The lens + teleconverter combo is sharp, but autofocus slows down
I went out again with the Nikon 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 Z Nikkor, and this time I used the Z teleconverter TC 1.4x. This combination delivers the equivalent of a 250-840mm f/7.8-9 lens. Again, I’m still using a Nikon Z6 body, so autofocus performance is slower than what you’d see with a Nikon Z8/Z9.
Autofocus definitely slowed down a bit when using the teleconverter, but once focus was acquired it did a good job of staying locked in. What I found from my test shots was that sharpness across the frame was still excellent, even wide-open. Stopping down to f/11 improved edge sharpness slightly, but not enough to make me feel like I needed to do so. I feel that if you can handle the light-loss penalty (1-stop), and reduced AF performance, go ahead and use this combination wide-open. It’s very very good.
Here are a few full-resolution sample images from the Nikon 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 Z Nikkor + Nikon Z teleconverter 1.4x. Click on any image to view it full-size.
Looking at sharpness and bokeh with neighborhood subjects
Walked around the neighborhood yesterday with the Nikon 180-600mm Z Nikkor and my Nikon Z6 body just to test the lens and see how it handled. I plan to get out to a better location soon, but my casual backyard tests suggest that this lens is quite excellent. Obviously, I need to find some better subjects (coming soon). But I just wanted to post a few un-cropped images from the Nikon Z6 so you can get a sense of sharpness and bokeh. I’ll have a Z9 to test with this lens in the coming weeks.
Thanks to reader Mick Klass, who submitted his results for the new Nikon 20mm f/1.8 S Nikkor Z lens at 720mm infrared. His results showed excellent performance through f/8, with a mild hotspot appearing at f/11 and above. As such, I give the 20mm f/1.8 S Nikkor a “good” rating on my Nikon Z infrared testing chart.
Nikon has two 18-300mm DX zooms. How do they compare, and which is right for you?
All in-one zoom lenses have come a long way in terms of quality and focal length range. While many enthusiasts and pros tend to shy away from all in-one lenses in favor of higher-performance glass, there are certainly times when the “superzoom” lens is ideal. For me, superzoom lenses are perfect when you’re traveling and you don’t want to carry multiple lenses. Superzoom lenses are also perfect for street photography or photo walks, where you never know what kind of subject you might encounter.
Can a $1400 zoom compete with a $8000 prime telephoto lens?
That’s the $64k question, isn’t it? When I saw that the new Nikon 200-500mm f/5.6E VR was announced at under $1400 (check price here), I figured that either: a) I read that wrong, or b) it must be a compromise. Seeing as how I own the 500mm f/4 AFS G VR Nikkor, I figured I’d do the obligatory comparison, so here’s my backyard shootout: