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Nikon Nikkor Z 400mm f4.5 VR S: Lightest super telephoto

Nikon has announced the Nikkor Z 400mm f4.5 VR S, the lightest super telephoto lens in its class with a price tag of around $5599.

Along with the Z 30, Nikon Australia didn’t provide availability but the above pricing was sourced from the Nikon website.

The lens weighs 1160 grams, and features Vibration Reduction – hence the ‘VR’ in the name – that’s activated in Normal and Sports modes. Normal mode allows a photographer to reduce blur during handheld shooting and is equivalent to a 5.5-stop increase in shutter speed. And Sport VR – highly acclaimed by professional photographers, apparently – is for shooting rapid and erratic moving subjects.

Many may be wondering how Nikon suppressed chromatic aberration. Simple. It deployed Extra-low Dispersion (ED), Super ED, and Short-wavelength Refractive (SR) lens elements, which achieve sharp focus and minimal colour bleed.

Here’s the information, first hand, from the Nikon Australia press team:

The Flexibility to Create with the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S

The lightest super-telephoto lens in its class, two supported VR modes, and uncompromised rendering capabilities – the new NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S gives users the versatility for hand-held shooting

Sydney, Australia – 29 June 2022 – Nikon Australia introduces the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S, a lightweight, portable, and reliable super-telephoto prime lens that provides users with a new dimension of optical performance. Packaged in a compact and dynamic body that weighs a modest 1,160g, the S-Line lens equips users with the ease of mobility and added agility needed to capture the characteristics of its subjects.

‘The NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S is the epitome of a high-performance lens designed for hand-held telephoto shooting with ease. With Vibration Reduction in Normal and Sport Modes, and Synchro VR that’s available when paired with the Z 9, this lens is perfect for capturing subjects from a distance and whilst in motion. Equipped with the award-winning Nikon Z mount system, users can look forward to an immersive and exciting experience with this lens’ rendering performance that exceeds all expectations despite its smaller size,’ said John Young, General Manager, Marketing, Nikon Asia.

NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S Primary Features

Mobility with Uncompromised Performance

Encased in a lightweight and compact body, the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S is the lightest super-telephoto S-Line lens in its class (1) weighing in at approximately 1,160g (excluding tripod collar) and measuring a total length of 234.5mm – allowing for increased mobility whilst shooting. Attain greater flexibility in focal length as the existing 400mm can also be extended to 560mm or 800mm when a 1.4x or 2.0x teleconverter is used respectively (2). The excellent body weight distribution with its centre of gravity located at the tripod collar further let users enjoy better stability and comfort when shooting for prolonged periods.

In addition to the added stability, the lens provides outstanding Vibration Reduction (VR) performance with support for two VR modes – Normal and Sport Modes, as well as Synchro VR that is available with the Z 9. The Normal mode’s performance effectively reduces blur during handheld telephoto shooting and is equivalent to a 5.5-stop (3) increase in shutter speed, the most effective in the history of NIKKOR lenses. The second mode, Sports VR, which is highly acclaimed by professional photographers, is particularly effective when shooting rapid and erratic moving subjects as it enables users to track subjects easily and provides a stable viewfinder image, even with continuous high-speed shooting.

When the lens is combined with the Nikon Z 9, users enjoy a more powerful 6.0-stop with Synchro VR activation and the in-camera VR.

Making the lens ideal for situations where silence is required is its quiet and accurate autofocus (AF) with a stepping motor (STM) to reduce operational sounds, thus ensuring live subjects such as wildlife and birds are not disturbed in their natural habitat.

Quality Optics, Uncompromised

Expect the superiority of a prime S-Line lens with the lens’ Extra-low Dispersion (ED), Super ED, and Short-wavelength Refractive (SR) lens elements which suppress and correct chromatic aberration, providing users with images that exhibit sharp focus with minimal colour bleed throughout the frame. Complementing the lens’ elements to realise a superior optical performance for users is the Nano Crystal Coat that greatly reduces flare and ghost effect to achieve sharp and clear images.

With a maximum aperture of f/4.5, the telephoto lens makes the most of its shallow depth of field to achieve beautiful bokeh, emphasising subjects on a sharp and clear focal plane and leaving users with images that capture the essence of the moment.

Motion Perfection With Videos

Not limited to stills shooting alone, the lens also performs exceptionally for video recording with its ‘click-less’ control ring to minimise operational sounds while the very same control ring also enables a natural shift in focus position and brightness levels. Minimal change in angle of view with smooth, natural focusing is further delivered by the lens’ effective focus-breathing compensation.

Meticulous Positioning of Operational Controls

The NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S offers users an immersive and enjoyable shooting experience. Equipped with mindfully placed operational controls such as a non-slip rubber placed in areas often held, and a memory recall function (4) that enables users to recall a specific focus position at the press of the Memory Set button, the lens helps save time and lets users shoot with confidence.

With sealing on various portions of the lens including movable parts of the lens barrel and adoption of a rubber gasket on the lens mount, the lens is equipped with excellent dust and drip-resistant (5) performance. Dust and dirt are effectively repelled with the application of the fluorine coat, allowing for easy removal even if it adheres to the lens surface. This makes for a quick recovery for users under various weather conditions, ensuring lens durability and providing a constantly seamless shooting experience.

(1) Among f/4.5 and slower lenses, including those with a focal length of 400mm, for interchangeable-lens cameras equipped with a full-frame (35mm [135] equivalent) image sensor available as of June 29, 2022. Statement based on Nikon research.
(2) AF performance may deteriorate depending on the subject, brightness and focus position regardless of the camera body, causing inaccurate focus, slow focusing speed or flashing of the focus point.
(3) Based on CIPA Standard. This value is achieved when attached to a camera with full-frame/ FX-format sensor, with the camera’s VR function set to “NORMAL”.
(4) The cameras compatible with this function are the Z 9, Z 7II, Z 6II and Z 30 only at the timing of the product release. When using the function, the camera’s firmware update to the latest version is required.
(5) Perfect dustproof and waterproof performance is not guaranteed under all conditions. For other models, this function will be supported via later firmware updates.

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