Wildlife Dream: Nikon announces new 180-400mm f/4E zoom lens with built-in 1.4x teleconverter


posted Monday, January 8, 2018 at 10:00 PM EDT


Wildlife and sports photographers with Nikon DSLRs have a new zoom option and it's a pricey one with a lot of advanced technology packed in to its surprisingly compact form factor. Nikon has announced the new AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR super-telephoto zoom lens. The full-frame lens has a built-in 1.4x teleconverter and an advanced optical formula which has been designed to deliver high-end performance while minimizing the weight of the lens.

In fact, the lens weighs 7 pounds, 11.4 ounces (3,500 grams), which is nearly the same as the 200-400mm f/4 lens it replaces despite offering more zoom and having a built-in 1.4x teleconverter. Further, the new 180-400mm f/4E lens doubles the Extra Low Dispersion (ED) elements that are used in the 200-400mm lens. In total, the 180-400mm lens has 27 lens elements across 19 groups and the built-in teleconverter itself has 8 elements in 5 groups. The new zoom has one fluorite element as well as Nano Crystal coating.


Looking at the physical dimensions of the lens, it has a maximum diameter of 5 inches (128 millimeters) and a length of 14.2 inches (362.5 millimeters), which is a bit wider and a bit shorter than the 200-400mm f/4 lens. The 180-400mm has the same minimum focus distance as its predecessor, 6.6 feet (2 meters) but a slightly reduced maximum reproduction ratio at 400mm of 0.25x instead of 0.27x.

When you enable the built-in teleconverter, which can be done via a switch on the lens barrel, the 180-400mm lens becomes a 252-560mm zoom on full-frame and a 378-840mm zoom on a DX camera such as the Nikon D500. The lens without the teleconverter engaged offers a 270-600mm focal length on a DX camera, by the way. When you use the 180-400mm lens on a recent Nikon DSLR equipped with its advanced 153-point autofocus system, the outer row of AF points become cross-type sensors as well, which helps enhance the autofocus coverage throughout the frame.


Digging further into the nitty gritty details, the lens is equipped with a new ball-bearing tripod collar, which delivers smoother transitions from horizontal to vertical shooting. Further, the vibration reduction technology is rated to deliver four stops of compensation and includes "Normal" and "Sports" modes. Additionally, the lens has a 40.5mm drop-in filter slot and a 9-blade rounded aperture diaphragm.

The AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E lens will be available beginning in March with a suggested retail price of $12,399.95.

[Purchasing this lens from Adorama via our site gets you the same low price, and allows us to keep bringing our extended review content your way!]

Click here to read the full specifications for the new AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR lens