Summary: Great flexibility and good weight for what it is but I don't think it is sharp enough based on the fact that it is a professional level lens. In my opinion the 300 2.8 is a better option. Even with the 1.4 teleconverter it seems sharper and the autofocus while fast on the 200-400 isn't up to the 300's speed.
Summary: This lens is beyond description, its one of the lenses that can hardly get any criticism. I personally don't own it, but I have played a lot with it in the camera store in my city. The 200-400mm f/4 VR (First version) is as close as it can be to the VRII, except that the second version performs better on the edges when you step up the aperture, let alone it has the new mystic Nano crystal coating on the front element !
Summary: The lens is great, once I got it somewhere else. Be aware that Amazon might send you a lens that has been used by another customer, then returned for being defective (or whatever reason). The first one I ordered arrived and had obviously been opened and handled. The Nikon box had been cut open and retaped closed. The plastic around the lens had also been opened. So I called and requested a brand new, unopened replacement. They assured me that they would send a new one.
Excerpt: I primarily shoot larger animals from less than 100 yards away; the flexibility of this zoom lens has helped me capture images that I would not otherwise have been able to get. The VR system works great, I have been able to get sharp shots at 400mm with a SS of 1/30th of a second.<br />The two things I dislike most about the lens are how heavy it is and that it can be awkward to handle, especially inside a car.
Pros: Durable, Fast / accurate auto-focus, Rugged, Strong Construction
Summary: I have hesitated using this glass because we have 400mm 2.8 pool lenses that I've always used. I've either been too tight or too loose, but the frustration is being too tight. You can never crop out, of course. So recently I've started looking at different approach to shooting. During our first post season series in Arlington, I chose to grab the 200-400mm, instead.
Summary: I have owned this lens for a few months now. I still am amazed at how clear and crisp the pictures are. I have had the wonderful opportunity of photographing NFL teams, many local high school teams, and the United States Olympic Wrestling Trials in Iowa. The clarity of the pictures made me look so good.