Today at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nikon announced their newest lens: the AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR super-telephoto. But what makes it worth its $12,396.95 price tag?
This new lens features Nikon's freshest technology: a built-in teleconverter. Like the Canon EF 200-400mm f/4 L, the Nikkor 180-400mm will be able to extend its focal range to a whopping 252-560mm f/5.6 on a full-frame camera. On a DX camera this lens' focal length is equivalent to 270-600mm f/4, with a 378-840mm focal range and f/4 aperture equivalent once the teleconverter switch is flipped.
As stated in Nikon's press release, the new lens uses a fluorite element "which contributes to improved balance while minimizing weight." Additionally, Nikon outfitted the 180-400mm with a "new ball-bearing tripod collar ring to create a seamless transition from shooting horizontal to vertical compositions."
Compare the 180-400mm to the older Nikon 200-400mm, and you'll notice it has double the amount of ED elements; eight to be exact. ED elements help reduce chromatic aberration, or color fringing, when taking a picture, and increase a lens' sharpness.
So who is this lens for? If the price tag doesn't give it away, I could realistically see professional nature and sports photographers adding this to their camera bag. It's perfect for a photographer who can set up a spot and stick to it for a while, as its 7.7 pounds weight might slow down someone on the go.
Before purchasing, it might be important to consider buying the lighter Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6 at just a fraction of the cost ($1,396.95). If you value portability and slightly more natural reach, you may opt for the 200-500mm, but keep in mind you'll also loose a stop of light.
The Nikkor 180-400mm f/4 is set to release in March 2018. Once photographers get their hands on it, I'm curious to see how its quality competes with older models and with models from competing companies.