The Nikon 80-400mm f4.5-5.6 AF-S is supposed to be an update of their older model. However, this lens is much more than an update. It is seemingly a full redesign on the inside with only minor tweaks to the outside. If you are looking for a reasonably priced telephoto lens which will allow you to reach 400mm then this is the way to go.
- Fast focus system - not as fast as my 70-200 f/2.8 but faster than initially expected.
- Sharp - especially at f/6.3 or smaller aperture.
- Vibration Reduction is a must when hand-holding zoomed out to 400. It does its job well.
- Much lighter than the Nikon 200-400 f/4 and 1/3rd the cost.
- Size is not much different than the 70-200mm f/2.8
- The tripod collar is awful. It is flimsy and not up to the production standards of the rest of the lens. When I first read the reviews I thought 'it can't be all that bad'. Well, I was wrong, it absolutely can and it is. So, if you get this lens plan on purchasing an additional collar from a reputable organization like Really Right Stuff.
- Sharper at f/6.3 than it is at f/5.6 - sometimes that 1/3 of a stop can make a big difference when shooting in very low light. So if you are getting this to exclusively shoot wildlife in the early morning you might consider the 200-400 f4 though there is a massive cost difference.