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

Lens Reviews / Nikon Lenses i Lab tested

Most people tend to think of image stabilization as being mainly for telephoto lenses. While it's true that their longer focal lengths tend to magnify the effects of camera shake, image stabilization can provide a very useful assist at wider angle focal lengths as well; anyone who's ever tried to blur the image of a waterfall, while keeping the surrounding landscape tack-sharp knows exactly what I'm talking about.

Note: the AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm ƒ/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens features Nikon's second-generation Vibration Reduction image stabilization technology, that reportedly provides up to 4-stops of stabilization (compared to 3 in the older version). Unfortunately, we had difficulty obtaining good IS results at 400mm. At 80mm, we saw a marked improvement with VR enabled, about 3.5 stops' worth on a sub-frame camera. At 400mm, though, the data was inconsistent, with widely varying results. Therefore, we're not ready to make an authoritative assessment of the 80-400mm's IS performance, and may revisit this lens in the future.