Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II Lens

The Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II lens is the third lens that Nikon has announced since February of this year (and I’ve been told they’re just rolling their sleeves up).  The new lens serves as an update to the original 200-400mm f/4 lens.  As was the case with the previously announced lenses (AF-S 16-35mm f/4 VR II and AF-S 24mm f/1.4), the new 200-400mm lens carries on the trend of lenses compatible with Nikon’s growing FX-format line of DSLRs.

Like the AF-S 300mm f/2.8 VR II lens released near the end of 2009, the new AF-S 200-400mm lens gets more of a facelift in updates, as opposed to a complete redesign.  Obviously, the VR II feature is one of the headliners, which Nikon claims delivers an additional 4-stops of handholdability.  The new 200-400mm also receives a new nano-crystal coat on the glass to reduce ghosting and flare.  The lens also gets a third focusing mode, A/M, which prevents slight and unintentional movements of the focus ring from canceling the autofocus while shooting.

The 200-400mm VR II lens includes 4 ED elements for what should be exceptional image quality, if we assume the results of the updated 70-200mm f/2.8 and 300mm f/2.8 will transfer to this lens as well.  The increased resolving power of the ED elements should pave the way for future, higher-resolution Nikon DSLRs, which are sure to come.

The AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II lens will carry a retail price tag of $6999.95, which is about $900 over the current street price of the existing model.  The new lens should be available sometime in late May 2010.

Check availability on B&H Photo, Amazon and Adorama.

More details in the press release below.

Nikon Press Release


MELVILLE, N.Y. (April 27, 2010) –
Today, the evolution of the super telephoto lens continues as Nikon Inc. announced the new AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II lens which delivers optical excellence and stunning image quality for professional photographers. Ideal for bringing to life exquisite detail for sports, nature and travel photography, this new lens affords a constant maximum aperture of f/4 and rugged construction for maximum versatility. Continued refinements and new technologies such as Vibration Reduction (VR) II, Nano Crystal Coat, and optimized autofocus (AF) modes enhance functionality and improve performance for discerning FX and DX-format photographers.

“The AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm lens builds upon a proven design for professional level optics by incorporating the latest Nikon lens technologies to give photographers the edge in the field, and the ability to capture the most intricate of details with extraordinary fidelity,” said Lisa Osorio, general manager of Marketing at Nikon Inc.  “As both camera capabilities and the roles of photographers expand, NIKKOR enhancements will continue to meet demands and exceed expectations to remain the pinnacle of optical excellence for all types of photographers.”

Whether photographing the decisive play at home plate or predators of the Serengeti, the 200-400mm f/4 lens is an essential tool for photographers who require long focal lengths and maximum versatility without sacrificing image quality. The 200-400mm lens benefits from the addition of Nikon’s proprietary Nano Crystal Coat to reduce instances of ghosting and flaring.  The result is unparalleled clarity and sharpness in challenging lighting environments typical to sports venues or harsh sunlight.

Additionally, this new NIKKOR lens features Nikon VR II image stabilization, which is specifically engineered for each lens for maximum performance. VR II is a valuable asset to those shooting photos or HD video, as image blur introduced by camera shake and telephoto magnification is significantly reduced. Users are able to shoot up to four stops* slower than otherwise possible, overcoming many of the challenges of handheld shooting with such extreme focal lengths. VR functionality is further augmented with 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.

The new 200-400mm f/4 lens features a host of professional focusing features to further enhance functionality. Photographers can now select from three focus modes to match shooting conditions, including manual mode (M) and autofocus with manual override (M/A) mode, and new A/M mode which is used to avoid cancelling the AF setting by unintentionally moving the focus ring while shooting. The M/A and A/M focus modes enhance AF control with fast, secure switching from automatic and manual focus to adapt to personal shooting preference and techniques. Additionally, photographers can activate the AF Recall Mode at the press of a button that allows for instant return to a predetermined point of focus to confidently capture anticipated shots.

This professional lens is constructed of die-cast magnesium for maximum durability and is sealed to resist dust and moisture, with protective Meniscus glass to safeguard the lens’ front element. The optical formula features four Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass elements for superior sharpness, color and image quality, while minimizing chromatic aberration. The lens also features Nikon’s exclusive Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology, which enables high-speed autofocus performance with exceptional accuracy and powerful, super-quiet operation. Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating further suppresses flare and offers superior color consistency throughout the frame.

Price and Availability

The AF-S NIKKOR 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II lens is scheduled to be available at Nikon authorized dealers in late May 2010 with an estimated selling price of $6,999.95**. For more information, please visit