Nikon’s previously-teased super-telephoto prime is now not shrouded in thriller. The Nikon Z 400mm f2.8 TC VR S, introduced at this time, is the mirrorless line’s first super-telephoto with a built-in teleconverter. The telephoto lens boasts a number of new options, together with a brand new autofocus motor, Fn ring, and lens coating. All of this comes wrapped in a weather-sealed magnesium alloy lens that’s nonetheless two kilos lighter than its DSLR cousin.
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However, even for photographers who can’t afford the steep $14,000 worth level, it brings in just a few thrilling options that can hopefully unfold to different future Z mount lenses. As a former longtime Nikon photographer, I’m desperate to not solely see the 400mm in particular person, however see Nikon deliver these new options to different future optics. Right here’s why Nikon photographers needs to be geeked about at this time’s launch.
A brilliant-telephoto prime
The Nikon Z 400mm f2.8 is the corporate’s first super-telephoto prime for its younger full-frame mirrorless collection. Previous to at this time’s launch wildlife and sports activities photographers that wished an excellent lengthy attain needed to adapt an F-mount lens. Solely the Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR has an analogous attain, however as a model new lens it’s is tough to seek out and at present out of inventory.
Nikon’s Z lenses are the very best factor about your entire collection. The S line lenses are usually very sharp with wealthy colours — you don’t get that very same stage of sharpness by adapting an F mount lens. I’ve examined a number of S-line lenses with such an awesome mixture of sharpness and coloration that I used to be tempted to buy a Z physique simply to make use of that lens.
I’m hoping the brand new Nikon Z 400mm, which can be a part of the identical S line, will ship that very same mix of sharpness and wealthy coloration. The pictures shot from the lens that Nikon has shared to this point are inclined to have these extra golden colours, whereas the topics look sharp and the backgrounds superbly blurred. It’s troublesome to find out picture high quality from a collection of company-provided pictures, however, nonetheless, it’s sufficient to spark my curiosity.
The distinction appears nice as effectively, which could possibly be a part of Nikon’s new Meso Amorphous Coat. The corporate says the brand new coating is the very best anti-reflection coating in Nikon historical past. Ideally, anti-reflection coatings ought to boast distinction and restrict aberrations whereas nonetheless permitting photographers to create flare when they need it. Hopefully, this new coating will just do that. I wouldn’t be stunned to see future Z lenses, particularly throughout the S line, undertake it as effectively.
The next pictures had been offered by Nikon:
A brand new autofocus motor
If the rationale to purchase the Z system is the lenses, the rationale to not purchase the Z system is the autofocus. It’s first rate, nevertheless it’s not fairly pretty much as good as Canon and Sony’s. (We’ve but to get our palms on the Z 9 to see how the newest stacks up, so that might change).
This new lens has a wholly new autofocus motor. It’s referred to as the Silky Swift Voice Coil Motor. Sure, these first two phrases sound like a foul stage title, or maybe a foul Taylor Swift tribute band. However, Nikon says the SSVCW is quicker and extra correct. The corporate says that it’s designed to maneuver a whole lot of lens components shortly. It’s additionally paired with a brand new information for smoother motion. There’s speak right here of this motor being quiet as effectively.
It’s exhausting to separate the marketing-speak with out really testing out the lens, however I’m hopeful that Nikon is taking one more step in the proper route right here. The corporate has made a whole lot of nice strides ahead for the reason that first Z our bodies and I might like to see much more right here. Telephoto lenses are particularly troublesome to focus — maybe SSVCW is simply what the corporate wants. (Although clearly, in addition they want somebody who’s a bit higher at naming this stuff.)
This new lens has a wholly new autofocus motor. It’s referred to as the Silky Swift Voice Coil Motor. Sure, these first two phrases sound like a foul stage title, or maybe a foul Taylor Swift tribute band.
This lens is the primary Z mount that has a built-in teleconverter. This could assist deliver the picture high quality of a primary with a tiny little bit of the flexibility of a zoom lens. Utilizing the teleconverter, which is only a swap on the aspect of the lens, brings the utmost aperture to f4 however creates an efficient focal size of 560mm. The lens’s stabilization, which is as much as 5.5 stops, will assist right here.
Whereas there’s a teleconverter built-in, Nikon says the lens may also settle for the 1.4x and 2x teleconverter. This may once more scale back the aperture however create a 787mm and 1120mm perspective. That’s going to be troublesome to work with due to the decreased aperture. I might anticipate a tripod to basically be a requirement at 1120mm, even with the stabilization.
Lighter, weather-sealed design
A few of Nikon’s Z lenses are literally heavier than their F-mount lenses. Fortunately, that’s not the case right here. The lens weighs about 6.5 kilos. That’s not mild, nevertheless it’s two kilos lighter than the same F-mount lens. Surprisingly, the lens has a magnesium alloy physique, so it’s not light-weight as a result of it has an inexpensive plastic barrel.
As a part of the S collection, it’s acquired just a few design options that I’ve actually preferred in different lenses, just like the weather-sealing. However, it doesn’t have the highest LCD display screen that shows the focal distance scale or aperture settings. As an alternative, Nikon has added a brand new FN ring. Nikon says that the Fn ring can recall a spotlight place with a Reminiscence Recall operate. It sounds intriguing. However, the variety of rings on the lens appears fairly daunting — it’s in all probability going to take some apply to not attain for the improper factor.
The Nikon Z 400mm f2.8 TC VR S lens is anticipated to ship in late February 2022, itemizing for a cool $13,999.95. That’s a bit dearer than the $11,196 the F-mount at present sells for. I don’t anticipate to afford such a lens anytime quickly, however I’m excited to see what a brand new autofocus motor, a brand new Fn ring, and a brand new anti-glare coating can do for the Z system.