A Look at the New Nikon NIKKOR Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S Lens

Nikon has really started to step it up in the professional mirrorless realm lately, and the new NIKKOR Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S lens is particularly emblematic of that, offering professional-level performance and image quality in an extremely portable design, all at a frankly insanely low price. This great video takes a first look at the new lens and what you can expect from it in real-world usage. 

Coming to you from DPReview TV, this awesome video takes a look at the new Nikon NIKKOR Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S lens. We could easily sit here and talk about specs and all the design elements and features of the lens, but what is really impressive is the price. Sure, at $6,500, this lens will put a dent in your bank account, but when you compare it to other 800mm f/5.6 lenses (yes, it's f/6.3, but that's only a third of a stop of difference and practically negligible), the value potential is quite crazy. How good is it? Well, you could buy this lens and a top-of-the-line Nikon Z 9 to mount it to and still have spent $5,000 less than the cost of Canon RF 800mm f/5.6L. If Nikon can deliver good image quality and autofocus performance with this lens, they will put some serious pressure on Canon. Check out the video above for a good look at it. 

Alex Cooke's picture

Alex Cooke is a Cleveland-based portrait, events, and landscape photographer. He holds an M.S. in Applied Mathematics and a doctorate in Music Composition. He is also an avid equestrian.

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The difference between a mirrorless lens engineered from the ground up for the modern age, and an overpriced ripoff hack job.

You'll have to excuse my derp. What do these graphs show?

The short story is that Canon took an otherwise excellent lens and compromised it into being another lens which, while performance isn't completely horrible, suffers from being hacked into being another lens by way of a custom 2x multiplier. If you look at the original 400mm f/2.8 MTF chart that the 800 Canon was hacked from, you can see that incarnation is indeed an excellent lens, because it was engineered from the ground up to be a 400mm f/2.8 lens.

The Nikkor, by contrast, is engineered from the ground up to be an 800mm f/6.3. However there's more than just these MTF charts and the overall optical performance to be considered, the Nikkor is also smaller, lighter and significantly less expensive. The price Canon is charging for their hack job is probably the biggest insult to it customer base, because they are charging an exorbitant amount of money for a lens with compromised performance, You are literally better off buying the 400 and using their 2X multiplier, which will yield almost negligible difference in performance and will cost you far less.

It's a safe bet Canon will eventually come out with a similar lens to the Nikkor, but what they have done is really rather low, and coming from Canon, which has proven itself to be an excellent camera and lens maker, the company has almost literally shot itself in the foot. It's really an embarrassment from what is otherwise a reputable company, and (as far as I'm concerned) taints that reputation.

If you would like a better understanding of MTF charts, have a read at this excellent article by Nasim Mansurov over at Photography Life on the subject: