Hey don't get too excited, it is just a lens, a fancy one though!
Nikon is using a new Voice coil motor (VCM) for the AF mechanism of the Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S and names the technology 'Silky Swift VCM', claims to provide higher speed, higher accuracy and quieter operation. And there is a new costing called 'Meso Amorphous Coat'. All The naming makes sense now right? Just use your imagination.
This is the first fast Telephoto Lens for its Z-mount, the Nikon Nikkor Z 400mm F2.8 TC VR S. The headline of this lens is the built-in 1.4X Teleconverter which turns this beast in to a 560mm f4 when activated, a perfect duo of Focal and aperture ranges for wildlife and sports photography.
This is not the first lens with a built-in teleconverter that I can think of though. Nikon had the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 180-400mm F4E TC1.4 FL ED VR with a built-in teleconverter for its F mount before, and Olympus has the Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 150-400mm f/4.5 TC1.25X IS PRO that no one has seen one in wild! (Update: There is also the Canon EF 200-400mm f4L IS USM Extender 1.4x with a 1.4x built-in extender.)
The MTF chart that Nikon released for this lens is very impressive, optically this may simply be the best 400mm f2.8 lens released ever for any mounts and it gets even more exciting from here: Looking at the MTF charts on the right, the sharpness and contrast don't get a big hit with the TC on which shows us that how effective TC's can perform if they are custom built for a specific lens.
Nikon NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 is a weather sealed lens as expected, below image shows the location of the sealings on the body.
So what are the competition? Nothing really within the Z mount. The only Z mount lens that has a 400mm reach is the Nikon Z 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 VR S and that is a slow zoom, not a real alternative. The biggest competitors come from the Sony E and Canon RF mounts, here is a comparison.
At a retail price of $13 when it is released, it surely isn't a lens for the masses but let's see if Nikon will succeed in attracting more professional photographers to the Z mount with the recent introduction of the flagship camera, the Nikon Z9 and now the Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S. I can't deny that they will make a perfect match for wildlife and sports, just get ready to spare a $20K, a small price for perfection!
THE NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S: A new pinnacle of performance for sports, action and wildlife shooters
Nikon’s Latest S-Line Super-Telephoto Lens Goes the Distance with Breathtaking Image Quality and a Built-in 1.4x Teleconverter
MELVILLE, NY (January 18, 2022) –Today, Nikon announced the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S, a high performance super-telephoto prime lens for the Nikon Z system. This fast S-Line lens arrives just in time to complement the unstoppable potential of the Nikon Z 9, and opens creative possibilities for professionals photographing sports and wildlife where there is no room for compromise on extreme reach and incredible sharpness.
“Nikon’s engineers continue to bring new and exciting advancements to image creators and working professionals. Immediately following the extraordinary response to the Z 9, the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S lens features the latest technologies resulting from our expertise in optical engineering,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. “The customers for this lens often find themselves in situations where there is no second chance to get a shot; this lens takes full advantage of new technologies made possible by the Z mount and gives professional shooters an edge to capture the decisive moment with remarkable image quality, under any kind of light.”
The NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S has unprecedented rendering capabilities, combined with a myriad of new optical technologies that enhance the image quality and performance. This lens features a constant f/2.8 aperture that provides stellar low-light capabilities as well as beautiful bokeh and subject isolation from the background. For extended reach, this is the first NIKKOR Z lens to utilize a built in 1.4x teleconverter to instantly increase the focal length to 560mm. This feature allows photographers to seamlessly adjust as an athlete moves downfield, or to capture environmental and close-up shots of nature without changing lenses or positions.
The NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S is the lightest lens of its type, engineered with superb balance, intuitive controls and weather sealing suitable for professional use. This lens is also the first to employ Nikon’s newly developed optical technologies such as a Silky Swift Voice Coil Motor1 (SSVCM), enabling high-speed, high accuracy AF with near-silent operation. This new S-Line lens also features Nikon’s new Meso Amorphous Coat, which offers the highest anti-reflection capabilities in NIKKOR history.
Primary features of the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S:
- A built-in 1.4x teleconverter enables a seamless and rapid switch from a 400mm to a 560mm focal length, using a switch conveniently located close to the camera operator’s right hand. The increase in focal length can be made without changing posture to avoid disturbing wildlife, while minimizing the intrusion of dust often associated with conventional teleconverter assembly. For even more reach, the lens also accepts Z TELECONVERTERS TC-1.4x and TC-2x for a maximum reach of 784mm and 1120mm, respectively.
- The lightest lens of its type with a built in teleconverter, weighing in at approximately 6.5lbs (2950 g), which is nearly two pounds lighter (approx. 20% less) than the NIKKOR AF-S 400mm f/2.8FL ED VR. The use of Fluorite elements also contribute to its reduced weight.
- The newly developed Meso Amorphous Coat offers the best anti-reflection performance in NIKKOR lens history. Regardless of the directions of incident light, this advanced new coating offers an anti-reflection effect that’s superior to that of Nano Crystal Coat, greatly suppressing ghosting and flaring caused by incident light from various directions.
- The new SSVCM enables fast, highly accurate, quiet AF control, and is optimized to move large elements with the utmost precision. The SSVCM works in conjunction with a new guide mechanism that enables the elements to move smoothly, further increasing accuracy.
- The lens construction consists of 25 elements in 19 groups; two ED glass elements, a super-ED glass element, two lightweight fluorite lens elements and an SR lens element are incorporated in the optical formula, helping to compensate for aberrations effectively, including chromatic aberration.
- Built-in Vibration Reduction (VR) provides up to 5.5 stops of compensation2, even when the built-in teleconverter is in use. Synchro VR is available when paired with the Nikon Z 9.
- Designed with a rugged magnesium alloy body and robust weather sealing on various portions including movable parts of the lens barrel and a rubber gasket around the lens mount, ensuring superior dust- and drip-resistant performance3. Additionally, a fluorine coat with antifouling performance is applied to the surface of the front element, repelling water droplets and dust.
- Offers multiple customizable function buttons, including a control ring and a new Fn Ring that can recall a focus position quickly with the Memory Recall function.
Pricing and Availability
The NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S lens will be available in late February 2022 for a suggested retail price (SRP) $13,999.95*. For more information about the latest Nikon products, including other NIKKOR Z lenses and the entire collection of Z series cameras, please visit nikonusa.com.
Firmware for the cameras must be updated to the latest available versions before use.
- A new AF drive system actuator that combines a voice coil motor (VCM) and a guide mechanism developed by Nikon. The voice coil motor is a motor in which a coil reciprocates in a strong magnetic field created by a strong magnet.
Warning: Do not use this product if you have a pacemaker or use other medical devices. The magnets in this product could cause medical devices to malfunction.
- Based on CIPA Standard. This value is achieved when attached to a camera with full-frame (Nikon FX-format) sensor, with the camera’s VR function set to “NORMAL”.
- Thorough dust- and drip-resistance is not guaranteed in all situations or under all conditions.
*SRP (Suggested Retail Price) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.