Nikon has been hard at work expanding its super-telephoto range for its Z-mount cameras. Early this year, it released the Nikkor Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S, Z 400mm F2.8 TC VR S, Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S, and now it has announced the NIKKOR Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S lens. This professional-level lens brings impressive quality and features, such as a built-in 1.4x teleconverter, a completely new optical design, and a lightweight yet durable build. The price matches the quality and size, though, and it will cost you $15,496.95 to own this monster of a lens.
Nikon Z 600mm f/4 build
Nikon already had a 600mm for its F-mount cameras, but it didn’t simply take that tech and make it work for the larger Z-mount. Instead, it has completely redesigned the lens for mirrorless use.
Nikon kept the carry-on luggage compatible size, and it measures 6.5 x 17.2 inches. And yet, it was able to make the Z-mount lens 14% lighter than the F-mount version. It weighs only 7.2 pounds, which is quite reasonable for a lens this size.
The lens features a magnesium alloy body that aids in keeping weight down while still offering durability. It’s also dust and drip-resistant for use in poor conditions. And as we should expect, the front element utilizes a fluorine coat to keep it free of dirt and moisture.
Optical design & vibration reduction
The optical design is also entirely new in the Z 600mm f/4. It has 26 elements in 20 groups, which is 10 more lens elements than the F-mount 600mm. These elements include two ED (extra-low dispersion), one Super ED glass element, two lightweight fluorite elements, and one SR (short-wavelength refractive) element.
Beyond the lens elements, it also gets Nikon’s Meso Amorphous Coat. Nikon says this coat provides the best anti-reflection performance in NIKKOR lenses yet. Additionally, it has a Nano Crystal Coat for even more reduction of glare and ghosting, even in tricky conditions like stadium lighting, direct sunlight, and oncoming headlights.
The lens also features optical VR (vibration reduction) for sharper images. It will provide 5.0 stops of stabilization, with 5.5 stops when used on the Nikon Z9.
Like the Z 400mm f/2.8, the new 600mm f/4 features a built-in 1.4x teleconverter. It allows you to instantly swap between 60mm f/4 and 840mm f/5.6. That will provide more versatility with a simple switch.
If you do need more reach, the lens is compatible with teleconverters. When paired with the Z TELECONVERTER TC-2.0, you’ll have a 1,200mm reach. And, if you also utilize the in-lens teleconverter, you can get up to 1,680mm. Finally, for video applications, with the Z9’s 2.3x crop, you’ll have a whopping 1,932mm with all three things in place.
Autofocus is always a key area in new lens and camera releases, and Nikon has hit it out of the park here. It’s powered by Nikon’s drive system, the incredibly named Silky Swift VCM (SSVCM). Nikon says the SSVCM “achieves higher speed, better accuracy, and quieter operation than ever before, surpassing previous drive systems.”
The drive system is enhanced by a guide mechanism, which effectively reduces vibrations within the AF drive. And the optical ABS encoder improves autofocus accuracy. You should be able to nail focus even on fast-moving subjects.
Pricing & availability
The new NIKKOR Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S will be available in late November for $15,499.95. It is currently available for pre-order.