Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II £4900, $6300
A costly lens that’s intended to ensure that professional photographers get the money shot
One f/stop slower than the Sigma 120-300mm lens on test, but with greater telephoto reach, this lens has a similar constant-aperture design. As such, it doesn’t physically extend at longer zoom settings, which is just as well as it measures 366mm in length anyway. That’s a fair bit longer than the Sigma but, thanks to a tough yet ‘lightweight’ magnesium alloy build, it’s pretty much the same weight at 3.36kg. Weight-saving extends to the hood being constructed from carbon fibre. There’s no front filter thread, but 52mm drop-in filters can be used at the rear.
Updated VR stabilisation, nano crystal coatings and the addition of an A/M autofocus mode (as in the Nikon 80400mm) are the main differences between this Mk II edition and the older version of the lens. The optical design and inclusion of four ED elements remain the same, as do the high-tech fripperies of focus memory preset and recall, with optional beeps, that work in conjunction with a set of control buttons around the forward end of the lens.
Easing ahead of all other lenses on test, this one delivers exceptional sharpness at all zoom settings, along with minimal distortion.