A Review of the Nikon 180-600mm Z f/5.6-6.3 VR Lens

Nikon has released some incredible lenses for wildlife photographers and birders over the last couple of years, and the new 180-600mm Z f/5.6-6.3 VR looks to be another one to add to the list. Just like the Sony 200-600mm G Lens, this lens has a short throw and internal zoom, which are huge benefits when compared to Sigma and Tamron. This brilliant video from Jan Wegener discusses the performance of the lens and image quality you can expect.

Jan Wegener has had the opportunity to use the Nikon 180-600mm Z f/5.6-6.3 VR Lens for over a week with the Nikon Z9 and has taken over 20,000 images. 

Weighing in at 4.7 lbs or 2,140 g, the lens is quite heavy but also sits nicely in the hand and can be used handheld. The weather-sealing is also good, given it's not an S line lens. The internal zoom is a huge benefit for this lens, especially when on a tripod or gimbal head. The lens has a very short throw from 180-600mm, which is very handy for quickly finding your subjects. 

When shooting in low light, this lens is best used with slightly higher shutter speeds, which will increase your ISO. However, in good light, you can easily use shorter shutter speeds due to the built-in stabilization.

When testing the lens in different light conditions, it performs very well and is sharp. It may not be as sharp as some of the S line lenses. However, for the very reasonable price of $1,696.95, it is incredibly sharp. The autofocus is very capable, though it may struggle in low light at times. It performs well in general, though. Check out the video above for more. 

Greg Sheard's picture

Greg Sheard is a Scottish based photographer, focusing on wildlife, landscape and portrait work. Greg's mission in life is too help those who suffer with mental health issues and be a voice for the millions of people around the world who need that care, attention and awareness.

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All I had to see was the word "heavy". IMHO the biggest technical barrier to great bird photos is the weight of the lens. And at 600mm that's a killer.

At around 2kg, its still very possible to hand hold with great results especially when compared to the older 600 primes. I have the Sony equivalent lens, and use a gimbal head if shooting more stationary or slower moving subjects

Seems like the gimbal helps with the weight while I'm just waiting, but doesn't steady things as much as I'd hoped.