Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR £1900, $2700

A wor­thy suc­ces­sor to a true trend­set­ter in Nikon’s lens line-up, now with ul­tra­sonic aut­o­fo­cus

NPhoto - - Test Team -

Re­leased at the turn of the cen­tury, the orig­i­nal D-mount 80-400mm was Nikon’s first lens to fea­ture VR (Vi­bra­tion Re­duc­tion) sta­bil­i­sa­tion, but it lacked a built-in aut­o­fo­cus sys­tem. This newer G-mount edi­tion is a com­plete re­design that in­cludes ring-type ul­tra­sonic aut­o­fo­cus. It’s slightly heav­ier than the orig­i­nal, but is nev­er­the­less the most light­weight lens in this test group, at 1.57kg, and has the small­est fil­ter thread, at 77mm.

Fo­cus­ing modes in­clude the usual M/A (aut­o­fo­cus with man­ual over­ride), plus an A/M mode that re­duces the risk of nudg­ing the aut­o­fo­cus set­ting accidentally. There’s a fo­cus lim­iter switch and a zoom lock switch, too. Posh glass in­cludes four ED (Ex­tra-low Dis­per­sion) el­e­ments to re­duce chro­matic aber­ra­tion, and one Su­per ED el­e­ment, with nano crys­tal coat­ings, to re­duce ghost­ing and flare. Weather seals are limited to a rub­ber ring on the mount­ing plate.

Per­for­mance

VR per­for­mance in­creases from two stops to nearly four stops com­pared with Nikon’s older 80400mm lens, and aut­o­fo­cus is mas­sively faster. Im­age qual­ity is im­pres­sive through­out the zoom range, though that range is a lit­tle lim­it­ing com­pared with some com­pet­ing lenses.

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