Reviews |Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8

Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 Review

Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f2.8
Review

Price when reviewed

£1199

$1197
Check current price

Our Verdict

It doesn’t really look like an ultra wide lens with a constant f/2.8 aperture and it doesn’t suffer from any of the flaws that we traditionally associate with such optics, in fact the Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 delivers excellent results. It’s also fairly lightweight yet well-built and weatherproof. And while it doesn’t have quite the same range as the Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S, the 17-28mm focal length is likely to be the most commonly used because the perspective distortion at 14mm is pretty dramatic.

Nikon is still growing its Z-mount lens line-up, and there are plenty of other lenses that photographers would like to see, but the Z 17-28mm f/2.8 is a great addition to the range.

For

  • Excellent image quality
  • Small and light for a constant f/2.8 zoom lens
  • Close focusing

Against

  • No dedicated control ring
  • Relies on in-camera stabilisation
  • 17mm rather than 16mm

What is the Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8?

The Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 is a wide-angle zoom lens designed for use on Nikon Z-series mirrorless cameras like the Nikon Z7 II and Nikon Z6 II. It can also be used on the flagship Nikon Z9, but that is more likely to be paired with Nikon’s top-line S-series lenses such as the Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S.

While the Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 looks every bit like a Nikon Z-mount lens, it’s widely thought to be a rejigged Tamron 17-28mm f/2.8 Di III RXD.

Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 price and availability

When it was announced in September 2022, the Nikon Nikkor 17-28 f/2.8 was priced at £1,199 / $1,196.95. It became available to purchase in November 2022.

Specification

  • Product type: Wide-angle zoom lens
  • Mount: Nikon Z
  • Format: Full-frame (FX)
  • Focal length: 17-28mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Construction: 13 elements in 11 groups including 2 ED elements, 1 super-ED element, 1 aspherical elements
  • Coatings: Nano Crystal Coat, ARNEO coat and Fluorine coated front element
  • Focusing system: Internal autfocusing
  • Minimum focus distance: 17mm: 0.19 m (0.63 ft), 20mm: 0.23 m (0.76 ft), 24mm: 0.26 m (0.86 ft), 28mm: 0.26 m (0.86 ft)
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.19x
  • Stabilisation: No
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 9
  • Filter size: 67mm
  • Weight: 450g / 15.9oz
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 75 x 101mm / 3 x 4 inches
Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f2.8 review

Features

Nikon is aiming the Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 at enthusiast photographers who want a relatively compact and lightweight wide-angle lens. What sets it apart from some other wide-angle zoom lenses is that it has a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8. That’s great news for astrophotographers and low-light photography, but it also means that you don’t need to adjust the exposure when you zoom from one end to the other.

The lens also comes with the bonus of being able to focus as close as 19cm (0.63-feet) from the sensor at the widest point and 23cm (0.76 ft) at 20mm,  26cm (0.86 ft) at 24mm and 26cm (0.86 ft) at the 28mm end. It means you can go in close and have lots of context around your subject.

As it’s not one of Nikon’s top-flight ‘S’ lenses, the Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 doesn’t have fancy things like a little screen that can show key settings, a function button or an extra control ring, but it is sealed against dust and water droplets.

The lens is constructed from 13 elements arranged in 11 groups including 2 ED (extra-low dispersion) elements, 1 super-ED element and 1 aspherical element. As usual, those special elements are designed to deliver good image quality across the frame and throughout the focal length range while keeping the size and weight of the optic down.

There’s no stabilisation built-in, instead you have to rely on the camera’s sensor-shifting stabilisation.

Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f2.8 review

Building and handling

While the Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 is relatively lightweight at 450g / 15.9oz, it still feels well-made. It also has a metal mounting plate rather than a cheaper, lighter plastic one.  And, as I mentioned earlier, it’s sealed against water droplets and dust.

There isn’t a zoom lock, nor are there any switches or extra controls on the lens, just a broad zoom towards the front element and a slimmer focus ring nearer to the mount. The zoom ring moves smoothly and the movement is internal so the lens doesn’t change length when you move between focal lengths.

Although I wouldn’t mind the zoom ring movement being a little stiffer, it doesn’t feel too loose.

There are four focal length markings, 17mm, 20mm, 24mm and 28mm. It takes a little under a quarter turn to rotate from one extreme to the other but it’s easy to align the zoom marker with the in-between points.

By traditional standards, the knurled focus ring is very slim, but it’s the standard for Nikon Z-mount lenses without a separate dedicated control ring. Again it moves smoothly and there are no sticking points or loose areas. As the focusing is by wire, there are no end points to the movement and there’s no distance scale. Like the zoom, the focusing is internal so the lens doesn’t extend nor the front element rotate during focusing.

Although it can be used to focus the lens manually when the camera is set to manual focusing, it can also be used to adjust the aperture, exposure compensation or the sensitivity (ISO) setting when the autofocus system is selected. I mainly use it for adjusting the exposure compensation. It works well but it’s easy to adjust the exposure as you grasp the lens and lift the camera to your eye, but it’s also very easy to adjust it back and it’s quicker to use than a camera-based dial.

Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f2.8 review

Performance

Paired with the 45.7MP Nikon Z7 II, the Nikon Z 17-28mm f/2.8 lens focus quickly and silently. It’s very decisive even in quite low light and it only becomes a bit indecisive when it’s close to its nearest focusing point, but that’s not unusual. Even then, it’s not a bad and I was able to focus automatically rather than switching to manual focus mode. If you’re shooting a lot of close-up subjects, however, it maybe be worth setting the focus ring to M/A is this allows the focusing to be adjusted manually while the AF system is engaged.

There’s a little focus breathing, but it’s unlikely to be a major problem.

If you decide to turn off the in-camera corrections and not apply the correction profile when you’re editing your raw files, you’re likely to spot some barrel distortion at the wider end of the lens, but it’s not dramatic for the focal length. It switches to pincushion distortion at around 24mm, but again it’s not especially problematic and the profiles render straight lines straight.

Even with the profile applied, there is some vignetting visible at every focal length when the aperture is fully open, but it’s not especially troublesome and it’s gone by the time the aperture is closed to f/4.

I’m impressed by the level of sharpness across the frame in images from the Z 17-28mm f/2.8. As you’d expect, there is a slight drop off in the corners at the widest aperture, but it’s very well controlled. The best results are seen at f/5.6 to f/11, but I’d happily shoot at any aperture and focal length with the lens.

Chromatic aberration is also controlled extremely well and despite trying to force the issue, I can’t find any in the images I’ve captured using the lens – with or without the correction profile. Flare is also remarkably well controlled, so if you want to inject some into your images you might want to think about buying a Lensbaby Creative Filter Kit.

Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f2.8 review

Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 sample images

Follow the link to browse and download full-resolution images from the Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8, please respect our copyright.

Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 image gallery

Verdict

Nikon’s Z-mount lenses are an impressive bunch and the Z 17-28mm f/2.8 fits right in. It might not have all the splendor of the company’s S-line optics, but it’s very capable and delivers excellent results. Its focal length is more limited than the excellent Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S, but it’s within the most useful range. It also has an extra stop on the aperture, is a little lighter and around £150/$100 more affordable. It’s over £1,000 / $1,000 cheaper, about 200g lighter and significantly smaller than the Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S.

The Z 17-28mm f/2.8 is smaller than you might expect for an f/2.8 zoom lens with such a short focal length, it doesn’t scream wide-angle and it feels nicely balanced on a camera like the Z7 II or Z6 II. All the flaws that we associate with wide-angles lenses are also controlled extremely well, making it an excellent addition to the range.

guest

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments