NEW NIKKOR TELE­ZOOM HAS BUILT-IN EX­TEN­DER

Camera - - WHAT’S NEW -

NIKON’S OP­TI­CAL EN­GI­NEERS have over­come a num­ber of tech­ni­cal chal­lenges to in­cor­po­rate a switch­able 1.4x tele­con­verter into a tele­photo zoom lens. The new AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f4.0E TC1.4 FL ED VR is an ‘FX’ for­mat lens (i.e. for use on full-35mm Nikon D-SLRs) and, with the ex­ten­der switched in, be­comes a 252-560mm zoom with a one-stop loss of speed to f5.6. How­ever, it can be used on Nikon’s cur­rent ‘DX’ D-SLRs, in which case the ef­fec­tive fo­cal ranges be­come 270-600mm and 378-840mm re­spec­tively.

The 180-400mm f4.0 zoom mea­sures 36.3 cen­time­tres in length and weighs in at 3.5 kilo­grams. It in­cor­po­rates Nikon’s ‘Vi­bra­tion Re­duc­tion’ op­ti­cal im­age sta­bil­i­sa­tion which is claimed to give up to four stops of cor­rec­tion for cam­era shake… should you be coura­geous enough to try us­ing this lens hand-held. The op­ti­cal con­struc­tion com­prises a whop­ping 27 el­e­ments in 19 groups which in­cludes one flu­o­rite type and eight made from glass with ex­tra-low dis­per­sion char­ac­ter­is­tics to op­ti­mise sharp­ness. Nikon’s ‘Nano Crys­tal Coat’ multi-coat­ing is used to help sup­press ghost­ing and flare.

Fo­cus­ing is via an in­ter­nal lens group with a ring-type ul­tra­sonic drive for aut­o­fo­cus­ing. The min­i­mum fo­cus­ing dis­tance is two me­tres which, at 400mm, still gives a max­i­mum re­pro­duc­tion ra­tio of 1:4. When the 180-400mm is used on Nikon’s high-end D-SLRs with the cur­rent 153-points AF sys­tems (D5, D500 and D850), the outer row of points be­come crosstype sen­sors to give im­proved cov­er­age with en­hanced ac­qui­si­tion of smaller and/or fast­mov­ing sub­jects.

There’s a nine-blade di­aphragm for smoother out-of-fo­cus ef­fects and a rear fil­ter holder which ac­cepts screwthread types with a di­am­e­ter of 40.5 mil­lime­tres.

The ex­ter­nal con­struc­tion em­ploys mag­ne­sium al­loy bar­rel tubes with seal­ing against dust and mois­ture plus a flu­o­rine coat­ing to re­duce the build-up of dirt and grease plus al­low for eas­ier clean­ing. A newly-de­signed ball-bear­ing tri­pod-mount­ing col­lar ring is de­signed to en­able quicker and smoother switch­ing be­tween the hor­i­zon­tal and ver­ti­cal ori­en­ta­tions. Like Canon’s EF 200-400mm f4.0L IS USM Ex­ten­der model, the in­te­gra­tion of the tele­con­verter in the 180400mm re­sults in a dis­tinc­tive ‘bulge’ at the back of the bar­rel (where the con­verter is parked when switched out of the op­ti­cal path).

Given all the other num­bers as­so­ci­ated with the AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f4.0E TC1.4 are big, not sur­pris­ingly the price is too. As usual, Nikon Aus­tralia hasn’t is­sued an RRP, but Cam­era Elec­tronic in Perth – a lo­cal Nikon Au­tho­rised Re­seller (visit www.cam­er­a­elec­tronic.com.au) – is list­ing it at $18,500. Avail­abil­ity is from March 2018 with pur­chases made from Aus­tralian re­tail­ers backed by a two-year war­ranty. For more in­for­ma­tion visit www.mynikon­life.com.au

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