Nikkor Z 400mm F2.8 TC VR S announced: $14,000 high-performance super-telephoto lens includes new anti-reflection and AF technology


posted Wednesday, January 19, 2022 at 12:01 AM EDT


After announcing the development of the Nikkor Z 400mm F2.8 TC VR S in October, alongside the Nikkor Z 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 VR S and 24-120mm F4 S lenses, Nikon has fully revealed its new exotic super-telephoto prime lens, including release details, pricing and specs.

The Nikkor Z 400mm F2.8 TC VR S is well-suited for sports, action and wildlife photography, making it a perfect, albeit pricy, companion to Nikon's new flagship mirrorless camera, the Nikon Z9. 'Nikon's engineers continue to bring new and exciting advancements to image creators and working professionals. Immediately following the extraordinary response to the Z 9, the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S lens features the latest technologies resulting from our expertise in optical engineering,' said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. 'The customers for this lens often find themselves in situations where there is no second chance to get a shot; this lens takes full advantage of new technologies made possible by the Z mount and gives professional shooters an edge to capture the decisive moment with remarkable image quality, under any kind of light.'


Unlike Nikon's most recent 400mm F2.8 telephoto lens for the Nikon F mount, the 400mm F2.8E FL ED VR AF-S, the new Nikkor Z 400mm F2.8 TC VR S lens includes a built-in 1.4x teleconverter, like the Nikon 180-400mm F4E TC1.4 FL ED VR AF-S, which increases its focal length to 560mm with a still-fast F4 maximum aperture. This extra reach will be a boon for wildlife photography, in particular. It's also very convenient to increase the focal length with the flip of a switch, rather than needing to attach a separate teleconverter. The lens does accept Nikon's 1.4x and 2x teleconverters, by the way, extending the maximum reach to 784mm and 1120mm, respectively.

With the flip of a switch, you can turn the Nikkor 400mm F2.8 TC VR S lens into a 560mm F4 prime.

Despite building in a teleconverter, the Nikkor Z 400mm F2.8 is the lightest lens of its type. It weighs 2,950 grams (6.5 lbs), which is about two pounds lighter (20%) than the aforementioned 400mm F2.8E FL ED VR lens. The lens is 380mm (15") long, and its max diameter is 156mm (6.2"). The lens accepts 45mm filters using the slip-in filter holder.

The 400mm F2.8 TC VR S incorporates two fluorite elements to keep its weight down. In total, the lens features 25 elements in 19 groups, including 2 ED glass elements, a super-ED glass element, and an SR lens element. The lens body is constructed with a magnesium alloy body and includes robust weather sealing around its movable parts and the rubber gasket.

The new 400mm F2.8 TC VR S is 28mm longer than the most recent F-mount 400mm F2.8 lens, but the new Z lens weighs 20% less. The lens also includes a new Fn Ring, seen to the right of the Nikkor S branding on the barrel. 

The lens also includes a newly developed Meso Amorphous Coat, which Nikon says offers the best anti-reflection performance in Nikkor lens history. Nikon says, 'Regardless of the directions of incident light, this advanced new coating offers an anti-reflection effect that's superior to that of Nano Crystal Coat, greatly suppressing ghosting and flaring caused by incident light from various directions.'

That isn't the only technology making its debut in the Nikkor Z 400mm F2.8 lens. The lens also includes the new Silky Swift Voice Coil Motor (SSVCM), enabling high-speed, accurate autofocus performance with nearly silent operation. The new system is designed to move large lens elements with greater precision. The SSVCM works with a new guide mechanism that allows the lens elements to move smoother and more accurately.


The lens has built-in Vibration Reduction (VR) that promises up to 5.5 stops of compensation, even when using the built-in teleconverter. Synchro VR is available when the lens is paired with the Nikon Z9. The lens also includes a control ring, in typical Nikkor Z fashion, and a new Fn Ring that allows the user to recall a focus position using the Memory Recall function quickly.


The Nikon Nikkor Z 400mm F2.8 TC VR S lens will be available in late February for a suggested retail price of $13,999.95. This is $2,000 more than the Sony 400mm F2.8 G Master lens and the Canon RF 400mm F2.8, although neither of those lenses incorporate a built-in 1.4x teleconverter and the Canon lens uses the same optical formula as the most recent Canon 400mm F2.8 lens for the EF mount. 

All images courtesy of Nikon USA