Nikon 80-400mm review: Nikon’s big, full-frame telephoto zoom lens gets updated, but is it worth the upgrade?


posted Wednesday, July 3, 2013 at 10:49 AM EDT


We've just posted our Nikon 80-400 AF-S review over at Imaging Resource sister site The Nikon 80-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S Nikkor is an upgrade to Nikon's previous full-frame, medium-to-supertelephoto zoom lens, the 80-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6D ED VR AF Nikkor. The new version features several improvements and new features such as Nikon's Nano Crystal Coating and the inclusion of a Super ED glass element and second-gen Vibration Reduction. The lens is also designated as a G-series lens meaning the manual aperture ring has been removed, leaving aperture settings to be controlled via the camera. The new version of the 80-400mm is also heavier than its predecessor.

Optically, the lens proved to be a solid performer on both full-frame and sub-frame cameras. One of the major features of this new version is Nikon's second-generation Vibration Reduction image stabilization system. Nikon touts the ability to shoot up to 4 stops slower while still capturing sharp photos. At 80mm, we saw a marked improvement with VR enabled, about 3.5 stops' worth on a sub-frame camera, but we saw strange, inconsistent results at 400mm. 

The Nikon 80-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6G ED VR AF-S Nikkor ships with a hood, front and rear caps, a tripod foot and a soft case for an MSRP of $2,699.95.

Are the improved optics, autofocus speed and supposed image stabilization enough to make photographers upgrade from the previous version, or will the heavier build and big price difference sway people to other options?

Find out by reading our full Nikon 80-400mm lens review.