Reviews |Nikon Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8

Nikon Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 Review

Nikon Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 review
Review

Price when reviewed

£949

$999
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Our Verdict

Nikon now offers plenty of choice to Nikon Z-series photographers looking for a full-frame standard zoom lens and the Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 is an attractive option for anyone keen to have a lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 without the cost of the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S. It lacks some of handling flourishes of the Z 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, but the Z 28-75mm f/2.8 is weather-sealed and it performs well. The extra reach at the telephoto end is also nice, but the loss of the 4mm at the wide end is arguably more significant.

For

  • Attractively priced f/2.8 zoom
  • Weather-sealed
  • Smaller and lighter than the Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S

Against

  • Single control ring
  • The widest point is 28mm rather than 24mm
  • Relies on in-camera stabilisation

What is the Nikon Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8?

Nikon is billing the Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 as a smaller, lighter and more affordable alternative to the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, but it’s also a faster, similarly priced, slightly larger and heavier alternative to the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S.

Like the 24-70mm lenses I’ve mentioned, the Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 is a full-frame optic that’s designed for use on Z-mount mirrorless cameras such as the Nikon Z7 II, Nikon Z6 II and Nikon Z5. Its focal length makes it a good choice for ‘everyday’ photography, or more specifically shooting landscapes, portraits and street or documentary photography. Meanwhile the wide maximum aperture means it’s useful in low light conditions and can be relied upon to blur backgrounds.

Because Nikon uses the same mount on its full-frame and APS-C format mirrorless cameras, the Z 28-75mm f/2.8 can also be used on the Nikon Z50 and Nikon Zfc, on which it has an effective focal length range of 42-112.5mm. That makes it effectively a normal to telephoto lens, which means it could be useful for street, documentary and portrait photography.

Specification

  • Product type: Standard zoom lens
  • Mount: Nikon Z
  • Format: Full-frame (FX)
  • Focal length: 28-75mm
  • Maximum aperture: f/2.8
  • Minimum aperture: f/22
  • Construction: 15 elements in 12 groups including 1 Super-ED element, 1 ED elements and 3 aspherical elements
  • Coatings: Fluorine-coated front element
  • Focusing system: Internal autfocusing
  • Minimum focus distance: 28mm: 0.19 m / 0.63ft, 35m: 0.22m / 0.73ft, 50mm: 0.3m / 0.99ft, 75mm: 0.39m / 1.28ft
  • Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.34x
  • Stabilisation: No
  • Number of diaphragm blades: 9
  • Filter size: 67mm
  • Weight: 565g / 1lb 4oz
  • Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 75 x 120.5mm / 3 x 4.8 inches
Nikon Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 review

Features

As it’s not one of Nikon’s ‘S’ line lenses, the Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 is really aimed at enthusiast rather than professional photographers, but it is still weather-sealed and has a fluorine-coated front element to help keep it clean and make water droplets bead off.

Optically, the lens is constructed from 15 elements arrange in 12 groups with one ED (Extra-Low Dispersion) element and one Super-ED element plus 3 aspherical elements. As usual, the purpose of these special elements is to deliver high image quality across the frame while keeping the size of the lens down.

Focusing is handled by a stepping motor, which is designed to be quiet and responsive. Also, as the mechanism works internally, the lens doesn’t change length nor the front element rotate during focusing. That latter point is especially useful when there’s a graduated or polarising filter on the lens as any rotation could change the impact of the filter.

Nikon has used a 9-bladed diaphragm to create the aperture in the Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 and each blade is rounded to help deliver more attractive bokeh.

Nikon Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 review

Build and handling

At 565g or 1lb 4oz in weight, the Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 is significantly lighter than the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S which weighs 805g / 1lb 12.8oz. It’s also just a little heavier than the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S (500 g / 1 lb 1.7 oz). And while it’s slimmer and shorter than the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, it’s a little wider and longer than the f/4 lens.

I tested the Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 on the Nikon Z9, and compared with your average f/2.8 zoom lens, it looks a bit on the skinny-side on the double-gripped camera. But that’s a good thing, it means that it’s nicely-sized for use on a single gripped camera like the Z7 II or Z6 II.

Nikon Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 review

Nikon has kept things simple with the Z 28-75mm f/2.8. It has just two rings, a broad zoom ring towards the front element and a narrow control ring that sits closer to the mount. This control ring’s default purpose is focusing when the lens is set to manual focus, but it can be customised and set to adjust the exposure compensation, aperture or ISO value, or to tweak the focusing when the autofocus system is in action. I generally use it to adjust the exposure compensation.

Both rings have a smooth movement and fall within convenient reach of your left hand.

There are no control switches  on the Z 28-75mm f/2.8, which means that the focus mode has to be set via the camera. It also doesn’t have the small screen that is seen on some of Nikon’s higher-end optics, but that’s hardly essential.

Nikon Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 review

Performance

As I mentioned earlier, the Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8’s control ring can be set to adjust the focus manually if the autofocus system struggles, but this was never the case when it was mounted on the Z9 – even when the subject was near to the closest focusing point.

The lens focuses quickly and silently, plus focus breathing is controlled very well, which is good news for video-shooting.

Nikon Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 image quality

Nikon has introduced some very impressive lenses since it introduced the Z mount and while the Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 may not have the ‘S’ label, it produces very sharp images. There’s some fall off in the corners, especially at the shorter focal lengths, but it’s not really noticeable at normal viewing and printing sizes.

The central sharpness at the widest aperture is particularly impressive at every focal length, and it’s maintained well through the aperture range up to around f/16 when diffraction begins to take a toll. I’d be happy to use f/16, but I’d avoid using f/22 as the results are just a little too soft.

Without the in-camera Vignetting Control there’s noticeable corner shading in images captured at the wider apertures. It’s almost completely eliminated by closing down to f/5.6. Alternatively, it’s much less noticeable with the Vignette Control set to ‘Normal’.  However, you may still notice the corners brightening if you switch to f/4 or f/5.6.

It’s also worth activating the distortion correction, either in-camera or using the correction profile available image editing applications like Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom. It rectifies the slight barrel distortion that’s visible at the wider end of the lens.

Chromatic aberration is generally controlled well, but I noticed a few slight traces around high contrast edges when checking images at 100% on a computer screen. These aren’t visible at normal viewing and printing sizes.

Similarly, flare isn’t a significant concern. Nevertheless, it’s good to see that a hood is provided with the lens.

Most out of focus areas looks good, but they can look a little ‘busy’ and some small light sources have ‘onion ring’ aberrations. There’s aren’t especially problematic but worth noting.

Nikon Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 sample images

Follow the link to browse and download full-resolution images shot using the Nikon Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 on the Nikon Z9.

Nikon Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 image gallery

Verdict

With the addition of the Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8, Nikon Z-series photographers have quite a bit of choice looking for a full-frame standard zoom lens as there’s also the  Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 SNikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S and Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 as well as the compact Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 and travel-friendly Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR. Of these, the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens is the premium optic, delivering superb image quality, luxury handling features and a large maximum aperture. The 24-70mm f/4 S makes a great alternative as it’s  smaller, lighter and much more affordable, while still producing great image quality. However, the 24-120mm f/4 is also very attractive and offers the extra reach of going to 120mm.

If you want the f/2.8 maximum aperture without the weight and cost of the 24-70mm f/2.8, the Z 28-75mm f/2.8 makes a great choice provided you’re happy to sacrifice the 4mm loss at the wider end of the zoom range.

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