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Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR AF

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Reviews Views Date of last review
41 143996 Jul 15, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
83% of reviewers $1,298.86
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.26
8.05
8.0
1996NAS_180

Specifications:
Result of VR (Vibration Reduction) is equivalent to using a shutter speed three f/stops faster
VR is automatically detected during panning operation. Two modes of VR: Image plane and Viewfinder
3 ED glass for high resolution and high contrast even at maximum apertures
Filter does not rotate during zooming.

Filter Size 77mm
f/Stop Range 4.5-32
Minimum Focus Distance 7.5' (2.3 m)
Magnification 1:4.8
Zoom/Focus Control Two-touch
Compatible Formats FX
DX
FX in DX Crop Mode
35mm Film
Angle of View DX-format: 20 - 4
FX-format: 3010' - 610'
Groups/Elements 11/17 (3 x ED [Extra-low Dispersion] elements)
Tripod Collar Yes (detachable)
Length 6.7" (17 cm)
Maximum Diameter 3.6" (9 cm)
Weight 2.9 lb (1.3 kg)


 


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Mark K
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Registered: Feb 15, 2003
Location: China
Posts: 106
Review Date: Jul 15, 2013 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,199.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Price
Cons:
slow AF, loud focusing noise,

It was a surprise in the market when Nikon launched this lens years back. I could not stop and mounted onto my FM2...ha...it can be better as proven in the 2nd version launched this year.

Jul 15, 2013
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jojomon11
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Registered: Sep 6, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 6972
Review Date: May 7, 2012 Recommend? no | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Nothing
Cons:
Pure garbage

Overpriced for a zoom lens, the VR works like crap and mine was very slow to focus and by the time it did the subject was long gone

May 7, 2012
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johnmh
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Registered: Feb 26, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 88
Review Date: Mar 15, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,370.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: Good range - portable package.
Cons:
Dated lens. No internal focusing motor. Better values for th money now available

This lens is in dire need of an update. The range makes it a good compliment to the 16-85 but this lens will disappoint. Focusing speed is slow - lack of an internal focusing motor makes focus speed dependent on the body you are using. It's OK for slow or fixed subjects - but forget birds in flight.

The price/performance for this lens is not good when you compare it to the Nikon 70-300VR - a less expensive lens that's a great value for the money. It also fares poorly compared to new Sigma OS offerings (120-400 and 150-500).

This lens is a bit soft wide open at 400mm though it sharpens up when stepped down. But the inherent limitations that come with its maximum aperture limits mean you'll want good light to use this lens.

I WANTED to like this lens as a compliment to the 16-85VR but it simply doesn't provide you the performance you should get for the price.

I have compared this lens to the Nikon 200-400 (which costs 3-4 times more) the Sigma 150-500 (which costs 1/3 LESS), Nikon 70-300VR and the Nikon 70-200 with TC's. I own all of these. If you can live with the shorter reach the Nikon 70-300 VR is the best value for the money. The Sigma is worth the price in comparison (it gets soft at 500 but at 400 wide open is clearly better than the Nikon - it's cheaper too. only major complaint is that it's f/6.3 at 500 at best).

I am among many who hope that Nikon updates this lens - but fear that the end result will be priced higher - and remain overpriced for what you get.


Mar 15, 2009
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JustForFun
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Registered: Jul 23, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 23, 2008 Recommend? no | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: VR, Focal Length and Compactness (For a long telephoto Zoom)
Cons:
Very Noisy and Slow AF

I believe this was one of the first Nikon VR lenses and one of the reasons, I switch to Canon a few years later.

It has got the focal length, design and VR spot on but someone forgot to put in a SWM. In this respect, a total let down. Probably one of the noisiest Nikkor AF-D lenses ever and I have used quite a fair bit of them, including AF-S and yes, AF-I lenses as well. Optically, at least it was within its class.

For me, the Canon EF100-400 f4.5-5.6 IS USM is a head and a shoulder above it. Fortunately, for Nikon users, there are good alternatives now like the AF-S 70-300 VR and the AF-S 200-400 VR.

With Nikon's revival of late, let's hope we finally see a AF-S version of it.


Jul 23, 2008
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Portengen
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Registered: Jul 3, 2008
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jul 3, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,200.00 | Rating: 6 

Pros: Compact size
Cons:
No AF-S, terrible tripod collar, slow, soft

I guess we don't match... While other owning this lens are rather positive, I tried to get used to this lens two times. The first time was when it first came on the market. I found the lens having focussing issues while the VR sometimes crashed, making the lens a vibrating item.
The second attempt was last year. I wanted to give the lens a second change, so I bought a new one. With it small size and wide range, it looks like a perfect choice for hiking trips. Again I had issues with focussing. Images look very soft and the VR just seems to help every second shot. Beside that it is very slow.
The worst thing of the lens is the tripod collar. I tried it all, with VR on (despite what the manual says) and off, but everytime I press the releasebutton or some more wind is blowing, the lens is not mounted firm on the tripod.
I traded it in for a 70-200mm VR.


Jul 3, 2008
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ajdooley
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Registered: Aug 6, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 13
Review Date: Mar 23, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Relatively light weight; compact in camera bag; sharp; VR aids in hand holding
Cons:
Tripod mount; non-AFS autofocus

I bought this lens for use with an F5, since replaced by two consecutive digital SLRs - D100 and D200. Now that I am anticipating moving up to a D3, I'm glad to have a lens that will cover the almost-full size sensor. I have shot a lot of youth soccer and birds, hand held and with a monopod. The slow focus can be exasperating, but when it does focus it is absolutely tack sharp. I wish it was faster, focused faster, etc., but then it would be a $3-5,000 lens and I wouldn't be able to own it, so all in all I'm happy I bought it and don't anticipate getting rid of it unless I win the lottery. When I gripe about slow autofocus, I just consider what manual focusing would be like and I'm happier. This is nbot the Nikon 200-400 f4, but it is lighter and less expensive -- a good compromize.

Mar 23, 2008
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RandyR
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Registered: Feb 24, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 3217
Review Date: Feb 16, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: awesome Image quality...it's not afs so af is slow, wow is that not news. I LOL at all the reviews that complain about AF speed.
Cons:
NONE !

this is the perfect zoo lens.....don't try to use this lens for BIFs, it wasn't designed to be used for motion

Feb 16, 2008
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Gary Gray
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Registered: Jan 6, 2008
Location: United States
Posts: 403
Review Date: Jan 20, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Good optics
Cons:
Poor design characteristics, especially the zoom ring.

This lens has a split personality. Optically it is as good as my Canon 100-400 L, IS, maybe better. Functionally, it leaves a bit to be desired.

From 80-350mm it stays very sharp, at the long end it softens up a bit, but this is common with all lenses of this type.

The only other OS lens for a Nikon body in this rage is made by Sigma and quite honestly, the Sigma 80-400 is a much better design but not quite as sharp. For several hundred dollars less, if you own a crop sensor body, the Sigma may be a better choice.

The autofocus on this lens is hit-and-miss with moving objects. Slow and noisy also. If you intend to use this lens for fast-action sports and moving wildlife, I'd suggest getting something that performed better. If you need a good, sharp functional telephoto zoom as a general walk-about for your kit, this lens will do a good job.

The zoom ring is too close to the camera body and tripod collar and this feature makes it difficult to operate with my big hands. The auto-manual focus selector and lock button is also a strange thing.

Still, I'll keep this lens for the good image quality it produces, until something better comes along.


Jan 20, 2008
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Raphael T-M
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Registered: Jul 7, 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 72
Review Date: Jul 9, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: $1,400.00

Pros: VR, Range
Cons:
Slow AF

Good stuff. Fine for wildlife, even in motion (as long as it's relatively predictable motion). Love the range it gives me and have found the image quality to be very good.

Jul 9, 2007
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Raphael T-M
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Registered: Jul 7, 2007
Location: Canada
Posts: 72
Review Date: Jul 7, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 8 

Pros: Nice range, good colours, relatively sharp
Cons:
cheap tripod mount, slow AF, awkward MF/AF switch

I love the range of this lens, and compared to what i've -owned- in the past of a similar range (AF ZM NIK D 70-300MM F4-5.6 ED) one can tell it is much better quality... I get none if any fringing around highlights.

About the AF: it is slow, but not too horrible, fine for subjects moving in predictable motions.

Tripod mount: as has been said before, it is cheap. take it off and use the lens handheld as it was obviously meant to be used (VR and all...)

AF/MF switch: the ring is slightly awkward to use, but one gets used to it and it's nice the way nikon made "locked" positions as well as free ones.

VR: Very good. Love it.

Rings: Focus: Great smooth motion nice to use.
Zoom: A little stiff... one gets used to it.

Overall, i'm very pleased with the lens, especially moving from the one i previously owned


Jul 7, 2007
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jgfranks
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Registered: Jul 11, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 1
Review Date: Feb 17, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Ability to hand hold (light weight relative to focal range), great focal range, VR works well, 77mm filter thread, good price for the focal range
Cons:
Slow AF, Not AF-S (lens telescopes for longer focal lengths), AF is not always as precise as I would like, lens hood is archaic in design, can not use new generation teleconverters from Nikon (forget using any teleconverter on this lens, image degradation is unacceptable), tripod collar and foot sucks (replace with Really Right Stuff collar and foot)

OK, this is not a perfect lens, but is a very useful lens with very good optics that has a couple of flaws.

First flaw is the AF is screw driven; it is not an AF-S lens. Therefore, as you would expect, it is slow compared to my 70-200 VR or 200-400 VR. This is annoying, because I have expectations commensurate with the aforementioned lenses; however, I can walk through the woods hand holding this lens and shoot all day. I cannot say that about the 200-400 VR. The 70-200 VR with a 1.7 teleconverter would be a reasonable alternative, but the fact is the 80-400 VR is a better choice for hand held shooting at or near the 400mm focal length.

Second flaw is the tripod collar and foot; terrible design (same issue exists with the 300mm f/4 Nikkor) yields unsatisfactory image sharpness quality when shooting from a tripod. Honestly, for me this is not a big issue because if I am shooting from a tripod I use the 200-400mm f/4 VR Nikkor. However, the fix is to replace the collar and foot with Really Right Stuff's custom collar and multi-lens foot. Personally, I use this in hand held shooting only.

If you need a hand held lens with this focal length and don't plan to shoot sporting events in low light with it, this lens is a very good choice for certain types of photography. You must be able to accept that you may need to manually focus the lens to ensure sharp images. However, for the nature photography (especially birders) who need to be able to move to vantage points and have a lens with enough reach to get frame filling captures that are sharp and have great color and contrast then this is a great lens.


Feb 17, 2007
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tanglefoot47
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Registered: Oct 12, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 14816
Review Date: Dec 17, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very nice lens sharp, VR, fairly fast not a barn burner but good enough for me. Light weight for a big lens the more I use it the more I like
Cons:
Wish it had the newer version of the VR

I am very pleased with this lens I have been getting some great shots with it. I have owned the Canon version of this lens and I get a lot more keepers with the 80-400.

Dec 17, 2006
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Grognard
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Registered: Jun 11, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2143
Review Date: Sep 12, 2006 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros: Good range of zoom
Cons:
Heavy, awkward, not as sharp as the 70-200mm, slow focusing

If I had to do it again, I would NOT have spent the money on this lens. I am exceptionally disappointed in it, both with focus speed, and image quality. Nikon needs to drop this lens, and either come out with an AF-S version, or somehow improve this lens. I would rate it a 5 at best now.

Sep 12, 2006
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waterflyboy22
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Registered: Jul 10, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 752
Review Date: Aug 2, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,300.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Great reach, great optics when used correctly.
Cons:
Slow AF, VR seems to "clunk" on and off.

I've found that this lens can offer excellent optical results in the right conditions. This is an excellent lens for slow/still subjects. Tried it for sports, and it just can't compare to the 70-200VR in that arena. Is also a great lens for most airshow photography.
This lens would be unbeatable if it had IF and VR II.

Conclusion: Great lens for the prosumer and if used correctly.


Aug 2, 2006
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johnmueller
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Registered: Jan 9, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 355
Review Date: May 1, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharpness, range, build quality
Cons:
weight, size, sharpness @ 400mm, people wonder if you're paparazzi

Borrowing this lens, I can honestly say if I had the money, I'd get it. I never thought I'd get much use at 400mm, but once I put it on the D100, a whole new world was opened to me.

I shot this bald eagle at 400mm, and this is almost with NO crop:

http://static.flickr.com/48/138330410_9160ccfb48_b.jpg

this was also hand held, so that VR really works.


May 1, 2006
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Grognard
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Registered: Jun 11, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 2143
Review Date: Apr 13, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $1,400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: A good zoom range, the VR works, and works well.
Cons:
A little heavy, and the tripod foot stinks- I removed mine.



Apr 13, 2006
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Nikon 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR AF

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
41 143996 Jul 15, 2013
Recommended By Average Price
83% of reviewers $1,298.86
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
8.26
8.05
8.0
1996NAS_180


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