The Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S is an important addition to the Nikon Z lens range. If Nikon mirrorless cameras are going to be taken seriously by pros, they need lenses like this.
At $6,497 / £6,299 / AU$10,499, the Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S is certainly not cheap, but the key point here is that it’s little more than ONE THIRD the price of the Nikon 800mm f5.6E FL ED VR F-mount DSLR lens.
So while some (including us) have questioned the f/6.3 maximum aperture, that’s thrown into sharp focus (sorry) by the new lens’s price point.
That’s not all. By using the advantages of the Nikon Z lens mount and incorporating a Phase Fresnel (PF) lens element, Nikon has made the Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S an incredible 2.3kg LIGHTER and 16% shorter than the DSLR lens.
Nikon says that this makes the new Z-mount 800mm practical for handheld shooting, particularly with its built in VR optical stabilization. In conjunction with the in-body stabilization of the new Nikon Z9, this offers up to 5.5 stops of Synchro VR stabilization.
Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S maximum aperture and teleconverters
The Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S is also compatible with the Z TELECONVERTER TC-1.4x and Z TELECONVERTER TC-2.0x, which extend the focal length to a huge 1120mm and 1600mm respectively.
Teleconverters don’t just extend the focal length, of course, they reduce the maximum aperture too. Given that the new lens has a modest f/6.3 maximum aperture already, will this be a problem?
We think not, because mirrorless cameras and modern sensors have transformed both image viewing and higher ISO shooting. The auto-gain of electronic viewfinders offers bright viewing images even at small apertures, and the steadily improved high-ISO performance in today’s sensors is a quiet revolution that has been transforming low-light hand-held sports photography.
Canon has proved this already, of course, with the Canon RF 800mm f/11 IS STM telephoto. An 800mm f/11 sounded a ridiculous idea, but it works perfectly well.
The new Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S is a lot faster than this, of course – and a lot more expensive. The price puts it more in the territory of advanced hobbyists and professionals – but it’s a far more affordable and achievable proposition than the old 800mm f5.6E FL ED VR F-mount DSLR lens ever was.
The Nikon Z lens range is now pretty well served with super-telephoto lenses, as the new lens joins the existing NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S (admittedly more than twice the price) and the NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S.
The Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S will be available from 21 April but is available for pre-order now.