Nikon announces Z 600mm F4 TC VR S supertelephoto lens with advanced autofocus and optical technologies

by Jeremy Gray

posted Wednesday, November 2, 2022 at 12:01 AM EDT

Earlier this year, Nikon released the Nikkor Z 400mm F2.8 TC VR S fast telephoto prime lens for its mirrorless Z system. Today, Nikon has unveiled its sibling, the Z 600mm F4 TC VR S. Much like the 400mm F2.8 lens, the new 600mm supertelephoto prime lens incorporates the latest in Nikon’s optical technology and includes a built-in 1.4x teleconverter that can be enabled with the easy flick of a switch on the lens barrel. The Nikkor Z 600mm F4 TC VR S delivers “an unprecedented combination of versatility and powerful performance.” It’s a professional lens aimed at working pros, so it has a steep price to match. The lens is $15,499, more than $3,000 more expensive than the AF-S Nikkor 600mm F4E FL ED VR lens for Nikon F mount.

However, the Nikkor Z 600mm F4 TC VR S isn’t just the older F-mount lens with a built-in teleconverter. It’s a brand-new lens with an all-new design. The lens is 14% lighter than its F-mount counterpart, weighing 3,260g (7.2 lbs), a full 550g lighter than the 600mm F4 for DSLRs. That’s quite the weight loss, especially considering the new Z lens incorporates a built-in teleconverter. The new lens is 437mm (17.2 in.) long, which is slightly longer than the AF-S Nikkor 600mm F4E (432mm/17in.).

Nikkor Z 600mm F4 TC VR S

Considering optics, the Z 600mm F4 TC VR S includes 26 lens elements across 20 groups, including 3 ED, 2 fluorite, 2 short-wavelength refractive (SR), and 1 Super ED glass element. The AF-S 600mm F4E FL ED VR has 16 elements in 12 groups, so there’s a significant change to the optical formula. The Z 600mm F4 TC VR S includes a fluorine coating on its front element and also has Nikon’s Meso Amorphous coating. This latter coating is designed to significantly reduce ghost and flare effects caused by incident light sources, such as stadium lights, sunlight and oncoming headlights.

Autofocus is delivered via Nikon’s Silky Swift VCM (SSVCM) autofocus actuator. Nikon writes, “Swiftly and silently moving the larger optics of a fast super-telephoto lens is an impressive feat unto itself, but the advantages of the SSVCM are enhanced with the guide mechanism that effectively suppresses vibration within the AF drive as well as the optical ABS encoder which contributes to overall AF accuracy.” The minimum focus distance is 4.3m (14.1 ft.). The minimum focus distance is the same whether you’re using the built-in 1.4x teleconverter, so the maximum reproduction ratio changes from 0.14x to 0.2x with the TC enabled. With the 1.4x TC enabled, the lens is equivalent to an 840mm F5.6 lens.

Image credit: Nikon

“The range, capability and value that Nikon delivers with Nikkor Z telephoto lenses continues to surpass expectations,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. ‚ÄúThis new S-line supertelephoto lens is just one more exciting addition to the rapidly growing line of lenses, which we will continue to expand.”

If you want even more reach, you can also use the Z teleconverter 2.0x. Combined with the built-in 1.4x TC, the lens turns into a 1,680mm prime. Nikon also includes a 2.3x crop for video recording in the Nikon Z9 (read about firmware 3.0 here), which will turn the lens into a 1,932mm optic. That’s some serious reach.

Image credit: Nikon

Additional features include optical vibration reduction (VR) that delivers up to 5 stops of shake correction (5.5 stops when combined with the Z9’s synchro function). The lens is also weather resistant with extensive sealing.

The Nikon Z 600mm F4 TC VR S will be available by the end of the month for $15,499.95.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

S-F-U