If you've ever wondered why your camera doesn't take great distance shots in low light, it's because the lens necessary to do so would weigh 10 pounds (4.5kg) and cost $12,000 (around £7,140, AU$12,780), just like Nikon's latest 400mm f2.8 model, pictured above. And that's almost 2 pounds (816g) lighter than its predecessor; that lens now runs a mere $9,000 (£5,350, AU$9,580) or so.
The AF-S Nikkor 400mm f/2.8E FL ED VR is destined for the lucky hands of pro sports photographers or birders with a lot more money than I. It incorporates all the latest Nikon technologies, including two fluorite elements, two extra-low dispersion lenses and the company's Nano Crystal Coat, all which contribute to maximizing brightness and minimizing flare and aberration.
It uses a electromagnetic diaphragm (for faster operation in continuous-shooting mode) to drive its nine-bladed aperture. In addition to its standard four-stop VR image stabilization, the lens has a new VR Sport mode that automatically accommodates to panning movement, a staple of action photography.
A cheaper solution for the rest of us is to use a teleconverter with a shorter lens. Nikon's third iteration of its AF-S Teleconverter TC-14E III extends your lens' focal length by a factor of 1.4, albeit at the expense of a stop of light. (In other words, your f3.5-5.6 lens becomes a longer but slower f5/5.6-8 lens.)
According to Nikon, the upgrade includes better weather sealing, dirt and water resistance, and improved optical characteristics. It will cost $500 (£300, AU$530).
Both optics are scheduled to ship in August.