Nikon Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm F/4.5-6.3 VR Lens Review

The Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm was punched out by Nikon under its famous Z-mount line in 2019 as one of their superb telephoto lens collection and, at the same time, was another subtle message passed to the photography industry of its intention to cement in place and put an end to its rivalry with other top brands that are being compared to it.

We don’t know if Nikon has gotten there yet, but we sure believe this compact consumer-grade lens didn’t come to play around and deserves an unbiased and comprehensive review. The most impressive thing about the lens is how it astonishingly covers all shooting needs from wide-angle to high telephoto focal lengths, which is why in the Nikon Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR lens review, we won’t relent in touching factors that solidify its identity as both a wide angle and a telephoto lens.

A notable highlight is the lens’s autofocus performance, special characteristics, and handling. Perhaps at the end of the DX 50-250mm  f/4.5-6.3 VR review, you could also be convinced of Nikon’s prodigy and their space in camera lens technology.

What is a 50-250mm lens used for?

Besides Nikon, it isn’t easy to find a brand that covers a focal length range of 50-250mm, as even telephoto lenses mostly range between 70 and 200mm.

This is unique as a lens within a range as spectacular as this one offers a user a wide-angle shooting ability that makes the shooting experience immersive while simultaneously stretching across the telephoto range and bringing to focus distant objects.

Nikon Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm F/4.5-6.3 VR Lens Review

01. About system

The Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm came under the constantly advancing mirrorless technology of the Nikon DX family. Announced in 2019, the camera was one of the most lightweight DX cameras but wasn’t as compact as the DX 16-50mm VR, which was launched the same year.

Surprisingly, the lens only accommodates mounting on mirrorless cameras of Nikon DX labels and hence, wouldn’t fit on F-mount DSLR cameras.

02. Body design and ergonomics

Being a consumer-grade kit lens, the Nikon Z DX 50-250mm VR features an all-plastic build. Although the plastic lasts reasonably long, Nikon didn’t, this time, replicate the kind of plastic on its high-end full-frame Z-mount lenses.

It was expected, though, as the manufacturers were trying their best to keep the lens weighing as low as possible. Nonetheless, when handled, it has a great feel, making it a steady balance on the camera body.

Although the design is also retractable, which keeps the barrel of the lens within limit when the user isn’t shooting, in terms of compactness, it falls below the F-mount Nikon DX 55-200mm f/4-5.6G ED VR II. This is because the lens was built for Z-mount of the short-flange types, providing an additional 50mm extension on the long end.

When the lens is retracted, turning on the camera displays a prompt that offers an option to extend the lens before the user begins to shoot. Rotating counterclockwise, the zoom ring considerably stretches the ring barrel and then clicks into position once the user reaches the 50mm mark, initiating shooting.

More so, at 250mm, the length of the lens is almost doubled. The zoom ring is also smooth and reaches a hard stop when it reaches 250mm, and there is no bidirectional play.

Thanks to Nikon Z-mount’s focus by wire design, which keeps the focus control ring programmable. By default, this ring adjusts the lens focus. It offers the user the luxury of setting it up to control the aperture of the lens or exposure compensation via the camera menu.

The lens mount has four locking ears, all responsible for keeping the lens firmly attached to the camera’s body. Unfortunately, the lens doesn’t feature a rubber gasket to keep out dust at the rear. The lens’s rear also has a conspicuous glass element that, while zooming, moves in and out.

Its moments are so precise that it extends into the lens barrel at 250mm, revealing some inner parts of the lens. This is important when changing the lens, as you would need to retract the lens to prevent dust from getting inside.

03. Autofocus and focus performance

The lens sports a fully electronic focusing which can be credited to its focus-by-wire system. This means that when the camera is off, moving the focus of the control ring doesn’t impact the camera, as it only gets activated when it is on. Unfortunately, this also resets the focus when the cameras go off and on again.

A big downside of the lens is its slow maximum aperture, as the lens, when shooting at 50mm, begins with f/4.5 and then around 85mm, slows down while approaching f/5. Zooming to 250mm limits the maximum aperture to f/6.3.

The lens’s focus by wire makes for an incredibly speedy autofocus operation on the plus side. Although the accuracy of focus varies when shooting fast-moving subjects and allowing only places, it is generally very good in normal conditions.

04. Image quality

The Nikon Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR may be relatively affordable, but its optical performance is great. When set to the shortest zoom, the center sharpness is high, but there is a noticeable decline towards the corner. Zooming in slightly improves the corners such that around 135mm, there is a complete uniformity.

Zooming out a bit, you obtain a slightly higher gradient at the corners. The sharpness at the center is also slightly lower when you’re at 250mm than it is at 50mm. However, the difference isn’t as significant the way it is in a couple of other consumer zoom lenses.

This lens also doesn’t pose many problems with the backlight, and the flare won’t be of much bother to you too. Practically, you also don’t experience much distortion, as that is already taken care of in the camera.

You get smaller than a stop at full aperture, and with a one-down stop, it’s insignificant. Distortion isn’t also a bug with the lens at most focal lengths. By default, while using the lens, distortion correction turns on automatically and cannot be turned off manually.

So, when composing images, you won’t experience pincushion or barrel distortions. Even when images are imported into software such as Lightroom, the distortion correction applies to RAW images. This means you won’t experience any distortion problems in your images even when post-producing.

05. Special features

Vibration Reduction performance

When shooting from telephoto distances, a little camera’s motion can cause blur, and it’s even less forgiving for videos. The Nikon Z DX 50-250mm features optical VR image stabilization.

For each of the lenses, this vibration reduction mechanism would provide compensation stops of up to 5 when the user is shooting hand-held, and this is as good as it gets while shooting with a Nikon lens.

Customized Control

The most beautiful thing about handling a DX 50-250mm VR lens is that you have the luxury of assigning your favorite function to the lens’s control ring. This makes a more exhilarating adventure and controlling the elements of the lens even more fluid.

In terms of technology perks, here image special features that come with the DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR lens:

Stepping motor

As a typical Nikon Z lens, the DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 uses a stepping motor for accurate, quiet, and fast autofocus with minimal wobbling. This quiet drive system is what makes the lens suitable for shooting videos.

Electromagnetic Diaphragm

The lens barrel features an electromagnetic diaphragm system that provides a highly reliant aperture blade or electronic diaphragm control, which is invaluable when shooting continuously with auto exposure.

Extra-low dispersion glass

A Nikon-developed optical glass combined with normal telephoto optical glass delivers optimum chromatic aberration correction.

Vignetting

The Nikon Z DX 50-250mm has quite impressive vignetting, and there is usually a light loss stop at around the 50mm edges, which diminishes quite a bit at 70mm.

However, it re-emerges quite stronger beginning at 135mm, and as a right room user, expect the vignetting correction to apply automatically once imported; hence, this shouldn’t worry you.

Chromatic aberration

For a kit lens, lateral chromatic aberration isn’t bad at all. At 50 and 70mm, imatest measured just a small pixel of lateral chromatic aberration.

However, zooming into longer focal lengths makes it come back a bit strong at 250mm. The good thing again is that this isn’t a problem at all while using the Lightroom software, as the correction is enabled automatically.

06. Internal and external video capture

The visual effects of a long telephoto lens are almost always cinematic. The DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR has impressive video capture ability, doubling as a wide angle lens and a telephoto one.

This has some very interesting effects on your videos, and when used to shoot documentaries or for vlogging, you get a tight angle of view which makes the objects around look not too decluttered. Zooming out with the lens also offers you a much broader angle of view, providing you with a possibly blurred foreground.

Some videographers have also affirmed the shallow depth of field to be an advantage, as only a narrow portion of the image stays focused, creating that perfect cinematic look.

07. Exposure controlling

One of the downsides of the DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR is its tiny maximum aperture which makes controlling the right amount of light into the camera quite problematic.

The speed of the lens aperture at its maximum is also not so impressive, as it seems to slow down as it moves from f/4.5 to around f/5.6 when it hits a focal length of 200mm.

This wouldn’t give you a tasty image output when shooting in low light conditions, as the lights reaching the camera can’t match the shutter speeds. Luckily, the lens’s image stabilization saves the day in situations like this.

08. Still image capturing

With the long focal length of the Nikon Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR, the photographer can bring distant objects close and focus as needed.

The good thing about shooting with this Nikon VR is that while lenses with shorter focal lengths exaggerate very close objects, this lens allows you to emphasize close subjects, making it a good fit for wildlife and nature photography.

Purposes of Uses Nikon Z DX 50-250mm

Most photographers who use telephoto lenses would tell you you can shoot just about anything, which is a good way to dress your profession, but like every other lens, including the walk around one, they have their strongest points.

The Nikon Z DX 50-250mm VR finds full expression when shooting wildlife, as their incredible magnification is essential to capture the animal’s details without disturbing it.

It also fairs excellently in portrait photography as the wide angle allows the dance between objects to be emphasized while simultaneously pulling forward, whatever it is in front of the photographer. Other areas but with slightly weaker expression are landscape photography and skylines.

Pros

  • Light and compact
  • Incredible center sharpness
  • Vignetting correction allows little distortion
  • Affordable

Cons

  • Limited brightness
  • At lower focal lengths, sharpness diminishes

Key Specifications of Nikon Z DX 50-250mm Lens

Key features Standing
Mount type Nikon Z mount
Focal length 50-250mm
Aperture range f/4.5 to f/6.3
Filter size 62mm
Lens elements 16
Lens group 12
Super integrated coating Yes
Electronic diaphragm Yes
Internal focusing Yes
Focus motor STM stepping motor
Maximum reproduction ratio 0.5 – 1.0m
Mount material Plastic
Weight 405g

Top Questions (FAQs)

Will the DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR lens work on Nikon Z7 II?

While the DX 50-250mm VR lens may be compatible with Nikon Z7 II, you should be aware that mounting the lens on the camera body will initiate a DX crop mode. Even though this doesn’t significantly affect your shooting, it impacts the outcome of the images.

What kind of camera can I mount my Nikon 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR lens?

The Nikon Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR is only compatible with the newly introduced Nikon Z mirrorless system. Hence, it won’t work when mounted on DSLRs like Nikon D3200.

What is Nikon’s longest zoom lens?

The longest zoom lens currently in the market with the Nikon brand logo is the AF-S Nikkor 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR. This lens offers photographers in this niche the pinnacle of optical reach for sports and wildlife photography.

Final Words

Not every day, do you run into a brand that makes extensive focal range lenses like that boxed out in 2019 by Nikon under the Z-mirrorless system. The lens features some remarkable optical improvements and is indeed a perfect depiction of a modern-day telephoto lens.

While it’s not all juicy in every area with this lens, with major downsides being that it has a very slow aperture and experiences critical sharpness at lower focal lengths, it is worth a purchase.