My Most and Least Favourite Nikon Z Lenses

My Most and Least Favourite Nikon Z Lenses

There aren’t plenty of photographers who’ve used each Nikon Z lens. And really, I’m not certainly one of them – I nonetheless want to check two, the Nikon Z 58mm f/0.95 Noct and the most recent Z 35mm f/1.4. However I’ve examined 38 of the 40 (plus each TCs), and by now, I’ve settled on my favorites and least favorites of the bunch. I’ll share these with you at the moment.

Earlier than I start, I ought to point out that there are various extra necessary issues in pictures than digital camera and lens choice. Get a lens that meets your wants, and after that, attempt to suppose as little as potential about gear. It would solely distract out of your pictures.

That mentioned, I’m writing this text for a motive. The truth is that many of the questions I get as of late are about lenses. Which is smart – these are large purchases, and most of the people don’t have the flexibility to strive a bunch of lenses themselves and solely maintain their favorites. So, I hope that you simply’ll discover this text helpful in the event you’re in that boat.

Needless to say I’m only one photographer with an opinion. However not less than my opinion is predicated on expertise with nearly all of Nikon’s mirrorless lenses.

Most Favourite

There are solely two Nikon Z lenses that I’ve given an ideal 5.0/5 star ranking on Pictures Life. I take into account these to be my two favourite Nikon mirrorless lenses: the Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S and the Nikon Z MC 105mm f/2.8 S Macro.

Beginning with the 14-24mm f/2.8 S, this lens improves upon the famously good F-mount 14-24mm f/2.8G greater than I might have thought potential. It one way or the other manages to be sharper than its predecessor, and it’s additionally very flare-resistant (which was the most important flaw of the F-mount model). It even has wonderful picture high quality at f/2.8 within the corners, making it a great selection for Milky Approach pictures. Optically, there may be not a single significant flaw with this lens.

It’s additionally spectacular mechanically. Only a few 14mm zooms can take regular filters, however this one is the exception, using a 112mm filter thread together with the HB-97 lens hood. It’s lighter than competing zooms, and it accomplishes all this as a semi-internal zoom (the place the entrance aspect strikes inside a hard and fast barrel). Taking every part into consideration, it is among the strongest and most succesful lenses I’ve ever seen.

Nikon Z7 II Image Samples #40
NIKON Z 7 II + NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S @ 24mm, ISO 64, 2.5 seconds, f/11.0

Then there’s the Nikon Z MC 105mm f/2.8 Macro. This lens has among the greatest optical efficiency of any Nikon Z lens at the moment, together with wonderful corners all through the aperture vary. I don’t see any substantial flaws with this lens besides that it doesn’t take teleconverters. Aside from simply sharpness, it has nice bokeh and retains wonderful distinction in backlit circumstances, in addition to spectacular vignetting, distortion, and chromatic aberration traits.

I had very excessive expectations for this lens, since Nikon has at all times been identified for good macro lenses. Even so, it nonetheless surpassed them.

Macro Photo of Butterfly with Nikon Z 105mm f2.8 S
NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S @ 105mm, ISO 64, 1/1250, f/5.6

These had been the one two Nikon Z lenses that earned an ideal rating in my opinions, however a number of others got here shut. The next lenses stand out to me probably the most upon reflection:

  • Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 S: An almost excellent ultra-wide prime with distinctive picture high quality. It loses one tenth of a star solely as a result of the same old worth of $1050 is slightly excessive. (Sony’s equally excellent 20mm f/1.8 G prices $900. Any time the Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 S goes on sale for the same worth, it rises to five.0/5 in my e book.) The entire different Z f/1.8 primes are additionally nice optically, however that’s a harder accomplishment to tug off at 20mm.
  • Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S: Not optical perfection, however most likely one of the best all-around midrange zoom that I’ve used. It balances worth, weight, attain, and picture high quality higher than anything on the market. What’s extra, it stays simply as robust on the longer focal lengths, which may be very unusual for any such lens.
  • Nikon Z 135mm f/1.8 Plena: This one is optical perfection – or not less than, as shut as I’ve ever seen – though it’s large, heavy, and costly. For those who like this focal size, you actually can’t beat the Plena.
  • Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S: The sharpest zoom lens we’ve ever reviewed, with higher nook efficiency than nearly every other lens available on the market (together with high-end primes). It’s not simply sharpness, both. Nikon has steadily refined the dealing with, focus velocity, and normal picture high quality of their 70-200mm f/2.8 lenses over time. This one is the epitome of their efforts.
  • Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S and Nikon Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S: In fact, the picture high quality is impeccable – no surprises there. However what actually impresses me is the built-in teleconverter. This can be a transformative know-how. I hope it makes its manner into inexpensive lenses in the future.

What about Nikon’s different Z lenses? Nearly all of Nikon’s mirrorless lenses have impressed me thus far, particularly the telephotos and something within the S line. And the non-S lenses nonetheless punch above their weight in lots of circumstances. There’s a motive why I known as this text “my favourite” Z lenses and never “one of the best” Z lenses – I don’t suppose that there’s such a factor as one of the best ones, simply one of the best to your wants.

For anybody who is perhaps questioning, my private Nikon Z equipment is just the 14-30mm f/4 S and the 24-200mm f/4-6.3. I selected them as a result of the Nikon Z system is my light-weight/mountain climbing digital camera equipment of selection, and people lenses are nice for touring mild. They aren’t my “favourite” lenses in a subjective sense, and I’ve a couple of gripes with them, however they had been very best for my scenario.

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S @ 18.5mm, ISO 64, 20 seconds, f/5.0

Least Favourite

That is going to be a shorter part, as a result of thus far there have solely been two Nikon Z lenses that I don’t like. The entire others are logical decisions within the area of interest that they occupy, even when I wouldn’t purchase them for my very own pictures. However I feel that Nikon may have left these two on the drafting board.

First, the Nikon Z 26mm f/2.8. I do know that this lens has its followers amongst photographers who need the lightest potential equipment, however I feel that its older brother – the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 – makes extra sense. The 28mm model is inexpensive and clearly higher optically. Sadly, the corners on the 26mm model by no means actually sharpen up. In a lot of my pattern photographs, I ended up having to crop them out even at slender apertures.

I nonetheless loved how mild the 26mm f/2.8 was after I used it. However I may say the identical factor in regards to the 28mm model. The distinction between the 2 in weight is a mere 35 grams (1.2 ounces), barely greater than a lens cap – fairly irrelevant more often than not.

The one saving grace of the Nikon Z 26mm f/2.8 is its measurement. Aside from its oddly-designed lens hood, the 26mm is about half the size of the 28mm – itself already a slim lens. For those who’re keen to pay for this portability each in worth and picture high quality, be my visitor. However I feel $500 for the 26mm f/2.8 is just too excessive when the higher 28mm f/2.8 prices $300. These two lenses typically go on sale for $400 and $230 respectively, however the story is identical.

NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 26mm f/2.8 @ 26mm, ISO 64, 1/30, f/16.0

Lastly, now we have my least favourite Nikon Z lens, the Nikon Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3. The zoom vary is tiny, and the utmost aperture is dim. It’s additionally one of many weakest Nikon mirrorless lenses optically, performing even worse than Nikon’s superzooms (i.e. the 24-200mm and 28-400mm). I do like that it’s small and ultralight, however so are prime lenses. I feel that both the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 or the Nikon Z 40mm f/2 makes a better option for many photographers who’re contemplating this lens. (Plus, you would nearly purchase each of these lenses for the worth of the 24-50mm.)

If I squint, I can see the case for the 24-50mm f/4-6.3 as a journey pictures or mountain climbing lens. Nonetheless, even then, I would like a Nikon DX digital camera with the 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 as an alternative – which is 60 grams lighter, plus the DX digital camera is lighter on high of that. To not point out that the DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 has a greater zoom vary and is sharper from nook to nook! In lots of circumstances, you’d truly get higher picture high quality from the DX equipment.

Once more, don’t let me rain in your parade in the event you love the 24-50mm f/4-6.3. Nevertheless it’s not for me.

Nikon Z5 Image Sample #33
NIKON Z 5 + NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 @ 24mm, ISO 100, 1/320, f/8.0


Nikon’s mirrorless lens lineup has expanded at a pleasant tempo over the previous couple of years, and now we’ve acquired a fairly complete system. Among the lenses are clearly higher than others, however even taking the worst lenses into consideration, the typical high quality of the Z system is basically spectacular.

Now that I’ve used all however two of Nikon’s mirrorless lenses (and revealed a evaluation on all however six), I can confidently say they’re all able to good photographs in the proper palms. Sure, that features the 26mm f/2.8 and 24-50mm f/4-6.3 – it’s not even a query. However in the event you needed to know the place I stand on my favorites and least favorites, I hope you discovered this text helpful. You may also take a look at our lens opinions for extra complete discussions on these lenses and others that I didn’t have the area to incorporate at the moment.

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