Nikon 80 400mm Ed Vr Review

By | 08/09/2022

The Nikon AF-Southward Nikkor lxxx-400mm f/4.v-5.6G ED VR ($2,299.95) is an appealing walkaround
lens for nature photographers and sports shooters working in bright light who appreciate a long range of coverage, but don’t need to shoot in the dim lighting that makes event photographers attain for a fixed f/2.viii lens. It covers nearly twice the range as the AF-S Nikkor seventy-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II ($599.00 at Amazon)(Opens in a new window)
for well-nigh the same toll, at the cost of a narrower maximum discontinuity that puts more than limits on
depth of field control and lite-gathering capability. Image quality is potent through most of the zoom range, with a drib at 400mm that tin can exist compensated for past stopping down, making it a solid option for Nikon photographers in want of a
telezoom. It’south not quite the equal of the less expensive Sigma 150-600mm DG OS HSM Contemporary ($879.98 at Amazon)(Opens in a new window)
, our Editors’ Choice
telezoom. But the Sigma trades some wide-angle coverage for telephoto reach, and is notably heavier, which will steer some photographers to the 80-400mm.

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The 80-400mm ($2,296.95 at Amazon)(Opens in a new window)
is well-nigh average in size for a
telezoom lens, measuring 8.0 by three.eight inches (Hard disk drive) at 80mm. It does extend a fleck when zooming, merely fifty-fifty when set to 400mm, the 3.five-pound lens balances well when paired with a
total-fame Nikon body like the D810 or D5 ($5,064.95 at Amazon)(Opens in a new window)
. The front element has a thread for 77mm filters, and the lens ships with a reversible hood, removable tripod collar, and a carrying case.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR : Sample Image

As is the case with most modern Nikkor lenses, the butt is a mix of metal and tough polycarbonate, finished in matte blackness with gilded accents. There are a number of control switches on the side, including a focus fashion selection toggle and a focus limiter that can limit the range to vi meters to infinity, or to the full range, including close focus. The VR system is turned on or off via a switch, and some other switch lets yous set it to Normal fashion, for when yous’re shooting from
solid footing, or Agile, which is more than useful when shooting from a moving vehicle. Finally, there’s a lock that can keep the lens set to 80mm, then the barrel won’t creep out equally it hangs from your side.

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There are two big control rings on the barrel. The manual focus ring, covered in ridged rubber, sits toward the lens mount. Turning information technology in any focus manner moves the altitude scale (shown in anxiety and meters) across the v.7-human foot (1.five
meter) to infinity focus range. Ahead of the altitude scale sits the larger zoom ring. Its rubber texture is finished with small rectangles; it’s comfortable to grip and turn. It moves from 80 to 400mm with about a 90-degree
turn, and has markings at the fourscore, 105, 135, 200, 300, and 400mm positions.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR : Sample Image

The lens focuses on subjects as shut every bit anxiety, fifty-fifty when zoomed to 400mm. This gives information technology a modest 1:v macro reproduction ratio. That’s non quite best in grade—Canon’due south remarkable EF 100-400mm f/iv.v-5.6L IS Ii USM ($2,199.00 at Adorama)(Opens in a new window)
captures objects at ane:3 life-size—but it’s still handy for capturing smaller subjects.

Prototype Quality
I tested the eighty-400mm with the 36-megapixel D810 ($one,889.00 at Amazon)(Opens in a new window)
. At its widest angle and discontinuity, 80mm f/iv.v, it puts up excellent numbers in Imatest(Opens in a new window). The average score is 3,156 lines per picture
hight, ameliorate than the 2,200 we like to encounter at a minimum from a high-resolution body like the D810. Image quality holds upwards through nearly of the frame, only there is a drop in fidelity equally you look at the outer 3rd. Even so, the lens puts up solid numbers, ii,564 lines, at the periphery. Stopping down to f/five.6 improves the average to 3,321 lines, and there’s a more pregnant jump at f/8, to three,647 lines. At f/11 the average score is its best, 3,796 lines, and edges only lag behind that mark by 200 lines. You tin can get away with shooting at f/16, where the lens still hits 3,479 lines, but avoid f/22 (two,773 lines) and narrower apertures, as diffraction really sets in—that communication holds true for the entirety of the zoom range.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR : Sample Image

Image quality remains strong at 135mm. The maximum aperture has narrowed to f/5, and the lens scores 3,162 lines. Edges are a little softer, at 2,486 lines, but still amend than what nosotros want to run into at a minimum. They improve at f/8 (2,959 lines), equally does the overall score (3,659 lines), and summit functioning is once once more achieved at f/11 (3,907 lines), the setting that also delivers the best prototype quality at the edges of the frame. You lot tin get away with shooting at f/xvi (3,525 lines) if
depth of field requirements phone call for it.

At 200mm the maximum discontinuity is f/5.three, and the zoom does a fine chore, notching 3,146 on boilerplate with very good (2,666-line) edge operation. Stopping down merely a little bit to f/v.half-dozen pulls the periphery in a higher place 3,000 lines, nonetheless, so you lot may want to consider doing so when shooting. The score remains solid at f/viii and f/11—you see about 3,850 lines at both settings, and it loses simply a piffling bit of resolution at f/16 (3,495 lines).

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR : Sample Image

Results are still excellent at 300mm f/five.6—the overall score is 3,440 lines and edges only lag behind by 250 lines. Images get crisper at f/viii (three,612 lines) and f/16 (3,362 lines), before dropping off at f/22 (ii,642 lines).

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At 400mm there’s a drop in image clarity when shooting at f/5.6. The lens drops to 2,624 lines, with fairly even functioning beyond the frame. That’south still in a higher place our cutoff for acceptable sharpness, but the results are non every bit potent as at 300mm or wider. To become the best images you’ll want to terminate down to f/viii at 400mm—y’all’ll get images that prove about iii,351 lines there. At f/eleven it’south even meliorate (iii,682 lines). In that location’s a drop at f/16 (3,267 lines) and f/22 (2,545). Y’all can stop the lens all the way down to f/twoscore, just I don’t recommend doing so.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR : Sample Image

Sharpness isn’t the only thing we look for in lens performance. Distortion is also a factor, although not one we weigh as heavily, as in-camera correction is often available for JPG shooters and Raw conversion software like Lightroom ($ix.99/Calendar month at Adobe)(Opens in a new window)
and remove it easily, often with a single click. The 80-400mm doesn’t testify a lot of distortion. There’s a negligible amount of barrel distortion at 80mm, and you need to zoom all the way to 300mm in lodge to notice pincushion distortion—about percentage at 300mm and 1.2 percent at 400mm.

Imatest’south Uniformity tool evaluates how evenly the lens captures low-cal. I employ an ExpoDisc(Opens in a new window)
to capture a flat gray
image, and feed those images into the software for evaluation. The 80-400mm shows consistent results on this test throughout its range. At its maximum
discontinuity the corners lag backside the eye past almost i.five f-stops (-i.5EV), which is noticeable in field conditions, merely not overly distracting. Stopping the lens down one stop reduces this deficit to about -1EV, which is a solid upshot. As with distortion, JPG shooters can use in-camera controls to recoup for the slight vignette, and Raw shooters can remove it using the Lightroom lens contour or vignette tool.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR : Sample Image

The Nikon AF-Southward Nikkor eighty-400mm f/iv.5-5.6G ED VR is a solid choice for photographers who want more zoom reach than is provided past a 70-200mm, but don’t want to sacrifice a lot of wide-angle coverage. Information technology’southward best used in brighter light, making it a fine option for shooting outdoor sports and wildlife. Effect photographers will no doubt want to stick to
f/two.8 glass. In terms of image quality, the zoom is a solid performer through
300mm, but does lose some clarity at the 400mm setting, which is a shame given its premium toll point. But you tin can cease down a chip when zoomed all the way in and internet extremely crisp images. If y’all shoot with a Nikon organization and value a zoom with this range, the 80-400mm is an overall potent performer. Our Editors’ Choice
telezoom is the Sigma 150-600mm Contemporary, which offers a longer telephoto reach and is quite precipitous throughout its range. Only the Sigma doesn’t encompass as wide of an bending as the Nikkor, and it’s almost a pound heavier.

Nikon AF-Due south Nikkor fourscore-400mm f/iv.5-5.6G ED VR

The Bottom Line

The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/four.5-v.6G ED VR lens offers the convenience of a long range and doesn’t show a lot of baloney, but images lose some crispness when zoomed all the way in.

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