Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR at a look:
- Nikon F mount
- Appropriate with Nikon Z cameras utilizing FTZ mount adapter
- Constructed-in 1.4x teleconverter
- 27 components in 19 teams
- 40.5mm filter attachment dimension
The AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR from Nikon is a premium tremendous telephoto zoom designed for sport and animal pictures. Introduced in early 2018, it outdated the Nikon 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II and seemed to compete with Canon’s 200-400mm f/4L IS USM lens by providing a built-in 1.4x teleconverter that allows the zoom vary to be modified from 180-400mm to 252-560mm instantly from the flick of a swap on the barrel.
The utmost aperture of the lens when it’s used with out the built-in teleconverter is f/4, and this modifications to f/5.6 when the built-in teleconverter is deployed. As its professional-grade standing and excessive worth suggests, it additionally presents superior dust-and drip-resistance with a construct high quality that meets the calls for of the working professional and that of different high-end Nikon F-mount lenses. For extra choices take a look at the very best Nikon F-mount lenses.
Along with a number of dealing with aids to go well with photographing fast-moving topics, the AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR is constructed with an optical design that features one fluorite lens factor and eight ED glass components for terribly sharp and detailed rendering.
The excessive five-figure price ticket ($13,457/£10,999) to purchase it from new is more likely to put many off the concept of including this telephoto zoom to their package, nonetheless secondhand and used examples can be found. Glorious situation used examples will be discovered round £5,250.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR: Discipline Check
As I stroll into the café at Hampshire’s Hawk Conservancy Belief, the lens I’m carrying instantly attracts consideration. I’m attending a wildlife workshop, organised by TimeLine Occasions, and I’ve with me an AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED connected to a D850. It’s Nikon’s second most costly lens ever made and the producer’s first telephoto zoom to function a built-in teleconverter.
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR Pattern Picture Gallery
The price of the lens is a recurring query from the opposite photographers and, as soon as I disclose its astronomical worth, everybody agrees there’s no excuse to not get some nice photographs. I’m fast to confess, nonetheless, I’m out of my consolation zone capturing birds in flight, so I’m grateful to organiser, Neil, who begins proceedings by explaining how you can get the very best out of the day. He suggests capturing handheld, however I can’t carry myself to depart my monopod behind. In spite of everything, this is likely one of the heaviest lenses I’ve ever used.
First photographs of the day
To ease us into the motion, our falconer begins by releasing a griffon vulture from its jesses. The light swoop and predictable flight path is simply what I have to get aware of the lens and my digicam settings. To offset a number of the 4.5kg mixed weight, I screw my monopod into the tripod collar earlier than flicking the lens’s focus mode swap to A/M (AF precedence). That is much like the lens’s M/A mode, besides it requires the main target ring to be rotated additional earlier than autofocus is overridden.
My essential cause for selecting A/M as an alternative of M/A is that it will possibly forestall unintended modifications to focus brought on by unintended operation of the main target ring. Subsequent, I verify the place of the focus-function-selector swap, which is used to assign the operate carried out by urgent any of the 4 focus-function buttons across the entrance of the barrel. By setting it to AF-ON, the operate buttons mimic the function of the AF-ON button on the rear of the digicam – basically bringing the operation of back-button focusing to the entrance of the lens the place my left hand feels comfy supporting it.
Combining the above with steady AF (AF-C) and steady excessive (CH) burst capturing, after which miserable one of many lens’s operate buttons with my thumb, offers me my first style of how shortly and silently the lens focuses on a transferring topic.
With my subsequent burst, I realise the D850’s 25-point AF space is simply too small for my topic and swap to 72-point dynamic space AF. With a couple of profitable photographs below my belt and the lens exhibiting nice potential, it’s time to provide it a sterner take a look at. It doesn’t take lengthy earlier than our falconer ups the ante, substituting the predictable vulture with an erratic peregrine falcon. Instantly, I discover myself in want of extra attain, which presents the primary alternative to check out the lens’s built-in 1.4x teleconverter.
Not like the 1.4x extender on Canon’s EF 200-400mm f/4 L IS USM, the stable swap on this lens is positioned on the suitable of the barrel. What this implies is that it’s doable to drop the converter in utilizing my right-hand center finger with out having to shift my left hand from the entrance of the lens or pull my eye away from the viewfinder. The motion of the swap is extremely clean and there’s a unusually reassuring ping because the converter is dropped out and in.
It doesn’t take lengthy to totally admire the posh of extending the focal size to 252-560mm on the flick of a swap, and by activating the D850’s DX-crop mode or pairing it with an APS-C DSLR such because the D500, it may be changed into a whopper of a 378-840mm zoom. The one disadvantage of participating the built-in converter is that it modifications the fixed most aperture from f/4 to f/5.6. In brilliant situations, this one-stop deficit isn’t a deal breaker and with the converter dropped in, I’ve little problem attaining a shutter pace of over 1/1250sec at ISO 400.
Taking a more in-depth have a look at the teleconverter swap, I realise it additionally has a lock, which is used to stop the converter being employed by accident or hold it consistently engaged. My solely qualm is that I’d have preferred to see the background to this swap painted white, which might supply a much better visible indication of the place it’s set to for individuals who would possibly find yourself utilizing the lens in low mild or at evening.
A merlin feeding within the cowslips presents the possibility to make use of the lens handheld. To date, I’ve been utilizing it with its vibration discount (VR) swap set to ‘sport’, which is designed for topics that transfer quickly or unpredictably. With my focus now turned to a fowl that’s not transferring, I decide to modify the VR mode over to ‘regular’, which is designed for stationary topics. As in sport mode, the vibration discount takes impact when the shutter-release or AF-ON button is depressed. In quiet environment, I hear the VR activate and elevating the viewfinder to my eye immediately reveals how efficient its four-stop benefit is at counteracting digicam shake, each with and with out the teleconverter.
Quickly, I begin to remorse not packing my beanbag, which is what I would like proper now to relaxation the barrel a couple of centimetres off the bottom. Supporting the lens in my left hand whereas mendacity flat on the ground shortly turns into tiresome, and whereas different photographers round me are fortunately capturing with their lighter telephoto zooms, I’ve no alternative however to take brief breaks between photographs.
As my fatigued arms are telling me, it’s a lens you solely need to use handheld for brief bursts. With no time to consider reattaching my monopod, I haul the D850 again as much as my eye and assist the carbon-fibre lens hood within the palm of my left hand to seize a couple of monitoring photographs of hawks in flight. With my ft effectively unfold, I’ve a rock-steady base able to check out the lens’s memory-recall operate.
I resolve to show off the beep on/off swap, in order to not danger disturbing the birds or these beside me. Subsequent, I take advantage of the AF-ON button on the digicam to acquire deal with an space of water the place meals is being thrown for the hawks to swoop and catch. Holding the memory-set button for a second shops the main target distance and simply earlier than grabbing a couple of fast photographs of the hawks circling above, I keep in mind to set the main target operate swap to its reminiscence recall setting, able to reacquire the identical focus distance as utilized in my earlier photographs instantly with a press of a spotlight operate button. This handy function is usually discovered on skilled lenses and comes into its personal in the kind of state of affairs the place you’d prefer to get arrange for one shot, however don’t need to miss out on different capturing potentialities.
Picture high quality
Greater than 2,000 pictures later, I name it a day and, later that night, import my photographs into Lightroom. For £11,000, I anticipated the lens to ship a particular optical efficiency, however I shortly uncover its outrageous sharpness, united with the D850’s excellent decision, exceeds my expectations after which some. Sports activities and wildlife photographers will instantly fall in love with the standard of out-of-focus areas and the bokeh it creates all through its zoom vary. It’s sharpest on the vast finish of the zoom between 180mm and 300mm, however even at full telephoto and with the converter engaged, picture high quality is extraordinarily spectacular.
The optimum candy spot is discovered round f/5.6-f/8, however being a wildlife and sports activities lens the place pace is crucial, it’s probably for use most ceaselessly at f/4. Color fringing is nearly non-existent with and with out the teleconverter engaged and though vignetting is clear in pictures taken at f/4, it shortly disappears by f/5.6. On the time of testing, a profile wasn’t accessible in Lightroom CC. Nevertheless, Adobe ought to launch one as a part of its replace programme quickly, which might imply vignetting correction at f/4 turns into a one-click repair.
Simply as avid automotive lovers prefer to learn in regards to the latest Aston Martin or Ferrari, photographers like to find out about the very best package cash should buy. If cash was no object and also you’re a Nikon person who requires the perfect zoom lens to stand up near distant topics, you’d put your identify down for this lens instantly.
I found, there’s the problem of dealing with such a heavy beast over a chronic interval, however this apart, it’s a dream lens that’s able to delivering mesmerising ends in the kind of sporting and wildlife environments its been made for. In the true world, I see it being purchased by press photographers or the kind of working professional who calls for a quicker most aperture than Nikon’s extra reasonably priced AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR (£1,399) and the comfort of the splendidly executed drop-in 1.4x teleconverter – one thing Nikon’s older AF-S 200-400mm f/4 G VR II ED (£7,599) doesn’t have.
Execs will want it to earn cash shortly to offset the massive preliminary outlay, however it definitely has the potential to do exactly that, what with its picture high quality superior to something you’d tackle a less expensive lens overlaying an analogous focal size.
If you happen to’d like to rent the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR on a brief three-day mortgage, anticipate to pay round £290. To rent it for every week you’ll be wanting nearer to £400. There’s additionally the small matter of placing down a deposit to cowl towards damages, which might be refunded upon its protected return. We all the time advocate studying the small print as this may fluctuate from one firm to a different.
To summarise, Nikon has created a fully sensational lens, it’s only a disgrace that its excessive worth can have the ultimate say over the variety of photographers who get to make use of it.
To view extra pictures taken utilizing the Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR on the Hawk Conservancy Belief, try our pattern picture gallery.
Newbie Photographer would additionally like to specific because of TimeLine Occasions for making this evaluate doable.