Nikon 200-400mm f/4G IF-ED AF-S VR

The Nikon 200-400mm f/4G IF-ED AF-S VR Zoom-Nikkor lens features Vibration Reduction technology and also Silent-Wave-Motor technology which is incorporated into the long elegant design. Although huge it can be easily hand held because it is well balanced making it the perfect tool for sports, news, wildlife, and nature and action photographers.

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Features & Specifications

The key features of the Nikon 200-400mm f/4G IF-ED AF-S VR  include the fact that it is the first AF-S VR 200-400mm super – telephoto zoom lens in the world. It puts together all four of the fixed focal length lenses directly into the single compact lens of the telephoto AF zoom. It has a VR, or vibration reduction function that provides its users the opportunity of using what is equal to using a shutter speed that is three times faster. The two vibration reduction modes that it offers are active or normal that are used for taking photos with excessive movement involved. It is also able to tell when the photographer is compensating and panning, and one of the greatest features of this lens is that it can function with Nikon TC-20E II, TC-14E II and TC-17E teleconverters. However, the AF operation will only work with the TC14E II. In actual use the 200-400mm VR is far sharper than using a teleconverter on a shorter lens like the 70-200mm VR. The advanced vibration reduction technology on this Nikon 200-400mm lens overcomes the one fundamental problem that many photographers have to face while in the situation where they find it hard to hold the camera steady. This is not the only thing that VR is capable of doing. It also eliminates image blur that is caused by the camera shaking. This is also possible when taking photograps in low light conditions.

Most of the good lenses that are on the market today, especially the new ones, will have a lot of features while some of the other good ones will not. This particular lens is well known for its many features, some more of which include its SWM – silent wave motor – that allows for extra high speed auto-focusing with the outstanding accuracy it portrays as well as the strong, quiet contrast. The four extra low dispersion or ED elements of glass will minimize the chromatic aberration as well as offer better contrast and higher resolution. It also has a 6.2 minimum focus distance at all of the lengths and its IF or internal focusing design is made to guarantee smoother focusing and perfect body balance.

Other features of the Nikon 200-400mm f/4G IF-ED AF-S VR are its “G” design that enables the apertures to be chosen from select Nikon AF SLR Nikon’s, and its tripod mounting collar that is detachable is quite a hit as is the nine blade rounded diaphragm that is used for natural blur. During the operation of manual focus, no power consumption is used. The M/A mode of this product allows you to immediately switch from manual to focus without any time lag, and the best part is that this can even be done during an operation of AF servo. The Nikon D type design is also popular as it offers certain precise distance data for light exposure procedures as well as flash ones.

Actual user review:
“This lens is incredible!!! I have been researching long lenses for several months now, my choices were between the Nikkor 500mm f4 and this piece. I had to ask myself how often I’d be shooting at 500mm? or 700 with a 1.4 TC, not very often unless I travel and currently that is out of the question. Having owned this piece for 3 weeks now and having shot roughly 3000 images I have to say that I don’t regret this purchase one bit. The focus is fast, the image quality is incredible, the drop in filter and the memory set a very nice feature, the VR is a dream and I managed to shoot images which I would have otherwise not been able to get. The only drawback is that it is pretty heavy, my shooting style, mostly wildlife, hand held, birds on the wing, had to change a bit. Oh and a good tripod is a must!!!” – D.Woltereck (WA,USA)

Performance

The 200-400mm f/4 VR AF-S is as good as a lens gets. When you pay over $6,000 for a lens from Nikon, you get one heck of a lens in more ways than just optical quality. Bokeh ranges from neutral to nice. If you’re shooting across long distances, atmospheric heat shimmer will make the bokeh look funny, especially from point light sources. This happens with all long lenses anyway. The 200-400mm f/4 VR AF-S has no visible distortion, which is extraordinary for a zoom.

In terms of ergonomics, the zoom and focus controls are right where you want them. Although it is a large lens, hand holding is not an issue as the vibration reduction takes care of camera shakes induced by an unsteady hand. Use a monopod if you are planning to do sports photography, but for birds, just pick it up and shoot. Shooting handheld with a D3 or D700, the center of gravity is conveniently located at the zoom ring, right where you’re holding the lens.

As a matter of fact, this long lens does macro too! At 400mm you can focus directly down to 6.5 feet (2 meters), which is larger than 1/4 life size at the sensor, or much bigger than life when printed.

Zooming is slow but precise and accurate. The zoom ring is huge and there’s a lot of glass to turn for only a 2:1 zoom range. You may need grab the zoom ring with your whole hand to turn the ring. You can’t flick it with a finger like some smaller zooms. It takes some effort to turn it from one end to the other.

Bottom Line

The Nikon 200-400mm f/4G IF-ED AF-S VR is a large, expensive lens for people with special needs. You know who you are, and I doubt you’ll be disappointed if you have this zoom lens in your collection. If you’re shooing landscapes you may be happier with Nikon’s fixed super-telephotos that are a lot cheaper than these modern AF-S VR lenses. If you’re shooting action, you will need this 200-400mm.

Average User Rating:

  • “I have had this lens for about 4 months or so and just love it to death. If you have the money or not and you love wildlife photography then this is a must have lens. Lens works like a champ and takes sharp pictures. Work’s very well with the Nikon TC-14E II converter and I would like to try the TC-17E also with it. I have mostly been using it to shoot Eagles in flight and have got some very nice shots. I would recommend and nice heavy duty carbon fiber tripod and the Bogen / Manfrotto 3421 Heavy Duty Gimbal Head.” – D.Holt (MD,USA)
  • “I have been eyeing this lens for quite a while when it was still being sold at $4900 at adorama (imported) free ship and then suddenly I saw the price soaring to $5900 to my disgust for my inaction. Patiently I continued to scout from amazon when I saw this lens posted at $5119.95 + $30 shipping fee from Cameta….and without blinking an eye I ordered and was very pleased to own this very fine performer in my arsenal now. It is very fast, sharp and hmmm should I say heavy too?? I am very pleased with amazon for this and I can’t complain at this time.” – E.H.Tan

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