Nikon Announces New 400mm f/2.8 Lens

Nikon Announces New 400mm f/2.8 Lens

In the wake of Canon revealing two new super-wide zoom lenses (here and here) Nikon has a nearly polar opposite announcement of their own. They just announced a new 400mm f/2.8 lens. It is likely that Nikon timed this announcement to allow for use of the new 400mm at the FIFA World Cup.

The new 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR is a replacement of the 2007 400mm f/2.8G ED AF-S VR. The old 400mm was a monster weighing about 10.2 pounds, made up of  14 elements in 11 groups, 3 ED elements, nano crystal coat, and VR that could provide up to 3 extra stops. Coming in at around $9,000 the old 400mm was targeted at high-end sports and wildlife professionals. According to NikonRumors, the new 400mm is priced at an astonishing $11,999,95 — around $3k more expensive than its predecessor. The bump in price is likely due to a new magnesium alloy die-cast barrel and ultra-lightweight fluorite (lab grown) front element which make the lens nearly two pounds lighter.

Here's a comparison of the two lenses the first is the old, 2007 model.

Austin_Rogers_Fstoppers_Nikon_400mm_old

And here's the new model:

Austin_Rogers_Fstoppers_Nikon_400mm_new

Below is a full rundown from the press release on NR:

AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR lens product photo

Lighter and more rugged than its acclaimed predecessor, the AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR frees professionals and passionate shooters to capture the thrill of sports, action and wildlife with staggering clarity and precision, even when shooting handheld in challenging lighting conditions. A fast f/2.8 maximum aperture paired with Nikon VR technology delivers exciting new low-light capabilities and beautiful bokeh, while a specialized diaphragm maintains consistent exposure during high-speed shooting. Pro-grade dust- and moisture-sealing and a fluorine coated front meniscus glass element protect the lens' superb NIKKOR optics on tough assignments while Nikon's advanced lens technologies give you every advantage for catching the shots that matter.

Fast f/2.8 400mm prime lens

When it comes to capturing sports or wildlife where the action is fast and the conditions are rarely favorable, lens speed can mean the difference between a great shot and a miss. At f/2.8, the AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR gathers maximum light and renders beautiful bokeh. Nikon VR enhances that speed with up to 4 stops* of blur-free handheld shooting, including a new mode specifically for shooting Sports and Action, while a specialized electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism achieves remarkably consistent exposures when shooting at high frame rates. You might not be able to predict the spontaneous, but you certainly can prepare for it.

Lightweight, rugged and reliable

Thanks to lightweight fluorite lens elements and a magnesium alloy die-cast lens barrel, the AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR is nearly 2 lbs. lighter than its predecessor, AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8G ED VR. Anyone who has spent time in the field with a large super-telephoto lens knows every pound counts. And since wildlife and action often mean harsh conditions, it features professional grade dust- and moisture-resistant sealing and a fluorine coated meniscus protective glass element at the lens front. Wherever your assignments or passion take you, the AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR is ready.

Every advantage for landing the shot

The AF-S NIKKOR 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR is an advanced lens designed to draw peak potential from high-resolution Nikon D-SLRs. The lens' ultra-fast, ultra-quiet Silent Wave Motor (SWM) provides outstanding autofocus performance with seamless manual override (just spin the lens barrel). Two fluorite lens elements (FL) provide superior optical characteristics while minimizing overall weight, while two Extra-Low Dispersion (ED) glass elements nearly eliminate chromatic aberration, even at f/2.8.

*Based on CIPA Standard. This value is achieved when: FX-format compatible lenses are attached to an FX-format digital SLR camera.

Supplied Accessories

  • Slip-on Front Lens Cover
  • LF-4 Rear Lens Cap
  • HK-38 Lens Hood
  • 40.5mm Screw-on NC Filter
  • CT-405 Trunk Case
  • LN-2 Lens Strap
  • Monopod Collar

[Via NikonRumors]

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12 Comments

No clue why they introduce a lens that is already out there and performs well. I have no need to upgrade for a couple of pounds when it's still heavy and will still be on a monopod or tripod, so not sure what Nikon's thinking.

What they should have done is put their efforts into a new lens to expand their market. They have a 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, and 800. Why not add in a 700 to slot into that gap. Or add in a PC-E lens like a 17mm so we have something like Canon's, which is regarded as probably the best prime wide angle lens for any DSLR but won't fit onto a Nikon.

It's decisions like these that Nikon is losing more and more money. If they don't change some management around and start making better business decisions, I suspect within a decade there will be no more Nikon.

There's a reason why there' no 700mm in the line: It would be a total flop! Why would people buy that kind of lens when you could get cheaper 600mm or pay little more to get 800mm. And reason why Nikon has got that kind of line:

200mm is F2, 300mm is F2.8 and so is 400mm but all of the rest would be f4 except 800mm which is 5.6 but still. The difference between 600mm and 700mm wouldn't be so much different that it should be made. And then, 400mm f2.8 + 1.7x converterj is about 700mm.

But I agree, updating 400mm f2.8 isn't the best choice for me, it's a stunning, beast lens with good optics. Maybe they wanted to have top of the notch VR in it. But god, 17mm PC-E lens, Do want! Or maybe 85mm 1.2 but that's not maybe a good one since we have already 135mm f2 DC.

So 700 slots in between 600 and 800 and there's no use for it? How does that logic hold up for the 400, or the 500. Their both focal lengths that are flagged 100mm away by other lenses, and can be achieved by using teleconverters on other lenses. The difference between 500 and 600 is pretty similar to what the difference between 600 and 700 would be.

Using logic, is there any reason why you think a 700mm would not be useful?

The gap between 400 and 500 is actually quite big: F2.8 vs. F4. That's a big difference. But if Nikon would produce a 700mm lens, it would be F4 or it would be a bazooka like Sigma 200-500 f2.8. It's not all about the focal length, it's also about the aperture.

Another unwanted Nikon development! Nikon is on the very wrong way! I have no Idea what Nikon wants! Nikon, ask photographers what they want! Kick out the management that leads Nikon in wrong direction and start again producing cameras and lenses what photographers want. Do it as high quality as possible and sell it for affordable price! That's the secret...

Oh for Pete's sake, shut up with these unwanted "updates" and give me a new 17mm or 24mm PC-E lens. There are so many holes in Nikon's lineup. I'm really confused why they keep releasing stuff very few people will purchase.

Hopefully Sigma will come out with a killer 400mm f/4 Art series people can actually afford...

That would be awesome!

Jaron Schneider's picture

That would be priced in the sub-$4000 range based on their recent pricing.

Austin Rogers's picture

Let's play a little game: what would you get instead of the Nikon 400mm E FL ED VR [blah, blah, blah] for $12,000 photography-related or otherwise?

What would I get? Out of debt. That would pay off all my CC bills and have some left over.

a d800e, a 24mm 1.4, 50mm 1.8, 105mm macro. a macbook pro, and some studio equipment, and save the rest.