Buyers Guides |Best Nikon Z lenses in 2022

The Buyers guide to...Best Nikon Z lenses in 2022

From wide-angle primes to telephoto zooms, we've chosen the best Nikon Z lenses to start your collection

Nikon Nikkor Z 70-200mm F2-8 S
Buyers Guide

Are you looking for the best Nikon Z lenses to start your collection? From the original trio of the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4, Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 and Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8, Nikon’s Z series lens range has grown considerably, with options for all the common focal lengths and more.

Just a year after it introduced the Z mount, Nikon had already released the

And Nikon has pledged to deliver

* already announced

Nikon Z mount lenses explained

When Nikon launched its first full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Z6 and Z7, in August 2018, the company also introduced a new lens mount. The Nikon Z mount was designed from the ground-up to enable faster lenses to be mounted than is possible with the F-mount.

This means that Nikon Z camera like the Z50, Z5, Z6, Z7, Z6 II and Z7 II have a mount with a 55mm diameter. That’s significantly larger than the F-mount (47mm diameter) on DSLRs such as the D850. However, Nikon has an adapter that enables Nikon F-mount lenses to be used on the Nikon Z6 etc. Furthermore, Nikon claims that the AF-S lenses produce the same performance on the Nikon Z series cameras as they do on a Nikon DSLR.

Although the diameter of the Z mount is larger than the F-mount, it’s flange depth has been reduced to 16mm. This means that the Nikon Z6 and other Z series cameras are very slim.

One of the key reasons that Nikon switched from the 47-mm diameter F mount to the 55mm-diameter Z mount was to give Nikon’s optical engineers the ability to design lenses with apertures of up to f/0.95, which we have seen with the 58mm F/0.95 Noct. The F mount limits them to f/1.4 or f/1.2 at a push. Nikon Z lenses such as the Z 50mm f/1.2 S proves the point, as it delivers superb-quality images throughout its f/1.2-f/16 aperture range.

Nikon has also included in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) in its Z series cameras, which means VR doesn’t have to be built into Nikon Z lenses. However, the IBIS is compatible with the VR in existing lenses used via the FTZ adapter.

The best Nikon Z lenses you can buy today

The best Nikon Z lenses are designed for hybrid shooting, meaning they offer a nice range of features for both stills and video. While the range is still in its infancy, it is growing each year. Below we’ve made our picks for the best Nikon Z lenses to start your collection. We’ve chosen optics to cover all the common focal lengths.

Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S

Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S Review

Specification

  • Product type: Wide-angle zoom lens
  • Announced: 8th January 2019
  • Mount: Nikon Z
  • Format: Full-frame (FX)
  • Focal length: 14-30mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/4
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Construction: 14 elements in 12 groups with 4 ED elements and 4 aspherical elements
  • Coatings: Nano Crystal and a fluorine-coated front element
  • Focusing system: Internal autofocusing
  • Minimum focus distance: 28cm from the focal plane throughout the zoom range
  • Stabilisation: No
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 7
  • Filter size: 82mm
  • Weight: 485 g / 1 lb 1.2 oz
  • Max diameter x length (extension from lens mount whee the lens is retracted)): 89 x 85mm

Although the Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S is a stop slower than the Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S, it’s also much smaller, has 6mm longer reach and is more affordable, which makes it a very attractive alternative for photographers shooting with a Nikon Z-series mirrorless camera.

It also has the benefit of an 82mm filter mount and, as it can be used with filter holders, it’s compatible with graduated filters. That’s good news for landscape photographers, especially those wanting to shoot long exposures during the day.

Despite its second-fiddle billing behind the 14-24mm f/2.8, the Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S is sealed against dust and moisture. In addition, the front element is fluorine-coated to make it easier to keep clean. All adding to the lens’s appeal to landscape photographers.

If you’ve used the AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED on a DSLR, the Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S seems like a baby of a lens in comparison. However, it has a greater zoom range and it’s easier to use with filters. Its collapsible design also makes it a little more portable than it might otherwise be.

Also, while the lens is designed to cover a full-frame sensor, it has an effective focal length range of 21-45mm on the APS-C format Nikon Z50.

You can find the Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£1349
$1296.95
Check current price

For

  • Excellent sharpness up to f/16
  • Distortion is controlled very well
  • Significantly more affordable than the 14-24mm f/2.8

Against

  • Collapsing mechanism lacks the high-quality feel of the rest of the lens
  • F/4 rather than f/2.8
  • No dedicated control ring

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S

Specification

  • Product type: Standard zoom lens
  • Mount: Nikon Z
  • Format: Full-frame (FX)
  • Focal length: 24-70mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/4
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Construction: 14 elements in 11 groups (including 1 ED element, 1 aspherical ED element and 3 aspherical elements)
  • Coatings: Nano Crystal Coat, Fluorine coat, ARNEO coat
  • Focusing system: Internal autfocusing
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.3 m
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.22x
  • Stabilisation: Yes
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 7
  • Filter size: 72mm
  • Weight: 500g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 77.5 x 88.5mm

The Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S is the smaller and more affordable of Nikon’s two 24-70mm lenses for its Z-series mirrorless cameras. It’s often sold with the Z6 or Z7 as a kit lens, but it’s much more than the average kit lens. We think it makes an excellent choice as your first native lens for Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless cameras.

Nikon has constructed the lens from 14 elements in 11 groups. This includes 1 ED (Extra-low Dispersion) element, 1 aspherical ED element and 3 aspherical elements. Nikon’s Nan Crystal Coating has also been used to reduce ghosting and flare. In addition, the front element has a fluorine-coating to help it shed dirt, fingerprints and water droplets.

The focusing is internal which means the lens doesn’t change length nor the front element rotate during focusing. That’s especially useful when you’re using a polarised or graduated filter.

If you want the maximum amount of detail, then yes, it is best to pair the Nikon Z7 with the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, but we wouldn’t regard the Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S as the poor person’s alternative. As well as the cost-saving over the f/2.8 optic, the f/4 lens is a nicer size and weight on Nikon’s mirrorless cameras. And the results from it are very good indeed. It captures an impressive amount of detail, chromatic aberration is controlled extremely well and distortion isn’t a significant issue.

You can find the Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£899
$996
Check current price

For

  • Retractable design for portability
  • Great image quality
  • Good price

Against

  • Minor vignetting

Nikon Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S

Nikon Nikkor Z 35mm F1.8 S review

Specification

  • Product type: Wide-angle lens
  • Mount: Nikon Z
  • Format: Full-frame (FX)
  • Focal length: 35mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/16
  • Construction: 11 elements in 9 groups (including 2 ED elements, 3 aspherical elements, and elements with Nano Crystal Coat)
  • Coatings: Nano Crystal Coat
  • Focusing system: Rear focusing system
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.25 m
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.22x
  • Stabilisation: Yes
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 9
  • Filter size: 62mm
  • Weight: 370g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 73 x 86mm

Nikon’s compact prime lens is ideal for street photography, owing to both its fast f/1.8 aperture and its weather sealing. A rounded, nine-blade aperture produces wonderful background blur, while its multi-focusing system lets you render your subject sharp even at a close distance.

A customisable control ring lets you assign exposure compensation in AF mode, and when you’re focusing manually this becomes your focus ring.

If you shoot video, the Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 has a near-silent stepping motor, and focus breathing is practically non-existent.

Nikon’s Z 35mm f/1.8 is a fantastic prime lens that you can use across a number of different disciplines.

You can find the Nikon Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£729
$846
Check current price

For

  • Compact design
  • Superb image quality
  • Near silent operation in video

Against

  • Expensive, but quality doesn't come cheap
  • Needs the correct embedded profiles to remove vignetting at wide apertures

Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S

Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S review

Specification

  • Product type: Wide-angle lens
  • Mount: Nikon Z
  • Format: Full-frame (FX)
  • Focal length: 50mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/16
  • Construction: 12 elements in 9 groups (including 2 ED elements, 2 aspherical elements, and elements with Nano Crystal Coat)
  • Coatings: Nano Crystal Coat
  • Focusing system: Internal focusing system
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.4m
  • Stabilisation: No
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 9
  • Filter size: 62mm
  • Weight: 415g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 76 x 86.5mm

The Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S (aka the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S) is constructed from 12 elements in 9 groups. This includes 2 ED elements and 2 aspherical along with elements that have Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coating.

Perhaps not surprising given the size of the Z mount, the Z 50mm f/1.8 S is larger than then average 50mm lens. It measures 86.5 mm from the camera lens mount flange and has a maximum diameter of 76mm. However, it accepts 62mm filters.

Although it’s quite a large lens for its focal length, the Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S seems quite at home on the Z 7 and Z 6. It has weather-sealing to match the camera and it feels well-balanced with the large grip on the camera.

The large maximum aperture also helps the camera’s autofocus system and it gets most subjects sharp very quickly. That makes the manual focus ring largely redundant and perfect for adjusting exposure compensation (or aperture if you prefer).

The best results overall are produced within an aperture range of around f/4 to f/11, but actually, the full range produces superb results. Details look super-sharp and there’s no need to worry about distortion, chromatic aberration or flare.

You can find the Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£519
$596
Check current price

For

  • Large maximum aperture
  • Excellent detail

Against

  • Large for its focal length

Nikon Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S

Nikon Nikkor Z 70-200mm F2-8 S

Specification

  • Product type: Wide-angle zoom lens
  • Mount: Nikon Z
  • Format: Full-frame (FX)
  • Focal length: 70-200mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Construction: 21 elements in 18 groups (including 6 ED lens elements, 2 aspherical elements, 1 fluorite element, 1 SR lens element
  • Coatings: Nano Crystal and ARNEO coats, and a fluorine-coated front lens element
  • Focusing system: Internal autfocusing
  • Minimum focus distance: at 70mm: 0.5m / 1.64 ft, 85mm: 0.63m / 2.07ft, 105mm: 0.68m / 2.23ft, 135mm: 0.8m / 2.62ft, 200mm: 1.0m / 3.28ft from focal plane
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.2x
  • Stabilisation: Yes
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 9
  • Filter size: 77mm
  • Weight: 1440g / 3lb 2.8 oz with the tripod collar, 1360g 3lb without the tripod collar
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 89 x 220mm

As an S-line lens, the Nikon Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S is part of the professional-quality lens series for the company’s Z-series mirrorless cameras.

Its 100-400mm focal length range makes it an attractive option for sport and wildlife photographers while the modest aperture range helps to keep the size, weight and cost down. Nikon’s new mount and mirrorless technology also mean that it’s more sophisticated than the old AF-S Nikkor 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VRfor DSLRs. Naturally, it’s also considerably lighter than the Nikon Nikkor Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S, and a fraction of the cost.

There’s also Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) image stabilisation system to enable blur-free images to be captured at 5.5EV longer exposure times than normal.

While many photographers dream of f/2.8 400mm lenses, the Nikon Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S is a much more practical proposition for most. It also focuses very quickly in poor light and captures an excellent level of detail, making it a great choice for wildlife and sport photography.

Price when reviewed
£2299
$2596
Check current price

For

  • Superb image quality even at maximum aperture
  • Fast and super-quiet AF
  • Excellent handling

Against

  • This type of lens doesn't come cheap

Nikon Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S

Nikon Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S review

Specification

  • Product type: Wide to telephoto zoom lens
  • Announced: 28th October 2021
  • Mount: Nikon Z
  • Format: Full-frame (FX)
  • Focal length: 100-400mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/4.5-5.6
  • Minimum aperture: f/32-40
  • Construction: 25 elements in 20 groups with 6 ED (Extra-low Dispersion) and 2 super-ED elements
  • Coatings: Nanon Crystal, ARNEO and fluorine-coated front lens element
  • Focusing system: Internal
  • Minimum focus distance: At 100mm: 0.75 m / 2.46 ft, 135mm: 0.78 m / 2.56 ft, 200mm: 0.8 m / 2.63 ft, 300mm: 0.87 m / 2.86 ft, 400mm: 0.98 m / 3.22 ft
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.38x
  • Stabilisation: Yes. Lens shift using voice coil motors (VCMs), 5.5EV compensation
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 9
  • Filter size: 77mm
  • Weight: With tripod collar: 1435g / 3 lb 2.7 oz, without tripod collar: 1355g / 2 lb 15.8 oz
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 98 x 222mm / 3.9 in. x 8.8 inches
Price when reviewed
£2699
$2696.95
Check current price

For

  • Excellent image quality
  • Dedicated control ring & L-Fn buttons
  • Compatible with Z Teleconverters TC-2x and TC-1.4x

Against

  • Substantial weight
  • Variable maximum aperture
  • Expensive at launch

What is the best all around lens for Nikon?

Is there one lens that can do everything? Well, no. But the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S comes very close! While the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S is a great pairing with Nikon’s mirrorless cameras, many professional and high-end enthusiasts like to have an f/2.8 lens for the extra stop of light and the greater control over depth of field.

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S

Specification

  • Product type: Standard zoom lens
  • Mount: Nikon Z
  • Format: Full-frame (FX)
  • Focal length: 24-70mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Construction: 17 elements in 15 groups (including 2 ED elements, 4 aspherical elements, elements with Nano Crystal and ARNEO coats, and fluorine-coated front and rear lens elements)
  • Coatings: Nano Crystal Coat, Fluorine coat, ARNEO coat
  • Focusing system: Internal autfocusing
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.38m
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.22x
  • Stabilisation: Yes
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 9
  • Filter size: 82mm
  • Weight: 805g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 89 x 126mm

While the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S is a great pairing with Nikon’s mirrorless cameras, many professional and high-end enthusiasts like to have an f/2.8 lens for the extra stop of light and the greater control over depth of field.

It’s constructed from 17 elements in 15 groups, with two ED elements and four aspherical elements. Nikon has also applied its ARNEO and Nano Crystal coatings to reduce ghosting and flare. In addition, the front and rear elements are fluorine-coated to help avoid problems with fingerprints, dirt and water droplets.

As the focusing is internal, the lens doesn’t change length when the focus shifts. In addition, the closest focusing distance, 38cm, is constant throughout the zoom range.

Nikon has given the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S a 9-blade aperture for attractive, rounded bokeh.

You can find the Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£2299
$2296
Check current price

For

  • Solid build quality
  • Sharpness throughout the focal range
  • Extra controls

Against

  • This type of lens doesn't come cheap

Our favourite Nikon Z lens

If you’re looking for something a bit wider than a 24-70mm lens for landscape photography, the Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S makes a great choice with the added bonus of being a little cheaper and 2.3EV faster than the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S. That wide maximum aperture makes it attractive for low light – whether that’s inside or outside shooting the night sky.

Superb lens for landscapes, cityscapes, astrophotography and interior photography, the Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S is an impressively sharp lens that delivers great results whatever aperture you shoot at.

Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S

Specification

  • Product type: Wide-angle prime lens
  • Announced: 12th February 2020
  • Mount: Nikon Z
  • Format: Full-frame (FX)
  • Focal length: 20mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/1.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/16
  • Construction: 14 elements in 11 groups (including 3 ED elements, 3 aspherical elements, and elements with Nano Crystal Coat)
  • Coatings: Nano Crystal Coat
  • Focusing system: Internal autofocusing
  • Minimum focus distance: 0.2m
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.19x
  • Stabilisation: Yes
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 9
  • Filter size: 77mm
  • Weight: 505g
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 84.5 x 108.5mm

The NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1.8 S is the latest optic in Nikon’s S-line of bright f/1.8 lenses. It features a 9-blade aperture for smooth background blur, and a minimum focus distance of 0.2m.

As well as ED glass, it also is coated with Nikon’s anti-reflective Nano Crystal Coat to prevent ghosting and flare.

This Nikon Z full-frame lens offers fast, smooth AF performance, which makes it perfect for video, and it’s weather-sealing means you can shoot in any conditions.

On the lens barrel are focus rings and a control ring that can be customised for ISO, silent aperture control or exposure compensation.

You can find the Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S at Amazon UK and Amazon US.

Price when reviewed
£999
$1046
Check current price

For

  • Fast aperture
  • Weatherproof
  • Excellent sharpness

Against

  • Big for the focal length
  • No focus distance scale
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