The lens Nikon wildlife photographers have been waiting for
When Nikon announced the long-awaited 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 Z Nikkor telephoto zoom lens, I immediately placed a pre-order. This lens is the obvious successor to the 200-500mm f/5.6E VR (F-mount) for native Nikon Z mount. While the 200-500mm Nikkor is a tremendous value and excellent lens, the new native Z lens offers some substantial improvements, notably:
Internal zoom design with a short zoom ring rotation (70°)
4.3lbs (without collar or hood) vs. over 5lbs for the 200-500mm
5.5 stops of vibration reduction
Excellent zoom range from 180-600mm
While few people would argue that a 4+ pound lens is “lightweight,” it’s certainly easier to hand-hold than the 200-500mm. Zooming while shooting is very easy with a very smooth zoom ring and short rotation distance. With the 200-500mm, I sometimes felt that I was cranking the zoom ring all the way around the lens.
If there were any features I’d wished were different on this lens, it would be the tripod collar design (removable collar vs. removable foot), and better focus range limiter options. Nikon only offers full range and a 6m-∞ setting. Other companies sometimes include a short-range setting, too. Keep in mind that at 4.3 pounds (1.95kg), hand-holding this lens for prolonged sessions will still get tiring; you may want to use it with a monopod. The 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 Z Nikkor is over a full pound lighter, but also costs about $1000 more.
In my brief testing, focus seems quick and smooth, but I’ll wait to try it on a Z9 body before coming to any conclusions on speed. The lens has a 9-bladed aperture design, which should help with bokeh. There’s no VR switch on the lens; you turn it on and off via your Nikon Z camera body.
I hope to do some real-world testing of this lens very soon, but I think with its price point of under $1700, Nikon has a home-run on their hands with this lens.
When it comes to going small and light, there are lots of excellent choices for Micro Four-Thirds shooters
If you enjoy traveling with your camera, you probably want a kit that offers a fairly wide range of focal lengths, but also something that is fairly lightweight and compact. Recently, I’ve been discussing with a colleague about the dreaded “what to pack” question. He’s going to be in Paris next month, and wants a flexible kit to use with his OM-1 body. The problem isn’t a lack of options; it’s literally quite the opposite. There are so many lenses available for Micro 4/3rds users that sometimes it can feel overwhelming when trying to decide what to pack for a trip!
The Micro 4/3rds system offers photographers a tremendous range of lens choices for travel, as most of the lenses for this system are fairly small and light to begin with. Options range from single all-purpose zoom lenses, two-lens zoom kits, a trio of tiny primes, or a mix of zooms and primes. Most of these lenses are quite good and make few optical compromises, and none of them will make you feel weighed down. In the end, the lenses you choose really depend on how much you’re willing to carry, and the type of subjects that interest you most.
These small prime lenses for Micro 4/3rds format open up a wide range of creative possibilities
Earlier this year, I purchased an OM Systems (formerly known as Olympus) OM-1 flagship mirrorless camera, along with a set of zoom lenses that are perfect for the majority of my photographic needs. One thing I hadn’t considered at the time was the prime lenses for Micro 4/3 format from Olympus and Panasonic.
Prime, or fixed focal length, lenses generally serve to either extend the range of your kit (ie, adding wide or telephoto prime to a zoom kit), or to provide a way of getting a different look to your images, usually because they are designed with a fast maximum aperture. You can also use primes for dedicated purposes; most portrait photographers will have at least one fast portrait lens (like an 85mm f/1.8 or faster) to deliver nice subject isolation.
A few years ago, before I switched to using a mirrorless system, I frequently put a 50mm f/1.8, a.k.a the “Nifty Fifty.” In my bag when traveling. But when I got my Nikon Z kit, I stopped using a 50mm prime, even though I’d purchased the outstanding Nikon 50mm f/1.8S Nikkor Z. Why? Because it was just too darned big to bring along as an extra lens, and using the F-mount version required a lens mount adapter, adding weight and bulk to my kit.
We received a listener question from our website asking about highlight-priority metering, which can be useful in certain situations. Not all cameras offer this metering mode, but we’ll describe how it works and when we use it.
The three newest lenses for Nikon Z-mount are now showing up in camera shops. These lenses are designed to cover Nikon’s DX format (APS-C) sensors, as found in the Nikon Z 50, Z fc, and Z 30 cameras. All three of these lenses appear to have a solid design and construction. Each one offers a 9-bladed diaphragm, weather sealing, and fast stepping motor AF