The Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S is an anomaly: lens with this type of focal size and aperture shouldn’t be really easy to make use of and cheap. So, what’s the catch?
Construct High quality
Measuring 5.6 inches (140 millimeters) on the entrance component by 15.2 inches (385 millimeters) in size, that is not like another high-end 800mm lens seen earlier than. For comparability, Nikon’s final 800mm f/5.6 for F-mount is sort of an inch wider and three inches longer. This comparability actually will get wild while you have a look at the distinction in weight: the brand new Z 800mm f/6.3 weighs solely 5 kilos 4 ounces, whereas the earlier 800mm f/5.6 weighs 10 kilos 1 ounce.
This isn’t going to be a comparability evaluation, but it surely must be mentioned as a result of this fully adjustments how and the place the brand new 800mm is used. My time with the lens was at all times handheld with the Nikon Z9. In case you are additionally accustomed to taking pictures lengthy lenses handheld, this one will match proper into what you’re already used to. I used to be in a position to preserve the digicam’s viewfinder as much as my eye for so long as I wanted to whereas ready out a shot, and it must be expressed once more that I’m speaking about an 800mm lens that weighed an arm-wobbling 10 kilos within the final era. What an development!
Taking a more in-depth have a look at the structure of the lens, the mount facet encompasses a 46mm drop-in filter holder that may be swapped for a separate drop-in round polarizing filter with a management wheel. There are a few switches and buttons right here too, together with a Reminiscence Set button, L-Fn button, focus mode swap, and focus distance limiter swap with choices of full or 10 meters to infinity.
One obtrusive omission is that there’s no solution to toggle the Vibration Discount (VR) modes from a lens swap. This drawback is compounded by the truth that we nonetheless can’t assign VR to a customized button for quick entry on the Z9. Having VR set to On, Sport, and naturally, Off, every act very in another way, and that is one thing I hope will get addressed sooner somewhat than later.
The main target ring is a correct wholesome measurement with rubber ribbing. It has clean begins and stops, however I discover the flip to have a bit extra friction than I’d favor when shifting quick. The transition of begins and stops makes all of the distinction for more durable rings, and whereas it could possibly be higher I nonetheless discover what we now have right here acceptable.
Then again, the location couldn’t be any higher because it’s positioned simply in entrance of the place my hand rests. Which means my fingers discover themselves on it while not having to readjust.
Forward of the main focus ring is a management ring that may solely be programmed to regulate aperture, publicity compensation, and ISO. This ring is fairly stiff and takes much more effort to maneuver with one finger. Because it’s turned, the adjustments are drastic. Round 30 levels of spin (12 to 1 on an analog clock) is sufficient to sweep by means of the whole aperture or ISO vary.
There are 4 extra L-Fn2 buttons on this space dealing with the highest, backside, and sides, though all of them will management the identical customized operate set within the digicam’s menu system.
The tripod collar on this lens just isn’t detachable and doesn’t have good click on stops at every 90-degree flip for quick, no-look leveling. That mentioned, the brand new $14,000 Nikon 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S additionally doesn’t have this, so its exclusion right here shouldn’t shock me though it nonetheless does disappoint. On a optimistic word, this lens has a tripod foot that may be very comfy for carrying briefcase fashion, whereas that Z 400mm f/2.8 comes with one which’s barely too brief.
The lens hood is form of an attention-grabbing matter with this lens. First, it’s surprisingly not the screw-on kind you normally get with costly super-telephoto lenses. As an alternative, it’s a bayonet fashion that’s popped on and twisted to lock. It’s received a pleasant rubberized rim, a uninteresting inside to cease reflections, and is general not a nasty design. As an alternative of a plastic cap, the lens comes with a drawstring pouch-looking factor to cowl the entrance component and doesn’t match proper with out the hood connected.
This leads proper into a subject that I believe is somewhat attention-grabbing, although: I believe many homeowners may go hoodless.
I used the hood on the lens for a few days, however then I noticed how a lot it threw every little thing off. The difficulty is that it’s simply monumental. It provides 5 and a half inches of size to the top of the lens and it’s about six and a half inches extensive.
I’m nicely conscious this isn’t something new for super-telephoto lenses, however I’m telling you once more that this lens feels completely different. It feels slim, it feels mild, and it makes the honkin’ lens hood really feel prefer it’s from a earlier period.
Have a look at the design of the lens and the way it steeply flares out close to the entrance component. Every thing is slim till the very finish. With the hood put in, a a lot greater portion of the lens is fats. Now think about reversing the lens hood on this and including a padded cowl. It turns this slim lens that’s straightforward to slot in a backpack (offered you might have the size wanted) into a completely completely different beast with fully completely different storage wants. After checking if this lens had a flare drawback (spoiler: it doesn’t), I mentioned screw that and left the hood at dwelling for the previous month with out trying again. Slightly than the massive semi-rigid lens pouch cowl, I used a decent little LensCoat Hoodie to guard the entrance in transit.
Picture High quality
The Nikon Z 800mm is constructed of twenty-two parts in 14 teams, together with three extra-low dispersion parts, one short-wavelength refractive component, and a Section Fresnel component. There’s a Nano Crystal Coat on the weather as nicely.
From a real-world, pure mild wildlife images perspective, the flaring of this lens is nicely managed. There’s a spattering of colour accrued close to the supply, but it surely doesn’t overpower the whole body. I attempted to make this lens give me some ugly outcomes for testing, but it surely’s not straightforward. Trying again by means of my photographs, there’s no noticeable colour fringing. All of Nikon’s newest super-telephoto lenses that I’ve used have been masters at sustaining excessive picture high quality.
In a assist doc, Nikon states that the Section Fresnel component could cause ring-shaped coloured flare when a light-weight supply is within the body or enters the lens from outdoors the body, however at the least from my use, I didn’t see this happen.
Taking a look at sharpness, the lens didn’t disappoint: in my photographs, each little bit of fur and feather element is there. The resolving energy additionally permits for appreciable cropping with out suspicion. As an f/6.3 most aperture lens, many photographers will decide to maintain it there to get probably the most mild for a sooner shutter velocity. The excellent news is that even extensive open, the sharpness is not going to undergo. The picture under was shot at f/6.3, and every barb within the feathers may be made out.
This lens makes use of an STM (stepping motor) for autofocus. It’s not the corporate’s newest and best expertise, which might be the Silky Swift VCM discovered within the 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S, however I haven’t seen a powerful case in my taking pictures the place it wanted to be. It’s quick sufficient to not grow to be an issue when making dramatic shifts in focus distance, though it’s not blink-of-an-eye quick. It’s that quick, nonetheless, when making extra frequent focus shifts, for instance, from 20 toes to 30 toes.
It has a minimal focusing distance of 16.41 toes (5 meters). That sounds far, however at 800mm for a lot of topics at that distance, it will likely be filling the body possibly greater than you’d like. More often than not, I didn’t discover it limiting, however there’s an adjustment interval to recollect I would wish to take a few steps again from the place I’d sometimes shoot with a 500mm or 600mm and a shorter minimal focus distance.
When taking pictures at 800mm handheld, Vibration Discount is a important part of this lens. Nikon claims that the lens can compensate for shake as much as 5 and a half stops mixed with the Z9 or 5 stops simply from the lens alone. That’s magic, contemplating that the lens’ area of view is about three levels. After working with this lens, it’s protected to say that the “one over the focal size” rule remains to be nicely buried up to now.
The Gold Normal of Tremendous-Telephoto Primes
So, what’s the catch? I don’t know. I genuinely do not know why this lens doesn’t price double the $6,500 that Nikon is asking as a result of I believe the corporate might have gotten away with it. For photographers who can’t get sufficient focal size, the high-end 800mm lenses at all times include the understanding that they are going to be large, heavy, and costly. This lens isn’t any of these issues, comparatively and from my expertise, no nice sacrifices are being made both.
Ready lists and estimated transport instances for this lens are reaching half a 12 months from what I’ve seen, and I believe which may be the one “catch” for the lens: it is not going to be straightforward to acquire with out a number of luck, at the least in the intervening time.
Are There Options?
There may be one, but it surely’s not excellent news. You’d need to be out of your thoughts to spend $16,300 and purchase a brand new F-mount Nikon 800mm f/5.6E AF-S FL ED VR and adapt it to make use of on a Z-mount digicam. That’s virtually $10,000 dearer and features you solely a 3rd cease of sunshine. It’s additionally 10 kilos versus the 5.25 kilos of the Z 800mm. That could be the worst deal in images for many who have moved to Nikon mirrorless.
Proper now, I wouldn’t think about anything akin to the Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3. It’s a distinctive lens throughout all manufacturers and methods by way of its package deal of design, picture high quality, and value. Nonetheless, based on the corporate’s lens highway map from 2021, Nikon is planning to deliver out a 600mm prime lens and a 200-600mm zoom lens. Including a 1.4x teleconverter would convert these lenses to 840mm at the price of one other full cease of sunshine.
Ought to You Purchase It?
Sure. The Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S is the brand new gold customary of super-telephoto prime lenses when factoring in attain, weight, construct high quality, picture high quality, and value.