January 9, 2018
ces 2018

Nikon Enters 180-400mm Super Zoom Lens Into the Telephoto Race

AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR
Will this super telephoto lens dominate sports and wildlife?

It seems as though super telephoto lenses are all the rage right now. In the last year, we've seen new super telephotos from Panasonic, Tamron, and Sony. Now it seems it's Nikon's turn, as the company has just announced its brand new AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR at CES 2018. This super telephoto lens also comes equipped with a built-in 1.4x teleconverter which extends the zoom range to 560mm at the flick of a switch.

Engaging and disengaging the teleconverter is as easy as flipping a switch
Credit: Nikon

Performance

As could be expected, use of the teleconverter comes at the cost of one stop of lost light and aperture (maximum aperture while using the teleconverter is f/5.6). Of course, this lens was designed to be used with Nikon's full-frame DSLRs but it can also be used on Nikon's APS-C sensor cameras as well. On an APS-C sensor, the effective maximum zoom range (with teleconverter) is 378-840mm.

Clearly the sports and wildlife markets are the targets for this lens and Nikon has promised to deliver outstanding speed and clarity. Nikon has designed this lens with an electromagnetic diaphragm which is supposed to help the consistency of exposures shot in burst mode. As one would expect, the subjects of this lens are likely to be fast-moving, distant objects (animals, sports players, etc.) so Nikon has fine-tuned it's AF tracking which Nikon claims will provide increased auto-focus performance. 

For shooters using the D500, D5, and D850 Nikon cameras with the 153 point AF system, the auto-focus performance is enhanced even more because the outer AF points act as sensors to help enhance AF coverage at all points within the frame. 

Ergonomics

As you might imagine, a lens this size could be quite heavy and cumbersome. However, Nikon has taken some steps it believes will help reduce weight and improve balance all while maintaining image quality and performance. One of those features is a fluorite element which Nikon claims helps reduce weight and improve balance. The lens body is made (as could be expected) of magnesium alloy which is extremely durable and Nikon has added a fluorine coating which it claims will help repel water and protect against dirt. Another nice feature of the lens is its ball-bearing tripod collar that is designed to make it fast and easy to switch between vertical and horizontal orientations while shooting. 

The AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR has an MSRP of $12,399 and is available for pre-order now.

Tech Specs

  • Dimensions (DxL): Approx. 5.04 x 14.27" (128 x 362.5 mm)
  • Weight: 7.70 lb (3500 g)
  • Focal Length: 180 - 400mm
  • Aperture Maximum: f/4, Minimum: f/32
  • Camera Mount Type: Nikon F
  • Format Compatibility: Nikon FX/35mm Film
  • Angle of View: 13° 40' - 6° 10'
  • Minimum Focus Distance: 6.56' (2 m)
  • Magnification: 0.25x
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1:4
  • Elements/Groups: 27 / 19
  • Diaphragm Blades: 9

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