The Nikon Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S lens is coming... here's what we know so far

Nikkor Z 400mm f/4.5 lens
This image is a screenshot taken from Matt Granger who recently teased the Nikon 400mm f4.5 VR S in a YouTube video (Image credit: Matt Granger)

Four years ago Nikon launched its full-frame mirrorless camera system, and since then it's been bolstering the Nikon Z mount with a whole new line of camera lenses. We already knew that a Nikkor Z 400mm lens was on its way in the future, as Nikon included the outline of such an optic in its last Z lens roadmap

To make things more exciting, the mystery telephoto was labelled up to become part of Nikon's S-line – a grading which the company gives to its highest performing lenses. Unfortunately that's all we knew about the new 400mm lens – until now. The roadmap didn't tell us the maximum aperture of the Nikkor 400mm, but new details courtesy of Nikon Rumors look to have answered that particular question, confirming a maximum constant aperture of f/4.5. So not quite as fast as the Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens for its DSLRs.

(Image credit: Nikon)

Further teaser videos have also appeared online from DPReviewTV, Jared Polin and Matt Granger and others – which give us a proper look at the Nikon Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S lens in use. While they curiously don't help us to confirm the size, weight, price or really, any specifics at all, they do all hint that the 400mm f/4.5 lens will be smaller and lighter than the existing Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S. We'd also hope that the new f/4.5 version is substantially less expensive than its f/2.8 counterpart.

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As we've just mentioned, the 400mm focal length is already covered by the Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S, and this is a pro-grade telephoto lens with a built-in teleconverter for sports and wildlife users. However, $14,000 / £13,500 is more than most of us would dream of spending on a lens and the 400mm f/4.5 could prove to be a more achievable lens for many enthusiasts to add to their kitbag.

There's also the stabilized Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S lens, which has been popular with wildlife photographers and those wanting a versatile range, but of course there are many reasons why you'd choose prime lens over a zoom lens. In a video from Matt Granger it's possible to see that the new 400mm f/4.5 lens is actually shorter than the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR when fully extended, so portability is looking good as far as we can see.

Matt Granger

A screenshot taken from a YouTube video by Matt Granger, which shows the Nikkor 400mm f/4.5 (left) and 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 (right) next to one another (Image credit: Matt Granger)

Pricing and availability

Nikon Z system fans who are keen to get their hands on this new S-Line optic will be asking, when will the lens be launched? We don't know yet, but as the lens has been seen in the hands of YouTubers, it's likely that an official announcement will be made very soon.

We don't know the price either - but for reference the old F-mount Nikon AF-S 300mm f4E PF ED VR  sells for around $2,000.

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Lauren Scott
Managing Editor

Lauren is the Managing Editor of Digital Camera World, having previously served as Editor of Digital Photographer magazine, a practical-focused publication that inspires hobbyists and seasoned pros alike to take truly phenomenal shots and get the best results from their kit. 

An experienced photography journalist who has been covering the industry for over eight years, she has also served as technique editor for both PhotoPlus: The Canon MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine and DCW's sister publication, Digital Camera Magazine

In addition to techniques and tutorials that enable you to achieve great results from your cameras, lenses, tripods and other photography equipment, Lauren can regularly be found interviewing some of the biggest names in the industry, sharing tips and guides on subjects like landscape and wildlife photography, and raising awareness for subjects such as mental health and women in photography.