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Nikkor 180-400mm weighs nearly 8 pounds and includes a built-in teleconverter

Create: 01/22/2018 - 22:25
AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4 E TC1.4 FL ED VR


  • Compatible with full-frame and APS-C cameras
  • 1.4x teleconverter is built into the lens barrel
  • Intended buyer: Sports, wildlife photographers with a big budget

Nikon’s latest telephoto zoom goes after a very particular audience – those in need of more reach and not concerned about size or cost.

The AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm f/4 E TC1.4 FL ED VR certainly has a long name and a lot of technology inside, plus a trick up its magnesium sleeve.

First off, this is a digital-only lens. There is no aperture ring. Instead, the aperture is controlled by the camera. This is something that increasingly is appearing on its lenses, as Nikon moves beyond its film past.

The Nikkor 180-400mm, which can be used with full-frame and APS-C digital cameras, uses 27 elements in 19 groups and includes eight extra-low-dispersion elements and one Flourite element.


What’s more, this lens has a built-in 1.4x teleconverter, which should provide even greater reach. And if that isn’t enough, it’s fully compatible with Nikon’s separate 1.4x, 1.7x and 2.0x teleconverters.

It’s an autofocus lens that focuses internally using Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor system. It allows the photographer to use autofocus or manual focus or a combination of the two. The close-focus distance is just over 6½ feet.

Here is a look at the various focal lengths when used on FX and DX camera bodies.

This table shows the effective focal length for full-frame and APS-C sensors without and with the teleconverter.

  180mm 400mm 180mm (1.4x) 400mm (1.4x)
FX full-frame sensor 180mm 400mm 252mm 560mm
DX APS-C sensor 270mm 600mm 378mm 840mm

The lens uses nine aperture blades, and the maximum aperture of f/4.0 remains constant across the zoom range.

Nikon has tuned the autofocus system to improve tracking of fast-moving subjects. That will be welcome news for sports and wildlife photographers. Nikon says the lens performs at its peak when mounted to a D5, D850 or D500, which activate the outer row of autofocus points and use them as cross-type sensors.

As expected, the lens uses Nikon’s Vibration Reduction image stabilization built in with “Normal” and “Sports” mode.

The 180-400mm, which succeeds the Nikkor 200-400mm, is sealed against dust and moisture.

The lens accepts 40.5mm filters that are dropped into a slot near the rear of the lens.


The buyer gets front and rear caps, a slip-on lens hood, the filter holder and a 40.5mm neutral color filter, Nikon LN-2 lens strap and a soft lens case.

The lens is 5.0 x 14.2 inches (128.0 x 362.5mm) and weighs 7.7 pounds (3,500 grams). Despite promotional photos that show a photographer handholding the lens, it’s unlikely that is how it will be used, because of the weight. Thankfully, it has a built-in tripod collar.

All of this comes at a price, and it's a fairly hefty price: US$12,399.95. It is expected to be available in March 2018.

About the Author

Mike Elek is a longtime journalist and was one of the original editors for The Wall Street Journal Online. He also has worked as a reporter and editor in Pittsburgh; Philadelphia; Vineland, N.J.; Poughkeepsie, N.Y.; New York City; and Hong Kong. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran. He shoots with film and digital cameras.