Nikon Ratings and Reviews

Customer Reviews for Nikon Inc. AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

Nikon Inc. AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

The AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens offers a wide focal length range, from 80mm to 400mm on FX-format Nikon D-SLR cameras, and 120-600mm on a DX-format Nikon D-SLR camera, useful for shooting portraits, sports, nature and more.
Average Customer Rating:
4.594 out of 5
4.6
 out of 
5
(32 Reviews) 32
Open Ratings Snapshot
Rating Snapshot 32 reviews
5 stars
26
4 stars
3
3 stars
1
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0
1 star
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29 out of 32(91%)reviewers recommend this product.
Customer Questions & Answers:
43 Questions | 64 Answers
Customer Reviews for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Review 1 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Great lens. Significant improvement.

PostedJuly 27, 2015
Location San Antono, TX
Age 55-65
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience Less than a month
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
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This is great improvement to the older 80-400. Focus is almost instantaneous and tack sharp. Great results right out of the box. Recommend without reservation. Attached photos are from first use.
0points
Review 2 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Excellent Image Quality

PostedJuly 5, 2015
Location Pendleton, IN, USA
Age 55-65
Favorite Subject Travel
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience Less than a month
Role Professional photographer
User submitted photo
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I have put off buying this lens, because I did not see any compelling online photos which convinced me of the quality of the image. I am planning a trip soon where I would like to have a single "does it all" zoom to simplify packing equipment for my carry on. To shoot up to 400mm, I have been using the Nikon 70-200 ED VR-II with the Nikon TC-20E III 2x teleconverter, which has given me some great shots. I was looking to reduce having to carry 3 pieces (camera + TC + Lens). I have also been concerned from time to time about having to connect a lens to a converter to the camera, although I like using the converter as a way of keeping dust out of the inside of the camera body. That's a whole different discussion. Back to this review.
After researching as many opinions as I could, I decided to take the chance, since I could pay a re-stocking fee and return it if I really didn't like it. The only negative experience I had, was when the lens first arrived, the rear lens cap seemed to be glued or totally stuck by vacuum to the back of the lens. I used a rag, and with a little persistent effort, the cap came off. I can't say what was holding it so firmly, but would suggest that the folks at Nikon take a look at that as I have seen one or two other complaints online citing the same issue.
Overall, the lens is about the same length as the 70-200, and weighs a few ounces more. The diameter of the lens is large, but it is easy to handle and hold. The zoom is barrel rotation, and tight. Auto-focus allowed me to shoot handheld in certain conditions and subjects at 400mm at f/5.6 all the way down to 1/40s, albeit results were mixed. I had no difficulty handheld at 400mm f/5.6 at 1/160s. I did not require a tripod unless trying to shoot the moon surface at night.
So to the real point of taking the time to say a few words. You can find all kinds of reviews online. I don't need to re-iterate any of those, except to speak to two of the negative comments I kept reading, which kept me from buying.
One - Yes, the lens has more plastic than some of the other lenses. I have to say, this was not noticeable to me, and contributes to keeping this lens light weight for this kind of capability.
Two - there seemed to be a LOT of negativity about the tri-pod mounting ring. The only thing I found difficult with it is that I tend to use the mount to hold onto the lens, and this one is a little shallow for me to fit my fingers between the mount and the body of the lens. If you don't like it, it is trivial to remove.
I decided to post some of my experimental shots which I captured the day after the lens arrived. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words.In all cases, these images were captured on a Nikon D800 and were minimally adjusted in Camera Raw for lighting and contrast, and then processed using Photoshop, where the only change to the photo was mild sharpening using the high pass filter at about 1.3 px setting. I thought about posting the unsharpened images, but I think it is more compelling to demonstrate what a final, finished product can look like when captured by this lens.
I am very pleased with the lens, and plan to use it as a primary lens for travel and scenic shots.
+4points
Review 3 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Excellent

PostedJune 14, 2015
Location Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Age 45-54
Favorite Subject Landscape
Nikon Family 11-20 years
Experience Less than a month
Role Semi-professional photographer
Very fast autofocus, the AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR delivers outstanding results every time, and brings an exciting new frontier to portrait photography. Very well built, and can easily be hand held for portrait work. Combined with an AF-S Teleconverter TC-20E III, I have an excellent 160-800mm VR lens.
Be prepared to manual focus when using the TC-20E III.
 
My product recommendations
 
+2points
Review 4 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Excellent Execution

PostedFebruary 14, 2015
Location MN
Age 45-54
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience 6-12 months
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
User submitted photo
User submitted photo
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Let me start by saying I own this lens and the fantastic 200-400 f/4 VR. The 80-400 is ideal for travel, and hiking, whereas the 200-400 a bit cumbersome. The 80-400 is nearly half the weight, but similarly impressive in terms of optical performance. Beautiful, color rendition and sharpness at all focal lengths. The build is strong and competent and quite capable of withstanding hash environments.
The collar works, but I would consider it an overall disappointment on an otherwise fine lens. I swapped my collar out for one by RRS, which is much better. The VR is amazing! I have handheld at 400mm and 1/3 sec., on my Df, and produced images that are quite usable.
The price may seem high to some, but I believe it is worth it. I recommend this lens without reservation!
 
My product recommendations
 
+21points
Review 5 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Outstanding safari lens

PostedJanuary 6, 2015
Location Palo Alto, CA
Age 55-65
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience 6-12 months
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
I debated long and hard between the new 80-400 (which had just been released) and the 200-400 for my D800E before leaving for an East African safari. I had the chance to try out the lenses side-by-side at the camera store, then went home and compared at very high resolution on a large monitor. With each lens stopped down one stop, if there was a difference in sharpness, it was beyond my ability to see, even at maximal pixel-peeping resolution. The major advantage of the 80-400 was its being half the weight and size (and, of course, much less expensive). In the field, the lens did not disappoint. I used a bean bag for most shots, but also did some hand-helds and was very impressed. I used it on a D7100 body to gain the extra DX reach, and even used it on both bodies with the TC-14 II teleconverter. The only thing you give up with the 80-400 is being able to shoot at 400 mm at f4. Since the best time for game viewing is often during early morning or near sunset, this was a minor inconvenience. However, with the fantastic high-iso resolution of modern DSLRs, this was easily compensated for. One piece of advice that also helped me decide was to get whichever lens I would feel most comfortable using, not just on safari, where you spend most of your time in a vehicle, but for my other pursuits, e.g. hiking. No question that the not having the extra 4 lbs to carry around made the difference. This is an awesome lens.
+43points
Review 6 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Bonafide 400mm Super Telephoto Lens

PostedOctober 7, 2014
Location San Diego, California
Age Over 65
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience More than a year
Role Semi-professional photographer
User submitted photo
This Nikon 80-400mm second generation lens is a significant improvement over the original lens (Nikon's first VR lens). Not only is the auto focus on this newer lens faster, due to the introduction of the AF-S function, the optics are redesigned as well. The size and weight of this lens allow one to conveniently walk around with a very powerful focal length. Attached is a photo of an unsuspecting sidewalk entertainer in Las Vegas, Nevada, taken on "The Strip" (South Las Vegas Boulevard) near the Bellagio Hotel. The shutter speed is 1/250, the aperture is f/5.6, the ISO is 125, and the focal length is 330mm, taken with a Nikon D800 camera body.
 
My product recommendations
 
 
 
+22points
Review 7 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Very versatile lens. Sports. Stop Action. Portraits. Great resolving power. Pairs very well with FX body. Love it.

PostedOctober 4, 2014
Location St. Louis, MO, USA
Age 45-54
Favorite Subject Family & Friends
Nikon Family 11-20 years
Experience More than a year
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
Been using this lens for over 1 year now. Can't say enough about it. It's been fantastic with D7100, D610 and D750. It's become the goto portrait and pet around the house lens, too. Didn't expect that. It started as a 2 kids in soccer lens. We have a 28-300 FX VR lens on the camera all the time. And a quick swap to this lens for games was the plan, and works very well for that. As I said, portraits and pet shots (handheld or tripod from 15 feet) are AWESOME. It was a big purchase but FX glass holds its value much better than camera bodies. I can freeze action and see my sons faces clearly from the other corner of the field in daylight game shots with an FX body. I'd do it again in a second.
+17points
Review 8 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Very nice lens, handheld or tripod!

PostedJuly 31, 2014
Location Ottawa, ON, Canada
Age 55-65
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 2-5 years
Experience 6-12 months
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
Still amazed at its performance on my D800 and D810, I've had it for 7 months.
0points
Review 9 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Fantastic lens - a must have

PostedJuly 22, 2014
Location Houston, TX, USA
Age 55-65
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience 3-6 months
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
User submitted photo
Just love this lens. Easy to use, sharp and crisp. You can spend the money for big glass but why?
-5points
Review 10 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Rock Solid

PostedMay 1, 2014
Location Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Age 55-65
Favorite Subject Portrait
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience 1-3 months
Role Professional photographer
Very well constructed sharp at close to 400 mm. I consider this a must have lens for wildlife and day light sports. It focuses fairly quickly on my D 700 and I don't consider it a soft focus. At 46 oz it requires a monopod or a tripod to keep it steady. When possible I shoot at higher shutter speeds 500 and above. If your wondering should I buy this lens or should I spend the really big money for the F2.8 200-400 if you have 6000.00 by all means get the F 2.8. But this lens does a great job I feel like with a little care it should hold up just fine.
+27points
Review 11 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Fantastic Lens!

PostedFebruary 26, 2014
Location Texas, USA
Age Over 65
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 6-10 years
Experience 3-6 months
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
Have had this lens for several months and am very impressed with its sharpness, focus abilty and structure. Have shot birds, animals and stll life with much success. Also, works well with a 1.4 TC.
+26points
Review 12 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Great portable option for birding

PostedFebruary 10, 2014
Age 55-65
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience 1-3 months
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
I bought this lens with a D7100 to replace the older model and a D300. Although the new combination is far superior to the previous one, I realized that it is mainly due to the camera and not to the new lens. On a DX format, I could not find any noticeable difference in image quality between the new and the older model. That does not mean that the new model is bad, just that the older one appears to be as good at the center of the field. Nevertheless, the new model has important advantages : it focuses much faster and the VR is far more efficient at all speeds. As the lens is relatively chunky and heavy and I use it handheld, a nice carrying option is a double shoulder strap connected to the lens and to the bottom of the camera/grip.
+4points
Review 13 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Xmas present

PostedDecember 29, 2013
Location Southern California
Age Over 65
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 6-10 years
Experience Less than a month
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
My wife surprised me with this lens for Xmas. Shooting the first day after was a pleasure. This lens is amazing re speed and sharpness, and with terrific VR.
Thank you.
+10points
Review 14 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Love this Lens

PostedDecember 26, 2013
Location I am an avid amateur who loves photography. I live in Melbourne, FL
Age 55-65
Favorite Subject Travel
Nikon Family 6-10 years
Experience Less than a month
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
User submitted photo
I already owned the 70-200mm and bought the 20E III to give me a reach of 400mm. Pictures came out soft and not what I wanted. So I bit the bullet and bought the 80-400mm. And am I glad I did. Clear concise shots with a great VR. A little slow on moving objects but that is to be expected. I still get fantastic pictures, you just have to be precise and work your shot. Its heavy but so is the 70-200mm or any other long lense with Nikkor's better glass.
+28points
Review 15 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

A Very Special Lens.

PostedOctober 15, 2013
Location Sunnyvale CA
Age Over 65
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience 3-6 months
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
I've had several of the low cost Nikon kit lens long zooms, and got excellent results for what I had invested in them. This new 80-400 mm FX format zoom lens; is a quite different animal; and for me it is a lens to die for.
For starters, I am a strictly DX format shooter; with no plans to go to FX, so for me, this is a 120-600 mm f/4.5-5.6 zoom. It's even better than that; because my three Nikon bodies, are the D3200, D7000, and now the D7100. So in the D7100 crop mode, I have a 160-800 mm f/4.5-5.6 lens.
As good as this lens is wide open in the FX format, it is quite fantastic, in the DX and DX crop modes of the D7100 body. The expected performance from the published MTF curves, is fully realized, with the D7100 in crop mode, using the central sweet area of the lens field of view. I know how to take fuzzy pictures; this lens lets me take razor sharp pictures, and I don't hesitate to hand hold it for those bird shots. I also have the 1.4x telextender lens, for when I really want to get out there.
It's a little heavy; that comes from being full of fancy optical glasses. I recently packed it plus two bodies, and three other lenses, on a four mile round trip hike to photograph the juvenile elephant seals at Anno Nuevo Preserve, in California. That also included toting a robust tripod as well. By the end of the hike, I had figured out how to carry it all. The total weight was not a problem, and I have already burned up more than my allotted time , on this planet. Cost wise, this lens was a stretch for me; but actually it is about the most Top Tier Nikon Optics you can buy for this amount of money. You pay double to get a better, but less versatile lens.
I'm still learning some of the tricks of using this lens, but it has far exceeded my expectations, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this lens to any Nikon enthusiast, and especially to DX afficianados.
 
My product recommendations
 
+50points
Review 16 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Great product in extreme situations.

PostedAugust 27, 2013
Age 45-54
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 11-20 years
Experience 1-3 months
Role Semi-professional photographer
User submitted photo
Great product in extreme situations, including in nature with very moist and warm climate. Lightweight and fast lens. Precision and excellent sharpness.
+6points
Review 17 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Worth the wait

PostedAugust 9, 2013
Location New York, USA
Age 55-65
Favorite Subject Landscape
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience 3-6 months
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
It feels like I waited ten years for this lens to be released. It was worth the wait! Photos have been extremely sharp and even though the lens is a bit heavy, with the VR it can be hand held with good results. Used the 28-300 prior to this lens and while it was "good enough" at the time, it's no contest now. Tested both just prior to a trip to Hawaii and there was no question which one was making the trip. Took one hand held shot from a lookout high above a rocky beach and you could see the grains of sand and extremely clear and sharp gradations in the rocks surrounding the swimming area. This lens completes the set of lenses I need for almost any situation. Worth every dollar.
+44points
Review 18 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

I love this lens!!!!

PostedAugust 8, 2013
Location Lake Tahoe, United States
Age 45-54
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 21+ years
Experience 1-3 months
Role Semi-professional photographer
I have had one of the original 80-400mm lenses almost since it was introduced, and it has been my mainstay lens for hiking and finding wildlife. It performed quite well, and while it had its issues, the versatility and weight more than made up for them.
This lens takes that concept and upgrades it to amazing levels. There are very few things to be snarky about on this lens.
* Takes teleconverters. And still has great AF and sharpness with the 1.4x TC. The old lens doesn't work with TCs.
* Much sharper and better contrast. Wow. There is a quite noticeable improvement in optical quality even at normal viewing. The old lens took great photos but was a little mushy. My 600mm prime is sharper, but this is pretty darn good, and I would probably not see the difference except that I was looking at similar bird shots with the 600mm and this lens with the 1.4xTC right next to each other. Without the TC, it's sharp enough that it would be very difficult to see anything to complain about except under lab conditions.
* Autofocus is faster. Honestly it's not so much faster than the original 80-400 that you would get many, if any more shots because of it. Continuous tracking autofocus is noisy but is better than the original. For birds, it's pretty good. You lose focus sites with a teleconverter attached because of the minimum f/stop, but it's still pretty darn good. It locked and tracked the airplane for my daughter's first solo flight perfectly. This is a superb airplane/airshow lens.
* Close-focus. Still darn good and fast. Good for critters you can get close to. Great for birds at a feeder.
* Improved VR. VR will help dramatically for some subjects when handholding, but is pretty useless for fast-moving subjects. VR can help with some nice bird effects, allowing for wingtip motion blur while holding the scene solid. You'll still probably find yourself bumping up the ISO unless you're in full sun with this lens, especially if you are using a TC.
Downsides
* Really expensive.
* Tripod collar is even more lame than the original 80-400mm. You can not release the foot from the tripod collar, which is annoying for handheld use. I've already replaced mine with a third-party unit.
This is is still a heavy lens, and you will get tired handholding it unless you're in reasonably good shape. If you're going to use it a lot, get some exercise! Taking pictures is a good method :) If you have the luxury of being able to use a tripod, then do so. It will help. Get a gimbal head if you can.. Ball heads are lousy for tracking subjects but are quick and easy to set up, smaller and lighter. This lens is heavy enough that a ball head will want to flop over or creep.
This lens + the 1.4X teleconverter is an amazing kit for nature/wildlife/airshows/car racing/motorcycle racing etc. I don't have a 1.7X, but the 2.0X is too much of a compromise on finder brightness, f/stop and focus capability for me. This combo is easily transportable and easily handled. Much of the time the 80-400 is enough, and when it isn't, the TC works great. If you can justify the expense, this kit will make you very happy.
 
My product recommendations
 
+50points
Review 19 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

Worth Upgrading from the First Version

PostedJuly 5, 2013
Location Austin, TX, USA
Age 45-54
Favorite Subject Nature
Nikon Family 6-10 years
Experience Less than a month
Role Serious passion, hobbyist
I purchased the first version of this lens second hand and was pleased with the results. The down side was the speed of focus, so I took the plunge, paid the extra money and purchased this lens. Buyers remorse has yet to kick in, which I take as a good sign.
While this lens may be heavier and larger than the original it feels more balanced in my hands, reducing the need for a mono/tripod. I should point out I have large hands, so others may not agree with me.
The speed and precision of the auto-focus is in a different league to the old lens. No more hunting around trying to focus. This alone is a great reason to upgrade. I have yet to use the lens with fast moving subjects, in particular sports events under artificial lights, and the relatively slow F stop may be an issue. That said, the newer cameras and their improved high ISO performance help.
This is a great lens, but it is not for everyone. If you don't need a 400mm lens on a regular basis, your money may be better spent on a 70-200mm 2.8 lens with a tele-converter. If like me, you use long focal lengths on a regular basis, this lens is justified. If you use the old version of this lens, trade it in, pay the extra money and you will be a happy photographer.
+33points
Review 20 for AF-S NIKKOR 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR
Overall rating 
5 / 5
5 / 5

A solid replacement still in a packable form

PostedJune 10, 2013
Location Flagstaff, AZ, USA
Age 55-65
Favorite Subject Landscape
Nikon Family 11-20 years
Experience 1-3 months
Role Semi-professional photographer
I bought the first version of this lens back in 2000, but I had issues with its VR system and the D100. So I went for the 200-400. Unfortunately, that lens is huge. So when I have to hike way back in the field, I again got the original version of this lens. It was too slow to focus on quickly moving wildlife.
Well, when this came out, I pounced on it. It focuses fast, still has a similar compact size. I have found that while it can work well with wildlife, it focuses relatively close, so it works on flowers and small objects, where a narrow field and focus works well to isolate it from the background. The bokeh with a lineated background is pleasing.
So all in all I am very pleased with this lens and am contemplating a little sell off of some of my other lenses this overlays. It is heavier than the original, but not overly so. I look forward to spending a great deal of time in the field with this one.
+38points
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