Nikon has announced two new lenses for its Z series mirrorless cameras, including a cheap, flexible 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom and the creation of a new 800mm f/6.3 VR S super-telephoto lens.
Photographers looking for a less expensive alternative to Nikon’s existing Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens will be pleased to learn that the 28-75mm f/2.8 will be available in early 2022 for $1,200 (about £908 / AU$1,685).
The 28-75mm f/2.8 is 30 percent lighter than its more pro-friendly brother, weighing 565g vs 805g for the 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens, thanks to its lightweight construction. It’s also a little shorter at 120mm, and because it uses internal focusing, it doesn’t lengthen as you zoom.
The 28-75mm focal range is great for anything from landscapes to wide-angle portraiture, and the constant f/2.8 aperture ensures there are no light-collecting trade-offs as you get closer to the longest end. The lens is also compatible with Nikon’s APS-C cameras, the Nikon Z50, and Nikon Z FC, although the comparable focal length is 42-113mm, which is significantly less useful.
The 28-75mm f/2.8’s outstanding minimum focus distance of 0.19m, making it a useful tool for close-ups, and video-friendly characteristics like low focus breathing add to its flexibility. The latter is a frequent problem in which a lens’ elements slightly zoom in or out when you change focus, which isn’t ideal for video photographers – but we’ll have to see how well the lens handles this in testing.
The ability to shoot silently is one of the perks of mirrorless cameras, which is useful for weddings and candid street photography, and the 28-75mm f/2.8 incorporates a stepping motor (STM) to aid here as well. The lens is also dust and drops resistant, but this “isn’t guaranteed in all conditions,” according to the manufacturer. After all, this is a hobbyist lens, not a professional one.
Nikon has also announced the development of a new Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S lens for professional photographers. This will be the first mirrorless Nikon lens with a so-called Phase Fresnel (PF) design, and it will be an S-line lens (designating it as high-end glass for pros).
This PF element, which Canon has also utilized on telephoto lenses like the RF 600mm f/11 IS STM, has ridges carved into its backside that assist decrease chromatic aberration and ghosting while keeping it light and small. A similar arrangement is used by lighthouses to focus their lamps.
Unfortunately, that’s all Nikon had planned to say about its Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S lens, with no word on a release date or price, so we’ll have to wait a bit longer than the 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom.
Nikon has had a terrific year thanks to a late flurry
There were worries earlier this year that Nikon’s Z-mount lenses would be delayed, and that the company would struggle to fulfill its aim of “about 30 lenses by the end of the fiscal year 2021.” Although we aren’t yet at the end of that fiscal year, the outlook is considerably brighter for people who possess or are considering purchasing a full-frame Nikon mirrorless camera.
The new 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom (together with the release of the 800mm f/6.3 VR S super-telephoto) round out the company’s range and come after a rush of announcements in the second half of 2021. The 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S and 24-120mm f/4 S telephoto lenses, as well as a much-needed Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S macro lens and various prime lenses, including the wide-angle Z 28mm f/2.8, have all been announced.
The new Nikkor Z DX 180140mm f/3.5-f/6.3 VR was also added to Nikon’s more hobbyist-friendly cameras, the Nikon Z50, and ZFC, though there’s little doubt Nikon’s attention has been on fleshing out its full-frame lenses to compete with Canon. The two new announcements made today, in particular, appear to be direct answers to Canon’s very quick launch of new RF lenses.
Of course, announcing lenses and having them available for purchase are two different things, and several of Nikon’s Z-mount lenses are labeled as “out of stock” at the company’s official site. However, we are now at a place where both Nikon and Canon’s new mirrorless camera systems can provide lens alternatives for most genres of photography and budgets.
Because of its head start in developing next-generation cameras, Sony continues to lead when it comes to the sheer number of mirrorless lens options, but the winners of all this competition are undoubtedly photographers – and now is a great time to jump on board the mirrorless train, especially if you’re a DSLR owner who’s been waiting for mirrorless lens lineups to mature.