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Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S Lens Review

John Riley has been putting the Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S wide-angle lens to the test to see how the latest edition to the Nikon Z S-Line performs.

|  Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 in Interchangeable Lenses
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Nikkor Z 20mm F1,8S Front Oblique View

The Nikon Z lens range continues to expand and here we have another offering in the high-quality S-Line, the 20mm f/1.8 S. This is a dramatic wide-angle, capable of some unique effects; it is also unusually fast, with its bright f/1.8 maximum aperture. All that remains to be seen is whether or not it continues the Z lenses extremely high standards, so to find out let's attach it to the 45MP Nikon Z7 II and run it through its paces.


Nikkor Z 20mm F/1.8 S Handling and Features

Nikkor Z 20mm F1,8S On Nikon Z7 II

The initial impression is of a well-made lens, not overly heavy at 505g, quite long for its focal length, and with hardly a feature on its surface, basically, just a black tube to hold the lens elements. Of course, there is a little more to it than that, and we start with the provided petal lens hood that bayonets smoothly and securely into place, with no need for a locking catch. Within the bayonet is a standard 77mm filter thread. The body of the lens is extensively weather-sealed, which is almost a given these days, and certainly a highly desirable feature.

The manual focusing ring is as smooth as silk, being electronic in operation. The ring can also be set to adjust ISO, exposure compensation or to act as a silent aperture control. Focusing is down to 0.2m, or 0.66 feet, a maximum magnification of 0.19x. This is usefully close, not macro distance but providing good close up potential. There is no distance scale, and therefore no depth of field scale either. There is a rudimentary distance indicator on the camera's OLED top display, but it is not particularly detailed or useful.

The only switch on the lens is marked A/M and this controls the selection of AF or MF in the usual way, although it can be overridden by the camera settings.

Optical construction is 14 elements in 11 groups. There are 3 ED (Extra-Low Dispersion), 3 Aspherical and also elements with nanocrystal coating. The diaphragm comprises 9 rounded blades, to assist in enhancing bokeh.

Nikkor Z 20mm F1,8S With Hood On Nikon Z7 II

A 20mm lens is where we find the start of really dramatic ultra-wides. Wide though 24mm might be, once we get to 20mm then truly sweeping drama is the order of the day. To achieve this, we need to get in close, then closer, and work the point of view to create the stunning images that are possible. Equally well, with the right subject where we cannot approach as closely, we can include a massive field of view that can be quite impressive in itself. The lens can also be used on the APS-C format, but then becomes a rather more mundane 30mm 35mm-equivalent field of view.

In any event, the lens operates totally flawlessly, finding the point of focus virtually instantly and having no tendency to hunt. In summary, a very enjoyable and rewarding lens to use.


Nikkor Z 20mm F1,8S Rear Oblique View

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