Nikon Releases its Own New Super-Pricey, Super-Telephoto Lens
Weeks after Caon’s release of a new, insanely huge, insanely expensive super-telephoto lens, Nikon has now announced something similar. The company has unveiled its 600mm f/4 TC VR S IS Super-Telephoto for Z-mount cameras.
One photographer, Steve Perry, was even given an early hands-on opportunity to use this monster of a lens and covered the details of his photographic adventure on his website. He also made a video of his time with this beast of an optic.
As Perry explains, because he was given a pre-production edition of the new lens for testing, Nikon imposed limits on what he could test and requested that he not release full-resolution photos or RAW images publicly.
Despite these limitations, the photographer was able to give the 600mm f/4 TC VR S IS Super-Telephoto lens a decent spin with his Nikon Z9 camera and made a few discoveries about its performance.
One of the first impressions given is of a very fast autofocus speed performance, despite the enormous size and weight of this monster’s optics.
As Perry mentions, “My seat-of-the-pants estimate is that it is easily one of the fastest long lenses I’ve ever used. Even when starting from minimum focus distance, it zipped out to infinity fast enough to drop my jaw,”
He also noted that the lens was exceptionally accurate for capturing small subjects in motion –in his case, birds in-flight during different lighting conditions- and that its AF point was very much on target throughout shooting.
“Normally, I use the focus limiter quite a bit with bird-in-flight work to save focus hunting time when the camera or I miss the target. It didn’t even occur to me to touch the limiter during our tests. Focus is that potent. In addition, I found focus with this lens is incredibly accurate. If the AF point is on target, it’s going to be sharp. Period.”
On the other hand, Perry wasn’t able to use the lens in extremely low light for testing its capabilities under particularly difficult conditions for telephoto lenses.
Despite this, he noted that he could set the shutter speed to 1/200 with the teleconverter on and capture perfectly sharp photos even while holding his camera and the lens by hand.
Nikon has claimed 5.5 stops of vibration reduction in the 600mm f/4 TC VR S IS, and the above test conditions back assertions of that specification up.
Most importantly, the sharpness of the images that Perry captured with the 600mm lens is superb. According to the photographer, the lens competes exceptionally well with other, production-edition lenses that Perry had previously used, despite being a pre-production edition.
He further explained that the photos he’d captured matched or possibly even exceeded the level of detail he’s captured across hundreds of thousands of photos with many exotic prime lenses over the years.
Here are two of Perry’s own field test photos from his blog:
Image credit: Steve Perry
His video examination of the Nikon 600mm f/4 TC VR S IS is definitely worth a watch and you should also read his written review of this giant lens on his site.
Perry notes that he considers the new Nikon super-telephoto to be a “must-have” lens for serious pro wildlife photographers who use Nikon cameras. The big caveat for this would be that they’d have to afford it first.
The Nikon 600mm f/4 TC VR S IS super-telephoto lens costs $15,500 dollars.
This new 600mm lens weighs in at 7.18 lbs, or 3.26 kilograms and is 17.3 inches (437mm) long while being 6.5 inches (165mm) across at its widest.
According to Nikon, it comes with the absolute latest in optical technology and anti-reflective coatings for superb image quality. It also has a built-in 1.4x teleconverter for additional reach. This massive Nikon lens boasts an 840mm focal length and a maximum aperture of f/5.6.
The Nikon 600mm f/4 TC VR S IS super-telephoto lens is available for preorder now by the way.