It has been a lens that over the last few years many have  anticipated, but it has taken this AF-S Nikkor longer than many expected to appear.

I am regularly asked by people about lenses and their performance, and I try sharing my experiences with various Nikkor optics across the years.  Recently I had a chance to play with this new lens, one Nikon target at nature, sports and travel photographers primarily. It is not a lens therefore that would normally come under my specific needs, but with my Nikon Heritage and expertise, I am always keen to keep up to date with as many Nikkor lenses as possible as they are introduced.

To be honest, I must say I am initially impressed.

AFS_80_400_ED_VR_2While this is a £2500 lens, my first thoughts based on some simple photography are that it ticks the boxes for the target users, with potentially even more appeal.

So what did I like?

Well, the lens looks large certainly, but when you pick it up without being mounted on a body, it is deceptively light. Not too light though, but the kind of weight you do not expect for its size.

The benefit is of course that those shooting those mentioned genres find it a comfortable lens to carry for extended periods.

On a D800 and D4 it balanced really well to me. Smilarly on a D7100, although of course each combination changes things slightly  Not sure about lighter cameras though, as I did not try any.

You can have lenses that are too light of course, but this strikes a good balance on the mentioned bodies.

Controls are comfortable to use, and in particular – I would single out that now often overlooked option – manual focus.

With the camera to the eye, what may to some when off camera appear a light touch, now becomes a flexible, but controllable focus ring to turn with the thumb or full supporting hand.

Optically, while I did not have time to do a full set of images, it certainly is ‘sharp’. Its resolution is obviously matched as are its overall characteristics very much to the D800 for example, and that cameras sensor characteristics.

But what really impressed was the colour fringing or lack of it. I specifically tried to test for this and was most impressed, top class in that sense in the shots I took.

This effect is still an Achilles heel with some lenses, no matter the brand.

I will add a bit more to my assessment soon.