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Nikon officially unveils the Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S, and check the price!

Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S
(Image credit: Nikon)

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.

The Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S will also work with Nikon's 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, to give an effective 1120mm and 1600mm respectively. (Image credit: Nikon)
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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 (opens in new tab) 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.

Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S on Nikon Z9 (Image credit: Nikon)

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.

US:
• 
Pre-order the Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S from B&H (opens in new tab)
• 
Pre-order the Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S from Adorama (opens in new tab)

UK:
• 
Pre-order the Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S from Wex (opens in new tab)
• 
Pre-order the Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S from Park Cameras (opens in new tab)

AU:
• Pre-order the Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S from Ted's Cameras (opens in new tab)

Read more
Nikon Z lens roadmap (opens in new tab)
Best Nikon telephoto lenses (opens in new tab)
Best teleconverters (opens in new tab)

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Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio, with decades of experience with cameras of all kinds. Previously he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more.