Nikon recently released a new super-telephoto lens for their full-frame Z-mount mirrorless cameras, the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S. It features a light and compact design optimized for handheld shooting, an optical stabilization system that supports 5 .5 stops of compensation and quiet, fast autofocus for stills and video. It is now available for pre-order for $3,246.95.
Early this year, Nikon released a 400mm f/2.8 super-telephoto for their Z-mount ecosystem. This was followed shortly afterwards by the NIKKOR Z 800mm f/6.3 VR Swhich is still the longest focal length available for Nikon’s Z-mount mirrorless cameras.
The company also announced its intention to expanding their Z-mount lens lineup the coming years. So here it is, the brand new Nikon NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S, which is a lighter and more compact option compared to its fast f/2.8 sibling. Let’s take a closer look at that.
Nikon NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S: overview
The new NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S is a super-telephoto prime lens designed to work with Nikon Z full-frame mirrorless cameras. Such a long focal length is ideal for wildlife and sports applications and can also be extended by pairing the lens with the existing Z TELECONVERTER TC-1.4x and TC-2.0x, achieving an equivalent of 560 and 800mm respectively.
According to Nikon, this lens, which is part of the company’s premium S-Line series, should combine high image performance in a compact form factor. Therefore, compared to its f/2.8 equivalent, it should facilitate users during handheld operations. However, this advantage comes at the expense of light transmission (aperture range: f/4.5 – f/32).
The lens features Optical Vibration Reduction (VR) technology, which should provide approximately 5.5 stops of compensation. Nikon claims up to 6 stops can be achieved by pairing the lens with in-camera stabilization on the Z 9, their Suitable for RAW video full-frame flagship model.
This super-telephoto lens also features a stepping motor (STM) focusing mechanism that should deliver quiet, fast and accurate autofocus performance for both stills and video.
Nikon NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S: physsical and optical design
The Nikon NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S weighs about 1,245g/2.7lbs. and measures 104 × 234.5mm / 4.1 × 9.2″ in size. That means it’s about 57% lighter and 38% shorter than the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S. The lens is designed with rubber gaskets that make it dust and drip resistant, while a removable tripod collar is there to take some stress off the camera’s lens mount when mounting your setup on a tripod.
The optical design contains 19 elements in 13 groups. These include an ED (extra low dispersion) element, two Super ED elements and a single SR (short wavelength refractive element) element. This construction should minimize optical and chromatic aberrations.
The lens also takes advantage of Nikon’s proprietary Nano Crystal Coating technology, which usually helps reduce unwanted ghosting and flare. Finally, the front element has a fluorine coating that is dirt and oil repellent.
Like most Nikon lenses of this type, the lens barrel is filled with buttons and switches that provide quick access to some of the most basic settings. These include two customizable L-Fn buttons, one of which can be accessed from four different locations. In addition, a Memory Set button allows users to quickly recall pre-stored focus positions.
The lens has two switches on the left. One is for selecting the focus mode (M or AF), while the other is a focus limiter. Indeed, the entire focusing range of the lens (from 2.5m/8.2′ to infinity) can be limited (from 6m/19.7′ to infinity).
Finally, this new super-telephoto lens boasts some additional smart features, such as a programmable Control Ring (which can be assigned to control aperture, ISO or EV compensation) and focus breathing compensation for video.
Price and availability
Do you often use super-telephoto lenses for your video work? What do you think of the new Nikon NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!