Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR Evaluation

Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR Evaluation


Superzooms have at all times been considered with a specific amount of disdain by “severe” photographers. Pretty or unfairly, plenty of photographers would instantly dismiss something extra excessive than a 24-120mm lens. However now, Nikon has launched not a superzoom, however a straight hyperzoom, whose vast finish begins at 28mm and ends at 400mm: the Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR.

How massive is the optical compromise in a 14.3x zoom? Is that this record-breaking lens only a advertising ploy? To reply these questions, our crew has examined the Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR extensively each within the area and within the lab. Right now’s evaluate will inform you all the pieces you have to find out about this lens and whether or not it’s value shopping for for your self.

Nikon Z 28-400mm f4-8 Review Product Photo with Camera
The Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR on the Nikon Z7 for scale

I’ve to confess that I’m a kind of photographers who’s slightly cautious of superzooms. The place picture high quality is anxious, they usually have weaker sharpness, extra flare, busier bokeh, and worse distortion than different lenses. Different points embrace their slim most apertures and their (usually) cheaper construct high quality. Superzooms simply have too many compromises to make the various focal lengths really feel like an excellent deal.

That impression modified again after I examined the Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR just a few years in the past. It’s nonetheless removed from an ideal lens, however it was adequate to persuade me to purchase a replica after ending my evaluate. For journey pictures or filming fast movies, the picture high quality is lots good, and I’ve used that lens loads within the years since. Even so, the Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR remains to be not my most well-liked selection each time I’ve time to hold one thing extra specialised.

Would the Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR be an enchancment? Frankly, I used to be skeptical. Typically talking, the longer the superzoom, the decrease the picture high quality. The 24-200mm f/4-6.3 was already beginning to depart my consolation zone in that regard.

However after testing the Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR, I got here away pleasantly stunned. As you’ll see all through this evaluate, it (unsurprisingly) doesn’t set any efficiency data, however it’s higher than I anticipated. That goes not only for sharpness, but in addition issues like flare, vignetting, construct high quality, and portability. Even at 400mm, it’s utterly usable.

Learn on to see our full evaluate of the Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR and be taught whether or not its strengths and weaknesses are best for you.

Nikon Z 28-400mm f4-8 Review Sample Photo-43
NIKON Z 6 + NIKKOR Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR @ 62mm, ISO 800, 1/1250, f/11.0
Nikon Z 28-400mm f4-8 Review Sample Photo-34
NIKON Z 6 + NIKKOR Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR @ 150mm, ISO 100, 1/125, f/16.0

Construct High quality

For the standard zoom, this is among the greater choices in Nikon’s lineup. It weighs 725 grams (1.6 kilos) and measures 14cm lengthy (5.6 inches). In fact, nobody expects a pancake type issue from a 14.3x superzoom. Given the variety of lenses that it might change in your bag, I’m prepared to chop it some slack.

Like all superzooms that I do know of, the Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 extends as you zoom in. At 400mm, it’s about 25 cm lengthy (9.8 inches). To stop unintentional extension throughout transport, the lens could be locked at 28mm.

Nikon Z 28-400mm f4-8 Product Photo External Telescoping Zoom
The twin telescoping barrel of the 28-400mm extends considerably as you zoom in.

I used to be impressed to seek out that the barrel was assembled with such tight tolerances. Even when the twin telescoping barrel was all the way in which prolonged, there was hardly any wobble in any respect – uncommon in an exterior zoom typically, not to mention one which extends this a lot. This helps hold the barrel grit-free even if you happen to spend quite a lot of time taking photos in dusty and sandy circumstances.

And certainly, our crew examined two copies of the lens in harsh circumstances, together with rain, snow, and sand. The lens dealt with it with out subject, and no sand or grit turned caught within the barrel throughout our time with the lens. This undoubtedly provides to its usefulness as a travel-everywhere form of optic.

Nikon Z 28-400mm f4-8 Review Sample Photo-51
NIKON Z 6 + NIKKOR Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR @ 28mm, ISO 100, 1/60, f/16.0

The Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 has an ordinary 77mm filter thread on the entrance. What isn’t normal is the form of the lens hood. Nikon selected a reasonably vast rectangle that’s going to be best at 28mm, however nonetheless higher than a round form on the longer focal lengths.

Nikon Z 28-400mm f4-8 Product Photo Lens Hood
The 28-400mm’s hood is extra rectangular than round.

As for supplies, the lens has a plastic barrel and a metallic mount, each typical of as we speak’s Nikon Z lenses (although there are just a few exceptions). It didn’t really feel any decrease in high quality than the plastic barrel of some dearer or higher-end Nikon Z glass, together with a few of their S-line lenses. For a superzoom, that’s sufficient for me.

Now let’s cowl the dealing with options of the Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR.

Dealing with

The Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR is a really sparse lens with few dealing with options of be aware. It has the same old zoom and focusing rings, however no extra management ring. The lens lacks a guide/autofocus change, not to mention issues like a distance limiter or customized perform buttons. In reality, the one change on your entire lens is to lock the focal size at 28mm when you journey.

Nikon Z 28-400mm f4-8 Product Photo Lock Switch Handling Features
The lock change can hold the lens at 28mm when touring.

Though the lens does have vibration discount, similar to all of Nikon’s Z-series lenses, there isn’t a bodily VR change on the lens itself. It must be accessed by way of the menu as an alternative. The excellent news is that I discovered the vibration discount on this lens to work fairly effectively together with in-body picture stabilization – virtually all the pictures on this evaluate have been taken handheld, and regardless of shutter speeds all the way down to 1/25 second, all of them turned out sharp at a pixel degree.

With Nikon’s Synchro VR cameras (together with the Nikon Zf, Z8, and Z9), the Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 positive factors half a cease of vibration discount efficiency (from 5 stops to five.5 rated by CIPA). The VR system additionally works with cameras that lack in-body picture stabilization – though, for Nikon Z DX cameras, I might first contemplate the Z 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR and even the Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR on account of weight considerations.

General, I want that Nikon had given this lens extra consideration within the dealing with division. Aside from vibration discount, there are not any actual dealing with options value mentioning. At a minimal, a guide/autofocus change would have been helpful. However this minimalist design is hardly out of character for Nikon’s non-S lenses.

Nikon Z 28-400mm f4-8 Review Sample Photo-25
NIKON Z 6 + NIKKOR Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR @ 400mm, ISO 100, 1/160, f/8.0

Most Aperture

One of many greatest considerations with the Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR isn’t even the picture high quality – it’s the truth that the utmost aperture is so slim. Granted, mirrorless lenses typically are in a position to focus with narrower most apertures higher than DSLRs, however f/8 remains to be very dim.

What’s worse is that the f/4-8 most aperture on this lens isn’t a gradual scale. It’s solely f/4 for a short second earlier than diving swiftly to f/5.6 by 50mm. It turns into f/8 as quickly as you attain 200mm, and it stays there till the tip. The detailed development (in 1/3 stops) is under:

  • 28mm: f/4
  • 35mm: f/4.5
  • 42mm: f/5
  • 50mm: f/5.6
  • 85mm: f/6.3
  • 135mm: f/7.1
  • 200mm+: f/8

This undoubtedly hampers the lens’s worth as a journey pictures choice. Until you deliver a tripod with you, f/8 at 200mm+ will shortly begin to demand some excessive ISO values. I discovered that it labored positive in vivid daylight, however as quickly as sundown grew close to, I needed to bump the ISO uncomfortably excessive. Even the Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.7 is best on this regard.

Nonetheless, as we speak’s cameras (and notably software program choices) are so good at coping with excessive ISO noise that it might not matter to you a lot. I’m undoubtedly prepared to shoot at, say, ISO 6400 rather more than I was. Simply remember the fact that this is among the varied picture high quality compromises with this lens.

Nikon Z 28-400mm f4-8 Review Sample Photo-28
NIKON Z 6 + NIKKOR Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR @ 170mm, ISO 6400, 1/125, f/7.6

Focal Size

Due to the big selection of focal lengths of the Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR, it has some promise for all the pieces from panorama pictures to wildlife pictures (no less than in good mild). Check out the next instance picture, captured at 28mm. Overlayed is a crimson rectangle exhibiting the world that you just’ll seize at 400mm in the identical scene:

Nikon Z 28-400mm_zoom range (1)
A view of a nesting colony of herons at 28mm. The crimson rectangle exhibits the place I zoomed in for the subsequent picture.
Nikon Z 28-400mm_Sample Images_Grey Heron_ZOO Prague_024_LVP9715
NIKON Z 9 + NIKKOR Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR @ 400mm, ISO 2800, 1/800, f/8.0

That’s numerous attain, particularly for such a small lens! 400mm lenses normally weigh much more and take up rather more area. The distinction between the 28mm and 400mm focal lengths is admittedly, actually big.

Right here’s one other instance:

Nikon Z 28-400mm_zoom range (4)
Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR at 28mm
Nikon Z 28-400mm_Sample Images_Jizera_007_DSC9848
Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR at 400mm, similar scene

With the ability to obtain this in a single lens is nearly unprecedented. In reality, upon its launch, the Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR set the document for the longest zoom vary obtainable in a full-frame lens. The one option to beat it’s to go together with a smaller sensor digicam, or a devoted point-and-shoot superzoom just like the over-the-top Nikon P1000.

And that’s most likely why you’d be shopping for the Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR within the first place. There are cheaper lenses, brighter lenses, and lenses with higher picture high quality. However for now, there are not any lenses with such a powerful zoom vary obtainable for full-frame cameras. You’ll see all through this evaluate that I often used 28mm, 400mm, and all the pieces in between – it was a blast to have all that flexibility in a single lens!

Nikon Z 28-400mm f4-8 Review Sample Photo-7
NIKON Z 6 + NIKKOR Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR @ 150mm, ISO 100, 1/640, f/8.0


Earlier than I get to our lab checks, let’s take a fast take a look at the alternate options to this lens. Amongst Nikon’s full-frame lenses, the 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR for F-mount held the document till now. There may be additionally the Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR. These two lenses aren’t excellent, nonetheless. The 28-300mm’s picture high quality is fairly iffy, and the 24-200mm – although an enchancment – remains to be one of many weaker Nikon Z lenses optically. Nonetheless, each of those lenses are brighter than the brand new 28-400mm f/4-8.

What concerning the competitors from different manufacturers? Some current full-frame examples embrace the Canon RF 24-240mm f/4-6.3 IS USM, Sony FE 24-240mm f/3.5-6.3 OSS, Tamron 28-200mm f/2.8-5.6 Di III RXD and, most just lately, the Panasonic Lumix S 28-200mm f/4-7.1 MACRO O.I.S. Nonetheless, none of them even reaches 300mm, not to mention 400mm. The Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 actually is exclusive amongst superzooms as we speak.

Nikon Z 28-400mm f4-8 Review Sample Photo-35
NIKON Z 6 + NIKKOR Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR @ 400mm, ISO 100, 1/125, f/8.0

Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR Specs

  • Full Title: Nikon NIKKOR Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR
  • Mount Sort: Nikon Z Mount
  • Focal Size: 28mm to 400mm zoom (14.3× zoom)
  • Angle of View (DX): 53° to 4°
  • Angle of View (FX): 75° to six°10′
  • Most Aperture: f/4 at 28mm; f/8 at 400mm
  • Minimal Aperture: f/22 at 28mm; f/45 at 400mm
  • Aperture Blades: 9
  • Filter Measurement: 77mm
  • Lens Components: 21
  • Lens Teams: 15
  • Particular Components: 3 aspherical, 4 ED glass
  • Particular Coatings: Both none, or not but introduced
  • Digital Diaphragm: Sure
  • Vibration Discount: Sure
  • Inside Zooming: No
  • Inside Focusing: Sure
  • Management Rings: Zoom and focus
  • Operate Button: No
  • Focus Motor: STM
  • Minimal Focus Distance: 0.2 meters (8 inches) at 28mm; 1.2 meters (3.9 ft) at 400mm
  • Most Magnification: 0.35× at 28mm (1:2.9)
  • Mount Materials: Steel
  • Climate/Mud Sealing: Sure
  • Dimensions (Size × Diameter): 142 × 85 mm (5.6 × 3.4 inches)
  • Weight: 725 grams (1.60 lbs)
  • MSRP: $1299.95 (see present worth)

Right here is the development of the lens, courtesy of Nikon:

Nikon Z 28-400mm f4-8 Lens Construction DiagramThe following web page of this evaluate covers the optical traits of the Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR, together with focusing efficiency and sharpness checks within the lab. So, click on the menu under to go to “Optical Efficiency”:

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