Which Nikon 400mm Lens Is Right for You?

400mm f/2.8 lenses are often the tool of choice for sports and wildlife photographers, but with prices easily stretching north of $10,000, they are anything but cheap. So, if the quality and performance of older versions is suitable, it is well worth saving your cash. This fantastic video takes a look at the Nikon 400mm f/2.8G ED VR and Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S lenses to help you decide if you need to splash out for the newest version.

Coming to you from Matt Irwin Photography, this excellent video comparison takes a look at the Nikon 400mm f/2.8G ED VR and Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S lenses. One of the biggest advantages of mirrorless cameras is how well they work with adapted lenses. For example, I could hardly ever afford a new 400mm f/2.8 lens, but my older DSLR version of the lens works remarkably well on my EOS R5. In fact, some lenses actually perform better on my mirrorless cameras, with both faster and more accurate autofocus. Beyond that, you get advantages that do not exist on DSLR cameras, such as eye detection autofocus and tracking. Of course, the latest lenses generally offer the best performance and image quality, but the older options are often more than up to the task. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Irwin. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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Elite tier Nikon teles from the F mount are insanely good options thanks to how good FTZ is. Especially as the used market floods with people selling their F-mount kit to move to Z.

I was super excited when Nikon announced the 600 f/6.3 and wanted one until I saw the price. Its an AMAZING lens, but boy does that price tag sting. But when it came out I noticed suddenly my local used market had a ton of 500 5.6 PFs for sale. I ended up getting one for half of MSRP. I'm seeing a ton of this sort of thing lately. I also got the 300 F4 for a third of MSRP. A friend of mine recently picked up the 28mm F1.4 also for a third of MSRP.

Nikon F lenses were wonderful lenses that totally hold up. If you pixel peep to the max, then the new Z lenses do edge them out, but when we are talking about spending 25-40% of the price for 98% of the performance, it sounds like a spectacular deal. :)