Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR Review

A very flexible telephoto zoom lens, the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens was intended for use with Nikon DSLR cameras. Because it has such a broad focal length range—80mm to 400mm—it is great for photographing a variety of subjects, including animals, sports, and other activities that take place outside.

The performance, image quality, and overall shooting experience of this lens may all be improved thanks to the incorporation of innovative technology and features. Let’s go into the specifics of its many facets so that we may have a better understanding of its potential.

Key Specs

  • Focal Length Range: 80-400mm
  • Maximum Aperture: f/4.5-5.6
  • Format: FX/35mm
  • VR (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization
  • Autofocus with AF-S (Silent Wave Motor)
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 5.74 ft. (1.75m)
  • Lens Elements: 20
  • Lens Groups: 12
  • ED Glass Elements: 4
  • Super ED Glass Elements: 1
  • Nano Crystal Coat
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9
  • Accepts 77mm Screw-on Filters
  • Compatible with Nikon AF-S Teleconverters
  • Dimensions: 3.8 in. (95.5 mm) x 8.0 in. (203 mm)
  • Weight: 56 oz. (1570 g) including tripod collar


Outstanding performance is delivered by the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens, which enables photographers to take photographs that are exceptionally crisp and detailed. It offers outstanding adaptability thanks to its broad focal length range, which enables users to frame the things they are photographing properly.

Because it has a maximum aperture range of f/4.5-5.6, the lens is able to perform well in a variety of lighting settings. It enables a suitable amount of light to be taken in, which, in turn, results in photographs that are well-exposed even under difficult conditions. In addition to this, the lens is constructed out of Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass components, which work to reduce chromatic aberrations and guarantee accurate color reproduction effectively.

Autofocus System

The autofocus technology of the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens is lightning quick, pinpoint precise, and completely dependable. It makes use of Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology, which makes for an autofocus process that is both smooth and silent. This is very helpful when photographing animals or in other circumstances where maintaining silence is absolutely essential.

The autofocus motor for the lens is incorporated right into the lens, which results in a focusing performance that is both rapid and accurate. It enables photographers to easily track moving subjects, making it possible for them to capture key moments. In addition, the lens has the capability for manual focus override, which enables users to make small adjustments to focus manually without turning off the autofocus feature. This is a significant advantage over other lenses.

Vibration Reduction

Vibration Reduction (VR) technology is incorporated into the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens. This technology considerably lessens the effects of camera shaking and blurring on images. This function is especially helpful when shooting handheld or in low-light circumstances, both of which necessitate shorter shutter speeds.

Even at longer focal lengths, photographers are able to take clear pictures because of the image stabilization provided by the VR system, which may give up to four stops of correction. While photographing distant subjects or while using the lens at the telephoto end of its zoom range, this feature is extremely helpful in maintaining the image’s clarity and sharpness.

Build Quality

Because of its sturdy and long-lasting construction, the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens is well-suited for usage in challenging environments and environments with high levels of environmental stress. It has a robust build and comes with a metal lens mount and a design that is sealed against the elements. Because it is impervious to dirt and condensation, the lens provides protection from the environment.

Because of this, photographers who regularly work in difficult circumstances will find that it is a dependable friend. In addition, the lens has a zoom lock button that disables any zoom creep that may occur when the lens is being carried or while taking photographs at varying focal lengths. In general, the lens is constructed to endure the rigorous use that is required in the photography industry, which ensures its durability and dependability.

Handling and Ergonomics

The Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens was created with the ease and comfort of the user in mind during the design process. Even when used for lengthy periods of shooting, the well-balanced weight distribution of this item makes it easy to maintain a stable grip on the device. Both of the lens’ rings, the zoom ring and the focus ring, are designed to provide precise control and easy operation. The zoom ring is smooth, and the focus ring is distinct.

Because of where these rings are located, they are quite easy to access, and their handling is very natural. When using a tripod, the lens’ detachable tripod collar may be used to offer an additional degree of stability for the photograph being taken. In addition, the lens features a number of switches and buttons, such as a focus mode switch and a VR on/off switch, which enable users to modify settings while they are shooting rapidly.

Image Stabilization

A powerful image stabilization technology is integrated into the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens. This system enables photographers to take precise shots even while working in adverse lighting circumstances. The Vibration Reduction (VR) technology that was included in the lens counteracts the effects of camera shake, making it possible to shoot handheld at slower shutter rates.

When capturing moving subjects or in settings with poor light, this is an especially helpful feature to have. The VR system provides picture stabilization of up to four stops, allowing photographers the ability to shoot with longer focal lengths or in conditions with weak lighting without the need for a tripod. A switch that is conveniently situated on the lens barrel may be used to activate or deactivate the image stabilization function.

Shooting Experience

Because of its streamlined autofocus performance, adaptable focal length range, and user-friendly design, the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens provides a shooting experience that is both enjoyable and satisfying. Because the autofocus technology of the lens is both fast and accurate, it is possible to focus and track a subject with great precision. The lens is versatile and works well in a variety of photography situations, from photographing faraway animals to catching fast-moving sports action.

The expansive focal length range, which spans from 80mm to 400mm, offers tremendous versatility to users, allowing them to frame their subjects in a manner that is consistent with their individual creative vision. This lens provides the necessary adaptability to adapt to a variety of shooting scenarios, making it an excellent choice for photographing portraits, sports, or wildlife. In addition, the image stabilization technology gives the user more confidence to shoot handheld by lowering the possibility of blurry images caused by camera shake.

Image Quality

Image quality captured with the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens may be described as exceptional, with significant characteristics including sharpness, clarity, and color accuracy. The lens has Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass components, which significantly decrease chromatic aberrations and color fringing. As a consequence, the pictures produced by the lens are crisp and accurate representations of the real world. Even in poor light environments, the lens is equipped with Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat, which helps reduce ghosting and lens flare.

As a result, the lens is capable of producing colors and contrasts that are true to life. The optical design of the lens and the sophisticated coatings contribute to minimum distortion and great resolving power, which helps to ensure that even the most complex details are rendered accurately. The lens, as a whole, is capable of producing images with outstanding clarity, which qualifies it for use in professional applications where image quality is of the utmost importance.

Teleconverter Compatibility

Because it is compatible with Nikon teleconverters, the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens gives photographers the ability to expand their reach and increase their shooting options. When used in conjunction with teleconverters that are compatible with the lens, such as the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and TC-20E III, the lens’s focal length may be increased by a factor of 1.4x or 2x, respectively. While coupled with a teleconverter, a lens essentially transforms into a longer telephoto zoom lens, which enables the user to achieve a higher magnification while photographing things that are further away.

However, it is essential to be aware that the aperture and focusing performance of the camera may suffer when teleconverters are used. This is a trade-off that must be avoided. When the aperture is stopped down to its maximum setting, the amount of light that reaches the camera’s sensor decreases. While compared to using the lens without a teleconverter, it is possible that the autofocus will be somewhat slower while using the lens with a teleconverter. In spite of this, the lens’s ability to work with teleconverters broadens its application scope, making it appropriate for the requirements of even more specialized forms of photography.

Comparison with Competitors

When compared to other telephoto zoom lenses on the market, the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens has a number of benefits that set it apart from the competition. It offers a greater variety of focal lengths, making it superior to many other lenses that are available on the market that are functionally equivalent. Because of its adaptability, a single lens may be used by photographers in a wide variety of shooting situations, eliminating the need to swap lenses constantly. The image stabilization technology of the lens is also quite good, and it can compensate for camera shaking by up to four stops.

As a result, photographers no longer need to rely on support devices like tripods or monopods so that they may shoot handheld at slower shutter speeds. In addition, the build quality of the lens is sturdy and weather-sealed, giving both longevity and protection in harsh shooting settings. In addition, the autofocus performance of the lens is noteworthy, as it focuses quickly and accurately. This is especially true when used in conjunction with Nikon DSLR cameras, which have sophisticated autofocus systems.


Mount TypeNikon F-Bayonet
Focal Length Range80 – 400mm
Zoom Ratio5x
Maximum Aperturef/4.5-5.6
Minimum Aperturef/32-40
Maximum Angle of View (DX-format)20°
Minimum Angle of View (DX-format)
Maximum Angle of View (FX-format)30°10′
Minimum Angle of View (FX-format)6°10′
Maximum Reproduction Ratio0.2x
Lens Elements20
Lens Groups12
VR (Vibration Reduction)Image Stabilization
Diaphragm Blades9
Nano Crystal CoatYes
ED Glass Elements4
Super ED Glass Elements1
Super Integrated CoatingYes
AF-S (Silent Wave Motor)Yes
Internal FocusingYes
Minimum Focus Distance5.74 ft. (1.75m)
Focus ModeAuto, Manual, Auto/Manual
Filter Size77mm
Accepts Filter TypeScrew-on
Compatible with Nikon AF-S TeleconvertersYes (refer to the product manual for details)
Approx. Dimensions (Diameter x Length)3.8 in. (95.5 mm) x 8.0 in. (203 mm)
Approx. Weight56 oz. (1570 g) including tripod collar

Pros and Cons


  • A versatile focal length range that goes all the way up to 400mm.
  • Outstanding picture quality with only a few chromatic aberrations and minimal distortion.
  • Vibration Reduction (VR) technology is efficient for the purpose of image stabilization.
  • Performance in terms of autofocus that is swift and precise.
  • Quality construction that is both durable and resistant to the elements.
  • Compatible with the teleconverters that Nikon offers so that you may increase your reach.
  • Zoom and focus rings that rotate smoothly allow for fine control.
  • Comfortable handling and ergonomic design.


  • The maximum aperture may be set anywhere between f/4.5 and 5.6.
  • Comparatively more cumbersome and substantial than a few of its rivals.
  • When using teleconverters, the performance of the autofocus may be diminished.
  • The price is significantly higher compared to that of standard telephoto zoom lenses.
  • When shooting handheld for an extended period of time, the lens might be difficult for some users.

Price and Availability

Because of its sophisticated capabilities, adaptable focal length range, and high-quality build, the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens comes at a premium price point. It is sold at stores that are authorized to sell Nikon products, as well as on several online marketplaces.

There are a number of variables that can affect the price of the lens, including its availability, location, and any current deals that may be available. It is recommended to check with local merchants as well as online dealers in order to obtain the most precise and up-to-date information on price. In spite of its greater cost, the lens provides outstanding value for professional photographers or photography amateurs who have a need for a telephoto zoom lens that excels in performance, picture quality, and adaptability.


Photographers who are looking for a high-quality telephoto zoom lens that offers great performance and adaptability should give serious consideration to purchasing the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens. Its extensive range of focal lengths, exceptional image stabilization, and solid build quality make it an excellent choice for a broad variety of photographic applications, such as capturing animals, sporting events, and other outdoor activities.

The autofocus technology of the lens enables rapid and precise focusing, and the image stabilization system makes it possible to shoot confidently even while using only your hands to hold the camera. The lens provides amazing adaptability and a wealth of opportunities for creative expression because of the high picture quality it produces and its capacity to work with teleconverters.

Even though it has a higher price tag, the lens gives both professional photographers and photography amateurs with the capabilities necessary to take breathtaking photographs even while working in difficult shooting situations. Taking everything into consideration, the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens is a dependable and capable alternative for those individuals who emphasize performance, picture quality, and adaptability in their telephoto zoom lens.

Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR FAQs

Q. Is the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens suitable for wildlife photography?
A. Yes, the lens is well-suited for wildlife photography due to its versatile focal length range of 80-400mm, which allows you to capture distant subjects. The Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilization helps to reduce camera shake, resulting in sharper images, and the lens’s autofocus system ensures quick and accurate focusing, crucial for capturing fast-moving wildlife.
Q. Can I use teleconverters with the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens?
A. Yes, the lens is compatible with Nikon AF-S teleconverters. By using compatible teleconverters such as the Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III and TC-20E III, you can increase the focal length of the lens, providing extended reach for capturing distant subjects. However, it’s important to note that using teleconverters may slightly reduce the maximum aperture and autofocus performance.
Q. Is the lens suitable for handheld shooting in low-light conditions?
A. Yes, the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens features an effective Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilization system. This technology compensates for camera shake, allowing you to shoot handheld at slower shutter speeds, even in challenging low-light conditions. The VR system provides up to four stops of stabilization, significantly reducing the risk of blur caused by camera shake.
Q. What type of photography is the lens best suited for?
A. The lens is well-suited for various types of photography, including wildlife, sports, and outdoor events. Its versatile focal length range, impressive image stabilization, and fast autofocus performance make it an excellent choice for capturing distant subjects, action shots, and scenes where a telephoto perspective is desired.
Q. Does the Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens have weather-sealing?
A. Yes, the lens has a robust build quality with weather sealing. This feature provides durability and protection against dust and moisture, making it suitable for shooting in various outdoor conditions. However, it’s important to note that while the lens is weather-sealed, it is always recommended to exercise caution and use additional protective measures when shooting in extreme weather conditions.


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