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Hands on: Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR review

The Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR is the Nikon Z 50's telephoto zoom lens – with up to 5 stops of VR compensation!

Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5/6.3 VR hands-on review
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5/6.3 VR is a great little lens that will be perfect for enthusiasts looking to make the jump into mirrorless, or content creators excited to leave their smartphones behind for something with a bit more oomph. The versatile focal length range means that you can capture anything from portraits, to sports, to wildlife without skipping a beat. Meanwhile, the plastic build means that this lens is so lightweight you might find yourself checking the end of your camera to make sure it's still there.

For

  • • Super light
  • • Compact when contracted
  • • Up to 5 stops of VR

Against

  • • Plastic build
  • • Fiddly control ring
  • • Could be faster

The arrival of the Nikon Z 50 has caused a stir all on its own, but Nikon's new camera also comes with two new DX (APS-C) format Nikkor Z lenses.

Alongside Nikon’s flagship APS-C mirrorless camera, the Nikon Z 50, also come two shiny new DX format lenses. The camera's 'kit' lens is the Nikkor Z 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR pancake zoom, which enables you to get a full-frame equivalent focal range of 24-75mm. However, if you're a sports, wildlife or portrait photographer, then you'll be most excited for this Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.5 VR. 

This telephoto zoom lens gives you a 35mm equivalent focal range of 75-375mm, which makes this a fantastically versatile piece of kit that's perfectly suited to the Nikon Z 50. 

• Read more: Nikon mirrorless cameras and lenses

While we were able to get a hands-on with the 50-250mm f/4.5-6.5, we weren't allowed to take any photos with it. However, as soon as we get a sample in we'll be updating our review with sample shots and lab test results. 

Build and handling

While the variable aperture of f/4.5-6.3 doesn’t exactly blow us away, there are a few interesting specs that definitely catch our eye. The first is the in-lens vibration reduction, which allows you to shoot at shutter speeds up to 5 stops slower than otherwise possible. This somewhat acts as a soothing balm for the slow variable aperture, as this will help you capture sharp shots even in low light.

Meanwhile, the Nikkor 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 also has a minimum focusing distance of just 0.5m. Paired with the narrow focal length range that the 50-250mm f/4.5-6.5 boasts, this will enable you to capture closer subjects without worrying about missing your focus. 

When you want to travel far and wide for your photography, the last thing you want to do is lug a load of heavy kit around. Luckily, the Nikkor Z 50-250mm f/4.5/6.3 is nicely compact when contracted and weighs just 405g. 

However, a super light build does come at a price. The 50-250mm appears to be made from plastic, rather than metal. While plastic lenses don't have the reputation for hardiness that metal lenses do, the reality is that this telephoto zoom lens wouldn't be so spectacularly light if it wasn't made this way. 

All in all, despite the plastic build, the 50-250mm f/4.5-6.5 felt reassuringly sturdy – despite its light weight. The control ring and zoom ring were both pleasant to use and there was no stiffness when extending or retracting the zoom lens. 

Here's the Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5/6.3 VR fully extended to its maximum focal length

Here's the Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5/6.3 VR fully extended to its maximum focal length

(Image credit: Future)

Another exciting aspect of both the 50-250mm and the 16-50mm is the control ring. While this is automatically set to manual focus, you can also set it to control other aspects of your photo as well. Just like the Z6 and Z7 lenses, you can adjust your exposure compensation and aperture. This is particularly good for videographers, as the stepless control ring is perfect for adjusting aperture while shooting. 

However, in an exciting development, these two new Z 50 lenses will also enable you to change your ISO with the control ring as well. We can see this proving particularly popular for photographers who are capturing swiftly changing light conditions. 

However, while we appreciate the expanded ability of the control ring, it's actually the source of one of our only complaints about the 50-250mm. Simply put, it's pretty small! While the zoom ring is nice, wide, and easy to use, the control ring can be a bit fiddly to find. However, this is only a tiny niggle - and would likely be resolved as soon as you got used to using the lens. 

Nikon's APS-C mirrorless line includes the Nikon Z50, the 16-50mm and the 50-250mm

Nikon's APS-C mirrorless line includes the Nikon Z50, the 16-50mm and the 50-250mm

(Image credit: Future)

Early verdict

All in all, the Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5/6.3 VR is a great little lens that will be perfect for enthusiasts looking to make the jump into mirrorless, or content creators excited to leave their smartphones behind for a longer zoom range. 

The versatile focal length range means that you can capture anything from portraits, to sports, to wildlife without skipping a beat. Meanwhile, the plastic build means that this lens is so lightweight you might find yourself checking the end of your camera to make sure it's still there. 

We loved getting our hands-on the 50-250mm, and we can't wait to write up a full review with lab test results and sample pictures as soon as we get a press sample in. 

However, the Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5/6.3 VR is just one exciting announcement from Nikon’s launch. Check out our Nikon Z50 hands-on review and our 16-50mm hands-on review for even more tantalizing Nikon news. Or, if you have $8,000/£8,000 to spare, why not take a gander at the specs and price for the brand new NIKKOR Z 58mm f0.95 S Noct as well!

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