Nikon has announced the 600mm f/6.3 VR S super-telephoto prime lens which it says is the lightest 600mm prime lens in its class, enabling handheld shooting at long distances for Nikon Z shooters.
The new optic has an overall length of approximately 11 inches (287 mm) and weighs approximately three pounds (1,390 grams), making it the lightest 600mm supertelephoto across all cameras. It’s a combination of focal range and aperture value that Nikon has never made before, and the company says that although it aims to be more compact, lighter and easier to hold, it doesn’t compromise on image quality.
Nikon says the lens’s center of gravity is located closer to the body in order to allow better balance which, when combined with its relatively light weight, makes it ideal for panning in situations that require lens control and stability such as car racing or when capturing fast-moving subjects such as birds in flight.
The lens uses a Phase Fresnel (PF) lens element which Nikon explains allows it to make the lens significantly smaller overall and when combined with advanced autofocus and vibration reduction performance (up to six stops when combined with a camera with in-body image stabilization), It should allow photographers to take clear images of fast-moving subjects, even when they are far away.
The 600mm f/6.3 VR S features 21 lens elements arranged in 14 groups and offers an aperture range of f/6.3 to f/32 via a nine-blade aperture diaphragm. Nikon says chromatic aberration is significantly reduced thanks to the aforementioned PF lens element which is combined with extra-low dispersion glass elements. It also uses an SR lens element to control short-wavelength light that Nikon says is typically difficult to correct, but thanks to its implementation, the lens has “extremely accurate chromatic aberration compensation.” Finally, the optics are treated with Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat to reduce ghosting and flare.
The AF motor is a stepping type that Nikon says allows for fast and quiet AF performance. The lens is also compatible with Nikon’s 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters, extending the range to 840mm and 1200mm respectively.
The lens is equipped with four lens Fn2 buttons and one lens Fn button that can be customized and assigned to a wide range of controls as well as a memory recall function that instantly recalls the stored focus position. The lens is also dust and moisture resistant.
Nikon hasn’t forgotten about its video shooters either, saying its new super-telephoto lens not only operates very quietly, but also provides stable exposure and includes focus and breathing suppression.
Here are some sample images captured with the Nikon 600mm f/6.3 VR S lens:
The new Nikkor Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S will be available in late October for a suggested retail price of $4,800.
Image credits: Header image and two consecutive images by Jaron Schneider for PetaPixel. All others were provided courtesy of Nikon.
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