Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S review

The Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S packs powerful telephoto reach and mighty performance into an unfeasibly lightweight package.

5 Star Rating
Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S
(Image: © Matthew Richards)

Digital Camera World Verdict

Think super-telephoto primes and you’re probably thinking of hulking heavyweights that are a pain to carry around and feel more like an upper-body workout when it comes to handheld shooting. We love that this 600mm lens uses a Phase Fresnel element in its optical path and a lot of crafty design work, making it a relative lightweight that’s easy to live with and a real joy to use. That joy is enhanced by terrific image quality and all-round performance, along with exotic handling characteristics, but it doesn’t come cheap.

Pros

  • +

    Comparatively lightweight

  • +

    High-spec build and handling

  • +

    Superb image quality and performance

Cons

  • -

    Pedestrian f/6.3 aperture rating

  • -

    Quite large

  • -

    Pricey to buy

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The Nikon Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S follows on from a couple of other super-telephoto lenses that have really impressed us. The most similar is the Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S, which has the same kind of design, based on the use of a Phase Fresnel element in the optical path. Similar to those used to focus lighthouse beams and theatrical stage lights, this enables a smaller, more lightweight design. Even so, the Z 600mm is significantly smaller and lighter than the Z 800mm, weighing in at just 1,470g (including tripod mounting ring), compared with 2,385g. It also has a regular 95mm filter attachment thread at the front, whereas the Z 800mm takes 46mm drop-in filters at the rear.

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)

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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.