New Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f4G ED VRII lens

If you need a high-quality, professional-grade supertelephoto lens with a constant aperture and image stabilization, which isn't too big and heavy to be maneuverable out in the field, the Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f4G ED VRII lens offers it all.

Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f4G ED VRII Nikon

If you need a high-quality, professional-grade supertelephoto lens with a constant aperture and image stabilization that's not too big and heavy to be maneuverable out in the field, the Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f4G ED VRII lens offers it all. Following up on the AF-S 200-400mm f4.0G ED VR lens released in 2003, the new lens adds Nikon's VRII Vibration Reduction system among other useful improvements. All of this quality doesn't come cheap, though.

The Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f4G ED VRII is a supertelephoto lens, with a zoom range of 200mm to 400mm on an FX body, and with a massive zoom range of 300mm to 600mm on a DX body. All while maintaining a constant aperture of f4.0 throughout the zoom range. Although not as fast as its f2.8 cousins, what it saves in weight and adds in maneuverability make it excellent for taking out into the field, shooting handheld, be it birds, wildlife, or yacht racing.

The professional-grade lens body is made from die-cast magnesium for increased durability, and is sealed to resist moisture and dust. There is a special Meniscus glass at the front to help protect the front element. It features four Extra Low-Dispersion (ED) glass lens elements to help assure maximum color and sharpness while reducing unwanted chromatic aberrations. Nikon's Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology works to ensure fast and quiet autofocusing.

The AF-S 200-400mm f4G ED VRII lens features Nikon's Vibration Reduction II image stabilization system that allows for up to four stops of camera shake correction, especially beneficial for shooting handheld with a lens of this focal length as well as for shooting HD video. The VRII system is automatically engaged when shooting video in the D-Movie on select models of Nikon DSLR camera bodies.

It also has several new autofocusing features to enhance functionality. You can now select from three focus modes to match shooting situations, including manual mode and autofocus with manual override (M/A) mode, and a new A/M mode that's used to avoid accidentally canceling out the AF setting by unintentionally moving the focus ring while in the midst of shooting. The M/A and A/M focus modes enhance the AF control with fast, secure switching from automatic and manual focus to adapt to personal shooting preferences and techniques, making it easy to switch from AF to Manual mode. Also, shooters can activate an AF Recall Mode with the press of a button that allows for instant return to a predetermined point of focus to confidently capture anticipated shots, something sports photographers certainly appreciate.

The Nikon AF-S 200-400mm f4G ED VRII is scheduled to be available in late May 2010 with an estimated price of $6,995.

About the author

    Matthew Fitzgerald, a CNET associate editor, has been involved with digital camera technology and the photo industry for more than 15 years. His background includes work as a professional photographer, a technical representative, and a repair technician.

     

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