Nikon has announced an update to its top of class, highly sought after 200-400mm f/4 VR lens.
As an owner and heavy user of the previous Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200–400mm f/4G ED-IF VR [old version] I can tell you that the lens remains as close to perfect as a lens can get. Sure one could wish for it to be lighter and shorter, making it easier to handhold, but those just aren’t feasible options without sacrificing the phenomenal sharpness and optical quality of the lens. In all my years using it, I haven’t found one thing that I could say I’ve disliked about it.
Judging by the press materials, it seems if all the updates to the lens are mostly minor incremental improvements. So if you already have the previous version, there’s not a lot of reason to upgrade unless you simply must have the newest version of everything or if you think that one additional stop of VR is going to make a huge difference to you (and that’s very unlikely.)
Here’s a run down of the most radically new and improved features:
Nano Crystal Coat (new; “Further reduces ghosting and interior flare across a wide range of wavelengths for even greater image clarity.”)
Nikon VR II Image Stabilization (improved; adds 1 additional stop for a total of four-stop vibration reduction and also adds “Automatic Panning Detection and an Active VR Mode to help compensate for movement from an unstable position such as a moving vehicle. Additionally, VR is always engaged when shooting in the D-Movie mode on select Nikon D-SLRs, helping to stabilize HD video capture.”)
Three Focus Modes (improved; “A/M mode joins the familiar M/A and M modes, enhancing AF control versatility with fast, secure switching between auto and manual focus to accommodate personal shooting techniques.”)
Approximate Weight 118.5 oz. (previous version was approx. 115.52 oz.)
All are pretty good or understandable updates. So, if you don’t have the previous version of the lens, there definitely doesn’t seem to be any changes that should give you any second thoughts, well except for it’s new higher price tag.
The new Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200–400mm f/4G ED VR II Super Telephoto Zoom Lens is expected to ship in late-May 2010 and is now available for on Amazon.com and B&H Photo.