New Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S promises supertelephoto handheld shooting

Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S
(Image credit: Nikon)

Nikon has add a new premium supertelephoto lens to its range which is designed to offer handheld shooting for wildlife, sports and aviation photographers.

The Nikkor Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S is just 11in (278mm) long and  weighs  1,390g (3lbs) - which Nikon says makes it  the lightest in its class.

The zoom becomes the third in the Nikon Z lens line-up to offer a focal length of 600mm - and in terms of pricing falls in between that of the Nikon Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S and the Nikon Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR.

As we used on previous Nikon lenses, a Phase Fresnel (PF) lens element has been used in the design to lead to a significantly smaller overall size and weight reducing the need for a tripod. The Vibration Reduction (VR) system provides up to 5.5 stops of stabilization in normal mode. Synchro VR offers a boost to 6 stops of image stabilization with a compatible body

(Image credit: Nikon)

Unusually for a lens of this focal length, the new 600mm is designed to take video recording into consideration "with quiet operation, stable exposure and a focus-breathing suppression function".

Interestingly, the lens was not one that features on the Nikon Z lens roadmap - which tallies with rumors that Nikon is no longer going to pre-announce new lenses in this way, now that it has 36 different Z-mount options on offer.

The Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S can be used with both the 2x and 1.4x Z-mount teleconverters, and comes with a built-in tripod collar (Image credit: Nikon)

Pricing and availability

With a maximum aperture of f/6.3, it is around a stop and a quarter slower than the flagship Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S, which costs $15,500 and comes with a built-in 1.4x teleconverters. But the new lens does not offer any speed advantage over the significantly more affordable Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR zoom (which retails at $1,700). As such the new lens will have to impress optically when we get a chance to test it in order to be a viable choice for the price.

The new Nikkor Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S will go on sale in late October for $4,799/£4,999/AU$8,499.

Sample images

(Image credit: Nikon )

(Image credit: Nikon )

(Image credit: Nikon )

(Image credit: Nikon )

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Chris George

Chris George has worked on Digital Camera World since its launch in 2017. He has been writing about photography, mobile phones, video making and technology for over 30 years – and has edited numerous magazines including PhotoPlus, N-Photo, Digital Camera, Video Camera, and Professional Photography. 

His first serious camera was the iconic Olympus OM10, with which he won the title of Young Photographer of the Year - long before the advent of autofocus and memory cards. Today he uses a Nikon D800, a Fujifilm X-T1, a Sony A7, and his iPhone 11 Pro.

He has written about technology for countless publications and websites including The Sunday Times Magazine, The Daily Telegraph, Dorling Kindersley, What Cellphone, T3 and Techradar.