Four years ago Nikon launched its full-frame mirrorless camera system, and since then it’s been bolstering the Nikon Z mount with a whole new line of camera lenses. We already knew that a Nikkor Z 400mm lens was on its way in the future, as Nikon included the outline of such an optic in its last Z-lens roadmap (opens in new tab) .
To make things more exciting, the mystery telephoto was labeled up to become part of Nikon’s S-line – a grading which the company gives to its highest performing lenses. Unfortunately that’s all we knew about the new 400mm lens – until now. The roadmap didn’t tell us the maximum aperture of the Nikkor 400mm, but new details courtesy of Nikon Rumors (opens in new tab) look to have answered that particular question, confirming a maximum constant aperture of f/4.5. So not quite as fast as the Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4E PF ED VR lens for its DSLRs.
Further teaser videos have also appeared online from DPReviewTV (opens in new tab)Jared Polin (opens in new tab) and Matt Granger (opens in new tab) and others – which give us a proper look at the Nikon Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S lens in use. While they curiously don’t help us to confirm the size, weight, price or really, any specifics at all, they do all hint that the 400mm f/4.5 lens will be smaller and lighter than the existing Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S (opens in new tab). We’d also hope that the new f/4.5 version is substantially less expensive than its f/2.8 counterpart.
• Nikon Z6 II vs. Z7 II (opens in new tab) – which should you buy?
As we’ve just mentioned, the 400mm focal length is already covered by the Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S, and this is a pro-grade telephoto lens with a built-in teleconverter for sports and wildlife users. However, $14,000 / £13,500 is more than most of us would dream of spending on a lens and the 400mm f/4.5 could prove to be a more achievable lens for many enthusiasts to add to their kitbag.
There’s also the stabilized Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S (opens in new tab) lens, which has been popular with wildlife photographers and those wanting a versatile range, but of course there are many reasons why you’d choose prime lens over a zoom lens (opens in new tab). In a video from Matt Granger (opens in new tab) it’s possible to see that the new 400mm f/4.5 lens is actually shorter than the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR when fully extended, so portability is looking good as far as we can see.
Pricing and availability
Nikon Z system fans who are keen to get their hands on this new S-Line optic will be asking, when will the lens be launched? We don’t know yet, but as the lens has been seen in the hands of YouTubers, it’s likely that an official announcement will be made very soon.
We don’t know the price either – but for reference the old F-mount Nikon AF-S 300mm f4E PF ED VR sells for around $2,000.
Best Nikon cameras
(opens in new tab)Best Nikon Z lenses (opens in new tab)
Best lenses for bird photography (opens in new tab)