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Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S Lens Review

The range of Nikon mirrorless lenses is expanding rapidly, catering to enthusiasts and professionals who have adopted the powerful mirrorless Z camera system. Nikon is once again prioritising telephoto subjects with the release of the Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S Lens, which joins a handful of excellent long lenses aimed at photographers who capture suitable long range subjects.

Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S Lens review

Whether you're a working professional or an advanced enthusiast, discover if the world's lightest super telephoto prime in its class is the perfect super telephoto prime in our Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S Lens review.

With Nikon’s premium S-Line optics and a highly portable design, is this the ultimate lens for your wildlife photography, sports and similar genres? Let’s find out by exploring the Z 600mm f/6.3 key features and specs.

In the field with the Z 600mm lens

Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S Lens key features and specs

Nikon has applied decades of optical know-how to the Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S Lens, which arrives with a number of notable features for long lens photographers.

  • Weighs just 1470g, making it the lightest super telephoto lens in its class
  • Incorporates a weight reducing Phase Fresnel (PF) lens element
  • S-Line optics include 2 ED elements, 1 SR element, 1 PF element and Nano Crystal Coat
  • 11-blade rounded diaphragm for smooth defocus and rounded bokeh
  • Advanced VR system (vibration reduction) for up to 5.5-stops compensation, which rises to 6-stops Synchro VR with compatible camera bodies
  • Teleconverter-ready with the Nikon Z 1.4x Teleconverter and Z 2.0x Teleconverter
  • Fast, accurate and near silent AF motor
  • Internal focusing system
  • Customisable L-fn buttons and silent control ring
  • Durable build for outdoor use with rubber gaskets and Fluorine coating

Nikon Z 600mm sample motorsports

What are S-Line Nikon lenses?

S-Line lenses emerged thanks to the versatility of the Z mount and Nikon's latest optical innovations, setting new standards for image resolution. These lenses excel in rendering ultra-fine details, without any discernible colour aberrations, to faithfully and accurately reproduce tiny, pinpoint detail, maintaining superb image quality even at their widest apertures.

In addition, S-Line lenses create smooth and natural bokeh, adding a three-dimensional quality to your subject. Whether capturing close-ups or shooting at infinity, photographers can achieve unparalleled image quality and precision with premium S-Line results.

Sample bird photography image from Nikon Z 600mm lens

What is the Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S Lens for?

With a fixed reach, the Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S Lens can be used for a variety of super telephoto genres. It’s particularly suited to wildlife and bird photography, motorsports and aviation, while the 4m minimum focus distance and 0.15x maximum magnification ratio let you capture close-up images quite effectively.

Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S Lens specs comparison

This specs comparison table showcases where the Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S Lens fit into the mirrorless telephoto prime lens lineup. All three lenses offer distinct characteristics for long lens subjects, although the newer Z 600mm more affordable, smaller and significantly lighter.

 

Z 600mm f/6.3

Z 600mm F/4 TC

Nikon Z 800mm F/6.3

Price

£4999.00

£15,499.00

£6,299.00

Focal length

600mm

600mm - 840mm

800mm

With Z 1.4 TC teleconverter

840mm

840mm

1120mm

With Z 2.0 TC teleconverter

1200mm

1600mm

1600mm

Nano Crystal Coat

Yes

Yes

Yes

Aperture range

f/6.3 - f/32

f/4 - f/5.6

f/32 - f/45

f/6.3 - f/32

Lens construction

21 elements in 14 groups (2 ED, 1 SR, 1 PF, elements with a Nano Crystal coat, and a fluorine-coated front lens element)

26 elements in 20 groups (including 7 elements in 4 groups in the built-in teleconverter, 3 ED glass elements, 1 Super ED glass element, 2 fluorite lens elements, 2 SR lens elements, elements with Meso Amorphous Coat and Nano Crystal Coat, and a fluorine-coated front lens element)

22 elements in 14 groups, (including 3 ED elements, 1 SR element, 1 PF, elements with a Nano Crystal coat, and a fluorine-coated front lens element)

Angle of view

4°10′ (FX format) 2°40′ (DX format)

FX format without built-in teleconverter: 4°10'

FX format with built-in teleconverter: 3°

DX format without built-in teleconverter: 2°40'

DX format with built-in teleconverter: 2°

3°10′ (FX format) 2° (DX format)

Focusing

Internal focusing

Internal focusing

Internal focusing

VR

Up to 5.5 stops or 6-stops using Synchro VR

Up to 5.0 stops or 5.5-stops using Synchro VR

Up to 5.0 stops or 5.5-stops using Synchro VR

Diaphragm blades

11 (round diaphragm opening)

9 (round diaphragm opening)

9 (round diaphragm opening)

Minimum focus distance

4m

4.3m

5m

Maximum reproduction ratio

0.15x

Without built-in teleconverter: 0.14x

With built-in teleconverter: 0.2x

0.16x

Filter attachment size

95mm

Drop in 46mm

Drop in 46mm

Maximum diameter x length

106.5 x 278mm

165 x 437mm

140 x 385mm

Weight Approx.

1,470g

3,260g

2,385g

Nikon has managed to increase both the built-in and Synchro VR with the newer lens, which offers a 0.5-stop advantage over earlier models. At this reach, having 6-stops of VR will provide a significant advantage for handholding or shooting in low light.

Sample bird photography

Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 image quality

Thanks to a combination of special lens elements, Nano Crystal coating and 6-stops VR, the Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 lens captures exceptionally high image quality with clarity and sharpness. When combined high resolution sensors found in the Z9, Z8 and other cameras, you can shoot handheld and capture brilliant results.

The optical formula consists of 21 elements in 14 groups including 2 ED, 1 SR, 1 PF element, which each play a distinct role in rendering high image quality.

ED glass effectively counteracts chromatic aberration, resulting in superior image reproduction.

Nikon's proprietary SR glass maintains optical performance by effectively managing challenging short-wavelength light, enabling precise compensation of chromatic aberration across specific wavelengths.

The PF element (Phase Fresnel), a Nikon innovation, adeptly corrects chromatic aberration by harnessing the photo diffraction phenomenon. When paired with a standard glass lens, it delivers exceptional chromatic aberration correction, while allowing for an impressively compact and lightweight design with fewer elements.

Lifestyle shooting with the new Nikon Z telephoto lens

Ergonomics and customisation

As with most S-line lenses the Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S can be easily controlled and customised to suit your workflow. The silent control ring is able to manually adjust aperture, focus, ISO or exposure compensation, while commonly used functionality can be assigned to the L-fn or four l-Fn2 buttons.

Additionally, this model offers the ability to instantly recall preferred focus positions via the memory-set button. Recalling preferred focus positions is a valuable feature for photographers, as it enhances your shooting speed, accuracy, and provides greater creative control, while reducing the need for manual adjustment.

Nikon Z 600mm tripod and monopod compatibility

Although extremely lightweight, there are situations where you’ll want to mount the Nikon Z 600mm lens to a tripod or similar support, which is possible thanks to the included tripod foot. This may be useful during longer shoots, sporting events and while you’re in a stationary hide or similar location.

The tripod foot is removable, which reduces the weight to a mere 1390g, as well as allowing you to mount the lens to a tripod head or monopod via a dedicated Arca-type tripod foot or other tripod accessory.

Sample image from Nikon Z 600mm

Is the Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S Lens weather sealed?

Yes, Nikon has included rubber gaskets across all moving parts, including the lens mount on the Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S Lens. A Fluorine coating is also applied to the front element, which reduces dirt, dust and smears, while also making the front lens easier to clean.

Best Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S Lens accessories

Thanks to a 95mm front thread, you can add camera lens filters as required. When working at long focal lengths the effects of UV haze can become more apparent, which can be reduced by a high-quality UV lens filter such as the 95mm B+W Master MRC Nano UV-Filter.

Likewise a circular polarising filter can be used to enhance contrast and reduce reflected glare, with options including the 95mm B+W Basic MRC Circular Polarising Filter or premium 95mm B+W Master ND 0.6 Filter MRC Nano doing the job perfectly.

If you want longer reach you can choose from the Nikon Z 1.4x Teleconverter and Z 2.0x Teleconverter. While both reduce light by one (1.4x) or two (2x) f-stops, this will be cause no issues for Nikon’s powerful low light capable cameras, which autofocus as low as -6.5 EV, -8.5 and even darker.

You’ll almost certainly have one already, however if not a dust blower, followed by something like the ZEISS Lens Cleaning Kit will help you maintain image quality after cleaning your camera lens.

Nikon’s latest super telephoto lens complements existing long lenses for mirrorless camera users, with a relatively affordable, lightweight and high-quality option for telephoto subjects. It is extremely portable despite rendering S-line image quality, provides plenty of buttons for customisation, and features comprehensive weather sealing for outdoor photography.

Order your Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S Lens today and watch as your creative journey reaches new levels with this professional super telephoto prime.

If you are upgrading from a different model, why not get a quick and easy trade-in quote in order to find out how much you can save against the price of this superb new Z lens from Nikon.

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By Nick Dautlich on 11/10/2023

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