Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR £1860, $2300
The modern reinvention of a classic
Nikon’s original 80-400mm VR was its first lens to incorporate Vibration Reduction. However, the stabiliser only gave a two-stop effectiveness and, worse, the lens had a painfully slow camera-driven autofocus system, which was far from ideal for action photography.
The new edition has updated VR, ring-type ultrasonic autofocus, and uprated glass that includes four ED elements plus a Super ED element. However, like the Nikon 70-200mm VR, it lacks an electromagnetically controlled diaphragm. Its revamped four-stop stabiliser still isn’t quite as effective as in the latest Nikon 200-500mm and 300mm lenses, and lacks a Sport mode. Outright telephoto reach also comes up short compared with the Nikon 200-500mm and the 150-600mm lenses on test.
Autofocus speed can’t quite match that of the 70-200mm lenses on test, and is marginally slower than in the Sigma 150-600mm S. Image quality is very good, but no better than from the Sigma S lens.