Nikon has launched a new full-frame super-telephoto lens aimed at professional sports and wildlife photographers, introducing the AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm F4E TC1.4 FL ED VR, price tag $12,399.95/£10,999/€12,400.

Chief among the new Nikon AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm F4E TC1.4 FL ED VR lens’s features is a built-in 1.4X teleconverter, which can be activated by a switch and allows photographers to swap to a 252-560mm1 (FX-format) focal range.

And when the new 180-400mm lens is used on the Nikon D500 and other DX-format DSLRs, the focal length is the equivalent of 270-600mm (378-840mm with teleconverter engaged).

Nikon says the new 180-400mm f/4 has been optimised for high-speed capture, and boasts an electromagnetic diaphragm which helps to create more consistent exposures while shooting high-speed bursts of images.

It also features an enhanced AF tracking algorithm which controls the motor drive and promises better tracking of fast-moving subjects.

Nikon says that when using the AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm F4E TC1.4 FL ED VR on cameras equipped with Nikon’s advanced 153-point AF system (such as the Nikon D5, Nikon D500 and Nikon D850), the outer row of AF points are activated as cross-type sensors to enhance the AF coverage throughout the frame.

The AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm F4E TC1.4 FL ED VR also now employs a fluorite element, which Nikon says improves balance and reduces weight. Along with this fluorite element are eight Extra Low Dispersion elements (double the amount of its predecessor), Nano Crystal and Super Integrated coatings.

A revamped VR mechanism offers both a normal and a sports mode, providing up to four stops of compensation.

The new Nikon lens has also adopted a new ball-bearing tripod collar ring to ease the transition from shooting horizontal to vertical.

The AF-S NIKKOR 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR lens price tag will be $12,399.95/£10,999/€12,400, with a release date of March 2018.