Ever since I did my first look review of the new Nikon 600 TC lens, I’ve had people asking how it compares in sharpness to other glass – namely the outgoing 600 F/4E, the 800 PF, and the Sony 600 GM. So, I did a quick video with my focus test chart between all of those lenses and the results are in the video below.
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Hey Steve, who makes the chart that you used for sharpness tests? Where can you get a copy? Not in the market for a 600mm but it’s nice know what your comparison showed. Thanks, Bob
Thanks Steve. I always value what you say .At the beginning, the picture of the lenses shows a Nikon 600mm f4G, depicted as a 600mm f4E. The foot is the dead give away. So, did you test the G or E? Just curious. Thanks again,
It was the E, I haven’t owned a G in years 🙂 I just grabbed the wrong image.
I think you missed matching the f/stop when comparing the against the 800mm, or if you did match the aperture, this wasn’t obvious in the video.
Keep up the work. Thanks. Paul
All were shot wide open. When I do these tests, I do them by trying to compare how wildlife photographers would use the lenses in the real world. What we’re concerned about isn’t how they perform stopped down, but how the perform wide open – even if those F/stops are different. I could add extra shots, but the truth is is just doesn’t matter that much. They are all really good and there are so many environmental factors and technique issues in the real world that small differences due to F/5.6 vs F/6.3 really don’t matter.
Thanks for confirming Steve. I think you may have mentioned already in your test definition, (that I should have reverted & reviewed beforehand). All be it this lens is beyond my budget and any sort of interpretation of my use case, it remains appealing with the flick of a switch you’re at 800+mm, which is a main USP over the other lenses in this particular test. I would have liked to see the corners in your comparison video as in my experience with the Z lenses I own and use, the corners show the most discernable difference to other lenses… Read more »
The corners were close, but the test chart I use doesn’t have the best “stuff” there. I wish they put some text or something – it’s just a simple circle graphic that’s not that detailed. The areas I was looking at were mostly where it counts though 😀 It would be unusual to have an eye or something closer to the edge than that. (Honestly, I wish I could find a better, affordable target – they make some high-end ones, but man, super pricey!)
One follow up is on focusing speed – not sure if this is more a body thing or not, but any difference in how quickly birds and wildlife are aquired with the 800 vs the 600? Or is that all firmware in the camera itself?
Both lenses are fast enough for BIF work – the 800 PF is quick 🙂
Thanks Steve, great video and answered a lot of my questions on the lenses.
The difference in perceived sharpness with the 600mm with the TC engaged is the loss of 1-stop of light. Sharpness perception is based in large part on the contrast between dark and light area in an image. Half as much light with the TC engaged is going to result in an image that looks less sharp.
Much appreciated Steve
My wife nearly went into AF when she saw the price of the Z600 in Australian Dollars 🙂
The 800 PF is looking more likely 🙂
The 800 is a wonderful lens.
Thank you Steve ,
Much appreciated, thinking of buying a 500PF shortly, as my “walk around” lens , my old Tammy is now just a paper weight with the Z9, if the boat sale goes through in the new year, maybe a Z600
As you are well aware, chasing birds 99% of the time is in low light
Great comparisons and puts a lot of questions and doubts to rest. Thanks for doing this. Now I am wondering if Nikon will ever come out with a Z200-600mm to throw into the mix.
It’s on the roadmap, so I’m sure it’s coming.
When comparing the Nikon Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S to the Nikon 600mm f/4E, which camera was each mounted on? I’m assuming Z9 for the former but unsure if using a D850 or FTZ converter on the later. Sorry if I missed that information somewhere.
Sorry, I should have included that. Z9 for everything Nikon.
Thnaks for the great test/comparison.
Great work, Steve! I’m very happy with my two Sony A1’s and my 600mm f4, but like to use it without a tc. Wide open, at f4 it is outstanding, beautifully clean with great resolving power. The Nikon lenses look great also. I would be very interested to see how these lenses perform at a greater distance in the field.
I don’t tend to do tests like that simply because too many variables come into play. FWIW, I’ve shot tens of thousands with everything but the 600 TC (since I just got it), and they are all great. There might be minor differences in sharpness between them, but it’s not enough I can tell from my images. For me, that’s the bottom line 🙂
Thanks, Steve. I agree, of course. I do not spend my time analysing too much anymore, I like to photograph birds in flight instead.