and 10 MP).

      If the V1 would do AF-C with the 300mm/4, it would be great!

  7. 7) Johny Wong
    June 19, 2013 at 1:26 am

    Hi Nasim,

    Another wonderful and comprehensive review.

    Nasim, your photos are always known for its saturated color. Especially your landscape photos. Why in this review all your photos looks less saturated ?

    Nb: I like your son photo. He looks so cute. He also uses angry bird t-shirt and his expression is similar to that white bird. I can’t stop smiling when I see it :D

  8. 8) serge puksa
    June 19, 2013 at 6:01 am

    Thanks for the long awaited and detailed review. Could you comment on the use of this lens with a Nikon D7100 in crop mode vs adding a 1.4 teleconverter for extra “reach”.

    • June 20, 2013 at 11:31 pm

      Serge, there is no extra reach with crop mode – please see this article for a detailed explanation (see the first section “The Myth of the DX Built-in 1.5x Teleconverter”). Unless you need the extra buffer and smaller size, it does not make sense to shoot in crop mode with the D7100. You would be better of cropping in post :) And cropping will never give the same advantage as a good teleconverter…

  9. 9) Art
    June 19, 2013 at 8:51 am

    Thanks for the excellent review of the new 80-400. Last week I rented this lens and like you I compared it to my 300mm F4 with and without the 1.4x tele-converter and have come to the same conclusion as yourself, the 300mm F4 with and without the tele-converter has better autofocus capability, is better optically, lighter, and overall is a much better solution for my wildlife photography.
    While the convenience of a zoom lens over a prime is tempting I cannot justify spending that much money just for that sake. I do give Nikon credit for developing a wonderful lens which is clearly much better than its predecessor, but for the amount of money Nikon is asking it should have come with a better tripod collar, VRIII, and its overall auto focus performance should have been better. Like you I cannot wait until Nikon comes out with a replacement for the 300mm F4. I am also considering the 200-400 for an upcoming trip next year, so I am looking forward to your review of this lens.


    • June 20, 2013 at 11:26 pm

      Thank you for your feedback Art, I really appreciate it!

  10. 10) Chris Zeller
    June 19, 2013 at 9:06 am

    “Here is my advice – if you already own the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II with the TC-20E III, don’t buy the Nikon 80-400mm AF-S.”

    Thanks Nasim, this comment is right on the mark. Now I can focus my attention on other lenses instead. Thanks for your sensible and complete reviews. It has particular significance coming from someone who is consistently able to demonstrate stunning results even from the gear that you don’t like. Keep it up!

    • June 20, 2013 at 11:25 pm

      Chris, you are most welcome! Now time to focus on the Sigma 35mm review :)

  11. 11) john
    June 19, 2013 at 10:07 am

    Another excellent review Nasim… I am know drooling to see your thoughts on the new Nikon 18-35 G. When can we expect that?

    • June 19, 2013 at 11:54 am

      John, I will post some preliminary tests with the 18-35mm later today/tomorrow. A full review will be posted after I am done with the Sigma 35mm f/1.4 review.

  12. 12) Stefan
    June 19, 2013 at 11:23 am

    Thanks for the great review!

    Especially the sharpness comparisons were very interesting.

    It’s also good to read about an upcoming 200-400 mm review. I hope you provide a comparison (sharpness imatest) with the 300 mm 2.8. I am not sure which lens is the best for me… ;-)

    • June 19, 2013 at 11:53 am

      You are welcome Stefan! Did you see lens comparison images between the 80-400mm, 70-200mm and 200-400mm? I did those specifically because of your prior request :)

      As for the 200-400mm vs 300mm f/2.8 question, the answer is already provided in my Nikon 300mm f/2.8 VR Review, if you do not want to wait. I am planning to do some Imatest sharpness comparisons for the 200-400mm review as well.

      • 12.1.1) Stefan
        June 19, 2013 at 1:49 pm

        Yes, and I was impressed especially by the 200-400 mm performance compared to the new but cheaper 80-400 mm lens.

        At the moment my dream lens is the 300 mm 2.8 because of better AF for far away subjetcs in wildlife photography.

        But I am not 100 % sure and will wait for your 200-400 mm review.

        • FrancoisR
          June 19, 2013 at 2:13 pm

          I would go for the 300 2.8. A friend of mine owns one and lets me use it. I also tried one last month at the store (while looking at the new 80-400). It’s unreal but for my needs I went for the 200 f2 VR which is lighter, easier to hand hold and litterally generates light lol. When I get the 2X TC, I will have a 400 f4 VR for the few instances I need it. Decision was tough, they are within $100.00 in price. But for indoor and portraits I could not resist. I buy primes now and do the exercise. If it works out good with the 2X, I will save on the 300 f4 VR that is still vapor lens.

  13. 13) PAUL KANG
    June 19, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Whenever I read your reviews, I feel I read independent Consumer Report. You told us you would post reviews later when Nikon announced lens, but I couldn’t wait. I already have a 300mm and I tossed between this new 80-400mm and Canon’s 20 year old 400mm F5.6 USM. I eventually purchased Canon 400mm and 7D to use this lens. Total cost was still less than that of the new Nikon 80-400mm, that I believe a little over-priced considering weakening Yen against dollar.
    I am a Nikon shooter. D600, 55-300mm, 85mm, 50mm, 35mm, 24-85mm.

    • June 19, 2013 at 2:01 pm

      Paul, “independent consumer report” – is that good or bad? :)

      Yes, it took me a while to post this review and I apologize. It literally took me 3 weeks to fully test everything in the lab and that’s aside all other tests and things I had to do. It is incredibly difficult to test zoom lenses, especially at very long focal lengths. That’s why you don’t find many reviews online that show performance of super telephoto lenses. Most labs cannot even accommodate such long lenses. It took me a long time to stabilize my setup and I had to re-shoot many times to get consistent results. Both 80-400mm lenses suffered from alignment issues (where one side produced better results than the other, which is actually normal on such lenses) and I literally had to reposition everything at each focal lengths, multiple times. It was a real PITA :)

      As for the Canon 400mm f/5.6, it is a wonderful lens. I really hope Nikon gives us a similar tool!

      • 13.1.1) PAUL KANG
        June 19, 2013 at 2:29 pm

        It was a compliment. It is hard to find unbiased independent reviews these days. You are one of only few sources I trust in addition to Comsumer Report.

        • Lola Elise
          June 20, 2013 at 2:33 am

          Thank you for clarifying that and for your valuable feedback :)

  14. 14) Chuck
    June 19, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Nasim thank you for your detailed review. I can’t disagree with your findings however for my needs this is a great piece of glass. I own this lens and have to say I love it. I recently shot a professional motocross event where this lens shines, action/sports. The ability to go from 80 to 400mm following riders is indispensable. I have no problems with AF and when it misses it’s my fault in 90% of the photos. I shoot it on my D4 and the combo is bulky but manageable. Try shooting all day long while moving over hilly terrain with a D4/200-400mm combo. Sharpness and contrast are fantastic and since when is corner sharpness so important on a tele-zoom. I know it may not be the preferred lens for birding and thank goodness Nikon realizes there are many more uses for glass. All in all it’s a terrific lens! If one gets caught up solely in charts and graphs then you will never buy a lens. Thankfully I have photos to prove my field use findings. I own the Nikon trinity and while the 70-200 is a fantastic lens as well it just lacked the reach needed to cover motorsports where shooting locations may be distant. So in conclusion I will say for a lens with this much reach, wide variable focal length, and fairly light weight it is wonderful. As for cost, I wish it cost $500 USD but that’s not the case. This goes hand in hand with all those wanting a D4 capable camera in a $1500 body. Just because you can’t afford it doesn’t mean it’s not worth it.

    • 14.1) FrancoisR
      June 19, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      Chuck I like your post but your last comment spells revenge lol… Please Nikon bring the 300 f4 VR!

      • 14.1.1) Chuck
        June 19, 2013 at 2:48 pm

        Maybe I didn’t use the best choice of words FrancoisR. My point is so many people complain about the cost of everything and it just gets old. I too would like prices to be less but that’s not going to happen. Anyway, the 80-400mm is a great lens for my use. I’m not a bird in flight shooter and have great respect for those that take on that challenge. If I seem to be defending this lens it has nothing to do with brand loyalty or buyers remorse. I need the ability to move between focal lengths quickly so zoom is the only real option for me. I would love to have a 200-400 (knowing I’d have to lug it around) but I can’t justify the cost. Fixed 300mm would limit the number of shots I could take. Carrying two cameras around my neck and covering several miles in a day at the track dictates I adhere to the old adage “bang for the buck” and size really does matter. A 24-70mm and 80-400mm covers the entire range of photos taken. Just a post to let others know it does work well and can be a good, low cost solution for action sports. Nasim does a great job of reviewing equipment and I follow his posts to narrow the field. That said, I don’t believe he intends to steer anyone toward one product or another, rather he educates us in what’s available.

    • 14.2) PAUL
      June 20, 2013 at 11:30 am

      Chuck, do you use 4-stop VR for your moving targets with this new lens?

      • 14.2.1) Chuck
        June 20, 2013 at 11:58 am

        Paul I leave it in the Normal VR mode however it really doesn’t make a difference since I keep the shutter speed very high. That’s a must in motocross. No one likes the feeling of movement i.e. blurred wheels and backgrounds. Seems like now days everybody wants motion froze. I’ll be shooting again this weekend and I’m going to turn VR off to see if it really makes a difference. I can’t tell a difference with it on when using the tripod for stills.
        Here’s a link to an image from last week using the lens and VR was on.

        • PAUL
          June 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm

          Chuck why not also try a handheld snap shot of the super full moon this Sunday night and post it if weather helps you. We earth mortals enjoy shortest night of the year while moonies may celebrate their super full earth hour at the same time.

        • Paul
          June 23, 2013 at 11:28 pm

          Chuck Have you seen Nasim’s gorgeous super full moon? I hope you post yours for us to see differences.

  15. 15) Allen
    June 19, 2013 at 4:27 pm

    Another stunning review, that has answered all my questions. I already have a 70 200 VRII and a TC 20E III which works fine and I wanted to know if the new 80 400 would be worth changing to, but your review has convinced me to stay where I am, save the money and wait for the 300 f4 VRIII.

    • June 22, 2013 at 2:27 am

      Thank you for your feedback! I can’t wait for the 300mm f/4G VR – that will be an awesome lens :)

  16. 16) James
    June 20, 2013 at 1:43 am

    While Came to India for wildlife shooting i was looking for this Nikon 80-400mm lens but i wasn’t able to find the exact one you mentioned above. I would love to have this exactly Nikon 80-400mm lens. I brought yet another one similar to Nikon 80-400mm.

    • June 22, 2013 at 2:26 am

      James, please see the product link on the Summary page of this review. I believe the one you bought is the older version of this lens…

  17. 17) Ted
    June 20, 2013 at 6:31 pm

    Nasim, thanks for this review. Your findings are consistent with my own experiences in testing the 80-400mm AFS, 300mm F4, and 70-200mm + TC. It was good to get an objective confirmation of this as many of the opinions out there are quite polarized. I find that there are pretty wide views on what constitutes good image quality depending on where people are coming from. I think the reality is that there are no perfect choices amongst these lenses. Each have their own strengths and weakness and I think your review will go a long way in helping people make the right choice for themselves. As far as the 80-400mm goes the bottom line is that you actually give it quite a good rating, but have made the important weaknesses of the lens very clear.

    • June 22, 2013 at 2:25 am

      Ted, thank you for your feedback, I really appreciate it. I don’t think it would be fair to give this lens worse rating, because it is not a bad lens at all. My biggest problem with the lens is the AF chatter, which is extremely annoying. If it wasn’t for the chatter, I would have certainly recommend the lens! :)

      • 17.1.1) Ted
        June 22, 2013 at 10:07 am

        Yes, the chatter issue is unfortunate. In my testing with the lens I ran into it at ~400mm in low light (close to sunset but not dark.) I just could not get the lens to focus even in single point. Even with some manual help it still would not lock. The subject flew away and I missed the shot. This was not an unusual shooting situation at all and I’ve never run into this sort of issue with any other lens. This was not a 1 in 5000 shot freak incident either… it happened to me in my first 30 minutes with the lens.

  18. 18) Brian C. Copeland
    June 22, 2013 at 10:27 am


    Thank you for the excellent review and, as always, the beautiful photography that accompanied it. Your wonderful photos give more credibility to your reviews than you will ever know. I absolutely hated the original 80-400 D lens and bought a 300m F4 based on your recommendations a while back. Like you I use the 1.4TC to get to 420mm, although I’m not as impressed with my results when using this combo. A friend of mine said he switched to Canon a while back solely to be able to use their 100-400 IS zoom lens and I must say that he has had excellent results. I was hoping that perhaps Nikon had also come up with a winner for birding in this new 80-400, but I think you’ve convinced me to keep my 300mm F4 for now. At least, until I can afford a 300 2.8 or 200-400, which will probably be never unless the birds start paying for me to take their portraits. Again, thank you and keep taking those beautiful photographs!

    Roswell, GA

  19. 19) Sherman L Barr
    June 23, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    What is the best aperture setting for this lens?

  20. 20) Nahanni
    June 24, 2013 at 9:32 am

    Hi Nasim,

    Long time reader, first time posting. Thanks for your detailed impressions, but most of all the time you spent testing the combinations of glass. :)

    FIrst I wanted to confirm your AF chatter observations. I found them more prevalent with the TC14E attached than I did the base lens — but no more so than my 300mm f4 AF-S with the TC14E attached. If my results differ from yours, it might also be my D800E needs it’s focus sensors adjusted, but in my case at least, this chatter is not unique to the new 80-400mmG.

    Also, I was curious to ask if you first calibrated your glass (running Focal 1.8.1 or some other software) — or if your comparisons were direct from the factory with no AFMA adjustments? The reason I ask, is because the IQ numbers, and the results, I get back from a fully calibrated 300mm AF-S w/TC14E and the 80-400mm AF-S appear to be in the same ballpark. In order to get acceptable results with the new 80-400mm AF-S w/TC14E, I required and AFMA of +20. But on the D800E @550mm — the results appear to me much better than any of the 500mm mirror-reflex nikkors, and approaching that of my manual focus 500mm f4 Ai-P.

    At the end of the day, there are plenty of variables that can skew all test results, including my own. I’ve dropped off the D800E, the new 80-400mm AF-s, and my TC14E at my local Nikon service branch, with examples to see whether they can determine if my AF sensors are off, and requested they max out the MTF of my lens w/TC to see if that might eliminate the chatter. Other than that, short of the wider primes, i find it optically excellent for BIF.

    Best regards, and please continue to supply us with your thorough and excellent reviews. :)

    • 20.1) Nahanni
      July 2, 2013 at 12:03 pm

      yup, I just got my 80-400mm G, TC14E, and D800E all back from nikon. no more AF chatter.

      nikon confirmed my issues were related to the positioning of AF sensors on my camera.
      the lens and TC were fine. all is well. :)

  21. 21) Sherman
    June 24, 2013 at 11:25 am

    Hi Nasim,

    Very good review. I received my new 80-400 in late April before our trip out west. I was using it with
    my D7100. Got some great bird photo’s with the combo.

    I do have a question. What is the sharpest Aperture setting?


  22. 22) Thomas
    July 1, 2013 at 5:12 am

    Dear Nasim,

    Thanks a lot for this grear review of the lens.

    I currently got the Nikon D800 and I will go Botswana for Safari in November 2013. Would you recommend the Sigma 50-500 or the Nikon AF-S 80-400?


  23. 23) kim
    July 6, 2013 at 9:18 am

    What causes the chatter? Is it a potential firmware issue or sensor alignment problem? Is this problem with this lens specific to a certain camera body ie. the D4 and D800 or also seen with a D7100 for example? I saw the note above about one person successfully having Nikon correct the D800e, lens and TC combination. What concerns me is whether that will create issues with other lenses that might be used on a camera body calibrated to one lens. My experience with Nikon repair has been diffcult. My 70-200 VR II is at Nikon for the 3rd time in 2 months as they have not been able to fix an AF problem yet and actually it came back worse than when I sent it in.

    Also… still eagerly waiting for your course schedule announcement.

    Thank you.

  24. 24) Bjørnar Berge
    July 11, 2013 at 9:06 am

    Hi Nasim

    Until I read your review of the new Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 ED VR, I was convinced that “this is my new lens”… Other reviews like Camera Labs wrote: “Excellent image quality across 36Mp full-frame sensor even wide open. Quiet, fast and precise AF operation. Highly recommended”.

    But your thorough review gave me really something to think about…. Especially that AF does not work perfect at 400mm, but that one images may have perfect focus and another will be out of focus..

    I have three lenses for outdoor sport and wildlife: Sigma 150-500mm f/5-6.3 APO DG ON HSM, Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 VR II and Nikon 300mm f/2.8 G AF-S IF-ED II , and TC-20E III.

    My plan was to sell all of them, except the TC. Sigma because the AF is slow and IQ is not good enough. Nikon 70-200 is a good lens with fast AF and god IQ, but 200mm for wildlife is often not enough. 300mm is sharp and has fast AF, but heavy and has not VR. I can walk for hours in the woods and also on the mountain, and sometimes with climbing. I have D3s and D800, and with 24-70mm f/2.8 and with the new 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR, and may be with TC-14E II, I hoped that this was good enough…. I do not want to carry around many heavy lenses.

    I am now wondering:

    I can sell all three lenses and buy Nikon 300mm f/2.8 VR II, and buy TC-14E II. I know that this 300mm lens is one of Nikons sharpest and fastest! But then I do not have anything between 70 and 300mm. Or I do also have 85mm f/1.8D and Sigma 150mm f/2.8 Macro and can use them to fill the gap…

    I can sell 70-200mm and the Sigma 150-500mm and keep the 300mm. Buy the new 80-400mm and TC-14E II. The 300 mm and the TC-14E II and TC-20E III I can use on short trips.

    Do you have an advice to give me?

    Because I do not have the opportunity to try 300mm f/2.8 VR II vs. my 300 f/2.8 AF-S II without VR, I do not know if the IQ between those lenses are worth the price difference. Mostly I will prefer fast shutterspeed when I use the 300mm, and is IQ much better in the newest VR II version of this 300mm?

    I am just a happy amateur photographer, as you probably already figured out…. ;-)



    • 24.1) Sherm Barr
      July 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm

      Dear BB,

      You might want to consider the new SIGMA 50-500 lens. I had the 150-500 and traded up to the new 50-500 and am very pleased with the improvements. The new 50-500 has fast AF. It is sharp and has good focal range. I am 72 years old and I carry it around for miles without a problem. The OS system works great so I can hand hold it “with camera” and get sharp photos. The lens runs around $1500. Not bad for a lens so versatile.

      Best regards and good luck

      Sherm Barr

      • 24.1.1) Bjørnar Berge
        July 11, 2013 at 4:15 pm

        Dear Sherm!

        Thank you for your answer. It is always good to get advice from other people. Your suggestion made me think:

        I think my 300 f/2.8 AF-S II is faster and sharper than Sigma 50-500 with all teleconverters. Even with TC-20E III I think the AF is faster with f/5.6 and at 600mm. The only problem with this lens is the lack of VR, but may be not anyway because 1/500 is probably then slowest shutterspeed I want to use for my kind of photos.

        I will definitely sell my Sigma 150-500 mm. But I may buy TC-14E II and TC-17E II and use them with 70-200 f/2.8 VR II and 300mm f/2.8 AF-S II. And together with the TC-20E III I already have it will cover from 70mm f/2.8 to 600mm f/5.6.

        But I still do not know if the newest 300mm f/2.8 VR II have much better IQ than my version of the lens.

        Best regards

  25. 25) daniel
    July 16, 2013 at 6:45 am

    Hi Nasim,

    A great detailed review once more.
    Although for me a little disappointing as I splashed the ridicules amount and purchased the 80-400 :-()

    I had been waiting for a revised 300mm F4 for 18months, because I really wanted VR (thanks for your further explanation) and I did not fancy the 300F4 not being dust (and weather) sealed. I succumbed to the new 80-400 because as I really wanted to take it on my latest vacation to Scotland and did not want to purchase a lens which clearly was due an update (the 300mm F4 that is)

    I would like to add some of my (very limited) experience:

    1. The 80-400 can take a mighty fall :( I had mine set up on a tripod and it got blown over (I’m such a beginner). glad to say it survived more or less the only damage was to the lens hood which shattered. So I was quite lucky.
    2. As for the weight I thought both lens felt quite similar in weight although the 80-400 has a thicker barrel
    3. I was able to get some great shots in varying light conditions and even some in flight (from a boot) pictures which I am happy with. I must try next time without VR on thanks for the tip.

    I do have one question, Could I use a TC1.4 withthe combination of a D90 and the new 80-400? would you recommend this or should I look at a different body?

  26. September 7, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Nasim,
    Thank’s for this great review.
    I’ve rent and try it out this lens for a music show and in low light I was so impressed.
    As you mentioned above, some AF issue and a VR slow motion.
    I have some pictures at 400mm for example if you need.

  27. 27) Richard
    October 10, 2013 at 8:01 am

    Great review.

    What would the sharpness graphs look like if this lens was fitted to a D7000. ?


  28. 28) Keith
    October 20, 2013 at 11:29 pm

    Thanks for your excellent detailed review. It almost made me pass up on this lens but other reviews encouraged me to hire the lens for a few days.
    I photograph birds and my lightweight rig for this is the Nikkor 300mm f4 + TC14E so I was particularly interested in your comparison of the two lenses. I have never been happy with the 300 + TC at f5.6 despite a careful AF fine tune; I found blooming and lack of contrast which meant I used it mainly at f8.
    The AF-S 80-400mm, on the other hand at 400mm f5.6 was clearly far sharper and more contrasty than the 300 + TC with non of the blooming which came as a pleasant surprise. Indeed, the 80-400 @ f5.6 was slightly better than the 300 + Tc @f8! The above is based on pixel peeping at 100% on real images (mainly birds).
    The AF on the 80-400 was clearly faster than on the 300 + TC and proved excellent for BIF photography.
    The VR is also exceptionally good.

    So, I was extremely impressed with the optical performance of the 80-400 which for me, compared to the 300 + TC, gives an extra stop (f5.6 vs f8), VR and the flexibility of a zoom. So, I must disagree with you on the optical quality comparison of these two lenses.

    The downside for me with the 80-400 is focus breathing. I was doing some test shots on a target at 6.5m ( a not unusual distance for small birds on feeders for example) comparing with the 300 + TC and noticed a big difference in the image size in the frame. I carefully checked what the focal length was for each lens; the 300 + TC was 420mm, as expected, but the 80-400 was only 345mm! So the image for the 300 + TC is 20% bigger ( i.e equivalent to adding a x1.2 TC). I expected the focus breathing to only be a problem approaching MFD not 6.5m! For what I photograph this is a significant drawback.
    The other drawback is the price of course (£2000 in the UK)

  29. 29) Alun Marchant
    December 17, 2013 at 1:42 am

    I realise that this is very late to be commenting on this lens 6 months after the review but though I’d give my 2 cents worth after using the 80-400 4.5-5.6G VR lens for 6 months. As with many other readers I am extremely disappointed with this lens. The “chatter” that Nasim mentions is incredibly annoying for a lens that costs the equivalent of $3 500 in South Africa. I lose over half of my wildlife shots due to this constant shifting of focus.

    Also the hood is loose and rattles giving the lens a cheap “feel”.

    Finally the IQ for distance subjects at 400mm are exceptionally disappointing as well. I lost every shot of a black rhino (rare and endangered) over 100m away as every shot was soft and/or out of focus. I have calibrated the lens with LensAlign so not sure what would cause this especially as it does not happen at shorter distances.

    This is the most disappointing Nikon lens I have used and, given the extortionate price, a very bad investment – the 300 F4 with 1.4 is infinitely superior to this zoom lens.

    • 29.1) Paul
      March 5, 2014 at 5:36 pm

      Nikon may be experiencing hard times, unlike Canon that has many other divisions to back up any slow biz in camera & lens operations. I have been a Nikonian for years, but I had to add used Canon 7D plus new 400mm F/5.6 lens to my gear to shoot birds, as the introductory price of 80-400 4.5-5.6G was outrageous. My birding friend opted to wait to buy Tamron 150-600mm. The new Tamron gives him much sharper images than new Nikkor 80-400 at 300-400mm range with less than half cost.

  30. 30) copajaus
    February 20, 2014 at 2:01 am

    It’s probably a little bit late to comment on that lens but here is what I think.
    I owned the 70-200mm F2.8 VR II and I currently own the 80-400 AF-S.

    The 70-200 is excellent but I found the focal too short for my liking so I went and got the new 80-400.
    On a D4 this lens is fantastic, sharp at 400mm, 600mm (DX frame). Superb colours and overall image quality.
    Focus is fast and accurate… I am not too sure why I saw some bad reviews about that lens.
    Anyhow, I don’t work for Nikon and I am not a pro but I own this lens and it is the best telephoto I have the opportunity of using with that focal range, truly a special lens as far as I am concerned.

  31. 31) Andy Warren
    February 25, 2014 at 5:24 am

    I have owned this lens for about 2 months now and all I can say is that I am very impressed with the image quality so far. I must say I was a little apprehensive after reading some poor reviews and the comments by Nasim and a number of users about the ‘chatter’ and focussing, but I can honestly say I am very satisfied with the lenses performance so far. Focus tracking, VR and sharpness are all top notch for a lens of this type. I have the trio of Nikkor f2.8 zooms and this lens is a worthy addition to my system. Admittedly I don’t shoot BIF or perhaps subject matter of such an intricate nature, but I do shoot moving subjects of a mechanical kind and the new 80 – 400’s AF, VR and focus tracking performs just as well as my 70 – 200 2.8 even in pretty poor light.

  32. 32) Bruce Rudilosso
    March 7, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    I also have owned this lens for about 2 months but have only had two short sessions with it. I’m concerned about the slight mount movement on my cameras (D800 & D7100). It has not effected sharpness, but over time will it cause wear and tear. It is the only lens I own with mount movement.

  33. 33) Michael Deeley
    March 29, 2014 at 10:15 pm

    I have used this lens since April 2013 with my D700 and agree with your comments about the tripod mount, AF issues at 400mm and high price. Recently I purchased a D7100 as a backup body and have noticed that my BIF efforts are considerably improved. According to a Nikon technical paper I read awhile ago, the newer cameras such as the 7100, 610, D4, etc, permit improved AF and use of apertures up to f8 in difficult light conditions compared to earlier bodies such as my D700 which are stretched at f5.6. In summary, the D7100/AF-s 80-400 VR combination locks-on to BIF’s quicker and more accurately, and is what I now use for this application. I do like the optical quality of this lens, especially the contrast and color rendition. When used with my x1.4 converter AF is impaired considerably for fast moving subjects unless in very good light and therefore not used for BIF’s.

    • 33.1) sceptical1
      June 4, 2014 at 10:01 pm

      Hi Micheal,

      I must admit that I like this lens better than the reviewer. I was able to use this lens from the beginning on a D7100 and rarely experienced the AF issues he described. Further, I liked this lens so well that I eventually sold my very expensive and prized Nikon 200-400 and the Nikon 300mm F4. I kept the 1.4 TC for use with the 80-400, but rarely use it.
      I like it better for two big reasons:
      First, I prefer the images from this lens vs either the 200-400 and the 300 F4 / with TC. Here is why. The 200-400 is slightly sharper and more useful in low light (one extra stop), but the images have less contrast and on some subjects (birds feathers for example) the 80-400 produces more pleasing results. The difference in sharpness is small when you compare apples to apples meaning both mounted on a sturdy tripod (Gitzo, RRS ball head, Kirk plating) The same is true of the 300mm F4 with TC.
      Second, because it is much lighter and has effective VR allowing it to be used handheld, which is uncomfortable with the other combos. The 200-400 is too heavy (I am old, so YMMV) and I am not steady enough for the 300mm / with TC.

      Of course, nothing is perfect and this has its share of problems, most of which the reviewer touched on.
      1. Price, its high, although IMO it is better than the Sigma 50-500, it is not a better value.
      2. The tripod collar is useless and you really have to purchase the Kirk (I haven’t checked for other alternatives, it was the only one I could find at the time)
      3. Image quality deteriorates quickly using the TC and it doesn’t focus near as well. In this area, it is vastly inferior to the 200-400…
      4. The available focus delimiter settings are all wrong.
      5. It feels cheap compared to the other Nikkors.

      Overall, it just made more sense to have this vs the other alternatives. It is better than the Sigma, can be handheld by me (obviously much lighter) and has effective VR. For my purposes, its only real downsides is cost and build quality. I would buy this again in a heart beat.

  34. 34) Giulio
    April 23, 2014 at 12:47 am

    Dear Photography Life,
    I read o lot of you review but I am dubious.
    I have a Nikon D800 + AF-S 70-300 VR this is very nice from 70 to 200 but above 200 both AF and sharpness become worse. Now I want buy something better, but I am doubious:
    – Nikon AF-S 80-400 VR G
    – Nikon AF-S 70-200 f2.8 VR II + TC 17
    The price in Italy is about the same.
    For you which is the better choice ? regard: versatility, AF speed performance and accuracy, sharpness.
    I use the tele zoom for take pictures especially on African safari.
    Thank you very much for your answar in advance.
    Best Regards.

  35. 35) Kishore Bhargava
    August 18, 2014 at 10:37 am

    Hi! Nasim,

    First of all thanks for a wonderful and super informative site. I just happened to stumble upon it recently and am loving the content.

    My reason for posting here is very simple, I am in the market for a new lens and was very seriously considering the AF-S 80-400 VR G I currently own a D300S and an AF-S 500 f/4 I am looking for something with variable focal length essentially for wildlife and birds in flight. I have looked at all the options read the review and the comments and am now totally confused. I do not want a 300 f/4 since it is not going to be that much of a difference from what I have and I will not be able to capture images of objects at closer range. The 200-400 is a different league so that is out, I already spent big money on the 500 f/4.

    Some of the comments are positive and some are not, what would your advice be?

    Would appreciate a response, I do realise the post is old but would be very grateful.



  36. 36) Gordon
    October 15, 2014 at 9:05 pm


    Thank you for this review. Several years ago, I took your advice and purchased 300mm f/4 AF-S lens and have had excellent results with it. I was considering an upgrade to this new 80-400mm VR. After reading your review, I have decided to instead focus on a camera upgrade from my current D5100. And since the budget is a bit tight and can’t have both, I think the camera upgrade would be a better benefit at this time. Now to read the reviews and figure out which one would be best and in my budget. My photography is centered around birds, so your articles have been extremely helpful.

    Thank you for offering all this advice!

  37. 37) Cenk Oğurtanı
    November 30, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    Serious quality issues in new Nikon 80-400 zoom lenses:

  38. 38) PaulR
    March 23, 2015 at 3:12 am

    I wish I had read this review 4 months ago! I had rented one of these lenses when introduced and found that, for aviation photography, my ‘success rate’ with moving subjects, in good light, was far worse than with the older D AF version. Although the AF is very much faster I found exactly what you described; consecutive images in a sequence completely in-focus and out-of-focus. Usually the best frames being the ones out-of-focus!
    After reading many reviews I purchased this lens new, having concluded that the rental one was flawed. However, I found the same AF issues with that and returned it for replacement. This new replacement also has the same issues on D7100 and D700, in spite of careful AF fine-tuning. I was beginning to suspect my technique but then I still get a much better ‘hit rate’ with my non-VR 300 F4, whatever the light.
    I also concur with your opinion of the 70-300 VR as, for aviation, that left me always wondering if I would ‘get the shot’ or whether it would be o-o-f (in a similar way to this 80-400 AF-S).
    I must say that for any other subject these two lenses have been excellent performers (I eventually replaced the 70-300 VR with a 70-200f2.8VRII).
    Photographing fast aircraft is demanding of any kit so read my opinion with that in mind.

    • 38.1) Kookie B.
      April 27, 2015 at 3:01 pm

      Disagree! I’ve recently acquired this lens primarily for use in aviation photography and have gotten a very high rate of keepers. The VR is especially essential to get propeller movement that requires a slower than usual shutter speed. With my D700 the lens is a keeper.

  39. 39) Adrian
    November 5, 2015 at 8:01 am

    I’ve been using this lens for the last six months now but was reluctant to buy at first after reading some reviews, mostly because of the price. I already have the 300mm f4 AF-S that I use with the TC 14E ii which is outstanding in terms of sharpness and a legendary set up but was frustrated with the fixed focal length. For what I shoot I needed more versatility and the 70-300 VRii just can’t cut it. The 70-300 VRii is OK on a D90 as a travel lens but sharpness issues show up when on my D7100. It also hasn’t got the reach I sometimes need. I also tried and tested other brand lenses and other Nikon zooms but AF speeds and missed shots also showed up on other brand lenses and with the Nikon lenses it was a case of swing and roundabouts. There was also compatibility issues with my TC used on other brand lenses.

    I took the plunge and tried the 80-400mm on a ‘return if not happy’ from my dealer and so for it’s hardy been off the camera. The VR and AF is brilliant. I’ve used it with the TC and it’s only struggled a few times in low light conditions, so low that the 300mm with TC would also struggle. I’d be back to the realms of using my old manual 300 f2.8 but that’s still a prime. I needed the versatility of a short to long zoom.

    I seriously thought about the 70-200f2.8VRII with converter, which I reckon would have been my second choice but the reach just wasn’t far enough.

    I love this lens and what it can offer. Unless you count pixels with a magnifying glass and blow your images up to A1 or over there isn’t a lot of difference between the this 300mm Don’t get me wrong the 300mm f4 is better but only just but you’re stuck with a prime… back to square one. I’ll add I mostly shoot owls, birds of prey and motorsport.

    As already mentioned above, I did get some out of focus shots on continuous shooting mode now and then and initially thought I’d made a boo boo buying this lens. However, once I set the body up for back focusing this problem disappeared.

    If you need a zoom with a long reach that will also work with a TC14 and don’t mind selling your children I’d buy this again.

  40. 40) James
    July 5, 2016 at 8:30 am

    The one thing I like is to re-read the comments on reviews, I am a “late adopter” when it comes to Equipment as I have grown up in the film days, where you changes camera’s and lenses every 5-7 yrs. So when I decided to look at the 80-400 I came across this review and its many comments mostly from people who have used it for a few weeks or days or even hours. So I continue my search and come across field reviews from people such as Greg Du Toit who is a world renowned wildlife photographer. Wildlife photographer of the year in 2013 with many publications and books. That sat in a dam for hours every day for 20 odd days to capture a iconic picture of lions, using a D300 and 80-400 old version. In a recent interview with about his life and experiences in Africa a question was asked, what is your one lens you cannot work without. The Nikon 80-400G vr. He only use 3 lenses, 600 f4, 80-400 and 16-35f4, one main body D4s and D750 as back up. My search for “reviews from real world photographers that relay on their equipment to make a living out of nature and wildlife rate the 80-400 as an exceptional lens. is it the sharpest ? No does it is issues? yes the biggest complaint is the lens hood. However, the main attributes that stand out and make these people use the lens boils down to the following, fast focus speed, great flexibility, sharpness throughout the range, size and overall IQ. Looking at the “negatives” listed by the people who pass negative comments all point to what the professionals who use this lens regard as it’s strengths. I bought a used one, there was a selection of 3 at the shop, all three in spotless condition, I took one and took it to nikon with my D4 and D800 and had them focus fine tune /calibrate them to my two camera’s. The D4 had a some front focus issue at the long end and the D800 was spot on with no need for adjustment. All I can say after 4 safari trips into Namibia, Botswana and South Africa with almost 6000 images taken with the lens, it is fantastic. 3 of my images taken with this lens have won national and international awards. I maintain, a camera or lens cannot be reviewed and passed or failed in a few days or even a few weeks. But then again, we are all driven by different motivations to purchase stuff. Just interesting to note. If the reviewer list the negatives then the comments predominantly focus and find the same negatives.

  41. 41) Alan Chen
    September 6, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    hi there
    I’m appreciating good reviews about these lens
    but I’m wondering one thing,which is sharpness score
    I have read reviews about Nikon 400mm f2.8E /Nikon 80-400mm F4-5.6G/Nikon 300mm F4E PF/Nikon 200-500mm F5.6E, which confuses me that what happen to the lens comparison
    I mean in this article the 80-400mm has the 2489 score at 400mm, but in the 200-500mm review I found the 80-400mm has the 2163 score at 400mm
    not only that, I also found the 200-400mm sharpness score is different in the 80-400mm review and 400mm F2.8E review
    So I’m trying to figer out which score is real
    thanks your reply!

  42. 42) Lefteris Kritikakis
    June 10, 2017 at 9:36 pm

    The lens is very nice, excellent performance, BUT only central Nikon services (not authorized centers) can do any service on the lens. In a perfectly working copy I bought used, the second element had significant dust on the 2nd element, affecting image quality above 250mm, so I was forced to send it to Nikon where they asked $652.00 just to clean the second element (!), claiming a complete disassembly would be needed (still…). In other lenses one simply removes the first element from the top and cleans the surface of the second. This one, according to Nikon, is a “special case”.
    So I’m forced to return the lens, which is disappointing because I liked the practical reach and the excellent VR. The fact that only central Nikon services can do even routine maintenance is a severe flaw.

  43. 43) Jack Ellis
    December 5, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    I read your review and learned more about this lens, even though I have owned this new version as weir as the older version. Yes it is expensive but you get a lens that is the same optical quality as your other Nikons and does not look different than those Nikons on photos taken on the same day and conditions. Numbers are not at all the whole story. As for the Sigma lens I have a friend that had the 150 to 500 version and the image quality was not close to the Nikon. The Nikon 300 f/4 is a good lens I’m sure as I have friends who own them and the Nikon quality is there. You are, however comparing a fixed focal length with a zoom wand that obviously is not really cricket. The other point you overlook is the fixed focal length is fixed. When I was at a raptor demo at a National Park the birds flew overhead and several in the audience had single focal lengths up to 600mm. As the birds zoomed overhead it would have been impossible for them to get the closer ranges in focus. All I did was zoom! Tis has been handy in other situations as well. Also, to include the 200-400mm that costs the down payment on a Mercedes is a little out of class. As you say “not cost efficient”. The article was very good though and I enjoyed it. Just felt I needed to express my own perspective. I love the lens and wouldn’t have bought anything else.

  44. 44) Réal Courcelles
    December 10, 2017 at 5:05 am

    I read the review and I am interesting in bying a 80-400 G VR 4.5/5.6 to be used with a D500 for a safari in Namibia. I have also a 70-200 E FL VR f2.8. I order to reach 600mm. Howevr, I am considering 2 options: a) D500 + TC 20EIII+70-200mmE FL VR f2.8 or b) D500 + 80-400G 4.5/5.6 G VR. Does anyone have experienced any of these combination and can make recomandation?

    • 44.1) Giulio
      December 11, 2017 at 12:46 am

      for me it’s better if you buy the Nikkor 200-500. For safari the best combination is 70-200 + 200-500. I also have the TC1.7 but I do not like it and I never use it.

      • 44.1.1) Richard Wentzel
        December 12, 2017 at 12:47 am

        .I live in South Africa so often go on safari. I have a D7200 and used to own both the old and new versions of the 80-400. The new one is an excellent lens but I found it a bit too short for bird photos. I traded it in for the new 200-500. Am very happy with this lens. Also have a 70-200. Depending on the type of safari you are going on the 70-200 can be quite adequate for most animal shots as the vehicles often get close to the action. A good option is to also have a wide to standard lens to show off the environment you are in .

  45. 45) Burghclerebilly
    February 7, 2018 at 4:03 pm

    I tested this latest version of the 80-400 today, which was about the third or fourth time over the last few years. It certainly handles well, and I’m confident that it is sharp. However, I think we have to start being tough on Nikon so that they update it sooner rather than later and correct some major issues.

    Firstly, as most people know, VR has two functions that can have equal importance: (i) steadying the viewfinder image making handling easier; (ii) steadying the image capture allowing longer shutter speeds to be used. [And when considering those functions, you can easily see why VR is fairly irrelevant for sports photography] The VR on this 80-400 is certainly not as good as that on any Nikon produced in the last few years. Of particular relevance, the 200-500, 70-200/4 and new 70-300/5.6 have very superior VR, both in terms of the viewfinder steadiness and the consistency of eliminating shake at long shutter speeds. So, if VR is important to you in a lens purchase in 2018, try some of the more recent Nikons as well as this model.

    Now let’s get onto my main beef with this lens. As Nasim mentioned, there is significant close focus breathing, meaning that as a rough guess when focusing 3m away at an indicated 400mm, the lens actually has an effective focal length of about 300mm. This is a common problem with internal focusing lenses, also commented extensively on for the 70-200/2.8 VRii. Now, although I do see the desire for the 70-200/2.8 to be 200mm at close focus for portrait work , I don’t know of many instances where 400mm at very short distances in needed. This is essentially a wildlife lens, so the typical operating distance must be assumed to be in the 5-50m range. However, even within that range I am not sure that a true 400mm focal length is achieved! Comparing to my 300/2.8 and 300/4 in a brief test at 10 and 20m length estimate the 80-400 at 400mm to be only about 350mm. I think it would be very useful to know the effective focal lengths of this and other expensive zooms over the typical operating focus distances, since many people would only buy the 80-400 for the extra 100mm, and whilst the new 70-300/5.6 FX is about a third of the price and certainly has superior AF and VR.

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