A month with the Nikon NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S lens

A month with the Nikon NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S lens by Des Ong (website | Facebook | Instagram, see also his previous guest posts):


I recently had the opportunity to test the Nikkor Z 400mm f2.8 lens, courtesy of Nikon UK, for a month. As someone considering this investment, I wanted to assess its performance to determine if it warranted an upgrade.

While technical reviews offer valuable insights, nothing compares to hands-on experience. Personal factors such as handling and comfort play a significant role and I could only evaluate through real-world usage. Taking the lens on several excursions, including a trip to India and Spain, allowed me to put it through its paces.

Comparing it to its predecessor, the legacy 400mm f2.8E FL ED VR used with my Z9 via the FTZ II adapter, one notable distinction was weight. The newer Z lens, with its built-in teleconverter, proved notably lighter and boasted superior weight distribution, a boon for travel and handling.

The convenience of the built-in teleconverter was a game-changer for me, particularly evident during dynamic scenarios like safari drives. Switching focal lengths seamlessly proved invaluable when capturing a variety of wildlife, from delicate birds to majestic elephants, as they moved through varying distances.

In terms of focus speed and accuracy, the Z lens showed a slight but discernible improvement, enhancing overall confidence in capturing decisive moments. While experimenting with combining an external Z teleconverter with the built-in, I noted a dip in image quality, leading me to conclude that this combination might not be optimal, suggesting post-capture cropping as a preferable alternative.

Overall, my experience with the Nikkor Z 400mm f2.8 lens was very positive. For current owners of the outstanding 400mm f2.8E FL ED VR, the decision to upgrade may hinge on personal priorities, especially since the resale values for legacy lenses have declined with the rise of mirrorless systems. The improvements of the new Z lens, however, are undeniably appealing.

In conclusion, the Nikkor Z 400mm f2.8 lens offers a compelling blend of performance and convenience. For photographers seeking to improve their chances of success, it’s a worthy consideration—though, as with any significant investment, careful deliberation is essential.

If you have an interesting idea for a guest post, please contact me here.

The NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S lens is now in stock at Adorama | Amazon | B&H | WEX | Koch |Erhardt | Camera Canada.

Renewed Nikon gear at Amazon (for example: Nikkor Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S lens is $2,557 off)

This entry was posted in Nikon Lenses and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • FCC disclosure statement: this post may contain affiliate links or promotions that do not cost readers anything but help keep this website alive. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. When you click on links to various merchants on this site and make a purchase, this can result in this site earning a commission. Affiliate programs and affiliations include, but are not limited to, the eBay Partner Network. Thanks for your support!

  • Back to top