Nikkor AF 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6 ED VR D - Review / Lab Test Report - Analysis
Lens Reviews -
Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
Page 2 of 2
The AF 80-400mm has a 5x zoom ratio but Nikon managed to keep distortion quite
well under control. At 80mm there's a moderate degree of barrel distortion (0.8%)
changing to a similar amount of pincushion distortion at the long end of the
zoom range. At 200mm the lens is basically free of distortion.
The chart above has a real-world size of about 120x80cm.
The AF 80-400mm VR is a full frame lens so on an APS-C DSLR it can take
advantage of a sweet spot effect and it shows - the lens is basically
free of vignetting in this scope.
In the MTF lab the lens wasn't quite able to match the resolution of the
10mp sensor of the D200 but in the 100-300mm range the quality is on a
very good level both in the center as well as at the borders of the image
field. Unfortunately there's a quite pronounced deterioration at 400mm
setting at wide-open aperture. The center is still very decent here but
there's a very pronounced drop towards the borders which are a little on
the soft side here. The contrast level seems also reduced here (not formally
tested). It's a good idea to stop down a little so the borders can catch
in performance again.
Below is a simplified summary of the formal findings. The chart shows line widths
per picture height (LW/PH) which can be taken as a measure for sharpness.
If you want to know more about the MTF50 figures you may check out the corresponding
Chromatic Aberrations (CAs)
Chromatic aberrations (color shadows at harsh contrast transitions) are
relatively pronounced specifically at the 80mm setting at
"large" aperture settings where the issues exceeds an average CA width of
2px at the image borders. However, CAs are relatively well under control
from 200mm till 300mm but they're on the rise again at 400mm.
The Nikkor AF 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6D ED VR is a decent performer but it also
comes with a few glitches. Optically the lens shows a very good but not
exceptional resolution characteristic except at 400mm at wide-open aperture
where the borders could be a little better. Vignetting is basically non-existing
on an APS-C DSLR and the level of distortions is quite low. CAs are an issue
at 80mm and 400mm, less so in between Generally the
build quality is pretty good but regarding the price class of the lens Nikon
should have used a little less plastic and a better tripod collar. The
AF performance is acceptable on the D200 but don't expect it to be a speed
daemon in this respect.