Nikon Z 100-400mm Gallery: Nikon’s latest telephoto zoom delivers impressive results


posted Wednesday, March 1, 2023 at 4:30 PM EDT

Click here to view our Nikon Z 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 VR S Gallery


The Nikon Z 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 VR S is a much-anticipated telephoto zoom lens for the mirrorless Nikon Z system. It's not just anticipated by customers. We've been very keen to try it out. While winter is a challenging time to put a telephoto lens through its paces – the wildlife I love to photograph seems to be camera shy this time of year – the Z 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 has nonetheless impressed thanks to its versatility.

With a focal length range from 100 to 400mm, the lens is well-suited to a wide range of photographic applications. The lens can do sports, wildlife, landscapes, and even portraits. I primarily focused on wildlife and landscapes. Alongside the Z 100-400mm, I also worked with the new Z 400mm F4.5 telephoto prime lens. If you want to see that gallery, click here. While both lenses are impressive, the zooming capability of the Z 100-400mm proved useful many, many times in the field.

Nikon Z7 II with Z 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 VR S lens at 240mm, F11, 1/250s, ISO 64. This image has been edited.

Of course, a tradeoff of the flexibility afforded by the zoom design is that the Z 100-400mm is relatively large and heavy, at least compared to the compact Z 400mm prime. That said, the Z 100-400mm has fantastic build quality. While it can be a bit heavy to handhold over extended periods (the lens weighs 1,435 grams (3.2 pounds)), the Z 100-400mm's zoom and focus rings are in comfortable positions, so it's easy to adjust the focal length while shooting handheld.

Nikon Z7 II with Z 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 VR S lens at 250mm, F5, 1/1000s, ISO 200.

As for image quality, there's much to like about the lens. It features a sophisticated optical design with 25 elements across 20 groups. Among these 25 elements are six ED and two Super ED elements. The lens is sharp throughout its focal length range, even when shooting wide open. It also does a great job controlling aberrations and lens flare. The lens includes Nikon's Arneo and Nano Crystal Coatings to ensure good image quality. While I'll go into greater detail in my full review, you can check out sharpness test images now in the Gallery.

Nikon Z7 II with Z 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 VR S lens at 400mm, F5.6, 1/500s, ISO 5000.

Autofocus is critical when considering a sports and wildlife photography lens. Slow autofocus would severely limit usability. The Z 100-400mm doesn't have that issue. Its autofocus system is swift, quiet, and accurate. The lens uses a multi-focus stepping motor AF system and can focus as close as 75 centimeters (2.5 feet), resulting in an impressive 0.38x max magnification on full-frame cameras.

Nikon Z7 II with Z 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 VR S lens at 400mm, F5.6, 1/3200s, ISO 1600. This image has been edited.

My Nikon Z 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 VR S Hands-on Review will be arriving soon. Until then, enjoy the latest real-world gallery images.

Nikon Z 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 VR S GallerySpecifications