Nikon Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S review

The Nikon Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S is yet another great Generation Z NIKKOR with real super-telephoto clout

5 Star Rating
Nikon Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Digital Camera World Verdict

This lens isn’t quite as scary sharp as the Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S but it still has sharpness in abundance. More importantly for most of us, it’s less than half the weight and a quarter of the price. Although it lacks the bigger lens’s built-in tele-converter, but it’s compatible with Nikon’s Z 1.4x and 2.0x tele-converters if you feel the need for extra reach. Build quality, handling and overall performance are epic so if you’re in the market for a super-tele prime for your Z system camera, the smart money’s on this lens.


  • +

    Superb image quality

  • +

    Excellent autofocus and stabilization

  • +

    Great handling


  • -

    Not the fastest aperture rating

  • -

    Not exactly inexpensive

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Sure it doesn’t have a super-fast aperture rating but the Nikon Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S ticks every other box on a photographer’s wish list for a super-tele prime. And while many of us switching from DSLRs to mirrorless cameras were dreaming of downsized kit, that hasn’t been the case with many mirrorless lenses. By contrast, this lens is refreshingly compact and lightweight for a super-tele prime. Indeed the easily manageable size and weight are the first thing that hits you when you pick it up. It’s actually the smallest and lightest 400mm lens in Nikon’s long and illustrious history.


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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 

His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 

In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.