Gear Review: Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED VRII

In Gear Review by Patrick

OK, so I am way late to the party with this lens. First released in May of 2010, it has been on the scene for sometime and given the cost, it took me a while to save up. This super telephoto has been on my list for awhile. The lens features the innovative Vibration Reduction (VRII) system that allows handheld telephoto zoom shooting even in poorly lit conditions. The VRII system minimizes image blur caused by camera shake, and offers the equivalent of shooting at a shutter speed approximately three shutter speeds slower than would otherwise be possible. The lens is built with Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM) which provides swift auto focusing with superior accuracy and ultra-quiet operation. And the lens can be switched quickly from AF to manual focus.

This is one sexy lens and looks impressive when mounted to and FX camera. The lens hood is poly-carbonate and when attached makes for an impressive package for capturing action. This lens features a 20-elements/17-groups construction with Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat lens coating and four ED (Extra-low Dispersion) lens elements which help to yield color-corrected images with minimal distortion and aberrations. Wide zoom and focus rings enable comfortable lens control and an integrated, rotatable tripod foot is supported. With magnesium die-cast barrel construction, enhanced dust and moisture resistance and a protective meniscus front element, this lens can be confidently used in inclement weather.

There are four switches conveniently positioned on the rear of the lens barrel used to engage different focusing modes. While auto focusing, the focus can be locked by engaging the AF-L switch; the AF-ON switch allows quick auto focusing on and off. When you engage the Memory Set switch you can focus on a subject and store the focused distance in the lens’ memory; it stores the information even if the camera is turned off. By switching to Memory Recall the lens will automatically return to the stored focal length. For example, if you are shooting a baseball game you can preset the focus from the camera to second base, shoot action at another area of the field, then engage Memory Recall to quickly capture the action at second base without having to refocus.

Here are the specs on this lens:

With the recently announced 180-400mm lens by Nikon, a valid question is why not get the new lens. Well I can think of and addition $7,000 reasons why the Nikkor 200-400mm VRII will do just fine for me. I cannot wait to start showing pictures captured with this lens.

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