Nikon has unveiled the Nikon NIKKOR Z 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 VR S lens, a versatile telephoto zoom lens for Nikon Z-Mount. We then have another new lens from Nikon, the Z9 camera, new features in Photoshop, and much more. Here’s the best news I’ve selected for “The Photography News Show”!
Nikon NIKKOR Z 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 VR S Lens Announced
This week was a very busy one for Nikon, which has unveiled two new lenses and the long-awaited Z9. The new camera has gotten all the attention, and for good reasons, but I’d like to start the show talking about the two new lenses Nikon has introduced: the NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 VR S and the NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f4 S lenses. They both are part of the S-Line, which represents Nikon’s premium lenses, and are a great addition to the Z-Mount system.
The Nikon NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 VR S is a telephoto zoom designed for wildlife and sports photographers.
It weighs 1,4 Kg including the tripod collar, and it comes with three rings to control operations: a generous zoom ring, a focus wheel, and a control ring. This last one is the closest to the camera body and can be customized so that you can control either the aperture, the exposure compensation, or ISO.
This is great as it can make your operations faster, and it can also be useful for having a smooth aperture ring when shooting videos. We then have the usual AF/MF switch, a focus limiter, and two customizable function buttons.
Lastly, something that we’re used to seeing from Nikon is the presence of an OLED display that can show the focus distance, something that I wish more manufacturers would implement.
Additionally, the lens has a weather-sealed design, fluorine coating, and image stabilization of up to 5.5 stops. Interestingly enough, there is no dedicated switch to turn ON and OFF the stabilizer, nor to activate the panning mode, something that I would expect on a lens of this kind. When using bigger lenses like this one, it’s very important to consider their operability, and Nikon did great in that regard. You can go from 100 to 400mm by turning the zoom ring just by 80-degree, which is great in situations where your subjects move all over the place.
The sample gallery below is provided by Nikon (© Shannon Wild).
In terms of balance, traditionally zoom lenses get unbalanced when you zoom in, as the lenses inside move forward causing a change of the center of gravity, while in the Nikon 100-400mm F4.5-5.6 Z, one of the lenses inside moves backward and helps optimize balance. This is a long-awaited addition to the Z-mount lineup, and it’s going to be a must-have for many photographers. It will be available by the end of the year for $2,700 and you can preorder it here.
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f/4 S Lens Announced
Talking about long-awaited, another lens Nikon has unveiled this week is the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f/4 S Lens.
As a travel photographer, that’s a focal length that it’s perfect for a great number of shots, and it can literally be the only lens you need for a day in the mountains or when exploring a city.
The sample gallery below is provided by Nikon (© Erik McRitchie).
It features the same customizable control ring the 100-400mm has, it’s dust and moisture-resistant, and it weighs 630 g. It’s surely going to be one of the most popular lenses for the system, and you can preorder it here for $1,100.
Nikon Z9 Announced
I’ve shared with you rumors and teaser clips of the Nikon Z9 for several weeks, and this week it has finally been announced! It features a 45.7-megapixel sensor, capable of shooting up to 20 fps at maximum resolution for up to 1,000 frames in RAW, and a whopping 120 FPS at 11-megapixel.
Something very interesting to note is that the Z9 does not have a mechanical shutter, but only uses an electronic one. That’s a bold move from Nikon, but I think it shows that technology has reached a point where we don’t need a mechanical shutter anymore. The electronic shutter, together with the new processor, allows you to have a real-live viewfinder with no blackout, which will come in handy for scenarios with fast action.
Talking of which, the Nikon Z9 offers a new autofocus system with scene detection, that Nikon has built on deep learning technology to optimize focus and tracking in every situation.
Besides being a camera built for action, it also has incredible video recording capabilities. It can film up to 125 minutes in 8K at 24 and 30p, and 4K up to 120p. That’s not all, as Nikon says it will release a firmware upgrade in 2022 that will enable internal 8K 60p video in different RAW formats, including ProRes RAW.
In the meantime, you can take a look at the 8K video provided by Nikon:
Even if you don’t have an 8K monitor, you can see an incredible level of detail. Being able to film an 8K RAW video can be a game-changer, as the pictures extracted from such video can totally be used for photography as well.
The professional full-frame camera market has gotten even more interesting, and the Z9 will be available by the end of 2021 for $5,500, and you can preorder it here.
Updates from Adobe & Sensei AI
Adobe has rolled out new updates for many of its apps, and besides the usual mess-ups with user preferences not being transferred, there are some major updates for Photoshop thanks to Sensei AI machine models. The Object Selection Tool has been greatly improved. Now you just need to click on the layer you want to target, activate the tool, and Photoshop will highlight the objects where your mouse is on. Once you find what you want to select, you click on it, and boom, it’s selected pretty accurately.
There also are three new beta filters in the Neural Filters tab. One, called Color Transfer, matches the colors of a picture you provide as a reference.
“Landscape Mixer” makes you change the atmosphere of a landscape.
While “Harmonization” matches the color and tone of an element on one layer to another layer, something useful for composite.
What’s important to note is that all these modes don’t simply slap a filter on a photo, but use neural engine technology to create something more realistic. I personally don’t want to let AI change my photos, but apparently, this is something that the market is requesting. In general, I appreciate tools such as the ones that use AI to reduce noise or increase sharpness, which I’m going to review in the upcoming future, but I wouldn’t want AI to change my photos entirely. At the end of the day, Artificial Intelligence can have great power, but with great power comes great responsibility.
PICTURES OF THE WEEK
European Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021
In this segment, I feature the most interesting pictures I’ve seen on the web!
This week we have the winners of the European Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2021. The overall winning shot captured a swarm of jellyfish. We then have various shots of animals in different habitats, from the cold of the snow to the African savannah, and the dept of the sea. I always appreciate images of this kind that serve as a great reminder that we are not the only ones living on this planet. You can see the whole gallery here.
Nikon is Developing the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S
Besides launching the Z9 and the two new lenses I talked about at the beginning of the show, Nikon has also shared that it’s currently developing a new 400mm f/2.8 prime lens for Nikon Z-mount. It will have a built-in 1.4x teleconverter, and it will be the first super-telephoto lens made for Nikon’s mirrorless system. There is no info on when it’ll be available and on how much it’ll cost, so, let’s wait and see!