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Nikon 200-400mm f/4G IF-ED VR AF-S

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Reviews Views Date of last review
14 71786 Dec 7, 2011
Recommended By Average Price
71% of reviewers $4,899.88
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.73
8.45
9.5
20-400vr

Specifications:
VR operation offers the equivalent of using a shutter speed 3 stops (eight times) faster*

Two VR modes are available; Normal and Active

Focus Preset function

M/A mode for quick switching between autofocus and manual focus operation

Four ED glass elements for higher optical performance

Constant f/4 maximum aperture through the entire focal range

Dust and Waterproof rubber sealing mount


 


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katanaphoto
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Registered: Feb 22, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 89
Review Date: Dec 7, 2011 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Just the zoom capability of this lens will give as more keepers and some unique shots that I didn't take with my prime because I was to close to the subject.
Cons:
none

I had 400mm F/2.8 afs II for 5 years which was a great lens but heavy and lock of zoom was un issues at times so I have purchased the Nikon 200-400mm f/4 Vr
And I don't regret my decision because now and then I can hand hold it for several minutes at times which was impossible with 400mm f/2.8 afs II lens.
Since it's smaller lens it fits in my backpack so I take it wit me aboard the airplane.
The most important thing is that I get lots more opportunities for great shots because I can zoom in & out.
It takes some times to adjust technique to this lens.
The reason why I went with Vr1 because I know several guys that have upgrade it from Vr1 to Vr 2 and they all agree that optically there is no difference and that it was waste of $$$. but if you want brand new lens then you have to go wit vr II because I don't think you can find vr 1 copy of this lens.

Here you can see galleries of my Bald eagles shot with both lenses.
Bald eagles galleries from 2011 were shot with 200-400mm + tc-14 E II on it at all times.

and Bald eagles galleries from 2010 and 2009 were shot with Nikon 400mm f/2.8 afs II + tc-14 E II on it at most of the times.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/katanaphoto/sets/


here is good example I shot this one at 380mm when I had the TC on which I need at most of the time when I shoot bald eagles because I need the reach but now and then one of them will fly right at you just like this one did, so 560mm would of been too close so zoom save the shot and it's not bad ether especially when this was shot with F4 zoom lens plus tc on it for now I will continue to use TC until D4 shows up so then maybe I will loose the tc and just crop it in pc instead.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/katanaphoto/5543779941/


I hope this will help some of you with your decision on buying this lens.


Dec 7, 2011
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martyn.
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Registered: Jul 29, 2007
Location: United Kingdom
Posts: 324
Review Date: Feb 17, 2010 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharp wide open, fast positive focus, great range for in flight shots, nice to zoom out to locate the subject, then zoom in for the shot, 6ft close focus distance.
Cons:
Not quite as sharp on distant subjects as a prime.

I use mine for birds all year, and butterflies and dragonflies through the summer.

I have used it with the 1.4 and 1.7 TC (on a D300), still sharp wide open with the 1.4, and pretty good with the 1.7 even wide open. AF is fine with both TC's, although a bit slower with the 1.7.

I really do enjoy using this lens, and the images it produces, the flexibility of the zoom, and the close focus distance make this a keeper for me, even though I have added a 500 AF-S II to my collection.



Feb 17, 2010
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thanhuy
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Registered: Apr 1, 2009
Location: United States
Posts: 29
Review Date: Dec 12, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $6,000.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Very well built, excellent optical design. Handholdable, very sharp even at 400mm and at wide open but perfect at f5.6
Cons:
little pricey

very practical out in the field. Easy to manuever when tracking or hunting BIF. I was told by some friend that this lens isn't worth it for the price and wasn't sharp as they expect but it turns out much better than I imagine. Now I'm very satisfied with it...

Dec 12, 2009
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Ocean 6
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Registered: Aug 13, 2004
Location: Germany
Posts: 0
Review Date: Nov 22, 2009 Recommend? no | Price paid: $5,500.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Zoom, good Details
Cons:
VR without good performance, too long, should beginn at 100 mm, AF not really fast, not really sharp at f:4,0 not very brillant before f: 8 Price much to high,

Three years with it, enough!
Olympus 2,8/90-250 mm is far better, even with 1,4x and 2x Converters.
Nikon has no really good Zoom behind 24-70 mm!
Nikon is great with the 4,0/500 mm and 4,0/600 mm,
but this Zoom is not good enough, I' ve worked with three different, none comes close to a fast prime!


Nov 22, 2009
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zuman
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Registered: Jan 28, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 58
Review Date: Jun 5, 2009 Recommend? | Price paid: $4,000.00

Pros: See my review above
Cons:
See my review above

I continue to be impressed by the 200-400mm now that I'm primarily using a D3.
The following hyena shot (taken in South Africa) was at 400mm (1/250, f/5.6, ISO 400), and was hand-held. I don't think I could have done much better with a prime.
http://www.pbase.com/zuman/image/113401060


Jun 5, 2009
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dale keith
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Registered: Jan 10, 2006
Location: United States
Posts: 91
Review Date: Apr 11, 2009 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,100.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: The 200-400 has been a great addition to my lens cache. I use it with a D2X and absolutely love the images. I have used the 1.4X extender and have had no issues. I tried the 2X and did experience auto focus lags. I love the total package including the case. The weight does not bother me.
Cons:
None except for price increases

In my amateur opinion the 200-400 VR lens is nothing short of great. I did purchase an RRS foot to fit the lens to my Wimberly head. I have had great success with the lens with no issues related to focus or sharpness. I have been using the lens since it first came on the market hence the price I paid. I have not done all the comparisons as others. I look at the images I get and just say as others do, WOW! It's a keeper.

Apr 11, 2009
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burningheart
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Registered: Mar 20, 2005
Location: Canada
Posts: 2462
Review Date: Jul 30, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Beautiful Bokeh, sharp at F4, easy to move from 200mm to 400mm, Great IQ
Cons:
Little slow to autofocus on a Fujifilm S5Pro, the lens bag is too big for my liking. The lens hood shoud be builtin

I have pondereed this lens for a longtime, though not a Nikon user I do have the Fujifilm s3Pro UVIR camera and the Fujifilm S5 Pro. When the G adapter was developed to allow Nikon G lenses be mounted on Canon cameras that gave me one more reason to look at this lens. Though I do not yet have the adapter I have used this lens a lot on the S5.

The colors coming off this lens are just great, The Bokeh at F4 is terrific smooth and creamy. The detail is crisp at F4, I wish the Canon 100-400 gave this type of detail.

The lens is easily handheld, and easy to change focal length and manually focus when needed. The Canon 100-400 although also a good lens does not allow you took change focal length and manually focus as quick.

This lens has quickly become a favorite of mine, In good light fast to autofocus, not as quick is lower lighting as occasionally it would miss and then hunt all the way in or out before returning to the correct focus. This could be due to the Fujifilm.

I would have preferred a builtin hood versus the screw on type.


Jul 30, 2008
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dkwp
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Registered: Mar 22, 2008
Location: Australia
Posts: 0
Review Date: Jun 30, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: The Zoom range gives great versatility, fast, sharp wide open.
Cons:
Does not handle the 1.4 tc as good as I hoped. It hunts a little with it attached and the images is considirable softer.

I have given this lens a 10/10. For a zoom lens it is extremely sharp wide open and at the far end. I was worried about all the mixed reviews I read, but I can honestly say this lens is worth it and I strongly recommend it. I rivals fixed focal lenses. I owned the Canon 500mm f4 IS and the 200-400 comes very close.
Coupled with my D3 this lens is super fast and versatile. I use the 1.4 tc with this lens and have managed to get real sharp images. It slowes down with it attached and I find the focus hunts from time to time, but for a zoom lens this is as good as it gets.

The Canon 100-400mm f4 IS can not come close to this lens no matter what people say. I owned the 100-400mm lens and I would not rate it as a professional lens. There is a reason the 200-400mm cost so much more, it is so much better.
Don
www.dkwildlifeimages.com


Jun 30, 2008
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Julius
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Registered: Jan 26, 2002
Location: United States
Posts: 946
Review Date: Jun 5, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,000.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: This lens is a real GEM, top notch craftsmanship with excellent lens design resulting in razor sharp images at every focal lengths even wide open.
Cons:
None.

This zoom lens has the fixed focal length lens quality in the whole range between 200-400mm. It works real well even with the TC-14EII teleconverter although it is sharper when stopped down by one f/stop.
I found this lens to be extremely versatile for wild life pictures where the zoom lens is very handy for composing without the need to move with the camera. If your main interest is taking pictures of small birds it may not be long enough even with the 1.4x extender. For large birds and mammals it is the perfect lens. The VR is very effective and since it is not very heavy it is even hand holdable for a short while for shooting birds in flight.
As usual with most Nikon pro lens, the quality of craftsmanship is first class, cannot get any better.


Jun 5, 2008
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Thang
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Registered: Jan 25, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 8673
Review Date: Apr 9, 2008 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros:
Cons:

I completely disagreed with your view of this lens Howard. I would definitely use this lens for nature/wildlife photography, something other than sport. Could it be that you have an average sample? don't know... All I know is my lens is sharper than the 300 2.8 AFS + 14E TC at f/4!

Apr 9, 2008
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Howard Passman
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Registered: Mar 23, 2003
Location: United States
Posts: 656
Review Date: Oct 28, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $5,199.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great zoom range for several types of shooting. Good reach on DX crop cameras.
Cons:
Sorry, I wouldn't give a nickle extra for VR. Not as sharp as 300mm f/2.8 or 400mm f/2.8 and not qite as sharp as the 70-200mm f/2.8 on 200mm

Maybe my expectations were too high for this lens, but I don't find it near as sharp as my 300mm f/2.8 AF-SII. I compared the 300 against the 200-400 set at 300. There was a loss of detail and a slight loss of contrast and saturation.

Next. I compared it to the 70-200mm set at 200 and the 200-400 set at 200. It held up better. Seemed insignificant in differences. However, in every day shooting I can see the difference in contrast and saturation between the 200-400 and the 70-200.

The lens does however work great for sports. The AFS is as quick and sure as the 300mm f/2.8 AF-SII, which I find to be a hair less effective than the 70-200mm.

You will notice the loss in speed if you are used to shooting f/2.8. I compensated by bumping my ISO up. This works fine for sports, but generally for nature it introduces too much noise with the D200. I find even at 640ISO I don't like what it does to the detail in the images.

Would I buy it again? For sports, yes. I would definitely recommend not giving up a prime and replacing it with this lens. Keep the prime or don't get this lens except for sports use.


Oct 28, 2007
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Thang
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Registered: Jan 25, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 8673
Review Date: Oct 15, 2007 Recommend? | Price paid: Not Indicated

Pros:
Cons:

As mentioned in my previous comment on this lens, I picked up another copy recently. After 8 months of not using this lens, my thoughts on it have not changed. This lens is an engineering feat. At the moment, there's simply no equivalent match for this lens.

All these were taken wide open with the D50...
http://www.pbase.com/tnt_imaging/image/87001338/original.jpg
http://www.pbase.com/tnt_imaging/image/86944264/original.jpg
http://www.pbase.com/tnt_imaging/image/86944262/original.jpg


Oct 15, 2007
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zuman
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Registered: Jan 28, 2005
Location: United States
Posts: 58
Review Date: Sep 19, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $4,400.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Color saturation, sharpness, focusing speed, zoom range, VR
Cons:
Physical length, f/4 challenges without a D3

The 200-400mm f/4 VR has proven to be my most valuable wildlife lens. Its color rendition and overall IQ are nothing short of stunning, and it comes as close as I can imagine to super-tele prime performance.
An f/4 maximum aperture can sometimes be a challenge on a wildlife lens, but the high ISO performance promised for the D3 obliterates this obstacle.
The only remaining issue is that of dealing with the 200-400 hanging from a Sidekick on a monopod when conditions are cramped. Physics is physics, however, and short of a diffractive optics approach (which is certainly not universally embraced), a physically large lens is the only real-world solution.
Take a look at this bush hyrax at original size (click that option on the pbase page) and look at the hair and eyes to see what this incredible lens can do: http://www.pbase.com/zuman/image/75305755


Sep 19, 2007
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Thang
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Registered: Jan 25, 2004
Location: United States
Posts: 8673
Review Date: Jun 29, 2007 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: 200-400 zoom; AFS; VR; F/4; minimum focusing distance
Cons:
none

I had the pleasure of using this lens for over 1 year. This lens was the reason why I dabbled into the Dark Side (Nikon camp). I bought it b/c I needed the flexibility of the zoom with this range but at the same time, I wanted top notch prime-like sharpness/IQ for shooting flying/diving ospreys. For me, it's a combination of the 200mm, 300mm, 400mm primes all into ONE. It's expensive but I forgot about it once I saw the images...

To really appreciate the zooming flexibility of this lens, one would need to be in shooting situations where subjects are fast approaching the photographer, i.e. an osprey diving down and coming up with fish and flying straight toward the photographer. Or a wild bobcat approaching the photographer and passing by within 10 feet with a preyÖ

Some might say 400mm end is a tad short for wildlife. True, there were times when I wish it could be longer. But if it was a 200-500 f/4 lens, the price and weight would have been doubled. In cases like these, I would put on the 14ETC. Sharpness and AF speed do drop a bit when use with TC. Stopping down by 1/2 fstop and set the focus limiter will fix these limitations.

As I have stated above, the sharpness, contrast, and saturation from this lens is near prime-like quality. This is as close to perfect as a lens can get. I have no hesitation in using it at wide open. My osprey and bobcat galleries were shot mostly with this lens.

www.pbase.com/tnt_imaging

The lens is big and heavy. However, I find it to be perfect for handhold. I donít use tripod 99% of the time. Therefore, VR is a great bonus for those stationary shots. AFS is super fast and super quiet.

Unfortunately, due to financial reason, I sold this lens after 1 year of heavy use. When the right time comes, I will buy it again! Yes, itís that good!!!


Jun 29, 2007
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Nikon 200-400mm f/4G IF-ED VR AF-S

Buy from B&H Photo
Reviews Views Date of last review
14 71786 Dec 7, 2011
Recommended By Average Price
71% of reviewers $4,899.88
Build Quality Rating Price Rating Overall Rating
9.73
8.45
9.5
20-400vr