Nikon Introduces Two New Lenses, Including the Much Anticipated NIKKOR Z 180-600mm

Nikon Introduces Two New Lenses, Including the Much Anticipated NIKKOR Z 180-600mm

For those in search of an affordable and versatile solution for your telephoto needs in the Nikon Z system, it may be time to rejoice.

I love to shoot bird and wildlife photography. That is not to say that I am actually any good at it. In fact, while I am a professional photographer, my own specialty lies far away from those genres of the craft that require elaborate finely crafted telephoto lenses that span the length of a Buick and can sometimes cost just as much. I still really enjoy getting outside with nature and taking some photos though, regardless of the fact that the results won’t land in my portfolio. But, I need to keep budget in mind when making my telephoto purchasing decisions due to my own use case. In the Nikon F-mount system, I have the 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR. But I didn’t have a similar option in the Z mount, until now.

Nikon has just announced the release of the new NIKKOR Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR. Coming in at 1,955 grams, the lens should be easily hand-holdable for those wishing to travel light. Covering a wide focal range from 180mm to 600mm (or longer if shooting in DX mode), this may be the only lens many enthusiasts will need on a number of occasions. The lens is compatible with both the TC 1.4x and 2.0x teleconverters to extend the maximum focal length to 840mm or 1,200mm, respectively.  It has a minimum focus distance of 4.3 feet at the wide end and 7.9 feet at the far end. It includes 5.5 stops of vibration reduction. Nikon is promising the lens will continue the trend of reduced focus breathing across the Nikon line for video work. It is constructed of 25 elements in 17 groups and uses an internal zoom mechanism to maintain balance.

But that’s not all. Nikon has also announced the release of the Z 70-180mm f/2.8 lens for its more budget friendly trilogy of lenses. Sitting below the professional Nikon Z trilogy (14-24mm f/2.8 S, 24-70mm f/2.8 S, 70-200mm f/2.8 S) in price point, Nikon’s midrange trilogy now includes the 17-28mm f/2.8, 28-75mm f/2.8, and the brand new 70-180mm f/2.8. These more affordable lenses still offer a bright aperture, but at a more easily digestible price point.

The newly announced Z 70-180mm f/2.8 weighs just 795 grams. It has a minimum focusing distance of .27 m at the near end and .85 m at the long end. It shares the same suppressed focus breathing and dust- and drip-resistance as the previous lens. And can also be used with the Nikon Z teleconverters.

The Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR will be available in August for a suggested retail price of $1699.95.

The Z 70-180mm f/2.8 will start shipping mid-July for a suggested price of $1249.95.

So, what do you think? Could either of these lenses be the right fit for you?

Christopher Malcolm's picture

Christopher Malcolm is a Los Angeles-based lifestyle, fitness, and advertising photographer, director, and cinematographer shooting for clients such as Nike, lululemon, ASICS, and Verizon.

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These are both insane. 70-180 didn't make my head turn until I saw the price. Assuming that thing is optically great, it will be a game changer entry-level lens for new pros. Getting something like a 70-200 2.8 for half the price is wild.

The 180-600 is also huge. I also have the 200-500, I LOVE the lens but its pretty sluggish when paired with FTZ and I hate that it external zooms. This new one is better in almost every way. More reach, lighter, better optics, etc. I remember writing a comment like 2 days ago that they should do a 600 6.3 at a good price point because there are no truly good wildlife lense options right now for budget shooters 400mm is too short and anything longer's cost is measured in kidneys.

Super excited for this. Assuming reviews are good I will definitely be buying!

I shoot the 100-400mm with a teleconverter sometimes and you do lose some max aperture but the image quality isn't really noticeably degraded. I can't really justify the price of the expensive long primes so this works for me, but if this 180-600mm had been out when I bought it, I may have gone for it instead.

I'd be curious how the 400 4.5 + 1.4TC is compared to the 180-600 at 600. Both are f/6.3, but the convenience of a zoom, and the low low price? DANG!

I bought my 400 4.5 right when they came out, and I love it, it's my favorite lens in the Z lineup. If this zoom was around, I would have totally bought it instead of the 400 + 1.4.

This video has comparison shots if you are curious

TLDR: In overall sharpness, the 400+TC is much sharper but that is to be expected at more than double the cost.

Certainly want the 180-600, oh, and the 58mm Noct will be nice as well.

Have the Z 70-200mm and it's outstanding, it will be interesting to see reviews and comparisons with the 70-180mm (lighter and smaller) and significantly cheaper. I've opted for the 180-600mm on pre-order as the cost is really attractive compared to the other 600mm options. I've shot the 200-500mm on D500 for years and it's a great budget combo but really looking forward to an all-Z kit at, and up to 900mm in DX format.