Updated Nikon 400mm f/2.8, 1.4x teleconverter lets pros focus on their art, not their aching backs


posted Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 12:01 AM EDT


Alongside its brand-new S2 and J4 mirrorless cameras, Nikon also has good news today for enthusiasts and pros who prefer a mirrored camera: updated versions of its 400mm f/2.8 lens and 1.4x teleconverter. Together, they promise to give your aching back muscles a rest, and let you focus on your photography, instead of building upper body strength.

At 8.4 pounds (3.8kg), the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens is still one hefty optic, but it's a lightweight compared to the existing 10.2-pound (4.6kg) AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G ED VR. And despite trimming off 1.8 pounds (0.8kg), Nikon says that the new optic will yield better autofocus performance, exposure accuracy, and speed than the existing lens. That's achieved thanks to a new 16-element, 12-group optical formula with two fluorite elements, two ED elements, and Nano Crystal coating, as well as a fluorine-coated front protective element, and an electromagnetic diaphragm.


The new optic also has a nine-bladed circular diaphragm for attractive bokeh, and an updated Vibration Reduction mechanism with four-stop correction and VR Sport Mode, which recognizes and accounts for panning motion. Other noteworthy features include a rotating tripod collar and buttons on the lens barrel compatible with the D4S' new AF functionality.

The Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III, meanwhile, follows on from the II version of the same converter. Nikon says that the new variant has improvements both in its optical performance and durability. In place of the earlier five element, five group formula, the new 1.4x teleconverter has seven elements in four groups, with dust and water-resistant fluorine coatings on both front and rear elements. The lens barrel of the new teleconverter also has improved moisture and dust resistance, ensuring you'll feel confident to use your teleconverter in less-than-ideal conditions.


Available from August 2014, the AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens is priced at around US$12,000, some US$2,500 or so more than the existing 400mm f/2.8 lens. The AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III will ship at the same time, priced at US$500.