Off Brand: Nikon Announces the AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR

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<strong>LAS VEGAS — CES BOOTH #14018</strong> <strong>(January 8, 2018) –</strong> Today at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES), Nikon Inc. announced the new AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR super-telephoto zoom lens, which is ideally suited for photographing sports and wildlife with astounding speed and clarity. This professional level FX-format lens is more versatile than ever, and has been updated with the newest NIKKOR lens technologies including Nikon’s first ever built-in teleconverter and an advanced optical formula to enhance performance and minimize weight.</p>
<p>“This lens is a great example of how Nikon continues to push the boundaries of innovation and what’s possible with pro-level optics and high-end imaging equipment,” said Kosuke Kawaura, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc.</p>

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<p><strong>Popular Pro-Level Lens Gets Even More Versatile</strong></p>
<p>This new NIKKOR lens is a professional super-telephoto zoom lens, which is even more versatile with an extended wide range of 180-400mm, and a constant f/4 aperture to easily isolate a subject from the sidelines, even in challenging light. This is also the first NIKKOR lens to include a built-in 1.4X teleconverter, allowing photographers to seamlessly swap to a 252-560mm<sup>1</sup> (FX-format) focal range. The teleconverter is engaged at the flick of a switch, and is easily operated with a single finger while looking through the viewfinder. When used on the Nikon D500 and other DX-format DSLRs, the focal length is the equivalent of 270-600mm (378-840mm with teleconverter engaged).</p>
<p>Whether capturing fast-moving winter sports on the slopes or elusive wildlife at a distance, photographers can shoot with confidence from this high performance NIKKOR lens. The new 180-400mm f/4 is optimized for high-speed capture, and features an electromagnetic diaphragm, helping to create smooth and consistent exposures while shooting high-speed bursts of images. What’s more, the AF tracking algorithm controlling the motor drive has been enhanced to increase tracking performance of fast moving subjects. When using cameras equipped with Nikon’s advanced 153-point AF system (D5, D500, D850), the outer row of AF points are activated as cross-type sensors to significantly enhance the AF coverage throughout the frame.<sup>2</sup></p>
<p><strong>Enhanced Performance with the Addition of New Technology</strong></p>
<p>The lens now uses a fluorite element, which contributes to improved balance while minimizing weight. To further enhance handling and agility, the lens has adopted a new ball-bearing tripod collar ring to create a seamless transition from shooting horizontal to vertical composition. The VR mechanism offers a normal and sports mode, with up to four stops<sup>3</sup> of compensation to help create sharp images, even when handheld.</p>
<p>The lens construction includes the use of durable magnesium alloy for weight reduction, while the lens is also sealed against dust and moisture. A fluorine coating is also used to help repel water droplets and dirt.</p>
<p>The optical formula of the lens uses eight Extra Low Dispersion (ED) elements, doubling the amount of ED elements used by its predecessor, the NIKKOR 200-400mm. These help to provide extremely sharp and detailed images and 4K UHD / 1080p video, and is ideally mated to high resolution Nikon DSLR cameras. Nikon’s exclusive Nano Crystal Coat is used to effectively suppress instances of ghosting and flare.</p>
<p><strong>Price and Availability</strong></p>
<p>The AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR lens will be available in March 2018 for a suggested retail price of $12,399.95<sup>4</sup>. For more information on this NIKKOR lens and other Nikon products, please visit <a href="http://www.nikonusa.com/">www.nikonusa.com</a>.</p>
<p><em>1. When the built-in or an external teleconverter is used, the focal length may not be displayed correctly in shooting information / Image data.</em>

<em>2. This feature will be available with a firmware upgrade for the D5, D850 and D500 as of March 2018 </em>

<em>3. Based on CIPA Standard. This value is achieved when FX-format compatible lenses are attached to a FX-format digital </em></p>
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AlanF

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“This lens is a great example of how Nikon continues to push the boundaries of innovation and what’s possible with pro-level optics and high-end imaging equipment,” said Kosuke Kawaura, Director of Marketing and Planning, Nikon Inc.

Innovation! That's rich. Nikon has denigrated Canon's use of fluorite in the past, and has now copied it along with using a built-in TC.
 

9VIII

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Technically the name of Canon’s lens is longer, but Nikon’s naming scheme is one of the most confusing things on the market.
I’m not even kidding when I say that the way they name their lenses is one of the reasons I don’t want a Nikon camera (some lense being produced today still don’t have electronic focus, good luck figuring out which is which).
Nikon could discontinue those lenses, but it just goes to show that refreshing your lens mount with the right features can be worthwhile.

If Nikon makes a proper short flange mount it could very well surpass their existing mount.
Sony already made the mistake of adapting a crop body mount for Full Frame, Canon is equally gimped on EF-M. Hopefully Nikon actually makes a nice beefy mount on a Full Frame ILC. Ideally it would support sensors larger than 35mm as well.
Especially after seeing the weather sealing test, I feel like people would love to see Nikon come in and compete head to head with Sony in that market.
 

jolyonralph

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9VIII said:
If Nikon makes a proper short flange mount it could very well surpass their existing mount.
Sony already made the mistake of adapting a crop body mount for Full Frame, Canon is equally gimped on EF-M.

Both the Sony and EF-M mounts are pretty much identical in diameter to the Nikon F mount!
 

AlanF

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How many use the Canon 200-400? I recall sanj selling his.
 

privatebydesign

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Eldar has one, but he also has Hasselblad and Leica’s so we rarely see him now :(
 

Hector1970

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I know someone who has the 200-400 and loves it.
I guess it depends on what you are comparing it to. Its bound to be better than a 100-400 but it as good as a 500mm F4 II.
I was always curious whether the inbuilt 1.4 extender would be more precisely aligned or less precisely aligned than an external one. When its not in place does the gap impact anything in terms of quality. Would it be as tight built in as it would attached to the lens externally. I don't know whether it locks into place.
Curious if anyone here has used a Canon 200-400 and what their experience is.
 

neuroanatomist

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AlanF said:
Innovation! That's rich. Nikon has denigrated Canon's use of fluorite in the past, and has now copied it along with using a built-in TC.

Well, yeah, but on the bright side, Nikon has increased their pace of innovatively copying Canon's innovations. After all, it took Nikon 44 years to copy Canon's use of fluorite elements in camera lenses (the FL-F300mm f/5.6 in 1969 vs. the AF-S NIKKOR 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR in 2013), and it's only taken them 34 years to copy Canon's use of a built-in TC (the FDn 1200mm f/5.6L 1.4x in 1984 vs. this new 180-400 1.4x ). Go Nikon!
 

StoicalEtcher

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Sounds like a nice lens for Nikon shooters, so best wishes to them 8)

Having said that, I'm surprised that when engaging the 1.4 teleconverter, the focal length may not be recorded correctly in the file data (see footnote 1) - does anyone know if the same is true for Canon's 200-400 when the extender is engaged?
 

kaihp

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AlanF said:
How many use the Canon 200-400? I recall sanj selling his.

I have only spoken to a couple of people that own/have used the 200-400, but they all loved it.

Besides Eldar, eml58 also have (had?) it. I'm not sure what happened to him, he seem to have left the forums.

I miss his safari images and wide and varied knowledge of the Big Whites.
 

Buck

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I have used the lens twice, both times at the Indy 500, with a 5d mark 3 and a mark 4. Tried hand held one day and with a mono pod the second, needless to say hand was too much much weight and was difficult to use. This year with the mono pod and in a better shooting angle to the track it was great to use.
This from between turn 4 and the pit road entrance

Here is a shot at 400m, 1/1250 sec at f8, with 5dm4, iso 640
 

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Buck

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this is at 640 mm 1/1000 at f8,5dm4 at iso 400
 

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ethanz

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AlanF said:
How many use the Canon 200-400? I recall sanj selling his.

Wow, one time I can actually provide assistance to you legends here on CR when almost no one else can.
It is sad to not see Eldar here as much. Hasselblad has taken a hold of him.

The 200-400 is fantastic. Sure it is heavy, but I have lugged it around all day before. I know its used a lot in professional sports. Its great for soccer and football and track. A friend said it was good for basketball, but I found the 70-200 better (although he may be a lot stronger than I am). There is minor degradation when the TC is in. On my camera the focal length is registered correctly when using the TC. Edge to edge sharpness is great. Almost no distortion.

This Nikon appears to be .1 kg lighter than the Canon.

I would assume the market for this lens is minuscule. I don't know anyone else in my area who has one.
 

H. Jones

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Almost every newspaper I've worked with/worked around has a 200-400 f/4, whether that's the Nikon or Canon version. This is definitely primarily bought by news organizations and wildlife photographers, I doubt the market is that big otherwise for it. That said, my personal preference has been using the 100-400 II when it's light enough, and either a 300 or 400 f/2.8 when it's not. I would much rather shoot at f/2.8 if I'm dealing with the weight of a supertelephoto lens.

That said, I know pros that swear by the 200-400, so there must be some draw to it.

The focal length was probably chosen at least in part to line-up Canon on a spec sheet, but 20mm isn't gonna make much of a difference, since the people I know who use this lens have a second body with a 70-200 and immediately swap to the 70-200 when action gets closer.
 
I own and use (sparingly these days) the Canon 200-400. But at this point it is my least used lens and I actually have it listed for sale over on FM (Canada only).

That said I still really like the lens but I just find myself either reaching for 400DOII or 600II or going smaller and lighter with 100-400II or 200-500 on my Nikon.

This Nikon version has made one huge design improvement versus the Canon and that is putting the TC switch on the right side of the lens versus the left. With it on the right side you can handhold the lens and switch the TC and even on mono/tripod you can have eye to the VF and actively engaged in shooting and flip the TC with your right index finger....Canon missed the mark on this and Nikon has it in the most ergonomic spot possible.

Also this Nikon version has a vastly improved MM of 0.25x at 400mm vs 0.15x on the Canon. And that is at almost the exact same MFD so they solved the major focus breathing of the Canon version.

The price is fairly outrageous but exactly what I expected based on current Nikon pricing. In Canada it is actually priced only $150 above the current new selling price of the Canon. Not sure why there is a much bigger $1,365 difference in the US. I think the Canon is being overpriced in Canada.

Overall, yes it is a copy of Canon but at least Nikon made some key improvements to it.
 
Hector1970 said:
I know someone who has the 200-400 and loves it.
I guess it depends on what you are comparing it to. Its bound to be better than a 100-400 but it as good as a 500mm F4 II.
I was always curious whether the inbuilt 1.4 extender would be more precisely aligned or less precisely aligned than an external one. When its not in place does the gap impact anything in terms of quality. Would it be as tight built in as it would attached to the lens externally. I don't know whether it locks into place.
Curious if anyone here has used a Canon 200-400 and what their experience is.

I found the IQ comparing built in TC versus external 1.4TC on my 200-400 to be about equal with maybe the slightest edge going to the external one. I've used this lens and know a few others who use it with both internal and external TCs for 784 f/8. I've even used it with 2xTC and the internal 1.4 for 1120 f/11. To shoot at 1120mm you either have to LV focus, MF or you can actually auto focus without TC engaged and flip it in and the focus plane stays the same.

Redpoll and bluebird at 784mm, fox and eagle nest at 1120mm
 

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StoicalEtcher said:
Sounds like a nice lens for Nikon shooters, so best wishes to them 8)

Having said that, I'm surprised that when engaging the 1.4 teleconverter, the focal length may not be recorded correctly in the file data (see footnote 1) - does anyone know if the same is true for Canon's 200-400 when the extender is engaged?

Canon's records properly and even with external TCs added in the mix. Also Canon has the feature of "Same Exposure for new Aperture" which was brought out for this lens and that is something Nikon should think about as it makes using the TC much faster. Basically the camera in M mode will change either ISO or SS or a combo of both in the newest cameras to match your previous exposure when you flip in the TC. That feature works with external TC swapping also but you have to leave the camera powered on which most people don't like doing when swapping lenses.
 

StoicalEtcher

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arbitrage said:
StoicalEtcher said:
Sounds like a nice lens for Nikon shooters, so best wishes to them 8)

Having said that, I'm surprised that when engaging the 1.4 teleconverter, the focal length may not be recorded correctly in the file data (see footnote 1) - does anyone know if the same is true for Canon's 200-400 when the extender is engaged?

Canon's records properly and even with external TCs added in the mix. Also Canon has the feature of "Same Exposure for new Aperture" which was brought out for this lens and that is something Nikon should think about as it makes using the TC much faster. Basically the camera in M mode will change either ISO or SS or a combo of both in the newest cameras to match your previous exposure when you flip in the TC. That feature works with external TC swapping also but you have to leave the camera powered on which most people don't like doing when swapping lenses.

Thanks for the confirmation Arbitrage - and the rest is interesting stuff; shows that Canon does tend to think these things through.
 

rwvaughn

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Mar 22, 2016
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This lens does not make sense from a financial standpoint when you consider it's retail price as opposed to the 200-500mm f/5.6. When the TC feature of this new lens is kicked in the lens duplicates the 200-500 in focal range and f stop. Would anyone pay full retail for this lens when the 200-500 would save them nearly 10 grand? I'd be putting the money towards a D500 body and 200-500mm if I were a Nikonian.