Nikon Releases the Nikkor Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S Super-telephoto Prime

It’s all about size these days, isn’t it? Nikon is rolling with “lighter and smaller is better” with its most recent lens release for long-lens shooters. And at a much more affordable cost, as well. 

Say hello to the compact Nikkor Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S super-telephoto prime lens for Nikon mirrorless Z-mount cameras! Nikon is promising this one to be the “lightest in its class.” Perhaps a nice option for those desirous of a much lighter and more affordable option than the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S. The 400mm lens has an aperture range of f/4.5 through f/32 via a nine-bladed diaphragm.

Weighing in at roughly two-and-a-half pounds (excluding the tripod collar), and at a smidge over nine inches long, handheld shooting and longer carries during wildlife shooting should be made a fraction easier.

With the recent addition of a number of wilderness bear camping photography trips, Backcountry Journeys says “heck yes!” to this addition. Smaller and lighter equals more ease with packing, carrying around as we hike in search of bears, and also makes meeting weight requirements on bush flights a bit easier, too. Is 400 enough reach for photographing Coastal Brown Bears in the wild? Most times, yes, however, the lens is compatible with Nikon Z TC-1.4x and TC-2.0x teleconverters to achieve focal length equivalents up to 800mm for those interested in more reach.

The Nikkor Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S is constructed of 19 elements in 13 groups which includes one extra-low dispersion (ED) glass element, two Super ED glass elements, and one short-wavelength refractive (SR) lens element. This arrangement and set of specialized optics are how, according to Nikon, they achieve compact size and light weight while still allowing it to deliver superior optical performance with suppressed chromatic aberration.

The lens also uses Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coating which it says effectively reduces ghosting and flaring and creates clearer images and an accurate depiction of subjects. As an S-Line lens, the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S includes premium optical elements and extensive weather sealing. It also offers a Memory Recall capability to instantly return to a preset focal distance with the press of a button on the side of the lens.

Nikon says the lens is also designed with video production in mind and includes a focus-breathing compensation function that it claims reduces shifting of the angle of view when focusing. The autofocus motor is driven by a stepping motor system (STM) that the company promises is fast, accurate, and quiet.

The Nikkor Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S is scheduled to be available in July for $3,249.95.


  • Handheld shooting is easy with the lightest weight in its class of approximately 1,160 g (excluding the tripod collar) and a total length of approximately 234.5 mm.
  • Focal length can be extended to 560 mm with the Z TELECONVERTER TC-1.4× and 800 mm with the Z TELECONVERTER TC-2.0× (both released in August 2020), while maintaining outstanding resolution.
  • Employs an optical vibration reduction (VR) function with an effect equivalent to a shutter speed 5.5 stops faster, which is the highest among NIKKOR Z lenses. When paired with the Nikon Z 9, optical VR can be combined with in-camera VR for even more powerful camera shake compensation—equivalent to a shutter speed 6.0 stopsfaster with Synchro VR.
  • Designed with consideration for video recording, including a focus-breathing compensation function which effectively reduces shifting of the angle of view when focusing, and stable exposure.
  • The employment of an STM ensures high-speed and accurate AF with quiet operational sounds.
  • Superior dust- and drip-resistant performance6 and anti-fouling performance with the adoption of fluorine coat.
  • Employs the Memory Recall function7that instantly recalls focus positions that have been stored in advance, via pressing an assigned button.
  • Nikon’s original Nano Crystal Coat is adopted to effectively reduce ghost and flare effects.
  • Chromatic aberration is significantly reduced via the adoption of one ED and two Super ED glass elements. In addition, the adoption of an SR lens element controls short-wavelength light that is difficult to compensate, achieving highly precise chromatic aberration compensation.


The NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S lens will be available starting in July 2022 for a suggested retail price (SRP) $3,249.95*.  For more information about the latest Nikon products, including other NIKKOR Z lenses and the entire collection of Z series cameras, please visit

Specifications, equipment, and release dates are subject to change without any notice or obligation on the part of the manufacturer.

  1. Among f/4.5 and slower lenses, including those with a focal length of 400 mm, for interchangeable-lens cameras equipped with a full-frame (35mm [135] equivalent) image sensor available as of June 29, 2022. Statement based on Nikon research.
  2. AF performance may deteriorate depending on the subject, brightness and focus position regardless of the camera body, causing inaccurate focus, slow focusing speed or flashing of the focus indicator.
  3. Based on CIPA Standard. This value is achieved when attached to a camera with full-frame/Nikon FX-format sensor, with the camera’s VR function set to “NORMAL”.
  4. As of June 29, 2022.
  5. Based on CIPA Standard. With the camera’s VR function set to “NORMAL”.
  6. Thorough dust and drip resistance is not guaranteed in all situations or under all conditions.
  7. The cameras compatible with this function are the Z 9, Z 7II, Z 6II, and Z 30 only at the timing of the product release. When using the function, the firmware for cameras must be updated to the latest version. For other models, this function will be supported via later firmware updates.

*SRP (Suggested Retail Price) listed only as a suggestion. Actual prices are set by dealers and are subject to change at any time.

Kenton Krueger








Kenton Krueger has spent the past several years guiding backpackers, hikers, and photographers into the wild places of the American West such as Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Yosemite, Olympic, Glacier, Katmai, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Arches, Canyonlands National Parks, Coastal Oregon, as well as internationally in Costa Rica & Brazil. In addition to backpacking and camping, his adventures include rock climbing, exploring the slot canyons of southern Utah, mountain biking, and bagging 14ers in Colorado’s San Juan Mountain Mountain Range. Kenton is a trail runner, and former pilot, and spent roughly five years writing and photographing for the award-winning Omaha World-Herald newspaper, out of his hometown, Omaha, Nebraska. Kenton looks forward to utilizing his years of trip leading and guiding experience, combined with his passion and experience behind the lens, to provide memorable and unforgettable experiences at the wild places we will visit together.

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