Nikon 180-600mm Sharpness & AF Speed Tests!

In this video, we’ll do some tests to discover how sharp the Nikon 180-600 is – pitting it against six popular contenders. We’ll compare the Nikon 180-600mm against the Nikon 100-400mm, Nikon 400mm F/4.5, Nikon 800PF, Nikon 500PF, Nikon 600mm TC And Sony 200-600! 

Will it impress? Will it embarrass itself on the test chart? The only way to find out is to watch the video! 

In addition, we’ll also compare AF speeds between those lenses and see which is the fastest, which is the slowest, and where the 180-600 fits in. 

Check it out:

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Thomas Kerk
Thomas Kerk
18 days ago

Unfortunately I had to buy this lens when adding a Z6ii to my DSLR setup simoly because my Tamron 150-600mm Mk i simply cannot AF on the Z cameras (even a costly firmware update at Tamron would not help according to Tamron). Fortunately I had to buy this lens. It is optically far better, means really visible, than the Tamron. The Z 6,3/600 would be a light weight alternative, but it is no zoom, i.e. I would requie for instance an additonal 100-400, and this lens alone is out of my budget. But who knows, maybe one day…. approx. 1500g… Read more »

Steven Director
Steven Director
6 months ago

These AF speed rankings are based on the time it takes to go from minimum focus (MF) to a tree a half mile away. That distance is not the same across lens since each lens has a different MF distance, e.g., the MF for the 100-400 is 2.5 ft while the MF for the 400 4.5 is 8.2 ft. Would the measured differences in AF speed be smaller if for each lens they were measured over the same distance, say 8.2 feet to a half mile? I believe in other videos Steve has demonstrated that using the AF limiter switch… Read more »

Jeff Katz
Jeff Katz
6 months ago

Very comprehensive and informative, thanks. If you ever get the lens and opportunity, I would be very interested in a similar follow-up test between the 180 – 600 and the Z 600mm f6.3, in that they both max out at 600mm f6.3 native and are much closer in price than with the Z 600 TC.  

Cornelius Schlawe
Cornelius Schlawe
9 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. My test was outdoors with overcast, subjects in 120m… Read more »

Allan M Hart
Allan M Hart
9 months ago

Which focus target chart are you using?

John Nixon
John Nixon
10 months ago

Thanks so much for the information. I plan to order the 180-600 and add it to my Z lens collection. The only thought I have is do I really need the 100-400 if I own the 180-600. I have the 70-200 2.8 so adding the 180-600 and selling the 100-400 sounds like a good decision but is it?. I will need to give this more thought.

Ashok Kandimalla
Ashok Kandimalla
10 months ago

Excellent review – very comprehensive and objective.

Josef Timar
Josef Timar
10 months ago

Thank you Steve for the excellent tests! One question I would have: did you compare the autofocus speed and the exactness (exactness) of the Z 600mm TC with the Z 800mm PF while making this test or any time before? It is not much to hear about the differences of the performances of the STM (of the 800mm) and the Silky Swift motors(of the Z 600mm TC and the Z 400mm TC). On the basis of your recent – partly very surprising – results of the autofocus tests it seems me very interesting to think about that also in terms… Read more »

Derek Campbell
Derek Campbell
10 months ago

Very helpful seeing this lens in context. Particularly how it functions with TC’s. Many thanks for doing this.

Dan Cogan
Dan Cogan
10 months ago

Viewed on my laptop I had difficulty discerning the differences Steve noted. However, thanks to his excellent explanations and narrative I found this series of tests invaluable. Thanks for the effort and time you devoted!