Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S Announced | Nikkor Glass Always Out-Does The Competition, For A Price
Nikon just announced their first flagship telephoto full-frame mirrorless lens, the Nikkor Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S, and it is pretty incredible. It is a brand-new optical design, and yes, “TC” means that it offers a built-in 1.4x teleconverter, something unprecedented for 400mm flagship lenses in particular.
It comes in at just under $14,000, which isn’t uncommon for such exotic 400mm, 500mm, and 600mm or even 800mm lenses, and just a little bit above the frequent ~$12K of many others.
This marks yet another impressive, innovative lens for Nikon wildlife photographers, indeed, joining the highly exotic Nikon 120-300mm f/2.8, as well as the Nikon 180-400mm f/4E TC1.4 FL ED VR, which is one of the very few other lenses to include a 1.4x teleconverter.
The Nikkor Z 300mm f/.28 TC VR S | The Most Unique, Advanced 400mm f/2.8 Ever
Meanwhile, on the other hand, Canon literally just took their DSLR-mount 400mm f/2.8 and changed the mount to fit mirrorless. It was an impressive 400mm lens, to begin with, indeed, but the whole concept is undeniably less innovative.
Of course, Sony debuted their own full-frame mirrorless 400mm f/2.8 back in 2018, and it was innovative because it was so much lighter than most DSLR lenses. But, of course, the Sony doesn’t have a built-in 1.4x teleconverter.
Simply put, this Nikkor will likely be the champion of them all. True, I haven’t reviewed it yet, but, here’s the thing: telephoto lenses costing over ten thousand dollars are always at the cutting edge of image quality. I would bet anything that this lens is ready to resolve 50-100 megapixel images with ease. Indeed, with such exotic lenses like these, the difference isn’t about which has sharper corners, it’s about which has faster, more precise autofocus, and now, additional features such as a built-in teleconverter.
We are surely going to try and get our hands on one of these lenses for a full review, of course!
Additional Features & Advantages
Nikon’s exotic new beast also offers a significant weight reduction compared to its DSLR-made predecessor, weighing in at 6.5 lbs (2.95kg) Also, As with a couple of other top-shelf Nikkor lenses, this 300mm f/2.8’s VR (Vibration Reduction) will work in conjunction with the Nikon Z9, which ups the standard 5.5 stops of VR to 6 EV.
Autofocus uses a “voice coil” AF motor, which promises both total silence and extremely fast, precise movements. Last but not least, for those who are used to seeing a big “N” (for Nano) on their exotic Nikkor optics, Nikon is debuting a brand new type of glass coating, called “Meso” Amorphous coating, to go along with Nikon’s similarly exotic Arneo coating.
So, in conclusion, the upside is that this is probably the best 400mm f/2.8 lens ever made, and it’s the only one on the market that has a built-in teleconverter. The downside, if there is one, would be that some might say you are paying $2K for a teleconverter, even though that’s not exactly true in my opinion.
To summarize, here’s where we stand with the “big gun” super-telephoto lenses for full-frame mirrorless systems:
Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S: $14K (6.5 lb / 2.95kg)
Canon RF 400mm f/2.8 L IS: $12 (6.4 lb / 2.9kg)
Canon RF 1.4x TC: $500
Sony FE 400mm f/.28 GM OSS: $12K (6.4 lb / 2.9kg)
Sony FE 1.4x TC: $550
Nikon so often manages to one-up the competition, indeed. Honestly, the real test will be to see how this high-powered lens operates on the Nikon Z9, when it comes to focusing on fast-moving subjects, and tracking human faces, wildlife, racecars, etc. Again, we are eager to review both the Z9 and this lens!
Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S Press Release
A new pinnacle of performance for sports, action, and wildlife shooters
MELVILLE, NY (January 18, 2022) –Today, Nikon announced the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S, a high-performance super-telephoto prime lens for the Nikon Z system. This fast S-Line lens arrives just in time to complement the unstoppable potential of the Nikon Z 9, and opens creative possibilities for professionals photographing sports and wildlife where there is no room for compromise on extreme reach and incredible sharpness.
“Nikon’s engineers continue to bring new and exciting advancements to image creators and working professionals. Immediately following the extraordinary response to the Z 9, the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S lens features the latest technologies resulting from our expertise in optical engineering,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. “The customers for this lens often find themselves in situations where there is no second chance to get a shot; this lens takes full advantage of new technologies made possible by the Z mount and gives professional shooters an edge to capture the decisive moment with remarkable image quality, under any kind of light.”
The NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S has unprecedented rendering capabilities, combined with a myriad of new optical technologies that enhance the image quality and performance. This lens features a constant f/2.8 aperture that provides stellar low-light capabilities as well as beautiful bokeh and subject isolation from the background. For extended reach, this is the first NIKKOR Z lens to utilize a built-in 1.4x teleconverter to instantly increase the focal length to 560mm. This feature allows photographers to seamlessly adjust as an athlete moves downfield, or to capture environmental and close-up shots of nature without changing lenses or positions.
The NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S is the lightest lens of its type, engineered with superb balance, intuitive controls and weather sealing suitable for professional use. This lens is also the first to employ Nikon’s newly developed optical technologies such as a Silky Swift Voice Coil Motor1 (SSVCM), enabling high-speed, high accuracy AF with near-silent operation. This new S-Line lens also features Nikon’s new Meso Amorphous Coat, which offers the highest anti-reflection capabilities in NIKKOR history.
Primary features of the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S:
- A built-in 1.4x teleconverter enables a seamless and rapid switch from a 400mm to a 560mm focal length, using a switch conveniently located close to the camera operator’s right hand. The increase in focal length can be made without changing posture to avoid disturbing wildlife while minimizing the intrusion of dust often associated with conventional teleconverter assembly. For even more reach, the lens also accepts Z TELECONVERTERS TC-1.4x and TC-2x for a maximum reach of 784mm and 1120mm, respectively.
- The lightest lens of its type with a built-in teleconverter, weighing in at approximately 6.5lbs (2950 g), which is nearly two pounds lighter (approx. 20% less) than the NIKKOR AF-S 400mm f/2.8FL ED VR. The use of Fluorite elements also contribute to its reduced weight.
- The newly developed Meso Amorphous Coat offers the best anti-reflection performance in NIKKOR lens history. Regardless of the directions of incident light, this advanced new coating offers an anti-reflection effect that’s superior to that of Nano Crystal Coat, greatly suppressing ghosting and flaring caused by incident light from various directions.
- The new SSVCM enables fast, highly accurate, quiet AF control, and is optimized to move large elements with the utmost precision. The SSVCM works in conjunction with a new guide mechanism that enables the elements to move smoothly, further increasing accuracy.
- The lens construction consists of 25 elements in 19 groups; two ED glass elements, a super-ED glass element, two lightweight fluorite lens elements, and an SR lens element are incorporated in the optical formula, helping to compensate for aberrations effectively, including chromatic aberration.
- Built-in Vibration Reduction (VR) provides up to 5.5 stops of compensation2, even when the built-in teleconverter is in use. Synchro VR is available when paired with the Nikon Z 9.
- Designed with a rugged magnesium alloy body and robust weather sealing on various portions including movable parts of the lens barrel and a rubber gasket around the lens mount, ensuring superior dust- and drip-resistant performance3. Additionally, a fluorine coat with antifouling performance is applied to the surface of the front element, repelling water droplets and dust.
- Offers multiple customizable function buttons, including a control ring and a new Fn Ring that can recall a focus position quickly with the Memory Recall function.
Pricing and Availability
For more information about the latest Nikon products, including other NIKKOR Z lenses and the entire collection of Z series cameras, please visit nikonusa.com.