Nikon 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 G ED VR Lens | Long Term Review

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The Nikon 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 G ED VR lens has been my “go to” telephoto lens for more than 5 years. In this long term review I share with you sample images and video I have captured from around the world while sharing my thoughts on how I like to use the lens. I normally pair this lens with my Nikon D850 for landscape and wildlife photography mainly, but on occasion have paired it with my Nikon D750 as well.

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All video footage and photographic images are
ยฉ Adrian Alford.

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30 thoughts on “Nikon 80-400mm F4.5-5.6 G ED VR Lens | Long Term Review”

  1. I, too, have the 80-400 on a D850. When I go out to the pond in the morning I set the shutter speed on 1/1000, f/5.6 and I usually shoot manual exposure. Lots of birds, waterfowl, herons, dragonflies, flowers, etc. so I don't know what I'm going to be shooting, but it will all be handheld. I've had this lens at least 5 years but didn't use it much until I got the D850 a few years ago. Now, I seldom take it off except during the warbler migration season in the spring when I use my 500 F4 G lens and shoot mostly from the cab of my truck. I use the 80-400 for almost everything else even though I have a Nikon 24-120 lens and a Nikon 105mm micro. The 80-105 is just so handy and versatile and it's light enough to carry and shoot with comfortably (I'm almost 80 years old now so that means something to me).

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  2. Iโ€™ve been deciding between this and the 200-500.

    What gets me about the 200-500 is that itโ€™s purely a wildlife lens, but I really want a hiking lens that can shoot short telephoto also because changing between two telephoto lenses in the field isnโ€™t quick or easy.

    Also the bokeh between the two, the 80-400 clearly comes out on top. And Iโ€™ve come too really appreciate nano crystal coating/multi coating on my lenses.

    Used, the 80-400 is only a $100-200 more than the 200-500. I think if I can get the 80-400 used Iโ€™ll go for that, thanks to this video. ๐Ÿ‘

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  3. I'm struggling with getting sharp detailed images from this lens for shooting wildlife with my Z7ii. When uploading them into my lightroom and zooming in the clarity just is not there at all even though I feel my settings are 'correct' and I know I had the shot in focus…im shooting in a difficult setting on a moving boat for marine wildlife (obviously tricky settings) but I have the VR and Active modes on and a high shutter speed. .. But I'm not getting sharp clarity at all and I don't understand why? I keep my settings at F5 / 5.6 iso as low as possible to avoid noise (between iso 100-500) but I'm really struggling with the lens at the moment! I've seen many positive reviews like yours and obviously it's a good lens and people seem to be getting sharp images with it but can't understand why I can't seem to get the detail in there ๐Ÿ™ˆ I've been googling and can't seem to find any useful tips so any advice would be absolutely amazing!

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  4. Hi
    I have this lens and I just donโ€™t understand the negative sentiment
    Perfect length for kids sports at the long end portrait at the short end and landscape anywhere in between
    When you carry it around you donโ€™t get noticed
    Use it on my D500 and my Z6ii
    Love it

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  5. I own the same lens and love it. I always carried my 16X35 and a 70X200 but now, I carry the 80-400 almost all the time. It really has become my go-to lens for landscapes unless I am going for a dramatic wide-angle shot. The 80X400 is just so much fun to use, it stays on my camera most of the time. The only drawback for me is forgetting to turn off the VR on a tripod. At least on my D810, the VR will definitely create blur. I've always told people that turning off the VR on tripod is a myth because I've never had a lens that it mattered but the 80X400 is one where it really does. Other than that, it is a wonderful lens. I did wonder if you have taken the time to figure out the sweet spot with aperture. For me on my D810, it is sharpest at f11-f13 which was a surprise as I expected it to be around f8.

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  6. Hi Adrian!
    Very nice lens!Fantastic video!
    It's wonderful video!

    Thank you for showing me the wonderful scenery!

    It was a very nice flight! Great high quality video!

    I really like it! Very interesting! Thank you for sharing! Have nice day!

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  7. I was having issues with mine getting consistently sharp images when tripod mounted. I replaced the lens foot with a Kirk foot and instantly noticed sharper images. For the cost of this lens you would think Nikon could provide an adequate foot.

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  8. Adrian, beautiful shots. Diane's only comment is that you did not list where each of the amazing shots were taken. That is a great lens and Nikon seals their stuff really well so I would not worry about anything getting into the inners for a really long time. The same can not be said about point and shoot cameras. LOL I LOVE zooms over all and that is a focal range I do not have. I will be looking into that ….. once a newer Z model comes out. Thank you ๐Ÿ™ for sharing as always!! ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ’–

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  9. Thank you for the review, beautiful shots! I understand any extending zoom lens will suck in dust but I've read on furms that this lens in particular is problematic in this regards, have you faced this issue? Did you ever need to have it professionally cleaned? Also, have you found the 400mm limiting for wildlife? Appreciate you're thoughts. Thanks

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  10. Awesome Adrian. I am hoping the Nikon z series come up with a comparable lens. 2 years with my z6 and have not had a reason to buy a native lens, just used the ftz adapter which has worked for now. If i got that range, i would definitely invest in the native glass for it.

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  11. Hello Adrian when I saw your title I said oh wow perfect timing. I have recently purchased the Tamron 18-400 f/3.5 to 6.3 for Canon. Iโ€™m in the process of testing it out so far itโ€™s been very versatile with that 18mm. I have taken some sport photos of my grandkids and they have really come out very good Iโ€™m still learning itโ€™s capabilities and so far I havenโ€™t taken it off my camera. Your images taken with that 80-400 are amazing hopefully I can get half of what yours look like. Have a great weekend my friend. ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿผ ๐Ÿ“ธ

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  12. Great review & results…I love Nikon gear but I only have 70-300mm lens for my D500..as a hobbyist I am still learning photography & finance limits my choice of lens… Also my kit lens 18-55mm is used a lot… cheers..๐Ÿ˜€

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  13. Been awaiting for this review! Thank You!
    Videos on this lens that are current are slim to none. Been eyeing this lens for some airshow/other work for years.

    Cheers Sir!

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  14. Excellent long-term review Adrian! These are always my favorite types of reviews. There are 100 "spec" reviews that come out right after something is released but I always prefer the real-world extensive reviews. I myself have never owned a rather long zoom lens but I am quite curious about this new 100-400 that is on the roadmap. I seriously hope it's somewhat lightweight ๐Ÿ˜‰ I'm also considering looking at that 2x converter myself and just using my beloved 70-200 f2.8 VR S with the converter. Seems like a nice financial and weight compromise ๐Ÿ˜‰ Cheers and hope you are doing well!

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