Nikon Z 600mm F4 First Impressions


There are certain Nikon lenses that I consider truly unique and special. My favorite of theirs is the 40mm f2. Nikon has quite a few good lenses on the telephoto end too. But the new Nikon Z 600mm f4 S has a built in 1.4x teleconverter that you can switch on and off. Combine that with Nikon’s DX-mode on their cameras and Nikon has just made one of the most versatile lenses on the market. We got to spend some time with this lens before launch. trust us; This is something every Nikon shooter is going to want.

Tech Specs

Product Name

NIKKOR Z 600mm f/4 TC VR

Mount Type

Nikon Z mount

Focal Length Range

n/a

Zoom ratio

n/a

Focal Length

600

Focal Length with built in TC

840 mm

Maximum Aperture

f/4

Maximum Aperture with built-in TC

f/5.6

Minimum Aperture

f/32

Minimum Aperture with built-in TC

f/45

Format

FX

Maximum Angle of View (FX-format)

FX-format, without built-in teleconverter: 4° 10′

FX-format, with built-in teleconverter: 3°

Maximum Angle of View (DX-format)

DX-format, without built-in teleconverter: 2° 40′

DX-format, with built-in teleconverter: 2°

Maximum Reproduction Ratio

Without built-in teleconverter: 0.14x

With built-in teleconverter: 0.2x

Lens Elements

26

Lens Groups

20

VR (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization

yes (5 stops. 5.5 stops with synchro VR on Z 9)

Diaphragm Blades

9 rounded

Nano Crystal Coat

yes

ED Glass Elements

3

Fluorite Elements

2

SR (Short-Wavelength Refractive) Elements

2

Super ED Glass Elements

1

Phase Fresnel

no

Aspherical Elements

no

Aspherical Extra-low Dispersion Glass Elements

no

Fluorine Coat

yes

Meso Amorphous Coat

yes

Focus limit switch

Two positions: FULL (∞—4.3 Close distance) and ∞—10.0 m

AF Actuator

SSVCM

Internal Focusing

yes

Minimum Focus Distance

Without built-in teleconverter: 4.3 m (14.11 ft)

With built-in teleconverter: 4.3 m (14.11 ft)

Close Range Correction

no

Focus Mode

A/M

Rear Focusing

no

De-Focus Control

no

E-type

yes

Filter Size

46mm slip in

Approx. Dimensions (Diameter x Length)

Approx.165×437 mm (6.5 in. x 17.3 in.)

(based on CIPA Guidelines)

Approx. Weight

Approx. 3,260 g (7 lb 3 oz) (based on CIPA Guidelines)

Supplied Accessories

LC-K107 Lens Cap (supplied, slip-on) NEW; LF-N1 Lens Cap (supplied, rear cap); LF-N1 Lens Cap (supplied, rear); CL-L3 Lens Case (supplied); LN-3 Strap

Ergonomics

Here’s a look at the Nikon Z 600mm f4 S. It’s on top of my Gura Gear Kiboko City Commuter bag. Attached to the Z9, it’s larger than the bag. Then you have to account for the lens hood and all.

Here’s a closer look at the top. There are three control rings towards the front: one is the manual focus ring, another is akin to an aperture ring, and the last is a bit more knurgled. They each have different textures so you can figure out what’s what without your eye leaving the viewfinder.

The lens also has a few buttons on it for extra configurations. If you have multiple cameras, be sure to set them up accordingly.

Here’s one side of the Nikon Z 600mm f4 S. Here you can spot the teleconverter switch, which you can set to on and off. You’ll also see that the lens has its own strap lugs.

Here’s the other side of the lens, which has a few controls. Overall, the Nikon Z 600mm f4 S keeps switches to a minimum.

Build Quality

Of course, this is one of Nikon’s highest-end lenses, so it’s going to be weather-resistant. And you can pretty much tell as this is a beefy piece of glass. I don’t know if many hours of yoga, pushups, and pilates have helped make this experience of holding the lens lighter or if I’m just stronger now. But if you’re a photographer who keeps themselves in shape, I think you’ll be fine walking around the forest with this thing for hours. I did it for around two hours.

The lens feels solid through and through in the hands.

Ease of Use

There’s a lot to digest here, but first off, you should know you can pretty much set this lens and forget about it afterward. I used it on the Nikon Z9 with beta firmware for a new release, and the only thing that really got to me was I wish it had more focus limiter settings (which is where Tamron has really made the difference for me). The Nikon Z 600mm f4 S lens only has two settings: 10m to infinity, and the full range. A lens with more settings really help to nail the focus faster. Combine that with setting the autofocus point yourself and the scene detection, and you’re all set.

Oh yeah, and the Nikon Z9 has drastically improved when it comes to scene detection. So this is a big part of it all.

Focusing

Despite how much the Nikon Z has improved, the Nikon Z 600mm f4 S still has a few issues with autofocus. We took the lens and camera into Forest Park (what I consider to be “hard mode” for testing this kind of stuff). Forest Park is very difficult to shoot in; it’s so dark there, and animals are well hidden. Only Canon and OM System really nail it, but somehow the Nikon Z 600mm f4 S spotted a black squirrel camouflaged against a tree. It also spotted a small yellow bird, but wasn’t able to lock onto it fast enough.

Still, this lens focuses very quickly even with the 1.4x teleconverter added in.

Image Quality

These images are from a pre-production Nikon Z 600mm f4 S and a Nikon z9 with beta firmware. Please keep that in mind when looking at these images.

First Impressions

I spent about two hours with the Nikon Z 600mm f4 S and I’m quite impressed. 600mm is very versatile and the fact that there is a built-in teleconverter is very nice. It focuses quickly, and the versatility it provides is really going to sell this lens. You can go from 600mm to 830 or so pretty easily. Then, using the Z9, you can set it to DX mode and get even more reach out of it. The versatility is huge here, and I think that this lens is bound to win Nikon a lot of awards.

It’ll be a while before we get one, but we’re patiently waiting for a review unit.





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