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Nikon 800mm Lens – Worth the upgrade?

Nikon 800mm LensA friend of mine recently attended a photo show in Toronto and got a little more information for us on Nikon’s 800mm lens.  We already know it was to have an aperture of f/5.6 and is fully compatible with all of Nikon’s full frame cameras.  And as one would expect it is resistant to water and dust.

What I really wanted to know was the price tag and the weight.  According to my source the Nikon 800mm lens will come in around $12,000 CDN and weigh less than the Nikon 600mm lens and have only one lens hood unlike the 600mm which has two.  Although most of the folks I know that own the Nikon 600mm lens shoot with just the one lens hood attached anyway so no big change here.

The Nikon 800mm lens is great news for all the outdoor photographers as it is ideal for sports and wildlife photography.  Well it is decision time for many of us.  I own the Nikon 600mm lens and it filled in a nice gap for the long range that my Nikon 200-400mm lens couldn’t fill.  I can’t see myself owning both the Nikon 600mm lens and the Nikon 800mm lens unless I win a lottery so the question becomes which lens to carry?

On the plus side the Nikon 800mm lens gives you 200mm more reach however at f/5.6 you’re losing a stop of light given the Nikon 600mm lens comes in at f/4.  With todays low light capabilities in camera bodies like the Nikon D4 and D3S that may not be as big a deal as we can get great quality images at higher ISO’s which allows us to compensate for the loss of light without sacrificing image quality too much.  Then there’s rumour of a weight advantage which is always a plus if you’re humping your rig any distance.

I am curious to compare a Nikon 600mm image with a 1.4x teleconverter (effectively 840mm) to an image from the new Nikon 800mm straight up to see how the image quality compares.  One would expect an extra degree of sharpness from the 800mm however the proof is what I am waiting for along with a lottery winning so I can afford this beast as I have no doubt it would make a great addition to any wildlife photographers lens arsenal.  This is especially so if you like to shoot smaller birds and animals that are tough to get up close and personal with.

No news on a release date yet so this is simply a teaser at the moment to get us all excited.  I am hoping to get a look at one up close and personal at the Henry’s Exposure Photography Expo in Ottawa November 16th and will report back if I get any further nuggets on this fine piece of glass.

 

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