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Nikon Nikkor Z lens duo focus on travel

Posted on Jul 6, 2023

New multi-purpose optics with great portability allow for a range of shooting options, from travel to event photography

Coming this July and August, respectively, are the new Nikkor Z 70-180mm f/2.8 and Nikkor Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR lenses from Nikon. Both are said to be sufficiently agile and versatile to respond to the needs of mirrorless photographers who shoot a wide range of subjects, while the added promise of a relatively lightweight and weather-sealed build makes them travel-friendly. They’ve also been designed to appeal to those on varying budgets wanting to expand their creative palette, but who can’t stretch to the cost of a pro lens.

Describing the latest release as an all-purpose telephoto zoom, the manufacturer reckons the Nikkor Z 70-180mm f/2.8 will particularly suit those interested in portraits, sports, nature and events, with lovely, soft bokeh accentuating shots of people.
Macro-style images can be achieved here, too, by attaching the optional Z Teleconverter TC-2.0x from Nikon, which provides an almost life-size 0.96x magnification.

As its model name indicates, the second new lens – the Nikkor Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR – extends a photographer’s potential reach even further. This makes it a great option for photographing wildlife, birds and aircraft in particular. To offer a degree of image stabilisation when shooting handheld, we get the addition of vibration reduction (VR) – achieving the equivalent of 5.5 stops according to CIPA standards – theoretically allowing photographers to zoom in or out, or pan and tilt, on their subjects without use of a tripod. Attaching the optional Z Teleconverter TC-2.0x delivers a 1200mm equivalent reach this time around, while still allowing for handheld shooting.

Indicating its portability, the smaller Nikkor Z 70-180mm f/2.8 zoom weighs approximately 795g. It’s relatively compact, too, at just 151mm in length, with a suggested retail price of £1299. By contrast, the higher-powered Nikkor Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR weighs in at 1995g and costs £1799.

Key features of the compact, all-purpose 70-180mm include a minimum focus distance of 0.27m at its widest setting and 0.85m at the telephoto end. Attaching the Z Teleconverter TC-2.0x extends the reach to 360mm. Nikon suggests that the lens’ qualities of quiet focusing and suppressed focus breathing make it an option for videographers wanting cinematic close-ups. Photographers packing their kitbags with this lens might also want to pair it with the existing Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 and Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 for the complete creative spectrum.

Headline aspects of the bigger brother, the super-telephoto 180-600mm, include a minimum focus distance of 2.4m at 600mm and 1.3m at the 180mm setting, while we’re told the autofocus has been optimised for shooting fast-moving subjects while remaining super quiet. This, along with suppressed focus breathing, makes it a boon for filmmakers, who can shoot video at long distances and achieve artfully blurred backgrounds. 

In terms of external protection against the likes of dust and water droplets, the manufacturer says that because the barrel doesn’t move when zooming, dust accumulates in far fewer places, while a fluorine coating has been applied to the front element. As noted earlier, if attaching the Z Teleconverter TC-2.0x to this model, the maximum focal length is doubled, while if opting to use a Z Teleconverter TC-1.4x we can still achieve an 840mm reach. Both lenses  will be arriving in time for inclusion in your kitbag this summer.

Originally published in Issue 109 of Photography News.


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