Nikon Announces the 800 f/5.6 Lens. Seriously? What are They Thinking?

We find out today that Nikon is coming out with an 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens. The first question for most of us, I suspect, is what do all those letter mean? The answer is, don’t worry about it, cause you ain’t never gonna be using this lens anyway. It comes in at the “you can own one too” (NOT!) price of a mere $18K. That’s eighteen THOUSAND dollars. You could buy five D800s with that. That’s enough to keep me in red wine for at least 3 months!

So why are my you-know-whats in such a wad? I’m just trying to fathom how many photographers are yearning to get their hands on such a lens, and comparing that number to the countless among us who have been screaming at Nikon for years to upgrade the ancient 80-400, or, dare I say it, even come out with an entirely  NEW lens, like a 100-400 f/4-5.6 like Canon’s.

I was taking with a Nikon rep exactly one year ago and he told me that a lens in this range is Nikon’s MOST requested piece of gear. I know I’d be the first to sign up. My 70-300 is a fine lens, but I could use a little more reach at times and I just can’t afford the fixed-aperture 500s and 600s. Not that I would get one anyway, as I’m not a serious wildlife or sports shooter and I don’t give a hoot about catching Angelina Jolie sunbathing on her balcony, so I don’t need a lens like that every day. But when I need the reach, I’d like to have it in my bag.

I didn’t need Nikon’s rep to tell me that I wasn’t the only one who was looking for a lens like that. I hear it all the time. Have been for many years now. What I would like for the rep to tell me, though, is what the heck is Nikon thinking? I know this all about money, and I certainly don’t want to sound like a backseat driver, but do they seriously think that they will l sell enough 18K lenses to make it the better decision than the 80-400 upgrade that we are all screaming for?

For what it’s worth, the “E” means the lens has an electronic diaphragm, the “FL” means it uses fluorite in the glass elements, “ED” means it has “extra low dispersion” glass, and “VR” means it has vibration reduction (for those body builders among us who have the strength to hand-hold the beast).

Okay, I have to admit, I was lying about not wanting to see Angelina Jolie sunbathing. Anybody out there got an extra 18 grand they could loan me?

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