I chose to leave these images un-cropped so you could get an idea of the framing. All of these subjects were within 5-10m from me. I shot all of them at 600mm and wide-open at f/6.3. Click any image to enlarge it.
One thing I will say about this combo, the Z9 and the 180-600mm have a combined weight of over 7lbs (3,300g). If you’re not using a monopod, hand-holding this lens will get tiresome after awhile. With a the Nikon Z8, you’re still dealing with a 6.3lb kit. (I certainly noticed it, although I was also at 9000′ (2743m) elevation…
This week, we discuss a very colorful location shoot: Rick went to the Labor Day Liftoff hot air balloon festival in Colorado Springs. This annual event is a big draw, with over 75 balloon crews operating this year. We also got our hands on the Nikon 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 Z Nikkor lens. Jason offers his hands-on first look.
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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.