Nikon Z 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 VR S Review: A superb telephoto zoom for Nikon’s mirrorless Z system


posted Wednesday, March 15, 2023 at 2:45 PM EDT

Click here to read our Nikon Z 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 VR S Nikkor Hands-on Review


The Nikon Z 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 VR S Nikkor lens is unique among Nikon's Z mirrorless system. It's Nikon's first 100-400mm lens period, including the company's DSLR lens lineup. It's also the only telephoto zoom lens in Nikon's lineup that goes beyond 200mm, at least until the 200-600mm lens on Nikon's Z lens roadmap hits store shelves. Even still, that lens won't be part of Nikon's S-Series, so the 100-400mm will remain Nikon's most sophisticated long zoom lens for the foreseeable future.

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

While the lens is the only option right now, it's also a fantastic option, as we describe in our newly published Nikon Z 100-400mm Review. The telephoto lens is comparable in size, weight, and price to Sony's popular 100-400mm G Master zoom lens. And like Sony's offering, Nikon's new lens is very versatile. For what it's worth, Nikon might have bested Sony, delivering a lens with better design and performance.

Nikon Z7 II with Nikon Z 100-400mm lens at 220mm, F9, 1/50s, ISO 64. This image has been edited.

The difference in performance between the lenses is negligible, however, as both are fantastic. For Nikon Z shooters, the 100-400mm lens is a truly excellent option for sports, wildlife, nature, and even landscape photography. It's a versatile lens that performs well throughout its entire focal length range, even when shooting wide open.

Nikon Z7 II with Nikon Z 100-400mm lens at 250mm, F5, 1/1000s, ISO 250

Autofocus is great, too, delivering quick and nearly silent focusing. The lens can focus relatively closely, too, delivering 0.38x max magnification. The lens includes built-in optical image stabilization (Vibration Reduction, or VR, as Nikon puts it), making it a great option for handheld photography. Paired with a camera with in-body image stabilization (IBIS), the lens delivers sharp images at quite slow shutter speeds.

Nikon Z7 II with Nikon Z 100-400mm lens at 320mm, F5.3, 1/500s, ISO 1000

There's much more to say about the Nikon Z 100-400mm lens. Read our review for the full details. You can also check out our Nikon Z 100-400mm Image Gallery to view and download full-resolution images, including sharpness test shots at 100mm, 200mm, and 400mm across the entire aperture range.

Nikon Z 100-400mm ReviewGallerySpecifications