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…
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.
If there’s been a consistent trend in camera gear of late, it’s that the prices of lenses continue to increase. This is especially true for the big telephoto lenses, many of which use exotic designs and include features like built-in teleconverters. But when a lens costs over $10,000, that’s simply not feasible for the average enthusiast to even consider buying.
This week, we’ll discuss some options for how to acquire these big-ticket items without melting your credit card or mortgaging your home. The used market and rental companies offer some compelling ways to get your hands on expensive gear without the financial pain.
A few years ago, I was gifted a Billingham Hadley Pro shoulder bag. It’s a very well-made waterproof bag that is ideal for use as a walkabout bag for smaller kits. It’s dimensions are fairly small: 15 3/8″W x 6 3/8″ D x 9 3/8″ H. This makes the Hadley Pro an easy bag to put under an airplane seat as a personal item when traveling. I’ve taken this bag to places like Croatia and Scotland, where it was perfect for a small travel kit, like a Nikon Z7 ii and two zoom lenses.
However, I never thought I’d use this bag for transporting a super telephoto zoom. That is, until I tested it with my OM Systems OM-1 camera and Olympus 100-400mm f/5.0-6.3 lens, which has an equivalent angle of view to a 200-800mm lens on a 35mm format camera. By removing the lens collar (something I don’t need for hand-held shooting anyway), I was able to easily fit this telephoto zoom into the Hadley Pro bag. The OM-1 with 12-45mm f/4 lens attached fit as well, and I still had yet another empty compartment available to me.
My colleague, Rick Walker, pointed out something else while we were out shooting together. One could theoretically pair the 100-400mm with the outstanding Olympus 12-100mm f/4 zoom and have a two lens kit that covers the entire range from 24-800mm equivalent, in a bag that fits under the seat of an airplane. Mind blown!
I just took delivery of a brand-new Nikon 500mm f/4 AFS G VR Nikkor telephoto lens. I thought I’d unbox it on-air and discuss why I purchased it, and how it fits into my lineup. I also compare telephoto lens options, including 400mm and 600mm and zooms.
I purchased this lens from Berger Bros.; I highly recommend them as they are a pleasure to work with.
For an audio version of this episode (MP3 format) click here.