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Best Nikon Z Lenses

Here's a round-up of all of the best Nikon Z lenses we've reviewed to date which include zoom lenses, prime lenses and macro lenses all available in the Nikon Z fit.

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NIKKOR Z 800mm F/6.3 VR S Lens

Best Nikon Z Lenses

Nikon's line-up of Z-series cameras, such as the Nikon Z9, and lenses keeps on growing so we thought it was about time we put together a top list that features the Nikon Z lenses ePHOTOzine has reviewed and awarded a pretty decent score to. We're yet to review the recently announced Nikkor Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S lens so this will, we're sure, appear on the round-up as soon as we've taken a look at it but, for now, here is a list of the best Nikkor Z lenses we have put to the test. There are also plenty of third-party lenses from popular brands that fit the Nikkor Z-mount but for this round-up, we'll just be looking at Nikkor/Nikon lenses specifically. 

We've split this guide into Nikkor Z zoom lenses, Nikkor Z primes, Nikkor Z macro and Nikkor Z DX lenses so you can easily navigate the top list. 

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Top Nikkor Z Zoom Lenses

Nikon Nikkor Z 28-75mm F/2.8
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z 28-75mm F/2.8

Nikon delivers the goods with the Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8 which is an overall terrific lens that ticks all of the right boxes. To name but a few pros, you get an excellent price, outstanding sharpness, lovely bokeh, close focusing, weather resistance and a very useful set of focal lengths. Handling is a doddle as there is little to do when using, say, Aperture Priority where you set the aperture and let the camera focus and set the shutter speed. The VR is dealt with by the camera body, so is independent of the lens itself, which does lead to simpler lens construction and no doubt helps slightly with costs. In summary, a superb standard zoom for the Z series cameras.

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Nikon Nikkor Z 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 S
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 S

This is a pricey lens, but a brilliant one that delivers the goods and operates utterly slickly in every respect offering superb performance. The range is also really useful, reaching the magic 400mm in a compact optic that offers weather sealing and very close focusing. Overall, this lens is just about the perfect balance between range and usability and can cover a huge repertoire of subject matter. 

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Nikon Nikkor Z 24-120mm F/4 S
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-120mm F/4 S

This is an amazingly sharp lens, with lots of other fine qualities as well. It is the first lens to exceed our usual graph limits in terms of sharpness, an achievement in itself. With low flare and virtually no CA or distortion, the technical results are amongst the best. In terms of handling, it is pretty much faultless.

In summary, a very fine lens indeed and one that must be at the top of the list for a general-purpose travel companion.

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Nikon Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR
Overall Rating

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

The Nikon Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR is a complex lens in terms of construction and also in terms of performance. However, there's no doubt that as a general-purpose travel zoom it could be just so useful that any disadvantages become far outweighed. It is compact, light, well made, weather-resistant and an excellent performer. The very restricted maximum apertures available may be compensated for by the excellent VR performance, although that is only fine for stationary subject matter. Wildlife, for example, will still need higher shutter speeds, so high ISOs might have to be employed.

Overall, thanks to the price, if we have the need for a travel zoom of maximum versatility then for Nikon Z users we may well have a "no brainer" here.

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Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S

The Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S lens does not disappoint, expanding Nikon's line-up for splendid lenses that show Nikon are right at the top of its game. The lens offers amazing performance, with outstanding sharpness, and lovely handling. The cost may put some off but if you need the performance and can afford the price the choices are clear. Overall, it's a versatile ultra-wide zoom with outstanding performance and handling.

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Nikon Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S

The quality is there, so much quality, and basically, this is a truly outstanding zoom lens. The focal length range is highly desirable, giving so much scope and versatility in subject matter from portraits to landscapes to sport and much more. Sometimes lenses with such high sharpness can be a bit ragged in terms of bokeh, but here even the bokeh is as smooth as butter. The cost may be high, but falls within expectation and what we get in return for our cash is a lens that is outstanding in every respect.

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Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S

The Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S is another gem, without doubt, a superb performer that handles really well. There are some interesting design features, such as the compulsory in-camera distortion correction, but there is no denying the usefulness of the end result. The 14mm wide-angle is an added bonus, bringing just a slightly wider view as well as a reasonable near-standard 30mm. All in a totally rectilinear lens. Another very impressive optic for the Nikon Z system.

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Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Pro
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Pro

The Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens will definitely not disappoint The quality of the images is gorgeous and the technical measurements bear this out as well. OK, the price is high but on the other hand what price quality? For each of us, this point will be different, but the cost is not totally out of the ballpark and the qualities of the lens are very, very tempting.

The Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S gives an outstanding performance and is still one of the best standard zoom lenses available.

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Top Nikkor Z Prime Lenses

Nikon Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S

Whether shooting long-range sports, birds or animals then the extra reach of an 800mm lens can make all the difference. It is still important to be in the right place, as on its own no lens can be long enough, but being able to fill the frame with small birds from a reasonable distance is amazing. It comes at a cost of course, but those who are dedicated to long-range shooting will find here a great lens at a very reasonable price, relative to the hugely more expensive larger aperture options. The Synchro VR is incredibly efficient and this makes handheld shooting a viable option as well.

Overall, another fine Z series offering from Nikon. 

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Nikon Nikkor Z 28mm F/2.8
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z 28mm F/2.8

This lens has yet again proved that it is possible to produce really high-quality results at a very affordable price. It is interesting to see what variation there is compared with the SE version, and indeed there is some, for example, sharpness is slightly better at the centre and just short of identical at the edges. CA is very low, vignetting somewhat higher and distortion about the same. Clearly, the mount does affect the results, but only very slightly. In terms of the sharpness perhaps this is batch variation, but it's not much and the difference is between excellent and excellent; there would be absolutely no visible advantage or otherwise in an image. This 28mm lens can hold its head high and is again a no-brainer for those thinking of adding it to their kit bag. 

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Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm F/2
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z 40mm F/2

There is no doubt that the lens delivers an excellent to outstanding performance, and at a very keen price. Add to that the small, light form factor and we have perhaps an ideal travelling companion. The 40mm focal length is versatile on both FX and DX formats, albeit with a slightly different emphasis on composition in both cases.

The only slight faltering of performance is when we attempt to shoot flat subjects at close to the minimum focusing distance, and then we need to stop down to bring the edges and corners in crisply. This may well be due to field curvature and it does look much better on 3D subjects.

Overall though, a superb lens that continues to make the Nikon Z system look really impressive.

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Nikon Nikkor Z 28mm F/2.8 SE
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z 28mm F/2.8 SE

Whether the lens appeals because of its superb performance, its price or its retro styling and nostalgic appeal, it is a winner all around. There is really no qualification to that, and it would be an asset to any Nikon user.

28mm lenses are also quite thin on the ground, but as a wide standard lens, it fits very nicely with the equally retro Nikon Z fc or other crop sensor Z series bodies. Aesthetically, the Z fc shouts out as a logical companion.

As a wide-angle lens on the full-frame Z series cameras, the lens is equally at home and the performance is still at the highest level.

All around, it's hard to think how the lens could be better at any price level.

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Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S

20mm is a true ultra-wide and capable of being a very rewarding creative tool. Coupled with the dramatically excellent performance, the Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S is without a doubt an 'Editor's Choice'.

The only bugbear is the price, but then again there is a cost attached to quality, and value for money is not just about price. In terms of what we get for our cash and how we can make the lens work for us, this is yet another absolutely superb offering.

In terms of pure performance, the Nikon Z lenses are right at the top of the tree, and time and again they have released superb optics. They also handle extremely well.

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Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S

The Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S has plenty of performance and plenty of character to justify its price. The lens isn't quite as fast as the f/0.95 Noct but at a fraction of the price, you get a lens that's very similar in performance with just the widest apertures having the edge with the more expensive lens. However, all we are comparing are degrees of outstanding, so it is doubtful that the difference will be seen in images. If you don't need the f/0.95 aperture then a fair bit of cash can be saved by going for the f/1.2 version of the lens.

Of course, all 50mm lenses tend to be pretty good, so differences will be in terms of construction quality, longevity, and the absolute performance at the top grade of lens making. Photographers do buy the highest quality lenses at sometimes very high prices indeed, but they also have a need for the specific subtlety that they extract for their particular style; the character of the lens.

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Nikon Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct

What a dilemma. Discounting the price, this is an amazing lens that reaches the very highest level of quality. However, there are many lenses not that far behind, almost as fast, even at f/1.4 where the choice widens considerably. These are a fraction of the price of the Nikkor Z.

The advantages are clear, exemplary performance, high-quality construction, sublime handling of light sources and beautiful bokeh. These all add up to a very desirable product, sensibly specified and offering unique qualities. There will be photographers who snap this up and there will be photographers, like me perhaps, who stand wistfully watching but unable to afford the huge price tag.

Price aside, it's a remarkable lens offering impeccable performance. 

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Nikon Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8S
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8S

Gorgeous results from a lens that is gorgeous to handle. Nikon really has cracked it with these Z series lenses. The quality is there and the price is still in the realm of being realistic. The handling is sublime. This is an outstanding 24mm lens for the Nikon Z system, ticking all of the boxes you need it to such as excellent sharpness, great handling, virtually zero CA and top-quality manufacturing. 

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Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S

What a cracker of a lens the Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S has turned out to be. With outstanding performance, outstanding handling and its diminutive size and weight there is a lot to like, in fact, a lot to find that is highly desirable. It might be an inspired decision by Nikon to keep their lens to be smaller, lighter but to ensure the highest level of quality.

The Nikon Z 85m f/1.8 S is an outstanding 85mm lens in every respect.

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Top Nikkor Z Macro Lenses

Nikon Nikkor Z MC 50mm f/2.8 Macro
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z MC 50mm f/2.8 Macro

The Nikon Nikkor Z MC 50mm f/2.8 gives a superb performance, excellent handling and a light, compact form factor all sum up this excellent macro lens. There are no bad macro lenses, but this one pushes the envelope out a little further and excels.

It also has advantages over the usual 100mm lenses in that we do not have unreasonably long working distances for tabletop photography, and indeed for the copying of documents. In addition, the lens makes an excellent standard lens for full-frame cameras. On APS-C format it would make an excellent short telephoto for portraiture, having a "35mm equivalent" field of view of approximately 75mm.

In summary, the Nikon Nikkor Z MC 50mm f/2.8 is a very welcome addition to the Nikon Z series repertoire.

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Nikon Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S Macro

The 105mm focal length is versatile and covers a multitude of subjects and is well established as a firm favourite in macro lenses. It's a well-balanced lens offering outstanding performance, as well as smooth and effective handling. 

Overall, the Nikon Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S is a truly outstanding, realistically priced macro lens for Z series cameras.

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Top Nikkor Z DX Lenses

Nikon Nikkor Z DX 18-140mm F/3.5-6.3 VR
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z DX 18-140mm F/3.5-6.3 VR

There is a lot to like about this high-performance, reasonably priced universally useful zoom lens. It has the technical performance, it has the handling and it has the VR and weather resistance. Most similar lenses only reach 135mm at the long end, so the extension to 140mm is also useful. It is also capable of focusing closer than many lenses and makes an ideal lens for small objects and details.

The 18-140mm is such a universally useful optic it just might stay on the camera most of the time. From night shoots in dimly lit woodland to portraits to events in wind and rain, it covers the lot and is another sparkling Nikon Z series lens that is just so good to use.

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Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm F/3.5-6.3 VR
Overall Rating

Nikon Nikkor Z DX 16-50mm F/3.5-6.3 VR

We have here a compact, low-price, high-performance lens that really sets the bar very high for "plastic fantastic" standard zooms. It even gives many prime lenses a run for their money. Looking for a general-purpose lens for the Nikon Z DX-format cameras, this is the one that combines very high-performance levels with a very modest price tag. It is true that this is achieved partly by restricting the maximum aperture, it is not a fast, bright lens, but with the Z DX-format cameras delivering very high ISO values combined with low noise this may well be a reasonable trade-off.

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Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8E FL ED VR SEARCH

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Comments


I donīt understand why the title, "The Best..." when there are all of the Nikon Zs on it and all have 5 Stars. Add to that, one that should
be in the top 5 is much lower on the list, 28-70 2.8 S Pro at 2.5x cheaper than the one on top. My guess is that VR may not have as
much to do with it, since the more expensive model doesnīt have one either. My guess is that the $2,000+ is made in Japan which
I could easily see on the Aīzon site, but was not visible on the much cheaper 28-75. 2.8. I do know that some older Nikon lenses were made in Thailand and China, but werenīt advertised as to where they were made on any site. The only way is to look at the lens itself and the store label, where it is the law.
I wonder if there is a very big difference in sharpness from f6.3 to f8, I doubt if anyone has tested the difference.

About the Nikon DX, or any APS-C lenses. I do recommend people buy DX/APS-C bodies with the kit lens to save a bit, but their next lens should be a FF. They are most often better, especially better than the kit lenses and it can save having to buy a kit or new lens
if/when they buy a FF body at a later date.

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