Nikon “NIKKOR Z 400mm f / 4.5 VR S” review, a super-telephoto lens that achieves amazing weight reduction

“NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S” is a new super-telephoto single focus lens for Nikon’s mirrorless camera “Z series”. It has been attracting attention since its release on July 15, 2022, and as of August 2, 2022, the attention ranking of the “Lens” category is 3rd. It is one of the most popular expensive super telephoto lenses. Let’s review the reasons for its popularity with live-action examples.
Combining overwhelming portability with the lightest weight in its class and high optical performance
Since the beginning of 2022, Nikon has been actively introducing a super-telephoto lens of the interchangeable lens “NIKKOR Z lens” for mirrorless cameras. Starting with the release of the first super-telephoto zoom “NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f / 4.5-5.6 VR S” on February 4, 2022, a large aperture with a built-in teleconverter was released on February 18. The model “NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S” was released on April 22, and the “NIKKOR Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S” with a focal length of 800mm was released on April 22nd. Furthermore, on July 15, the 400mm focal length “NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S” was released. With the addition of a total of four super-telephoto lenses to the lineup in about half a year, the expansion is unprecedented in its speed.

This time, we will take up the “NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S” released on July 15, 2022. With a focal length of 400mm and an open aperture of F4.5, this is a super-telephoto lens that combines a lightweight and compact design with high optical performance.

Main features of the “NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S”・
A super-telephoto lens for the Z mount with a focal length of 400mm and an open aperture value of F4.5 104 (maximum diameter) x 234.5 (total length) mm Weight : approx.
1245g (including tripod socket), approx. 1160g (excluding tripod socket) Teleconverter 560mm when TC-1.4x is attached, 800mm when TC-2.0x is attached・Lens construction of 19 elements in 13 groups (1 ED lens, 2 Super ED lenses, 1 SR lens)・Minimum shooting Distance (maximum shooting magnification): 2.5m (0.16x) Excellent backlight resistance (Arneo Coat/Nano Crystal Coat) Number of aperture blades: 9 (circular aperture) IF (internal focus) with no change in overall length when focusing System・STM is adopted to achieve high-speed, high-performance and quiet AF drive・Designed with consideration for video shooting, such as suppressing focus breathing and smooth aperture control・Vibration correction (VR) mechanism with 5.5 stops of correction effect (synchronization) 6.0 steps when VR is applied)・High robustness and dustproof/splashproof performance, fluorine coating on the front surface of the lens・Attachment size: 95mm・ lowest price 405,900 yen (tax included, as of August 2, 2022)
One thing that cannot be overlooked when talking about the “NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S” is its size. Despite being super telephoto with a focal length of 400mm, it weighs about 1245g including the removable tripod mount and about 1160g excluding the tripod mount. Realized a lens barrel that is the lightest in its class as of today. Compared to the super-telephoto zoom lens “NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S”, it is about 190g lighter including the tripod socket, and about 195g lighter without the tripod socket. In addition, it also features a short overall length of 234.5mm. It is about 38mm shorter than the telephoto end of the “NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S” at 400mm.
The appeal of the “NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S” cannot be overlooked is that this lightweight and compact lens barrel is equipped with high optical performance unique to the “S-Line” single focus lens. From the size, you might think that it uses a PF (Phase Fresnel) lens like the “NIKKOR Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S”, but in fact, it is so lightweight without using a PF lens. It is compact.

PF lenses are capable of more efficient achromatization than general camera lenses, shorten the total length of the optical system, and contribute to the reduction in size and weight of the lens barrel. However, it has the disadvantage that when there is a strong light source inside or outside the screen, a ring-shaped colored flare (PF flare) is likely to appear around the light source. It would be nice if the lens could be made smaller and lighter, but considering the image quality when backlit, the real intention of users is that they want a smaller and lighter lens without using a PF lens. The “NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S” is a lens that expresses that true intention.

The lens construction consists of 19 elements in 13 groups, including 1 ED lens, 2 Super ED lenses, and 1 SR lens. ED and Super ED lenses reduce axial chromatic aberration, and SR lenses control short-wavelength light, which is difficult to correct, to suppress chromatic aberration with high precision. It is said that there is little color bleeding across the entire image from the maximum aperture, and that it achieves a sharp focus plane and clear and crisp rendering.
In terms of operability, operation systems such as rings and buttons are placed in positions that are consistent with other “NIKKOR Z lens” super-telephoto and single focal length lenses. The control ring and focus ring have different knurling and small indentations, so that they can be operated smoothly without looking. Non-slip rubber is used near the tip of the lens where the left hand holds the lens. Buttons are equipped with two types of function buttons (L-Fn/L-Fn2) and a memory set button used when registering the focus position of the memory recall function (a function that allows you to set the focus to the registered position by button operation). there is

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