The recently announced Nikon Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S lens caused a bit of a stir amongst wildlife and sports photographers – at least, the ones who shoot Nikon. It may be a third of a stop slower than its F mount DSLR predecessor, but it comes with $10K shaved off its price tag and its weight over its predecessor has been cut almost in half, too. But how does it stand up to the job of actually shooting?
In this video, wildlife photographer Steve Perry takes out a pre-production version of this lens, with its Phase Fresnel (PF) optical tech – which helps contribute towards its lightweight design – to give it a spin and see how it handles. Steve details the actual shooting experience and goes over the features of the lens.
Steve has also posted a second video, featuring 13 of the images he captured using this lens, the challenges they faced during his brief time with it, and goes over how the lens allowed him to get those shots where other lenses or camera systems might not have let him.
All in all, it adds up to what seems a very impressive lens, according to Steve’s assessment, with a pretty amazing price tag compared to the costs of shooting 800mm with a DSLR – or even the non-Nikon mirrorless competition. Sure, Canon has the (really really slow) RF 800mm f/11 IS STM for $999, but their RF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM is $16,999 – over ten grand more expensive than the Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S. You could buy the Nikon 800mm f/6.3 and a pair of Z9 bodies for about the same as the Canon RF 800mm f/5.6 costs.
Given the cost difference between the Nikon and its competitors, not to mention the massive weight savings (the Canon RF lens linked above is about 40% heavier than this one), the new Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S lens doesn’t just appear to be a game-changer for Nikon sports and wildlife shooters, it might just be a system-changer for some non-Nikon shooters!
If you want to see some of Steve’s photos outside the bounds of YouTube compression, head on over to Steve’s website.