Nikon announces the Z 600mm F4 TC VR S super-telephoto lens featuring advanced autofocus and optical technologies

by Jeremy Gray

published Tuesday, November 1, 2022 at 11:01 PM EST

Earlier this year, Nikon released the fast Nikkor Z 400mm F2.8 TC VR S telephoto lens for its mirrorless Z system. Today Nikon unveiled its sibling, the Z 600mm F4 TC VR S. Like the 400mm F2.8 lens, the new 600mm super-telephoto lens incorporates Nikon’s latest optical technology and includes a 1.4x teleconverter lens that can be activated with the flip of a switch on the lens barrel. The Nikkor Z 600mm F4 TC VR S offers “an unprecedented combination of versatility and powerful performance”. It’s a professional lens aimed at working professionals, so it comes at a steep price to match. The lens costs $15,499, which is over $3,000 more than the AF-S Nikkor 600mm F4E FL ED VR Lens for Nikon F mount.

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

Nikkor Z 600mm F4 TC VR S

As for the optics, the Z 600mm F4 TC VR S features 26 lenses in 20 groups, including 3 ED, 2 fluorite, 2 short-wavelength refractive (SR) and 1 Super ED glass lens . The AF-S 600mm F4E FL ED VR has 16 elements in 12 groups, so there is a significant change in 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 latest coating is designed to dramatically reduce ghosting and flare caused by incident light sources, such as stadium lights, sunlight and oncoming headlights.

Autofocus is provided by Nikon’s Silky Swift VCM (SSVCM) autofocus actuator. Nikon writes: “Quickly and quietly moving the larger optics of a fast super telephoto lens is an impressive feat in itself, but the benefits of the SSVCM are enhanced with the guide mechanism which effectively suppresses vibration in the AF drive as well as the ‘ABS Encoder optics which contributes to overall AF accuracy. The minimum focusing distance is 4.3 m (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 drops from 0.14x to 0.2x with TC enabled. With the 1.4x TC activated, the lens is equivalent to an 840mm F5.6 lens.

Photo credit: Nikon

“The range, capabilities and value that Nikon delivers with the Nikkor Z telephoto lenses continue to exceed expectations,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. ‘another exciting addition to the range of lenses, which we will continue to develop.”

If you want even more range, you can also use the Z 2.0x teleconverter. Combined with the built-in 1.4x TC, the lens converts to a 1680mm lens. Nikon is also including a 2.3x crop for video recording in the Nikon Z9 (read more about firmware 3.0 here), which will turn the lens into a 1932mm optic. This is a serious litter.

Photo credit: Nikon

Additional features include Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) which provides up to 5 stops of shake correction (5.5 stops when combined with the Z9’s sync feature). The lens is also weatherproof with extended waterproofing.

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

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