Last Updated on January 13, 2019
Nikon made only one announcement at the CES 2018 in Las Vegas and it was massive. The company announced the AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR, a super-telephoto lens with built-in teleconverter that stretches focal length to 252-560mm. With these specifications, the lens looks like an ideal buy for sports and wildlife photographers, but it comes at a rather hefty price of $12,399.95.
Versatile pro-level lens
With the new Nikkor lens, photographers can comfortably capture their subjects from a distance, be it an athlete skiing down the slopes or wildlife. The extended wide range and the constant f/4 aperture easily isolates the subject, even in situations where light is a challenge.
The lens is the first for an SLR to have a built-in 1.4x teleconverter, which is activated with just a flick of a switch and stretches focal length to 252-560mm. When the lens is attached on a DX-format DSLR, the equivalent focal length is 270-600mm and extends to 378-840mm when the teleconverter is put into use.
Nikon’s new lens is optimized to capture fast-moving subjects. Equipped with an electromagnetic diaphragm, exposures shot at high-speed bursts are guaranteed to not only turn out smooth but also consistent. Tracking a fast-moving subject is also better thanks to improvements to the AF tracking algorithm that controls the motor drive.
When attached to a Nikon camera with a 153-point AF system, the points in the outer row become cross-type sensors for better AF coverage.
Better performance with new technology
Weight was going to be an issue with the new Nikkor lens, but balance was achieved by using a fluorite element on the lens. This, together with a durable magnesium alloy body, helps keep the lens’ weight under control.
Shifting from a horizontal to a vertical composition can be quite the workout with a rather large lens. Nikon allows photographers to make that shift more seamlessly with a new ball-bearing tripod collar ring.
The VR mechanism of the lens offers both a normal and sports mode, with four-stop compensation to ensure that images are sharp when shooting handheld.
For optics, the new Nikkor features eight Extra Low Dispersion (ED) elements – that is double the number of ED elements used by the Nikkor 200-400mm. With this, images are guaranteed to be sharp and detailed while also allowing the shooting of 4K UHD and 1080p video.
Ghosting and flare are also suppressed thanks to Nikon’s exclusive Nano Crystal Coat. The lens is also protected against dust and moisture. Plus, its fluorine coating keeps water droplets and dirt away.
Kosuke Kawaura, Nikon’s Director of Marketing and Planning, said that the new Nikkor 180-400mm lens shows the company’s dedication to pushing the boundaries of innovation. He also said that the lens is an example of what’s possible with “pro-level optics and high-end imaging equipment.”
The Nikkor 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR super-telephoto zoom lens will go on sale in March 2018. It will retail at a rather staggering price of $12,399.95.