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Best zoom lenses for Nikon DSLRs

Best zoom lenses for Nikon DSLRs

November 30, 2021

If you’re after the most flexible type of lens, a zoom lens is generally considered a good idea, here we highlight some of the best zoom lenses for Nikon DSLRs. You can shoot at different focal lengths, without the hassle and fuss of having to change lenses (or carry them around). Of course, as with everything in life – you’ll usually find there’s some sort of compromise. Even with the best zoom lenses, one big compromise tends to be a narrower maximum aperture than you usually find with prime lenses.

When you’re deciding which zoom lens to pick, first of all consider which type of camera you’re shooting with. That is, whether it’s got an APS-C sized sensor, such as the Nikon D500, Nikon D7500, Nikon D5600, or a full-frame sensor, such as the Nikon D850 or the Nikon D5, also known as FX.  If you’re using an APS-C sized sensor, also known as DX, you  need to be aware of the crop factor. For Nikon cameras, that represents 1.5x the focal length written on the lens. So, as an example, the equivalent focal length of a standard 18-55mm kit lens used on an APS-C body is 27-82.5mm.

The next thing to consider is the type of zoom lens you need. Here we have separated the options into “standard zoom” and “telephoto zoom”. The former is a good option as a walk around lens, giving you flexibility to shoot at different focal lengths without zooming in too far. The latter is best suited to specific needs, such as sports, action, wildlife, or weddings and events.

Best zoom lenses for Nikon – Standard

Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 DC Macro OS HSM

For: APS-C / DX | Equivalent focal length: 25.5-105mm | Street Price: £349

best zoom lenses for Nikon

For an affordable and flexible walk-around lens, the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4 is a good option for APS-C users. The wide apertures available at either end of the optic make it a good choice for low light photography, while it’s useful for a range of subject choices, including landscape, street and portraiture.

Nikon 16-80mm f/2.8-4G AF-S VR ED DX Lens

For: APS-C / DX | Equivalent focal length: 24-120mm | Street Price: £899

Nikon 16-80mm Lens - best zoom lenses for Nikon

Often sold bundled with Nikon’s superlative D500 APS-C body, the 16-80mm f/2.8-4 makes for a fantastic walk around lens which doesn’t leave you with too many compromises. The focal length starts at the classic 24mm (equivalent), making it well-placed for landscape photography, rising to 120mm (equivalent), which should get you nice and close to lots of different subjects.

“The Nikkor 16-80mm f/2.8-4 delivers some great results, and so long as you’re aware of its shortfalls you won’t be disappointed. Its overall performance is good, with dependable performances from the autofocus and Vibration Reduction.”

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 16-80mm F2.8-4E ED VR review

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 17-55mm f/2.8G ED-IF

For: APS-C / DX | Equivalent focal length: 25.5-82.5mm | Street Price: £1,349

This professional level standard zoom lens has a constant maximum aperture of f/2.8, making it perfect for low-light photography work – as well as blurring out backgrounds. It’s close to the classic length of 24-70mm favoured by full-frame photographers and gives you lots of options for different subjects, including landscapes, portraits, still-life and more.

Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM

For: APS-C / DX | Equivalent focal length: 27-52.5mm | Street Price: £649

best zoom lenses for Nikon

If you want a super wide aperture, but also want some flexibility when it comes to focal length, Sigma’s fantastic 18-35mm f/1.8 could be the lens for you. You get an almost unheard of maximum wide aperture of f/1.8, ideal for low light and creating a super shallow depth of field. Carrying this lens around is like carrying 2-3 prime lenses, without the need to change or carry additional weight.

Nikon 24-120mm f/4 G AF-S ED VR Lens

For: Full-frame / FX | Street Price: £914

Nikon 24-120mm - best zoom lenses for Nikon

This standard zoom lens gives extra reach at the telephoto end of the optic over something like the 24-70mm, but you have to settle with an f/4 maximum aperture. You’ve also got vibration reduction on hand, while its compact design makes it well suited to travel – meaning you don’t have to carry around several lenses at once.

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E AF-S ED VR Lens

For: Full-frame / FX | Street Price: £1,779

best zoom lenses for Nikon

A professional quality standard zoom lens which is favoured by many full-frame shooters. The classic focal length of 24-70mm pairs with an f/2.8 constant aperture to give you good options when shooting in low light, or to create shallow depth of field effects. You’ll be paying a premium for the wider maximum aperture, so if you think that you’re less likely to be shooting in low light, you might find the f/4 version suits you just as well.

Best zoom lenses for Nikon – Telephoto

Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II

For: Full-frame / FX | Street Price: £2349

Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 Zoom Lens - best zoom lenses for Nikon

To get closer to the action than a standard zoom allows, the next logical step is a 70-200mm telephoto zoom lens. The wide angle end is still available for relatively close-up work, such as portraits, while the telephoto end is great for distant subjects, such as sport. It’s designed for full-frame cameras, but it would also work well on some of the larger or more advanced APS-C models in Nikon’s line-up, such as the D500.

Tamron SP 70-200mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2

For: Full-frame / FX | Street Price: £949

Tamron 70-200mm G2 lens

A full £1000 cheaper than Nikon’s proprietary 70-200mm f/2.8 lens makes the Tamron version a very, very appealing prospect. You don’t have to compromise on maximum aperture, while the lens has proven to be a great performer, in our review, here’s what we had to say about the lens: 

“If you’re an enthusiast photographer looking for a high-spec telezoom at a competitive price, the SP 70-200mm F/2.8 Di VC USD G2 is a great choice, and a serious alternative to its more expensive Canon and Nikon counterparts.”

Nikon 70-200mm f/4 G ED VR Lens

For: Full-frame / FX | Street Price: £999

Another cheaper alternative to a 70-200mm f/2.8 option, is to plump for the f/4 version instead. If you’re mainly shooting in good light, the narrower aperture is likely to bother you less, and you get a hefty saving for making the compromise.

Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM A

For: APS-C / DX | Equivalent focal length: 75-150mm | Street Price: £949

best zoom lenses for Nikon

A high-end APS-C camera like the D500 would match perfectly with this wonderful lens from Sigma’s highly acclaimed Art line-up. With this lens you get a constant maximum aperture of f/1.8, which is extremely unusual for zoom lenses. Carrying this around is like having three wide aperture prime lenses in your bag, without the hassle of having to switch lenses or weighing you down – it’s quite big on its own though, so be prepared to do some weightlifting.

“The appeal of the Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM A might be limited to those using APS-C cameras, but this doesn’t take anything away from what is an outstanding lens that delivers stunning images right across its zoom range. If you’re like me and want to create attractive background blur behind subjects at mid telephoto lengths without having to change lens and lugging around two or three fast primes, you’ll fall in love with this lens and quickly get addicted to using it at its maximum aperture.”

Sigma 50-100mm f/1.8 DC HSM | A Review

Sigma 120-300mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM IS

For: Full-frame / FX | Street Price: £2,699

best zoom lenses for Nikon

This telephoto zoom lens certainly isn’t cheap, but you get a lot of bang for your buck. There’s a nice long focal length, which makes it well suited to sports, action and wildlife shooting. The wide angle end could also be used for other subjects such as portraiture, but, due to its heaviness, you might find it’s most suitable for tripod photography. A wide maximum aperture of f/2.8 is constant throughout the focal length, and another specification which makes it well suited for tackling sports and wildlife photography.

Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

For: Full-frame / FX | Street Price: £1,299

Nikon 200-500mm

This lens offers a longer than normal telephoto zoom, from 200mm all the way to 500mm, with a constant f/5.6 aperture, and a price point that makes it very affordable. If you shoot in good light, or have a camera that you’re comfortable with shooting at slightly raised ISO speeds, then this could be an excellent choice.

“Nikon has put together an excellent telephoto zoom lens at a superb price of £1,299, without sacrificing performance. More portable than the AF-S Nikkor 200-400mm f/4G ED VR II and a quarter of the price, it might not quite match it for optical quality, but it certainly punches well above its weight.”

Read our Nikon AF-S 200-500mm f/5.6E ED VR

Find more great lenses our buying guides, or have a look at the latest lens reviews!

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A Review of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 Lens

A Review of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 Lens

It might not be the most exciting lens out there, but Nikon’s NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 is highly portable, affordable, and surprisingly sharp given its size and price. If you are looking for such a lens, check out this excellent video that takes a look at the performance and image quality you can expect from it in practice. 

Coming to you from Christopher Frost, this great video review takes a look at the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 lens. Despite its small size and price, the 24-50mm f/4-6.3 still comes with a variety of useful features, including:

  • Three aspherical elements for reduced distortion and increased sharpness
  • Two extra-low dispersion elements for reduced chromatic aberrations and increased clarity 
  • Super Integrated Coating for reduced flares and ghosting and increased contrast
  • Stepping motor for fast and quiet autofocus suitable for both photo and video applications
  • Small design: approximately 2.9 inches long and 6.88 oz (195 g)
  • Customizable Control Ring
  • Rounded seven-blade diaphragm for smoother bokeh
  • Dust- and moisture-resistant design

Altogether, it seems like the 24-50mm f/4-6.3 continues Nikon’s philosophy of practical but high-quality mirrorless lenses. Check out the video above for Frost’s full thoughts on the lens. 

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Nikon Z9 ‘Dual-Stream’ Tech Records and Displays Images with No Lag

Nikon Z9 'Dual-Stream' Tech Records and Displays Images with No Lag

Nikon has published a short video that further explains the “Dual-stream” technology in its upcoming Z9 flagship camera, which it says will always assure an accurate reality-to-viewfinder experience.

The Dual-stream technology is part of Nikon’s technology for what it bills as a “real-live” viewfinder experience in the Z9. The company says that the tech is only made possible thanks to the combination of the newly-developed stacked CMOS sensor and the EXPEED 7 image-processing engine, which allows photos to be displayed on the electronic viewfinder or LCD monitor (whichever is being used to monitor capture) as well as record that still-image data to a memory card at the exact same time.

Nikon says this differs from other “blackout-free” shooting experiences from competitors as other implementations have some kind of a delay between what is seen and what is captured.

“Unlike conventional blackout-free shooting that displays the same frame to prevent interruption of the finder image, this viewfinder continues to display the actual movement of the subject within the scene, so that every single moment can be smoothly and continuously confirmed with no skipped frames or loss of view,” Nikon claims.

“Because this is achieved even when continuous shooting is repeated over a short period of time, it is ideal for scenes in which tracking of quickly moving subjects is required, such as during sports, allowing users to reliably capture the finest moments without missing any shutter opportunities.”

The video above shows that the pixel array captures image data and moves it through to the camera’s circuitry and simultaneously then streams that data to two separate outputs, one to the viewfinder or LCD and one to the memory card.

Nikon Z9 'Dual-Stream' Tech Records and Displays Images with No Lag 1

“Dual-stream technology processes data for live view and recording separately and in parallel, which makes the Real-Live Viewfinder possible,” the company further explains.

The company says this particular implementation delivers a smooth view that reveals every single moment of the capture, including those previously missed by conventional electronic viewfinder systems or those that block the view due to a mirror in DSLRs.

The video also shows a “competitor” camera that skips and repeats some frames side by side with Nikon’s implementation, though the company does not state which camera it is comparing the Z9 experience to.

The Nikon Z9 features a 45.7-megapixel stacked CMOS sensor, 8K video capability, and is the first professional full-frame mirrorless camera to be released without a physical shutter. It is scheduled to become available to purchase by the end of the year for $5,500.

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Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 review

Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 review

Andy Westlake puts Nikon’s affordable, lightweight full-frame standard prime through its paces

When Nikon launched its full-frame mirrorless Z system in late 2018, it kicked off with three lenses, namely a 24-70mm f/4 zoom alongside 35mm f/1.8 and 50mm f/1.8 primes. All were part of a new premium S line, promising top-notch optics while being smaller, lighter and more affordable than the high-end, large-aperture lenses conventionally offered for DSLRs. But with launch prices of £849 and £599 respectively, those two f/1.8 primes still weren’t exactly cheap.

This is where the new Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 comes in, with its price tag of just £249. In effect, it does the much same job in the Z lens range as the old AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G did for F-mount DSLRs, promising strong optical performance and a large aperture at a keen price.

Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 review 2

Nikon’s Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 is designed as an everyday standard prime for its full-frame mirrorless Z-system cameras

With its 40mm focal length, this lens slots neatly in between its 35mm and 50mm siblings in terms of angle of view. It may be an unfamiliar focal length to DSLR users, but has seen something of a surge in popularity recently. Many photographers find the 40-45mm range to represent the perfect ‘standard’ lens, offering a very natural perspective to images.

Probably the most similar lens available for full-frame mirrorless cameras is the similarly lightweight and inexpensive Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE. But we’ve also seen the compact, metal-barrelled Sony FE 40mm F2.5 G and the premium, close-focusing Zeiss Batis 40mm F2 CF. None of these are available in Nikon Z mount, but they do provide a basis for comparison. So how does Nikon’s budget offering measure up?

Nikon Z 40mm f/2: Features

Unsurprisingly, one area where the 40mm f/2 differs from its more expensive stablemates lies with the complexity of its optics. It employs 6 elements arranged in 4 groups, just half as many as are used by the Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S.

Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 optical design

Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 optical design: 6 elements in 4 groups, including 2 aspherical

But while this formula might sound superficially similar to traditional 50mm f/1.8s for DSLRs, the optical design is in fact rather different. It employs a relatively small front element and a much larger rear element, a common pattern with mirrorless-optimised lenses which aims to optimise illumination of the image sensor all the way into its corners. Nikon has also included two aspherical elements to improve cross-frame sharpness.

Nikon 40mm f/2 showing 52mm filter thread

There’s a 52mm thread for attaching filters or a lens hood

The lens employs an internal focus design driven by a quiet stepper motor, with a minimum object distance of just 29cm. This approach has also enabled Nikon to include sealing against dust and moisture, which is rare at this price point and very welcome. A 52mm front thread allows filters to be attached, but there’s no separate mount for a lens hood.

Nikon Z 40mm f/2 9-blade aperture

The aperture diaphragm employs 9 curved blades

Nikon has included an aperture diaphragm with 9 rounded blades, which unusually is very visible towards the front of the optical system. The idea is to give attractively blurred backgrounds when stopped down a little. It should also give 18-ray sun stars, for those who are concerned about such things.

Nikkor Z 40mm f/2:  Build and Handling

Another area where Nikon has saved costs becomes evident when you examine the lens. Not only is the barrel constructed of lightweight but sturdy plastics, but so is the mount. This is always a controversial approach, but happily it doesn’t affect how easily the lens can be swapped on and off the camera.

Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 review 3

The lens employs a plastic mount, with the outer barrel overhanging by about 1mm to provide a barrier against dust and water getting into the camera

There’s no rubber O-ring seal at the back; instead, the outer barrel slightly overhangs the mount surface, to form a physical barrier against water getting into the camera.

This is also a very simple design in terms of controls. There’s just a broad manual-focus ring onboard that has a textured plastic grip and rotates smoothly without any end-stops. As usual with Nikon, it can be re-assigned from the camera to control the aperture, ISO or exposure compensation.

Nikon 40mm f/2 on Nikon Z7, in-hand

The manual focus ring can also be used to change exposure settings, but it’s very easy to nudge and throw them off accidentally

However, as the focus ring is the natural place to grasp the lens with your left hand and lacks any click stops, I found it far too easy to nudge accidentally. I’d rather use the camera’s dials to change exposure settings instead.

Of course, the big attraction of the 40mm f/2 is its size and weight. At 45.5mm in length and 170g, only the similarly designed Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 is smaller within Nikon’s full-frame Z-mount range. Compared to the 50mm f/1.8 S, the 40mm f/2 is half the weight and just a little over half the length.

Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 review 4

At just 46mm in length, the 40mm f/2 makes for a compact package on Nikon’s Z cameras

On the Nikon Z 7 body I used for testing, you hardly even notice it’s there. It’s the kind of lens that you can throw in your bag and carry around all way without a second thought, which makes it perfect for travelling light.

Nikon 40mm f/2: Autofocus

One compromise that’s often made with inexpensive lenses is autofocus speed. But that’s not really the case here, thanks of the internal focus design. Instead, the lens is generally very snappy, autofocusing silently and accurately wherever you tell it to. I did occasionally find it refused to focus for no apparent reason, mostly when trying to get it to shift between distant and close-up subjects. But this didn’t happen often enough to be seriously troublesome.

Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 review 5

Autofocus is reasonably fast, silent, and accurate. Nikon Z 7, Nikon Z 40mm f/2, 1/320sec at f/2, ISO 400; 20MP APS-C crop (60mm equivalent)

If you do find yourself needing to tweak focus manually, you’ll have to engage this from the camera, as there’s no focus mode switch on the lens itself. While the focus ring works electronically rather than mechanically, manual focus still responds promptly and intuitively. Turning the ring brings up a basic distance scale in the camera’s viewfinder, but for the most accurate results, it’s best to engage magnified live view using the requisite button on the camera body.

Nikkor 40mm f/2: Image Quality

So now for the most important question – what kind of image quality does this relatively inexpensive optic deliver? Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t hit the same heights as its S-series siblings when used with the aperture wide open. But the good news is that it still delivers very attractive-looking images.

Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 review 6

Despite its low price, the Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 gives really attractive images. Nikon Z7, Nikon Z 40mm f/2, 1/125sec at f/2, ISO 800

Stop the aperture down and it gets very sharp indeed; at f/5.6 or f/8, it delivers more than enough detail to match the Z 7’s 45.7MP sensor from corner to corner. This is pretty good going for a £249 lens.

Nikon 40mm f/2 sample image at f/8

Plenty of detail is resolved at the lens’s sweet spot around f/8. Nikon Z7, Nikon Z 40mm f/2, 1/80sec at f/8, ISO 100

Let’s look at its characteristics in a little more detail. Central sharpness is very respectable even at f/2, and this performance extends to the top and bottom edges of the frame. At the left and right edges, detail starts to soften visibly when viewed at 100% onscreen, while the extreme corners are decidedly blurred. But then again, the chances of any important detail being in focus in the corners at f/2 is pretty slim.

Nikon Z 40mm f/2 low light sample at F2

With its relatively bright f/2 aperture, the lens is useful for shooting in low light. Nikon Z7, Nikon Z 40mm f/2, 1/8sec at f/2, ISO 1600, hand-held

Stop down to f/4 and the centre and edges sharpen up very nicely; by f/5.6 the entire frame is as sharp as it’s ever going to be. At the smallest aperture of f/16 diffraction softening takes the edge off the finest detail. But even so, I wouldn’t hesitate to stop down this far when the extra depth of field is important.

Nikon Z 40mm f/2 sample at f/16

Diffraction takes the edge off sharpness at f/16, but that’s no reason not to use it. Nikon Z7, Nikon Z 40mm f/2, 1/60sec at f/16, ISO 100

One area where the 40mm f/2 lags behind its more complex and expensive contemporaries comes with respect to close-up performance. Its relatively simple focusing mechanism means that it can’t maintain the same level of sharpness at short range and large apertures, giving hazy images due to spherical aberration. If you want crisp shots at less than a metre, you’ll need to stop down to f/4 at least. But then again, the close-focusing specialist Zeiss Batis 40mm F2 CF costs £1000 and is twice the length and weight, so pick your poison.

Nikon Z 40mm f.2 close-range sample at f/11

If you want crisp images at close distances, you’ll need to stop down the aperture. Nikon Z7, Nikon Z 40mm f/2, 1/60sec at f/11, ISO 100

Nikon’s in-camera processing is excellent at suppressing chromatic aberration, so you won’t see any troublesome colour fringing in your JPEG files. If you make the mistake of disabling Auto distortion control in-camera, you will see a little barrel distortion, but it’s really nothing to worry about. Likewise raw files include correction metadata for both chromatic aberration and distortion, which is automatically applied by Adobe raw conversion software.

Nikon Z 40mm f/2 sample image

Even in the worst-case scenarios, only a little colour fringing is visible. Nikon Z7, Nikon Z 40mm f/2, 1/50sec at f/8, ISO 4500

One aspect where the lens falls short is with regard to vignetting. Normally I don’t mind a little corner darkening; more often than not, it’s a good thing for framing your subject. But with the 40mm f/2, the fall-off pattern is quite abrupt and severe, which means it can look distracting and unattractive. I’d recommend ensuring that Vignette Control is set to Normal to suppress the effect.

Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 review 7

Vignetting can be pronounced at f/2, with abrupt light falloff in the corners. Nikon Z7, Nikon Z 40mm f/2, 1/640s at f/2, ISO 100

On a more positive note, I saw barely any problems when shooting into the light, with minimal ghosting or loss of contrast. Stop the aperture down to f/11 or f/16, and you can get some rather nice sunstars in favourable situations. But when the sun is very bright in a clear sky, it’s also possible to get unsightly coloured mosaic artefacts.

Nikon Z 40mm f2 flare and sunstar sample

Nikon Z7, Nikon Z 40mm f/2, 1/125sec at f/16, ISO 100

While the lens is capable of delivering quite strongly blurred backgrounds, I’m not a huge fan of its bokeh when shot wide open at f/2. Blur circles can often to be bright-edged, and take on odd shapes towards the edges and corners of the frame. If you’re after smooth background blur, sometimes it can be better to stop down to f/2.8.

Nikon Z 40mm f2 bokeh example

Bokeh isn’t terrible, but it’s not super-smooth either. Nikon Z7, Nikon Z 40mm f/2, 1/80sec at f/2, ISO 100

All told, though, the Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 produces very decent images, especially when you take into account its bargain price.

Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2: Our Verdict

I can be tempting to overlook inexpensive lenses like the Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 and assume that with its simpler optics and plastic mount, it won’t be up to much. But in this case, that would be a huge mistake. Because while Nikon may have cut some costs in the design, it’s done so in a very sensible, well-judged way. The result is a lovely little lens that’s capable of giving fine results.

Nikon Z 40mm f/2 in use

The Nikon Z 40mm f.2 is a fine lens that punches well above its weight and price point

Naturally the Nikon 40mm f/2 does have its limitations, but in practice they’re relatively few and minor. And in return, its compact size and light weight mean you can happily carry it around all day, while the weather-resistant construction means you don’t have to worry about using it in unfavourable weather.

Nikon Z 40mm f/2 sample image

Nikon Z7, Nikon Z 40mm f/2, 1/50sec at f/2, ISO 180

Nikon has to be applauded for being prepared to make compromises to achieve the smaller size and lower price of its compact primes; not just the 40mm f/2, but the 28mm f/2.8 as well. Over the past decade or so, manufacturers seem to have become obsessed with making large, complex and expensive lenses, in a bid to deliver corner-to-corner sharpness at all apertures and focus distances. Such optics certainly have their place, but not to the exclusion of everything else.

Nikon Z 40mm f/2 sample

Nikon Z7, Nikon Z 40mm f/2, 1/40sec at f/11, ISO 100

I’m not going to pretend that the 40mm f/2 is the best lens I’ve reviewed this year. But thanks to its combination of decent optics, reasonably bright aperture, portability and responsive AF, it’s one that I’ve really enjoyed using. In many respects it me reminds me of the Samyang AF 45mm F1.8 FE, and to get sharper optics at this size you’d have to sacrifice maximum aperture, as with the Sony FE 40mm F2.5 G.

Nikon Z 40mm f/2 sample image

Nikon Z7, Nikon Z 40mm f/2, 1/30sec at f/11, ISO 100

Ultimately the Nikon Z 40mm f/2 comes highly recommended, not only to Z system users who don’t already have a native standard prime, but also to those who’d like a smaller and lighter alternative to S-line optics.

4.5 stars

Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2: Full Specifications

Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 on the Nikon Z7

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Nikon Z9 Hands-On: Jen Pottheiser’s Thoughts on the Flagship Camera

Nikon Z9 Hands-On: Jen Pottheiser’s Thoughts on the Flagship Camera

Nikon Z9 Hands-On: Jen Pottheiser’s Thoughts on the Flagship Camera 8

Photographer Jennifer Pottheiser was given the opportunity to use Nikon’s new Z9 camera. She shares her real-world experiences with it and discusses what to expect from the upcoming pro-level powerhouse.

Jenn Pottheiser is a commercial photographer based in New York who has a long list of corporate, editorial, and commercial clients such as JP Morgan Chase, the National Basketball Association, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and Walgreens Boots Alliance. She was recently given the opportunity to shoot with the Nikon Z9 and spoke to PetaPixel about the experience and what photographers can expect from the company’s forthcoming professional-level shooter.

Photographer Jennifer Pottheiser photographing a boxer with the Nikon Z9

Photographer Jennifer Pottheiser photographing a boxer with the Nikon Z9

Pottheiser says she comes from a background where she mostly has been shooting with the D6, and from that perspective, the new body just felt comfortable.

“It feels like a pro body,” she says. “It is rugged and stable, balanced, and everything is where I want it to be. The Z9 has the familiarity and muscle memory of the D6, but the body is lighter and has all the benefits of mirrorless. I love that it is everything I want all wrapped up in one. I no longer need to use one body for portraits and a different body for action.”

Portrait of a boxer taken with the Nikon Z9

Portrait of a boxer taken with the Nikon Z9

Nikon Z9 Hands-On: Jen Pottheiser’s Thoughts on the Flagship Camera 9

One of the features Photographers have been most curious about with the Z9 is its autofocus performance. In that respect, Potthheiser says it is beyond expectations.

“The eye-detection and 3D-tracking autofocus is so reliable that I have the confidence to shoot in environments that I never dreamed,” she says. “This allows me to approach my shoots differently and have the freedom to have fun! It also gives my subjects the freedom to move! No more gaffer tape on the floor guiding my subjects to stay in their zone. The camera is unlike anything I have ever used before.”

To really challenge the autofocus, Pottheiser took the camera to a tennis court.

Nikon Z9 Hands-On: Jen Pottheiser’s Thoughts on the Flagship Camera 10

Nikon Z9 Hands-On: Jen Pottheiser’s Thoughts on the Flagship Camera 11

“I had our athlete run the baseline and the autofocus was flawless; but that wasn’t unexpected,” she says. “I then had our athlete run at me for a drop shot. I was using the eye-detection and shooting 120 frames per second and with the athlete running full speed, straight at me, the camera didn’t miss! It was absolutely incredible.”

Below is a sequence from the Z9 of an athlete moving along the baseline:

tennis player chasing a ball along the baseline

And below is a second sequence of another athlete moving towards the camera:

Nikon Z9 Hands-On: Jen Pottheiser’s Thoughts on the Flagship Camera 12

Both of the above sequences were shot at 120 frames per second and compiled from the resulting stills. Below are a pair of example photos taken from the latter sequence (click to see full size):

Nikon Z9 Hands-On: Jen Pottheiser’s Thoughts on the Flagship Camera 13

Nikon Z9 Hands-On: Jen Pottheiser’s Thoughts on the Flagship Camera 14

“When working with multiple subjects or a crowded field, I would also consider using the 3D tracking mode to set my priority on a single player, and continuously track them as they move through the field,” she adds. “I get those frames and then I think, well let’s see what else we can do — and that is fun!”

The Nikon Z9 has a major distinguishing feature that sets it apart from any professional level camera before it: it does not have a mechanical shutter.

“I don’t miss the mechanical shutter at all,” Pottheiser says. “I am so enamored with everything that the camera has, I am not worried about what is no longer there. With the adjustable volume on the shutter, it’s the best of all worlds! Silent if I want it, a shutter sound if I want to feel like I have a mechanical shutter.”

Pottheiser says that when shooting sports, the viewfinder experience, in particular, is extremely important for her. She says that it needs to be comfortable for long periods of shooting but also precise and fast enough to keep up.

Nikon Z9 Hands-On: Jen Pottheiser’s Thoughts on the Flagship Camera 15

Nikon Z9 Hands-On: Jen Pottheiser’s Thoughts on the Flagship Camera 16

“The blackout-free viewfinder is enormously helpful for tracking subjects, and for keeping up with the action whether it’s on the field or in the studio,” she says.

“Every one of the new features in the body makes me more confident in what I do as a professional and allows me to deliver a better image to my client. The autofocus is off the charts, the silent shutter helps in so many situations, the blackout-free viewfinder makes shooting so much easier, the in-camera WiFi is so much more dependable. This camera is everything all rolled up into one and has checked off every one of my boxes for what I want in a body.

“There’s nothing I can compare the Z9 to — it is unlike any other body I have ever used.”

Pottheiser says she is really happy with a lot of the physical design choices Nikon made on the camera.

“Next time I see a Nikon engineer, I need to give them a Covid-safe hug! After a tough 2020 for so many of us, the fact that we can still use our CFexpress cards in the dual card slots, reliably use our F mount NIKKOR lenses with the new Mount Adapter FTZ II, and use our batteries from the D5 and D6, we can save money making the transition to fully mirrorless,” she says.

“The Z9 battery life was exceptional and lasted well beyond its rating — I am confident with one Z9 dedicated battery,” she adds.

Nikon Z9 Hands-On: Jen Pottheiser’s Thoughts on the Flagship Camera 17

“The engineers also made the buttons illuminated so we can see when shooting in the dark and so many fewer button pushes on the camera menu with simple toggles for quick adjustments. I loved the bright and seamless experience with the EVF, but the LCD screen also rotates visible metadata when you orient the camera into a vertical position, which is extremely helpful.

“The only complaint I have heard on the Z 9 is from my digital tech who has had more files than she knows what to do with. The engineers literally thought of everything with the Z 9. I can’t wait to get mine!”


Image credits: All photos by Jennifer Pottheiser and published with permission.

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Black Friday Deals on Cameras, Panasonic, Olympus, Nikon and more

Black Friday Deals on memory cards!

November 22, 2021

Black Friday seems to be starting earlier each year – this year, we’ve seen a number of pre-black friday deals, from a variety of retailers, with some big savings!

Lots of great retailers are running Black Friday deals for the whole week, from 19th – 26th November! We will be trawling through the hundreds of offers, to bring you some of the best offers for photographers, on cameras, lenses, and accessories every day!

Black Friday Deals on Cameras

Canon EOS R6

Great deals and offers from CameraWorld on Canon:

Great deals on Fujifilm:

You’ll find more camera deals here, plus a range of lens offers!

Pro camera Nikon D850

Great deals and offers from Park Cameras

Plus offers on Nikon, Fujifilm, Cameras, Lenses, Accessories, plus used!

Sony Alpha a7r III

Save 10% on used cameras and lenses from MPB:

Plus, from now through 29th November, MPB will plant one tree every time a customer buys, sells, or trades in used kit. Being a part of the change is as simple as choosing used. The goal is to plant 25,000 trees.

Panasonic Lumix S5

Great offers on Panasonic and Olympus, from WEX

Fujifilm GFX 50R

Save up to £1000 on Fujifilm kit!

Have a look at more Black Friday deals available from WEX, offers end 29/11/2021!

Nikon Z5

You’ll find the following deals available from Nikon:

Nikon Binocular / Rangefinder deals – save up to 34%

Other Olympus products, including Binoculars – save up to 45%

GoPro Hero10 Black Webcam Mode

GoPro HERO10 Black Webcam Mode

Amazon Camera deals – GOPRO

  • GoPro HERO10 Black – Waterproof Action Camera with Front LCD and Touch Rear Screens, 5.3K60 Ultra HD Video, 23MP Photos, 1080p Live Streaming, Webcam, Stabilization, £429 – save 10%

Black Friday deals on memory cards:

SanDisk Extreme Pro SD Card

Sandisk Memory card deals – save up to 46%

Be sure to have a look at the other Sandisk offers available as part of Black Friday, as there are too many to list!

Samsung memory card deals – save up to 45%

Even more offers to be found on memory cards, SSD drives, storage, backup devices and more here.

Lexar memory card deals – save 42%


More great black friday deals:

Adobe – 39% off Creative Cloud.
Joby Black Friday deals – win prizes!
30 photography accessories for under £30

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Hands On With the New Nikon Z 9 Mirrorless Camera

Hands On With the New Nikon Z 9 Mirrorless Camera

The Nikon Z 9 is finally here, and it takes square aim at Canon’s and Sony’s top cameras, giving Nikon shooters a powerful body suitable for a wide range of professional applications. This great hands-on video takes a look at the new camera and the sort of performance and image quality you can expect from it in practice. 

Coming to you from The Camera Store TV,  this awesome hands-on video takes a look at the new Nikon Z 9 mirrorless camera. The Z 9 is the company’s most powerful camera yet, coming with a range of features:

  • 45.7-megapixel stacked BSI sensor
  • ISO range: 64-25,600
  • 20 fps raw continuous shooting speed
  • 30 fps JPEG continuous shooting speed
  • 120 fps shooting speed at 11-megapixel resolution
  • Greater than 1,000-image buffer
  • Fully electronic shutter
  • Shutter speed as fast as 1/32,000 s
  • Low rolling shutter
  • 493-Point phase-detection AF system with Deep Learning Technology
  • 8K video at up to 30 fps 
  • 4K video at up to 120 fps
  • ProRes and H.265 10-bit internal recording
  • Four-axis tilting touchscreen
  • Dual CFexpress Type B card slots
  • Dust- and moisture-resistant construction
  • In-body vibration reduction with up to six stops of compensation
  • Backlit buttons

Despite its impressive feature set, the Z 9 is priced very competitively at $5,496 price, keeping a lot of pressure on Canon and Sony. Check out the video above for the full rundown. 

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Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8: affordable full-frame wide angle

Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8: affordable full-frame wide angle

November 18, 2021

Nikon has announced a lightweight wideangle prime for its Z system full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8. The lens can also be used on the APS-C sensor Nikon Z 50 and Nikon Z fc cameras, on which it will offer a 42mm equivalent angle of view. Indeed it was initially offered as a cosmetically reworked ‘SE’ version in a kit with the Z fc. It joins the recently announced Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 in this new strand of the firm’s lens line-up.

Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8: affordable full-frame wide angle 18

Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 on the Nikon Z 5

This compact, lightweight optic is said to be the smallest yet in the Z-mount arsenal, at 43mm in length and just 155g. It has a minimum focus distance of a mere 19cm, and accepts 52mm filters. A 7-bladed diaphragm is on board promising ‘soft, natural bokeh’.

As with other Nikon Z lenses, the manual focus ring can do double duty as a control dial for changing exposure settings such as aperture, ISO or exposure compensation. Impressively for such an affordable optic, Nikon has sealed it to provide protection against dust and water. The firm also says that the lens is ideal for video thanks to the use of a quiet stepping motor for autofocus, and reduced focus breathing.

Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8: affordable full-frame wide angle 19

The Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 measures just 43mm in length

The Nikon Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 will cost £249 and is expected to appear in the shops sometime in December.

Nikon Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 full specifications:

  • Price  £249
  • Filter Diameter  52mm
  • Lens Elements  9 (2 aspherical)
  • Groups  8
  • Diaphragm blades  7
  • Aperture  f/2.8 – f/16
  • Minimum focus  19cm
  • Length  43mm
  • Diameter  70mm
  • Weight  155g
  • Lens Mount  Nikon Z
  • Included accessories  Front and rear caps

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Nikon Introduce Smallest Z Series Prime Lens To Date

Nikon Introduce Smallest Z Series Prime Lens To Date

Z5 28 2 |
 

Nikon has introduced a new wide-angle Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 lens to its line-up of Z series prime lenses. With a multitude of uses, this bright aperture lens is priced at £249 and will be available in Winter 2021. 

The Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 joins the recently announced Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S which will be available around the same time with an RRP of £1099. We’ve also just reviewed the Nikkor Z 40mm f/2.8 prime lens which was awarded an ‘Editor’s Choice’ accolade.  

More on the Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 lens can be found from Nikon below. 

 

From Nikon UK:

Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8
 

Today, Nikon introduces the smallest and lightest full-frame Z series prime lens yet: the NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8. This street-smart storyteller makes a superb everyday lens. Wide but not too wide, wonderfully affordable, and deceptively powerful, it’s ready for everything from street scenes to landscapes and situational portraits. 

This bright 28 mm prime lens offers an expansive angle of view that’s just right for showing more of the scene, while the 0.19 m minimum focus distance puts this lens in the sweet spot for dramatic close-ups. The wide Z mount and rounded f/2.8 aperture combine to allow superb low-light performance, and image-makers can put their subject in focus against incredibly soft, natural-looking background bokeh.

The NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 also makes it easy to shoot great-looking video footage. The 28 mm focal length is a cinematic classic, and with such a lightweight lens the user gets to choose whether to shoot handheld or with a gimbal. 

 

Z5 28 2 |
 

Summary of primary key features: NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8

  • Bright f/2.8 wide-angle lens: 28 mm focal length captures wide-angle shots with rich colour and contrast.
  • Ultra-portable: the lens is approx. 43 mm long and weighs in at approx. 155 g. Easily small enough to keep on the camera or slip into a coat pocket.
  • Beautiful bokeh: the wide Z mount and fixed f/2.8 rounded 7-blade aperture enable incredibly soft, natural-looking bokeh.
  • Superb up close: a minimum focus distance of 0.19 m allows users to focus sharply at close range.
  • Fast, silent AF: powered by an ultra-quiet stepping motor and enhanced by the additional light gathered by the Z mount, focusing is fast, accurate – and silent.
  • Great for video: Focus breathing is dramatically reduced so focus can be adjusted without affecting the shot’s angle of view.
  • 42 mm DX crop: offers a 42 mm angle of view when used with a DX-format Nikon Z camera.
  • Easy control: the silent control ring can be set to control focus, aperture, exposure compensation, or ISO.
  • Well protected: sealed for protection against dust and water droplets.

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Nikon Unveils the Light and Compact 28mm f/2.8 Z-Mount Lens

Side profile of the nikon 28mm f/2.8 lens

Side profile of the nikon 28mm f/2.8 lens

Nikon has announced the new Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 lens for its Z-mount. Designed for both crop-sensor APS-C and full-frame mirrorless cameras, the lens promises to be fast as well as small and compact.

The 28mm f/2.8 is designed to be small and compact. It has a total length of about 1.7-inches and weighs 5.46 ounces (155 grams) which makes it the smallest and lightest among the Nikkor Z prime lenses. Nikon says that it believes the lens to be ideal for detailed photos and videos of food, DIY crafts, and fashion as well as everyday snapshots, group portraits, landscapes, and cityscapes. Basically, the lens is small, wide, and fast, which also makes it nimble and versatile for a variety of use cases.

The Nikon 28mm f/2.8 attached to a Nikon Z5, top view

Nikon 28mm f/2.8 lens top view

The lens is constructed of nine elements in eight groups, two of which are aspherical elements. It features a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.2x, a close minimum focus distance of 0.63 feet (0.19 meters) and has a maximum angle of view of 53-degrees on DX-format cameras and 75-degrees on FX-format cameras. It has an aperture range of f/2.8 through f/16 through a seven-bladed diaphragm. The lens accepts screw-on filters via its 52mm front element, features internal focusing, and supports both auto and manual focus.

The Nikon 28mm f/2.8 lens attached to a camera and held by two hands

On autofocus, Nikon says that the 28mm f/2.8 lens uses a “multi-focusing system” that realizes natural rendering across the entire shooting range as well as allows for fast and accurate autofocus control. Nikon does not specifically note what kind of autofocus motor the lens uses, however. Nikon adds that the lens was made with video recording consideration in mind, and as such promises that it has extremely quiet operation, stable exposure, and effective focus breathing compensation.

A Nikon camera and lens held up to a woman's eye

The lens is dust and “drip” resistant and functions such as aperture and exposure compensation can be assigned to the control ring. Finally, Nikon notes that the lens differs cosmetically from the previously announced NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 SE lens in that it features a “modern” black finish.

Graphic showing the weather sealing points on the 28mm lens

Below are a few sample images taken with the lens, provided by Nikon:

Environmental portrait of a woman at a rocky beach

Portrait of a woman with a large sea shell held to her ear

Top down photo of a bouquet of yellow flowers

A hand holding up a coral colored scallop shell against a blue sky background

A portrait of a person laughing with the sun behind their hair

A portrait of a woman against a reflective background

The Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 lens is scheduled to be available in December for $300, however global supply chain issues likely mean that widespread availability can vary.

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