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Nikon Launches Two Mirrorless Zoom Lenses

The Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Lens and the Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR Lens are two remarkable telephoto zoom lens options for Nikon mirrorless camera users, that cater to different needs.

Nikon launches two new mirrorless zoom lenses

The shorter Nikon telephoto lens offers a constant bright aperture throughout the range, incredible close-up performance and a compact design for easy all day shooting. The super telephoto brings distant subjects far closer, with vibration reduction to stabilise handheld shots and a series of customisable controls on the barrel. It also features in our Ultimate Guide To Nikon Z Super Telephoto Lenses, along with five other long lenses for distant subjects.

Attributes which these FX Nikon telephoto lenses both share is the ability to add Z Series TCs, in the Z 1.4x Teleconverter and Z 2.0x Teleconverter, adaptability for both stills and video, a 9-blade rounded aperture, and Nikon’s fast and quiet Steeping Motor (STM) AF technology.

Whether you're a landscape photographer seeking compressed details, or travel the world to capture wildlife in its natural habitat, these lenses offer incredible versatility and enviable results. In this review, we delve deeper into the technical features of each lens, explore which subjects they excel at, and help you determine which suits your specific needs.

In lens Vibration Reduction with cyclist

When did Nikon launch these two mirrorless zoom lenses?

The Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Lens and Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR Lens were both launched 21 June 2023, joining an extensive range of mirrorless Z mount lenses now available for the system. Both models offer distinct features for creators and fulfil a vital role in Nikon’s mirrorless line-up.

We've maded a dedicated Nikon Z 70-180mm F/2.8 Lens Review, and Nikon Z 180-600mm F/5.6-6.3 VR Lens Review, which are both packed with sample images from Spring 2024 if you'd like to see more about these two zooms.

Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Telephoto Zoom Lens

Who is the Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Lens for?

The Z 70-180mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom offers a versatile focal range and a constant bright aperture of f/2.8. This may be the best telephoto lens for Nikon, which is able to capture such a wide range of subjects, including portraits, landscapes, city photos and environmental wildlife portraits.

Its compact and lightweight design makes it ideal for handheld shooting, providing the freedom to explore various creative compositions without the need for a tripod.

The Z 70-180mm f/2.8 is a telephoto which is particularly well-suited for landscape photographers, studio photographers, and architectural photographers who require precise framing and the ability to finely tune their compositions. These types of creators often rely on capturing scenes with a high level of detail, accuracy and control over the framing.

Handhelf shooting with super telephoto lens

Whether capturing the grandeur of landscapes, shooting in controlled studio settings, or experimenting with unique angles and perspectives in architectural photography, the lens allows photographers to achieve the desired level of precision and control over their compositions, and can be paired with a suitable tripod head when required.

From delicate petals of flowers to intricate textures of everyday objects, the possibilities are endless thanks to a high magnification ratio of 0.48x and close minimum focus distances, which are highlighted below. This allows you to capture 1:2 life-size images, which is definitely in the realms of serious macro photography.

Close-up performance

Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 close-up performance

This zoom lens covers many of the most popular telephoto prime focal widths, all of which offer competitive minimum focus distances. The Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 minimum focus distances are highlighted in the table below.

Focal width

Minimum focus distances











Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR Zoom Lens

What subjects is the Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR for?

On the other hand, the newly launched Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR super telephoto zoom lens is designed for capturing more distant subjects with exceptional clarity and detail. This telephoto lens for Nikon excels in wildlife photography, bird photography, aviation, sports, and also close-up tele-macro shots.

With an expansive zoom range that stretches into the distance, photographers are empowered to capture unique and inspiring moments, bringing distant subjects closer, while revealing intricate details and rendering high-resolution quality.

What sets these lenses apart is the Z 180-600mm lens’s powerful optical VR (Vibration Reduction) technology, which ensures sharp and steady images, even when shooting at super telephoto focus distances. This invaluable feature allows creators to handhold their shots with confidence, eliminating the need for tripods and enabling spontaneous capturing of fleeting moments.

Photographing airplane taking off

That being said, at 2kg you can still benefit from a stable tripod or monopod for effective panning, especially when paired with a head such as the Benro GH2 Gimbal Head or lighter GH5C Carbon Fibre Gimbal Head, both of which can handle this lens with ease.

The lens goes beyond its optical capabilities by incorporating advanced autofocus and tracking features, which ensures that fast-moving subjects are flawlessly captured, rendering each moment in detail. Whether it's the grace of a sprinting athlete, the flight of a bird, or the action of a sporting event, the lens keeps up with the pace, never missing a beat.

Many of the latest Nikon mirrorless cameras feature Animal and Vehicle subject detection and tracking, which is fully supported by this optic. The game changing Z9 firmware 4.0 release makes it easier to capture smaller distant subjects with ease, making the flagship Z9 the perfect body to pair with this lens.

The ability to add a teleconverter extends the versatility of both of these models, with classic 1.4x and 2.0x magnification offered depending on the model. Both lenses include special ED glass elements (with five on the shorter zoom and six in the longer), which reduce axial chromatic aberrations, or longitudinal chromatic aberrations / bokeh fringing, for beautiful results, even when a teleconverter is employed.

Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR close-up performance

This zoom covers super telephoto focal widths, with extremely competitive minimum focus distances in order to capture closer detail shots. Although max. magnification is lower than the 70-180mm lens, it is still a very respectable 0.25x, which will help fill much of the frame with your subject, when required.

Focal width

Minimum focus distances













Filter and accessories

Both lenses allow you to use threaded lens filters, and a UV filter can be especially useful on longer telephotos, where atmospheric haze becomes more pronounced. Likewise, if you record video you’ll inevitably need an ND filter or variable ND in order to adjust exposure during bright conditions, and a circular polariser to enhance contrast, saturation and skies when shooting outdoors.

The Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR understandably requires larger 95mm filters, while the Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Lens uses nicely compact 67mm filters, both of which are readily available in a variety of filtration effects.

Other useful accessories include lens cleaning gear such as a microfibre cloth and lens wipes, and both lenses feature a front coated element to make cleaning easier.

Both zooms are compatible with Z Series TCs

The long telephoto can be safely stored in the Think Tank Lens Changer 150-600 V3.0 Lens Bag, or you might opt for the Vanguard Alta Sky 66 Long Lens Backpack or equally practical Lowepro Lens Trekker 600 AW III while traveling and shooting.

The shorter zoom measures just 83.5mm x 151mm, which means it can be stored in just about any bag from your favourite brands, whether Lowepro, Manfrotto, ThinkTank or in a dedicated lens case, like the robust Lowepro Lens Case 9 x 16cm.

Nikon’s lens technology explained

IF Lens (internal focus)

Only the internal lens group shifts during focusing, which means that the lens does not change during AF operation, allowing for compact, lightweight lenses capable of closer focusing distances.

Stepping Motor (STM)

Nikon’s mirrorless lenses use a stepping motor for fast, accurate, smooth and extremely quiet autofocus, which is also ideal for recording video.

ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) Glass

An optical glass developed by Nikon that is used with normal optical glass in telephoto lenses to obtain optimum correction of chromatic aberrations.

Vibration Reduction (VR)

In-lens technology that improves image stability by automatically compensating for camera shake.

Fluorine Coat

A fluorine coat effectively repels dust, water droplets, grease or dirt, with easy removal even when they adhere to the lens surface. Nikon’s fluorine coat endures a high frequency of lens surface wiping and its anti-reflective effect also contributes to the capture of clear images.

Aspherical lens element

A lens with a curved, non-spherical surface, which is used to reduce aberrations and enable a more compact lens size. Aspherical lenses minimise coma and other types of aberrations, even when used with the aperture wide open. Aspherical lens elements are particularly useful in correcting distortion in wide-angle lenses and help contribute to a lighter, more compact design by reducing the number of standard (spherical) elements necessary.

A/M (Auto-Priority Manual Mode)

This mode enables an easy transition from autofocus to manual during AF operation. However, the sensitivity of the mode switch has been altered to reduce the possibility of unintentional switching to manual focus while shooting.

Electromagnetic Diaphragm Mechanism

An electromagnetic diaphragm mechanism in the lens barrel provides highly accurate electronic diaphragm or aperture blade control when using auto exposure during continuous shooting.

In summary, the Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Telephoto Zoom Lens and the Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR Super Telephoto Zoom Lens provide content creators with versatile options to explore telephoto creativity. Whether you need precise framing and versatility in a compact package or the ability to capture distant subjects with exceptional detail, these both deliver outstanding performance and high image quality for various genres of photography and videography.

Both lenses feature high-quality optics, ensuring excellent image quality and sharpness. They are compatible with Nikon Z mirrorless cameras, taking advantage of the latest technology and features offered by the mirrorless system.

Reserve your Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Lens or the Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR Lens today and explore new subjects to inspire your work. If you’re considering upgrading from a different lens, or want to sell camera gear that you simply don’t use, why not grab a free instant quote from us to see how much you can save.

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By Nick Dautlich on 22/06/2023

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