Wildlife, birding, sports, motorsports, aviation and similar subjects have always posed a challenge for photographers: how do you create a pleasing, detailed image when you can’t get as close as you’d like to your subject? Teleconverters are one way, but the results aren’t always ideal. Super-telephoto prime lenses like the NIKKOR Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S provide incredible results, but these lenses are, historically, prohibitively bulky, weighty, and pricey.
Enter the NIKKOR Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S. Available at the end of this month, the 600mm f/6.3 is both significantly more affordable and more agile than Mr. Humongous. Fill the frame without filling your entire gear bag with one lens!
The secrets to this miniaturization trick are Phase Fresnel lens technology (as seen in the NIKKOR Z 800mm f/6.4 VR S) and a smaller maximum aperture. The 600mm f/6.3 weighs only 3.06 pounds, as compared to the f/4‘s 7.19 pound weight. It’s only 11″ long, with a 4.5″ diameter. That enables the use of relatively common 95mm filters, plus you can fit it in a camera bag without even removing it from the body!
Another advantage of the miniature size is the ability to use it handheld—imagine: using a 600mm prime handheld! Nikon set out to assist from another angle toward this goal, incorporating a 5.5 stop image stabilization system (or 6 stops when used on a Synchro VR-capable body, currently including the Z 8, Z 9, and Z f). Handheld panning, overhead shots, and more are finally possible with this carefully balanced tool.
Though some brightness was sacrificed, quality was not. Nikon’s proprietary Nano Crystal Coat improves contrast and reduces flare, while ED and SR elements minimize chromatic aberration. The clarity and sharpness present here are plenty for this little wonder to achieve S Line status!
Physical controls are plentiful. An L-Fn button, Memory Set button for specific focus distance, 10m limiting switch, large focusing ring, control ring, and anti-slip features all make for an intuitive experience.