Here's What $15,000 for a Lens Gets You

Lenses can run anywhere from under $100 to well over $10,000, and when you enter that very upper echelon of prices, you often get superlative optics that blow the doors off your wildest expectations. One such lens is the Nikon Nikkor Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S, which runs north of $15,000. So, what do you get for that price? This interesting video takes a look. 

Coming to you from Matt Irwin Photography, this great video review takes a look at the Nikon Nikkor Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S lens. Lenses like a 600mm f/4 or 400mm f/2.8 are normally the domain of sports and wildlife photographers, who need the combination of a lot of reach and a wider aperture in order to allow fast shutter speeds for freezing action. This particular lens contains an especially useful feature: a built-in 1.4x teleconverter that turns it into an 840mm f/5.6 lens at the flick of a switch. While you might think you can just buy a 1.4x teleconverter, besides the convenience and ability to avoid switching lenses in the elements, built-in teleconverters can be optically matches to the lens, allowing them to offer much better image quality. Check out the video above for the full rundown from Irwin.

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3 Comments
EDWIN GENAUX's picture

HUM!!! Save some $$$'s and get a Sony FE 200–600mm F5.6–6.3 G OSS for $2k and a A7M3 for $2k with a 2x teleconverter you will get 1800 in APS-C mode and shoot the moon handheld, yes! It moves and at a ISO/SS 125 f/8 it stands still. What happens to your Nikon when above f/8 hint AF does not work but Sony works even over f/16 will even track hummingbirds even with 2x on.

Seth Miranda's picture

I usually don’t comment on here but the demeanor of your response to a pretty in-depth look at a top tier lens has made me feel like you might need a touch of education here.. where to start “HUM”..

1. As stated in this article built in TC act as native glass allowing no drop in image quality unlike add on TC in ANY BRAND will absolutely sacrifice that& being able to switch between 600& 840 on the fly when in fast situations like sports and press work without needing to grab a second body/lens or stop and switch is a massive optimization to workflow

2. Can’t focus past f8 what are you even talking about? Are you referring to maybe some lower end DSLR from a bygone era? Have you even shot the camera Matt is using here? That hasn’t been a thing in quite a number of generations of camera models especially mirrorless which I’m guessing you’ve scoffed off any brand other than what you use

3. At APSC modes you don’t get a zoom. You get a crop on field of view

4. Yes it moves it’s call our own earth is rotating as the moon orbits

5. A variable aperture tele zoom isn’t the same as an f4 super telephoto prime but judging by the hyper dehazed/sharpened edits you’ve posted I’m not sure you really have a sense of image quality if you feel you need to go that heavy handed

6. This is used on a z9. Not a mid tier camera this isn’t about saving money it’s about professional tools for applications and you might also know majority of glass this level is rented not bought or bought by publications that have a roster of staff to use it as they need. You can’t compare things just because of price.

7. You’re not the market for glass and your advice to just save money and buy a completely different brand would require someone to do what? Sell off whatever they have because of this lens being priced as lenses in this class has always been priced? In fact it SAVES money. You see rental houses and publications like I mentioned above and even pros would have to “stock” 400 2.8, 600 f4 and 800mm f5.6 for these applications pros use them for now they have to only invest into HALF that. Again you’re not in this market so to criticize comes from a lack of understanding and maybe inexperience. This isn’t glass people buy for a hobby of taking a shot at the moon close up once…

8. This isn’t just about stills as Matt demonstrated with the new high res zoom the z9 has going he can reach pretty far maintaining 4k resolution

What am I at 9 now? I suggest if you’re going to lend your opinion to things try doing so without the attitude especially when you demonstrate you havnt event handled the product that’s in discussion. We all have amazing tools and toys no matter what brand and at prices all over the scale but comments like this really not only cause socially toxic climates in our industry but hurt the industry as a whole spreading misinformation causing uneducated friction to brands that don’t deserve.

David Pavlich's picture

Looking at the photos you posted, I'm wondering why you posted the shot of the hummingbird?

Further, the Nikon gear shown in the video isn't meant for someone concerned about saving money. It is meant for someone that wants the absolute best offered by Nikon. If I had the dinars in my photo piggy bank, it would be hard not to look at this setup. Heck, since wildlife is my favorite subject, it would be worth jumping from Canon to Nikon for this very setup. I love my Canon gear, but Nikon has made a huge stride in their top line telephoto lenses.