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Lens Reviews

Nikkor AF 80-400mm/4.5-5.6ED VR Review

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

Keywords: telephoto, lenses, nikon, nikkor, 80_400mm, vr

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Nikon 80-400mm VR lens Review

In the Nikkor AF Lenses forum of this our community someone asked what were our opinions on the recently announced but yet expected on the shelves Nikkor 80-400mm AF VR zoom lens. That is how this story began.


Click for a moderate enlargement

The 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED AF VR Zoom Niikkor lens



Somehow submerged in my old ways, having never been too impressed with image stabilization lenses or felt the need for them, I wrote this answer to a fellow Nikonian:

"The temptation of a do-it-all zoom lens is high. However, an 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6, even if VR*, does hold little appeal to me.

I intend to buy very soon the 80-200mm f/2.8D ED IF AF-S. Compare your chances for success at hand-held shooting even at the lower end, 80mm f/2.8 vs 80mm f/4.5 even if VR at less than half the shutter speed for the same film. Instead of using an ISO 200 film, I would have to be loaded all the time with ISO 800 or faster.

Now, for 400mm I intend to buy a 300mm f/2.8 AF-S with a 1.4 teleconverter, that will make it a 420 f/4 as against a 400mm f/5.6 of the VR, plus I will have a 300mm f/2.8, as luminous and razor sharp as the 80-200mm f/2.8 AF-S. (Plus it will be less expensive than the 400mm f/2.8 AF-S).

Additionally, I do not anticipate the cost of the VR to be on the lower end of things. But then, it must appeal someone or it wouldn't be built.

P.S. Converters work great on the 80-200mm AF-S, although they are seldom recommended for zoom lenses.
Have a great time 

Little I knew then that I soon would have to eat my own words...

*VR = Vibration Reduction => Image Stabilization

(8 Votes )
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Originally written on November 13, 2012

Last updated on August 30, 2016

J. Ramon Palacios J. Ramon Palacios (jrp)

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

San Pedro Garza García, Mexico
Admin, 46140 posts


J. Ramon Palacios (jrp) on December 15, 2017

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

(Edited by jrp Friday, 15 December 2017 ) Ford, for compatibility of tele-converters with lenses you may want to check this chart: The best way to be sure is to go to a store and try the combination.

Ford Rackemann (ExtraExtra) on December 14, 2017

Has anyone tried this lens with the TC-14E III? Say, for example, on a D810? Does the AF work? What does the image quality look like? Is it useful? I've read some reviews that claim the AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR will work with the TC-14E III and some that say it will not. Who can I believe?. At $500, that's a big gamble. I'd like to know what I'm getting into before I waste $500. Can anyone help? Thanks!

J. Ramon Palacios (jrp) on August 3, 2017

JRP is one of the co-founders, has in-depth knowledge in various areas. Awarded for his contributions for the Resources

(Edited by jrp Thursday, 03 August 2017 ) (Edited by jrp Thursday, 03 August 2017 ) Hi, Jeff. The first lens with VR, the 80-400mm, remains a remarkable lens. The trick is to have adequate camera-lens support. Of course the 2nd version is better. Thank you for your comment.

Jeff Cameron (jeffcameron) on August 3, 2017

I like the 80-400mm and used it in Africa Kruger National Park with my D500 handheld. I also have used the Nikon 200-500 and like it a lot as well. The 80-400 is lighter and as you know it is wider. It is expensive....

User on August 23, 2015

I really can't understand why the 80-400 gets a bashing from so many people, I use mine for airshows and aviation in general and I'm more than happy with it

Ken Pride (Lions) on February 21, 2014

Has anyone compared the nikkor 300f4 +1.4TC (420f5.6) against the 80-400 @ 400f5.6? Mainly interested in comparing the sharpness of these two lenses. Ken

Daniel E Gray Sr. (dandrat) on June 20, 2013

Donor Ribbon awarded for his support to the Fundraising Campaign 2014

My 80-400 VR is about 8 years old. I enjoy using it for handhold shots. In the spring of 2006 I spent numerous days on my porch waitng for redwinged blackbirds to land on my feeding birdhouse. I had recently acquired the lens and a D100. In fact I was not used to automatic, VR, digital. My experience was tri-x film and manual focus. In spite of my lack of experience with digital I have wonderful pictures that were a restart for my love of photography.

Harry Frank (hfrank) on June 19, 2013

Ramon, ha leido mi comentario sobre este lente en este hilo?

Tim Kolarik (timkolarik) on March 3, 2013

JRP, Thanks!

Patrick Tobin (Pattobin) on January 19, 2013

Thank You !!

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