Nikkor AF-S 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR

I am not going to write a review of this lens. There are a few available on the internet. I found this one at photographyllife interesting, although I had already been using the lens when I came across it. There are many sites simply regurgitating its specifications and truly remarkable MTF charts but there are very few published photos. I have decided to share a few, with the settings used. In order to appreciate them a little better I have kept the pixel sizes higher than usual but still saved them for web, which obviously does reduce quality...

When I picked up the lens two things impressed me, firstly it was noticeably lighter than my 600mm f4 VR lens - this was one of my main reasons for wanting it. The second thing came as I depressed the shutter and the VR action was activated. It was barely audible. There was something very different to the VR action and subsequent data released after testing confirms that it is more effective than the 4 stops claimed for the other Nikon (and Canon) primes. In fact when Nikon released their tables on the VR performance according to the new CIPA standards it came in at a record 4.5 stops compared to the new 2.5 number for the 600 VR. The 500mmVR was rated at 3.0. Even with the matched and included 1.25x teleconverter it got a rating of 4.0.

Crested Guineafowl Guttera edouardi. Nikon D800 with 800mm f5.6E FL ED VR lens, handheld at 1/50sec at f/5.6, ISO 2500. It is also a testimony to the magnificent ISO capabilities of the D800. Four images were taken and all four were usable at 1/50 sec handheld! I must admit that I do not always achieve this but the VR on this lens is certainly class leading.

Married to the Nikon D4 it also makes for an excellent action lens. But beware of the shallow DOF with close subjects. I opted for f/8.0 with this landing female Lesser Kestrel Falco naumanni


Nikon D4 with 800mm f/5.6 on a panning groundpod resting on a beanbag. Exposed at 1/3200 sec; f/8; ISO 800

Another example of a hand held full frame photo of a Golden-tailed Woodpecker, female Campethera abingoni with the lens wide open. As is very evident the lens is tack sharp wide open and DOF was just enough with the subject being parallel to the sensor.

Nikon D4 with 800mm f/5.6 hand held. Exposed at 1/1000 sec; f/5.6; ISO 1000

When it comes to small birds this lens really shines and married to the high resolution Nikon D800 gives pleasant results to say the least :-) Grey waxbill Estrilda perreini

Nikon D800 with 800mm f/5.6, whimberley tripod head on a carbon fibre Gitzo tripod. Off camera flash with better beamer flash extender. Exposed at 1/200 sec; f/8.0; ISO 320

Another hand held example of a small bird taken with the D800 and 800mm f/5.6 combination. Pink-throated Twinspot Hypargos margaritatus

Nikon D800 with the 800mm f/5.6 VR lens hand held with vibration reduction. Exposed at 1/800 sec; f/5.6; ISO 640

Disclaimer: I have no financial interests in any camera company and had to pay top dollar for this lens after putting my name on a waiting list even before Nikon announced that they will be makinfg a new 800mm lens.... It was a costly acquisition but certainly worth the wait for me. Let's hope Nikon SA sees this :-)

Please do not download these images without my consent... I posted larger than usual to try and give a better impression of the quality obtained with this top end piece of glass. Please don't make misuse of it..