Nikon Z 800mm f63 or 500mm f56 PF with
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Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3, or 500mm f/5.6 PF with 1.4x Teleconverter?

Nikon Z 800mm f6.3 VR S

In my assessment of the Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF, person Marceli commented that the Imatest scores for the 500mm f/5.6 + Nikon 1.4x TC III had been just like the rating for the Nikon 800mm f/6.3 S lens, which we’ve additionally reviewed. Given this, does it nonetheless make sense to the get the 800mm f/6.3 if you have already got the 500mm f/5.6? Slightly than depart a fast response for Marceli within the remark part, I wished to provide an entire reply that examined all of the concerns at play. That’s what I’ll be doing right this moment.

To begin, listed below are the 2 Imatest scores for these two lenses:



As you’ll be able to see, within the shared aperture vary from f/8 to f/16, the Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3 is sharper all through the body, however it’s shut sufficient to be aggressive. And also you don’t acquire sharpness on the 800mm PF by capturing it huge open at f/6.3 – you truly lose only a bit.

So, some photographers would possibly wonder if it’s price it to get the Nikon 800mm f/6.3 once they can simply use the cheaper 500mm f/5.6 PF with the TC III as an alternative. Nevertheless, that is one case the place lab check outcomes could be deceiving, and the place the Nikon 800mm f/6.3 S nonetheless makes extra sense, for a number of causes.

The primary is that the 500mm f/5.6 + 1.4x TC III solely offers you 700mm, not 800mm. That’s a 1.15x crop issue, which appears like this:

The relative area of view of 700mm (darkish grey) and 800mm (white)

Already, this crop issue favors the Nikon 800mm f/6.3. However that’s not all. The 800mm f/6.3 has a most aperture of f/6.3, whereas the 500mm f/5.6 + 1.4X TC III is at f/8.

You’ll be able to have a very sharp lens, however in a dim setting, each additional little bit of light-gathering potential helps retain extra info from what little photons there are left. The distinction from f/6.3 to f/8 is two-thirds of a cease, which is certainly vital. However don’t take my phrase for it. I took the next photographs at f/8 and f/6.3 with corresponding variations in ISO:


I turned on default denoising for each. You’ll be able to see that within the f/8 picture, there may be already much more chroma and luma noise, making the main points much less obvious. In real-world situations whenever you want each little bit of element on these stunning chook feathers, this distinction will likely be much more vital – particularly whenever you add it to the 800mm vs 700mm distinction.

Then there’s the consideration of focus pace. The very best Nikon mirrorless cameras are fairly good at autofocusing with an f/8 lens, however it’s positively a wrestle in low gentle. Utilizing f/6.3 as an alternative of f/8 could make a large distinction to focus pace – and in case your topic is shifting shortly, that additionally means correct focus.

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S @ 800mm, ISO 3600, 1/3200, f/6.3 © Spencer Cox

As for different variations, the naked 500mm f/5.6 is fairly good in the case of chromatic aberrations, however fringing begins to climb with the teleconverter. There’s additionally the truth that on the Nikon Z system, you’ll be utilizing a teleconverter plus an FTZ adapter on the 500mm f/5.6. That’s three whole lens mounts caught collectively – not very ergonomic, and doubtlessly extra regarding if there are any alignment points.

All advised, the advantages of the 800mm f/6.3 actually add up on this comparability: the longer focal size, wider most aperture, higher focusing, barely larger Imatest rating (at a given aperture), and decrease chromatic aberrations. If I wanted good picture high quality and most attain, the 800mm f/6.3 is clearly preferable to the 500mm f/5.6 PF + 1.4x TC – each in vivid situations and notably if you happen to’re capturing at something above base ISO.

Ring-billed Gull. Nikon D500 + 500PF @ 500mm, ISO 450, 1/2500, f/5.6


As a long-time fan of the Nikon 500mm f/5.6 PF, I don’t wish to make this comparability sound like I hate the lens – precisely the other! It’s most likely my all-time favourite lens. When capturing at 500mm, it’s simply nearly as good as $5000+ unique supertelephotos in picture high quality, and it does pair surprisingly properly with the 1.4x TC III if you happen to want 700mm in a pinch.

That mentioned, the 500mm + 1.4x combo will not be on the identical degree because the Z 800mm f/6.3 for gathering most element on probably the most distant topics. Sure, lab sharpness is fairly shut, however the actuality within the area contains different concerns. The 800mm’s additional attain, higher low-light focusing, and brighter most aperture – plus the sharpness benefit within the shared aperture vary – all lead me to at least one conclusion: The Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3 is the higher alternative each time for capturing at or close to 800mm on the Z system.

In fact, in the case of capturing at 500mm, then it’s a distinct story… which is why, in case you are deciding between these two lenses, simply get the focal size that you’re extra more likely to shoot with the naked lens!

#Nikon #800mm #f6.3 #500mm #f5.6 #1.4x #Teleconverter

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