If you are looking for Nikkor Z prime lenses, you can find my overview of these optics by clicking here

In my first article discussing the Nikon mirrorless Z system, I looked at the three cameras available: The FX (full-frame) Nikon Z6 and Z7 cameras and the DX-format Nikon Z50.

Cameras are an important part of any photographer’s kit, but lenses are critical too, of course. Since launching the Z system in late 2018 with the Z6 and Z7 cameras, Nikon has released 12 lenses for the new Z mount, including two APS-C lenses for the Z50 camera. 

Much like Nikon’s “gold ring” F mount lenses, the Z system has an equivalent line of higher-end lenses. These are S-series lenses and they include better weather resistance and a customizable control ring, which lets you control camera and lens settings such as ISO, shutter speed, aperture and focus.

Image courtesy of Nikon. From left to right: 20mm f/1.8 S, 24-200mm f/4-6.3, 70-200mm f/2.8 S, 58mm f/0.95 S Noct and DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3.

I’ve used some of the lenses listed below and will offer my own impressions when possible. For the rest of the lenses, I want to give a general overview of the features of the lens and the type of photography for which it is well suited.

Full frame (FX) Nikon Z lenses

 Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S

  • Price: $1,300 USD
  • Widest native Z lens
  • Maximum diameter x minimum length: 3.5 inches (89 millimeters) x 3.35 in. (85mm)
  • Weight: 1.07 lb. (485g)
  • 82mm filter thread
  • 14 elements in 12 groups
    • 4 ED elements and 4 aspherical elements
  • Includes Nano Crystal and Super Integrated Coatings
  • 7 aperture diaphragm blades
  • Angle of view: 114° to 72°
  • Minimum focus distance: 11 in. (28 cm), resulting in 0.16x maximum magnification
Image captured using the Nikon Z7 with Nikkor Z 14-30mm S lens at 15.5mm. Settings: f/8, 2.5s, ISO 64.

The Nikon 14-30mm f/4 S is a unique lens among ultra-wide angle zoom lenses due to its 82mm front filter thread. Many ultra-wide lenses, including Nikon’s existing 14-24mm f/2.8 lens for F mount, do not accept screw-in filters. This makes the lens a particularly appealing option for landscape and architecture photographers, as there’s no Photoshop substitute for a polarizing filter.

Having used this lens, I was impressed by its sharpness, even when shooting wide open, and its overall versatility in the field. It is an enjoyable lens to use and it delivers strong performance overall.

Great for: Landscapes, architecture and environmental portraits

Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S

  • Price: $1,000 USD
  • Max diameter x min. length: 3.05 (77.5mm) x 3.48 in. (88.5mm)
  • Weight: 1.1 lb. (500g)
  • 72mm filter thread
  • 14 elements in 11 groups
    • Includes a unique aspherical extra-low dispersion element and 3 additional aspherical elements
    • Includes Nano Crystal and Super Integrated Coatings
  • 7 aperture diaphragm blades
  • Angle of view: 84° to 34° 20′
  • Minimum focus distance: 11.81 in. (30cm), resulting in a 0.3x maximum magnification
Image captured using the Nikon Z7 with Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens at 24mm. Settings: f/8, 30s, ISO 160.

This kit lens for the Z6 and Z7 cameras is a standard zoom lens that delivers solid all-around performance. The lens can be a little bit soft at times, especially when compared to the more recent 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens, but it works well and offers quick and quiet autofocus performance. As far as kit lenses are concerned, the 24-70mm f/4 S is very good, and it makes a worthwhile addition to any Nikon Z camera kit. It is also quite a bit lighter and more portable than its f/2.8 counterpart.

Great for: Landscapes and general shooting

Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S

  • Price: $2,300 USD
  • Features a built-in OLED information panel and an assignable L.Fn button
  • Max diameter x min. length: 3.5 in. (89mm) x 4.96 in. (126mm)
  • Weight: 1.78 lb. (805g)
  • 82mm filter thread
  • 17 elements in 15 groups
    • 4 aspherical elements and 2 extra-low dispersion elements
    • Includes Nano Crystal, Super Integrated and ARNEO coatings
  • 9 aperture diaphragm blades
  • Angle of view: 84° to 34° 20′
  • Minimum focus distance: 1.25 feet (38cm), resulting in 0.22x maximum magnification
Image captured using the Nikon Z6 with Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens at 70mm. Settings: f/6.3, 1/80s, ISO 2000.

In spring 2019, Nikon released this first professional f/2.8 zoom for the Z system, which is to be followed by a 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom lens this spring and a 14-24mm f/2.8 lens later this year. The 24-70mm f/2.8 lens has long been a professional workhorse lens for many types of photographers, including those who shoot landscapes, events, portraits, reportage and more.

The Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 is a fantastic 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, delivering fast autofocus performance and excellent sharpness. It’s one of the best lenses in the Nikon Z system so far.

Great for: Landscapes, portraits, event and documentary photography

Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR

  • Price: $900 USD
  • Availability: April 2020
  • Includes VR (up to 5 stops of shake reduction)
  • Max diameter x min. length: 3.01 in. (76.5mm) x 4.49 in. (114mm)
  • Weight: 1.25 lb. (570g)
  • 67mm filter thread
  • 19 elements in 15 groups
    • 1 aspherical ED, 2 aspherical and 2 extra-low dispersion elements
    • Includes Nano Crystal, Super Integrated and ARNEO coatings
  • 7 aperture diaphragm blades
  • Angle of view: 84° to 12° 20′
  • Minimum focus distance: 1.64 ft. (50cm), resulting in 0.28x maximum magnification

Arriving this April, the new Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR lens will be the Z system’s native all-around lens. With its 8.3x zoom and widest focal length of 24mm, it will be well suited to many types of photography, including landscapes and other travel photography.

Great for: Landscapes and travel photography

Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S

  • Price: $2,600 USD
  • Availability: March 2020
  • Features a built-in OLED information panel and a pair of assignable L.Fn buttons
  • Built-in removable rotating tripod collar
  • Currently the only full frame f/2.8 Nikkor Z lens to include Vibration Reduction (VR)
  • Max diameter x min. length: 3.5 in. (89mm) x 8.66 in. (220mm)
  • Weight: 2.99 lb. (1,360g)
  • 77mm filter thread
  • 21 elements in 18 groups
    • 6 extra-low dispersion, 1 fluorite, 1 short-wave refractive index and 2 aspherical elements
    • Includes Nano Crystal, Super Integrated and ARNEO coatings
  • 9 aperture diaphragm blades
  • Angle of view: 34° 20′ to 12° 20′
  • Minimum focus distance: 1.64 feet (50cm), resulting in 0.2x maximum magnification
Image courtesy of Nikon. Here you can see the two L.Fn buttons on the barrel of the 70-200mm f/2.8 S lens.

Notable features include built-in VR, ARNEO coating, a complex optical formula and a multi-focus autofocus system that promises smooth, fast and quiet autofocus performance. Like the 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens, the 70-200mm f/2.8 S includes an OLED information panel and two assignable L.Fn buttons. It’s a safe assumption that the new 70-200mm f/2.8 will deliver excellent optical performance, especially considering its inclusion of a new short-wave refractive index element, which should greatly reduce longitudinal chromatic aberration. The lens can also focus about half a meter closer at the wide end than the latest F mount 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, so that is a great improvement.

Great for: Portraits, wildlife, event and documentary photography

APS-C (DX) Nikon Z lenses

Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR

  • Price: $300 USD
  • Sold as a kit lens with the Nikon Z50 mirrorless camera
  • 24-75mm equivalent focal length
  • Max diameter x min. length: 2.76 in. (70mm) x 1.26 in. (32mm)
  • Weight: 4.76 oz. (135g)
  • 46mm filter thread
  • 9 elements in 7 groups
    • 1 extra-low dispersion element and 4 aspherical elements
    • Includes Super Integrated Coating
  • 7 aperture diaphragm blades
  • Angle of view: 83° to 31° 30′
  • Minimum focus distance: 7.87 in. (20cm), resulting in a 0.2x maximum magnification

Alongside the Nikon Z50 camera, Nikon released a pair of DX zoom lenses, the 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR and Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR. Due to its 24-75mm equivalent focal length, the DX 16-50mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens is basically a standard zoom lens. The 16-50mm lens is short and lightweight, making it a compact pairing with the Z50 camera.

Great for: General photography, landscapes, and casual portraiture

Nikkor Z DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR

  • Price: $350 USD
  • Sold as a kit lens with the Nikon Z50 mirrorless camera
  • 75-375mm equivalent focal length
  • Max diameter x min. length: 2.91 in. (74mm) x 4.33 in. (110mm)
  • Weight: 14.29 oz. (405g)
  • 62mm filter thread
  • 16 elements in 12 groups
    • 1 extra-low dispersion element
    • Includes Super Integrated Coating
  • 7 aperture diaphragm blades
  • Angle of view: 31° 30′ to 6° 30′
  • Minimum focus distance: 1.64 ft. (50cm), resulting in 0.23x maximum magnification

Joining the standard zoom DX lens is the telephoto zoom DX 50-250mm f/4.5-6.3 VR lens. Like the shorter lens, it includes VR to help keep your shots stable, even at the 375mm equivalent maximum focal length.

As a note, while the 16-50mm and 50-250mm DX Nikkor Z lenses are $300 and $350 USD respectively when purchased separately, you can purchase them alongside the Z50 camera for $1,200 USD at the time of writing, which is a sizable savings considering the Z50 body by itself is $860 USD.

Great for: Wildlife in bright light, sports and other general photography

Summary

The Nikon Z system has some great zoom lenses, especially with the addition of the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 S and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 S professional zoom lenses. A 14-24mm f/2.8 S zoom is due to arrive in 2020 as well, completing the trifecta of professional f/2.8 zooms that Nikon’s F system has long been known for. There are additional zoom lenses due to arrive for the Z system soon as well, including some longer lenses, which I will discuss in my third and final part of my Z system overview series.

Image captured using the Nikon Z7 with Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens at 24mm. Settings: f/8, 1.3s, ISO 64.