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Supertelephotos don’t come up for testing all that often, firstly because they’re fairly specialised and secondly because just about every example that rolls off the production line already has somebody’s name on it. We’ve seen a few over the decades, but basically they’re a rarity and, if ever made available for evaluation, usually come with conditions… in this case, having just a day to play. It was mid-week so there were no sporting events happening, the surf was flat and there wasn’t time to head for the bush… sports and wildlife being the obvious applications for an 800mm. Nevertheless, it was interesting to see what can be achieved when a host of contemporary lens design techniques and technologies are applied to the supertelephoto.

Nikon hasn’t had an 800mm in its Nikkor line-up since the manual focus Ai-S mount model was discontinued in 2005 and Canon’s EF 800mm f5.6 L-series lens has been around since mid-2008. That said, it still needs to be noted that Canon was offering an autofocus 800mm with built-in optical image stabilisation five years ago… what’s more, the two are actually very similar in dimensions, weight and physical construction (plus, to a lesser extent, the optical construction). Conversely, of course, the 800mm is very specialised indeed and for many photographers with supertelephoto requirements, a 400mm or a 600mm matched with 1.4x and/or 2.0x converters is going to be a more flexible arrangement. Interestingly, though, the new 800mm is only marginally bulkier overall than Nikon’s 600mm f4.0.

Thank-you for looking up our  AF-S Nikkor 800mm Review. This equipment review is currently available only as a low-resolution pdf version of the original magazine pages originally printed in the August / September 2013 issue.

You can download it here: AF-S Nikkor 800mm Review.pdf