Some time ago, Nikon pulled the plug on its 800mm lens. This was a popular choice for sport and wildlife photographers. Years went by with no replacement, but then rumors started to surface not so long ago that Nikon was indeed working on this iconic lens. Well, those rumors are now fact as Nikon officially announced the new 800mm f/5.6 lens!
What we know, as of now, is that this is a fixed focal length at 800mm with a maximum aperture of 5.6. There are 16 elements in 14 groups and it includes vibration reduction. This will also offer dust and water resistance. Essentially, Nikon is finally catching up with what Sigma offers and competes with the current Canon setup. Those who want to go hands on with this beast of a lens may do so at Photokina in September. If anyone happens to be a Nikon Professional Services (NPS) member, you may also examine, try, and rent this lens from any of the service depots.
While this is exciting, there are still some unknowns. Shipping and pricing are the two big questions. Shipping is still a wild guess, but pricing is a bit easier to estimate. The Canon 800mm retails for around $14,000 and the Sigma 800mm sits at $6,600 with the Sigma 300-800 coming in at about $8,000. It is safe to say that the Nikkor is not going to be a cheap lens by any means.
However, those people who like the idea of having super reach do have options that will not completely break the bank. For example, the Nikon 400mm f/2.8 sells for around $9,000 and it works with a 2x teleconverter. If that is still a heavy amount to swallow, a mere $1,700 nets the Sigma 50-500mm f4.5-6.3. Again, put on a 2x teleconverter and now this beauty becomes a 100-1000mm. Those that want just a bit more reach can put this setup on a D90 or D7000 and take advantage of the 1.6 magnification from the sensor. The point here is that there are plenty of options already available to photographers wanting to broach the 800mm mark without needing to take out a second mortgage.
It is great to see Nikon bringing back some of their more iconic lenses. This is sure to be a hit with pros in the sporting and wildlife genres while making amateurs lust for the day they can drop the coin on this. It will be interesting to see more information come out about this lens as Nikon draws closer to releasing it into the wild, and some sample shots would totally rule!