Nikon Releases Z 800mm at 1/3 Cost of Canon’s

tiggy@mac.com

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Nikon this morning released its Z 800mm f/6.3 PF VR S, a big milestone for the Z mount, which until some weeks ago lacked most serious supertelephoto glass. Rumored only recently to be launching, the lens turns out to be light (5.25 pounds) and cheap ($6,500). It employs Nikon’s PF fresnel technology to significantly shorten the lens.
Nikon-z-800mm-mtf-168x168.png
Nikon
While review copies seeded around the YouTuber community were tethered to agreements preventing people from commenting on image quality with the pre-production models, the MTF chart found on Nikon’s site is pretty breathtaking, as seen at left.
Because the Nikon lens is a PF fresnel design, the MTF chart may reflect theoretical production perfection that isn’t quite reached in actual manufacturing. It will be some time before samples in the wild confirm what the graph suggests...

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antolalto

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Canon is embarrassing. I hope this will serve as a lesson, and that we will finally see proper, new RF 300mm and RF 500mm soon. The RF 800mm is almost offensive.
 
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Chaitanya

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Highly impressive both 400 and 800.

Canon is embarrassing. I hope this will serve as a lesson, and that we will finally see proper, new RF 300mm and RF 500mm soon. The RF 800mm is almost offensive.
Almost is an understatement.
 
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It took all of a minute at launch to hit the buy button on this one. A professional 800mm lens that I can handhold and at the cost of only 1/3rd of a stop less aperture than the much more expensive predecessor is fricken cool.
 
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tiggy@mac.com

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I wouldn't say that Canon is embarrassing, but that I'm super happy Nikon didn't go out of business during its cash crunch a couple years back. The best thing that's happened to us Canon shooters in the past few years is the rapid advancement of the competition. I think we all trust Canon to have the capacity to innovate, but many of us don't trust that they'll deliver it quickly or cheaply without some other companies kicking their shins.

I'm most interested in the fact that you now have a lens gap in Nikon's favor, and a megapixel flagship gap also in Nikon's favor. What a pain in the ass it would be to add a Nikon body just to shoot a whippy 800mm, but when you add in the high resolution, you start to entertain weird thoughts. I could sell one of my R5's and an EF big white Mark II and get a Z9 and 800mm by adding in $3k. No, it's not worth it to me, but the fact I was going through the math is telling.
 
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AlanF

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The Nikon's MTF curves aren't corrected for diffraction whereas Canon's are, which is the major reason why Nikon's look so much better. I couldn't find the uncorrected MTFs for the EF 800mm f/5.6, but here are the uncorrected and corrected for the EF 600mm f/4 II to show the huge difference. The difference will be greater for f/6.3.

Canon-EF-600mm-f-4-L-IS-II-USM-Lens_not diffraction.jpg EF600mmF4LIS2U-2.png
 
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tiggy@mac.com

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The Nikon's MTF curves aren't corrected for diffraction whereas Canon's are, which is the major reason why Nikon's look so much better. I couldn't find the uncorrected MTFs for the EF 800mm f/5.6, but here are the uncorrected and corrected for the EF 600mm f/4 II to show the huge difference. The difference will be greater for f/6.3.

View attachment 202999 View attachment 203001
Thanks. I knew these weren't apples-to-apples (they never are), but your calling out the specific factors is really quite useful. Adding to the story.

One thing to note: if the effects of diffraction are similar to past MTF charts, it still would make up only about half of the deficit in apparent image quality.
 
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AlanF

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I'll repost this here. I've often complained about Canon's price gouging in the UK, which Sony and Nikon don't do. Canon adds on 10-15% (allowing for taxed). The 800/6.3 is €7,299 in the EU and £6299 in the UK, pretty close to the fluctuating exchange rate, and only 5% more than the USD price when allowing for our taxes. That's one up for Nikon.
 
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Chaitanya

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I'll repost this here. I've often complained about Canon's price gouging in the UK, which Sony and Nikon don't do. Canon adds on 10-15% (allowing for taxed). The 800/6.3 is €7,299 in the EU and £6299 in the UK, pretty close to the fluctuating exchange rate, and only 5% more than the USD price when allowing for our taxes. That's one up for Nikon.
In India its quite opposite, Canon prices are on par with USD or sometimes even lower(after adjusting for taxes). I thinks more of Canon UK or UK itself who might be at fault.
 
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AlanF

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Thanks. I knew these weren't apples-to-apples (they never are), but your calling out the specific factors is really quite useful. Adding to the story.

One thing to note: if the effects of diffraction are similar to past MTF charts, it still would make up only about half of the deficit in apparent image quality.
In theory, and I think I am using the same equations as them, the 10 lp/mm is lowered by 4% and the 30 lp/mm by 12% at f/6.3. This means from the charts that the old 800mm f/5.6 is indeed not way up there in terms of IQ. The 600/4 II + 1.4xTC is known to be sharper than it.
 

AlanF

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In India its quite opposite, Canon prices are on par with USD or sometimes even lower(after adjusting for taxes). I thinks more of Canon UK or UK itself who might be at fault.
No, it's Canon EU. Canon UK aplogised to me (as I have posted previously a couple of times) that they charge what Canon EU dictates.
 
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Fbimages

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I would be really tempted by a Canon equivalent at this price. I love my 500mm f/4 but shoot a lot of birds which require the 1.4x converter. I now use an R3 and I never think twice about high ISOs, so f/6.3 would not be an issue
 
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Blue Zurich

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Typically, switch talk doesn't interest me but this could be a defining moment for certain shooters. (Once again, not me, see my lens list, lol)
 
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john1970

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Amazed to see that Nikon released it at such a price point. Although I an not a fan of PF lenses in general, this combined with a Z9 for ~$12K in USD is a very compelling setup for wildlife.
 
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Del Paso

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Canon is embarrassing. I hope this will serve as a lesson, and that we will finally see proper, new RF 300mm and RF 500mm soon. The RF 800mm is almost offensive.
We'll only see a change in Canon's pricing policy if enough NEW (pro) customers decide in favour of Nikon's Z9 and the new teles.
Especially in Europe, we suffer from abusive pricing by Canon (RF 800 and 1200), which cannot be justified by taxes or other duties.
A US-Europe price difference is OK, but not to the current extent.
If I were new to photography, I'm not certain I'd opt for Canon...
PS: Sony wouldn't be the alternative.
 
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docsmith

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Looks great. Happy for Nikon shooters.

The lens of theirs recently that caught my attention was a 400 f/2.8 with built in TC

I love my 500 f/4 II. But having built in flexibility to quickly pivot focal lengths even a little would be a welcome addition.

I am still hopeful for a 200-500 f/4 with built in 1.4xTC. Otherwise, I am content to stick with my kit. Even with Nikon doing some very good things.
 
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ncvarsity3

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I had my heart set on starting to save up for the RF 600mm f4, or RF 400mm f2.8 and teleconverter, to pair with a R6, but as a wildlife photographer and seeing the direction Nikon's going with their telephotos, I've checked to see what my entire kit is worth more times than I'd like to admit. Nikon's AF isn't that far behind Canon's at this point, and they might lose some of their big white users to Nikon once it catches up. Especially if the pricing keeps trending up.
 
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Pixel

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Who is surprised by Nikon's 800 blowing Canon's RF 400 2.8 + Permanently attached 2x out of the water?
Yes, this is embarrassing.
Do better, Canon.
 
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AlanF

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It's a temptation to switch gear every time another manufacturer comes out with something better, but they leapfrog each other. It's taken Nikon 18 months to equal (better in some ways, worse in others) the AF on Canon's cheaper R5, and the Z 800/6.3 will have limited availability for quite some time. In 18 months time, Canon will undoubtedly have a new generation of bodies and new lenses. So jump to Nikon now and then jump again?
 
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