Nikon 180-600mm First Look Review

The wait is over! Nikon has announced the new 180-600mm zoom – and I have a first look review ready and waiting for all of my fellow wildlife photographers!  

A couple of weeks ago, Nikon contacted me and told me this lens was (finally) coming and asked if I wanted to take it for a quick test run. Of course, I said, “Yes!!” The truth is, I’ve had soooo many wildlife photographers asking me about this one I’ve been anxious to give everyone the scoop!  

The video below contains all the critical specs, my impressions about its performance, how it handles in the field, and some sample photos. Oh, and the price on this one is going to make a LOT of people very happy!  

Check it out – if you’re a Z shooter that does any kind of bird or wildlife photography, you’re really gonna want to see this ๐Ÿ™‚ย 

PS โ€“ If you enjoyed this post, I think youโ€™ll REALLY like my e-books and video workshops! Thousands of pages and hours of videos filled with tips, tricks, and techniques – all my best content!ย Check โ€™em out โ€“ click hereย (hey, itโ€™s free to look).

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Cornelius Schlawe
Cornelius Schlawe
6 months ago

After damaging my Sony 200-600, I went to buy my preordered Nikon 180-600 yesterday.
Turned out the Nikon was soft with low contrast, smearing of highlights and an unpleasant torquoise colorcast along borders of high contrast, especially at 600mm. Not only wide open but also stopped down to f8. Wide open, in addition strong blue chromatic aberrations, stabilizer turned off. Overall more shortcomings than any software could fix.
The Sony instead was tack-sharp, high contrast, great colors.
So I left the store with my second Sony 200-600 despite its weaker stabilization.

Geert1962
Geert1962
6 months ago

Thanks Steve for this review. Is this a better lens than the Z100-400 with the Z TC 1.4?

Robert John
Robert John
7 months ago

As I understand it, how good Z mount lenses are at AF acquisition depends on the camera – and more so than with a DSLR. So, as someone on a budget, I’m not interested in how this lens performs on something like a Z8. I’m never going to own one. Might you test it on, say a used Z6? I ask because I am a bit sceptical: I found the 200-500 to be pretty poor at AF acquisition on my D7500 – it was (I sold it quickly) nowhere near as good as my 300/f4D + 1.4TC. That’s my best… Read more »

Glenn
8 months ago

Does anyone know when Nikon will start shipping this 180-600mm Zoom lense to the general public? I see tons of video reviews and I have mine backordered but I am not able to find out when they plan to ship. Thank you.

Robin
Robin
8 months ago
Reply to  Glenn

The official release date is the 17th of august, but there seems to be a large amount of orders. So if you did not pre-order it will take a long time.

Jim Fair
Jim Fair
9 months ago

I understand that the 180-600mm is made by Tamron for Nikon, should I think that this will be comparable to the 150-600mm G2 or better?

Mark
Mark
8 months ago
Reply to  Jim Fair

What source ?

Cornelius Schlawe
Cornelius Schlawe
9 months ago

Dear Steve, Thank you for your helpful and efficient videos. I have long been using the Sony 200-600 now. My biggest gripe is stabilization. I need a) more efficient handheld stabilization and b) option of continued in-lens stabilization when mounted to tripod both for video in windy environments as well as for photography at dusk and dawn with hand on the camera (rather than cable release). I am hoping to get this from Nikon and preordered Z8, 24-120, 180-600. But I am wondering whether sharpness at 600 will be the same or better as my Sony 200-600, which will be… Read more »

Last edited 9 months ago by Cornelius Schlawe
Richard Zhou
Richard Zhou
9 months ago

Hi Steve, Thanks for the excellent review! I pre-ordered both Nikon Z600/f4 and Nikon Z180-600 immediately after the announcement. I am still waiting for the first pre-order Z600/f4. Currently, I have Nikon Z9 and still keep Nikon D850 along with lens of Nikkor 800mm/f5.6, Nikkor 500pf, Nikkor 200-500/f5.6, etc. But I rarely use 200-500/f5.6. I used this lens only once which is during my trip to Alaska. My question is which lens should I keep between my two pre-orders (Nikon Z600mm/f4 vs Nikon Z180-600mm) if only one is kept? Or should I keep both? Money is important factor but for… Read more »

John Packard
John Packard
9 months ago

Great review on the 180-600. I presently have a Z9 and have been using the Tamron 150-600 G2 for bird photography, especially Ospreys. Could you compare the Tamron to the 180-600 when you get the chance. Thanks.

Fitz Turner
Fitz Turner
9 months ago

I was quite interested in your review, the sharpness and the close up shooting raised a question. I have been looking for a macro lens for my z9. I am doing a second reading of your ultimate Nikon z9 setup it was worth the read, and taking your focus shift course. Would this lens be suitable for focus shift shooting?

Lalit Patel
9 months ago

I was impressed with your review, just pre-ordered it

Allan Pakett
Allan Pakett
9 months ago

I currently have the Z100-400 mm, which is lighter than the 180-600. I would like to see if it is worth getting the 180-600 instead of cropping with what I now have.

Kemble Widmer
Kemble Widmer
9 months ago

Thanks Steve.
I am intensely interested in seeing the sharpness and rendering of this lense vs the f-Mount 180-400 f4 internal 1.4TC.
For my use case donโ€™t care much about weight or handhold convenience, all about sharpness and rendering with a zoom.

Last edited 9 months ago by Kemble Widmer
Mark Stracke
Mark Stracke
9 months ago
Reply to  Kemble Widmer

A great priced 180-600mm, but I love the flexibility of my 180-400mm and its sharpness. I can HH it, but normally support w mono or tripod. Might be a good all day wildlife walk around setup w the Z9,though. Just how sharp will it be r
racked out?

Richard Cohen
Richard Cohen
9 months ago

Thanks for another great update Steve. I agree that nikon really has (by far) the best long lens lineup. Just think about it….300/500/800pf, the new 400 4.5, the 400/600tc primes, and now this. I’ve been shooting the canon 100-500 and rf600f4 for wildlife for a while now, but this lens lineup along with the z8 really has me thinking. I think canon may still have the nikon bodies slightly beat in terms of af tracking, but the differences between all three major companies are trivial now…I don’t know what canon is doing, but other than their upcoming variable tc I… Read more »

Andy Cummings
Andy Cummings
9 months ago

So, 6.3 appears to be the new f/4. With modern VR and ISO capabilities it is hard to justify spending almost 10x as much money for a lens that weighs twice as much.

Andy Cummings
Andy Cummings
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

Yes, makes sense. I feel that Nikon really fills a void with this lens. Just last night I was out shooting with a friend who has a Sony with the 200-600. His kit is so much lighter and more compact than the Z9/200-500 I was lugging around that I almost lamented not jumping to Sony when I went to mirrorless from the D850.

Robert Ryden
9 months ago

Iโ€™ve used thr Sigma contemporary 150-600 with my D500 for many years and have been very happy with its performance. Would you say this new Z lens is comparable?

Hemant
Hemant
9 months ago

Hi steve ty for the 18-600 review ….i have a D850 and a 500 pf F5.6 ,70-200 2.8, and a 24-70 F2.8 all F mount lenses. i have just 20 days back purchased a Z 8 and also a teleconvertor so that i could attach the f mount lens basically im an amateur wildlife photographer so my question is should i go for the 180-600 or the 400 F4.5 Z mount lens ( Any One)and how can one compare the 500 pf with any of these? would appreciate your advice….

Hemant
Hemant
9 months ago
Reply to  Steve Perry

thanks for the reply and yes its a tough one now with the news kinda coming in of a Z6 iii also, ill wait for the comparison of both the above lenses by you but also considering that i have a D850, 500 pf F mount and a 70-200 f2.8 does it make sense for me to go for either 400 4.5 or the 180-600 for me as of now i was also toying with the idea of going for a Z 800 6.3 ..i shoot both mammals and birds confusing but with your expertise i hope to get some… Read more »

Eliot Nierman
Eliot Nierman
9 months ago

It would be useful to compare this to both 100-400 and 400 4.5 both with and without a 1.4x teleconverter.
Additionally it would be helpful talking about what you would consider a complete kit: Combining this with a 70-200 2.8 or a 100-400 despite the overlap?
Thanks