Nikon NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR II Review

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR Handling and Features


This lens is heavier than its predecessor, tipping the scales at just under 1.6kg. Although this is far from a lightweight lens, the size and design make this weight relatively easy to handle. As a result it balances well with the Nikon D600 used for testing, even without the MB-D14 battery grip. The barrel is constructed from a combination of high quality plastics and metal and is sealed against the elements.

Auto focus is powered by a silent wave motor, and autofocus is very fast and accurate. Manual adjustments can be applied at any time via the focusing ring. The wide focusing ring, which is located close to the camera body is smooth, and well damped, which makes applying manual adjustments a pleasure. Autofocus is also possible using a 1.4x teleconverter with lenses that support autofocus at apertures as low as f/8.


Closest focus distance is 175cm when using autofocus, and 150cm when using manual focus. As focusing is performed internally the 77mm filter thread does not rotate, which should make this lens ideal for use with graduated filters and polarisers. A tough metal tripod collar is included with the lens, which is easily detached when not required.

The Vibration Reduction system promises sharp hand held shooting at shutter speeds up to four stops slower than would be possible without the technology. As with other VR lenses, leaving a short pause before taking an image is advisable for best results. With care, hand-held shots at 1/25sec are possible at 400mm with a fair amount of consistency. This is around four stops slower than the usual rule of thumb would normally recommend. The VR system in this lens really helps to steady the viewfinder well, which helps with composition and focusing at telephoto focal lengths.


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