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Nikon Nikkor Z 26mm F/2.8 Lens Review

The Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8 is a full-frame lens John Riley has been capturing photos with as he puts it to the test on a Nikon Z 7 camera.

| Nikon Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8 in Interchangeable Lenses
BUY NOW NIKON Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8

Nikon Nikkor Z 26mm F/2.8 Lens Review: Nikkor Z 26mm F2,8 With Hood On Nikon Z7 Floating View | 0.6 sec | f/16.0 | 60.0 mm | ISO 100

The Nikon Z range of lenses continues to expand, now adding this new full-frame Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8 optic that spans the gap between the traditional ultra-wide 24mm lens and the equally traditional wide angle 28mm. As noted before, our tastes generally seem to have tended towards wider and wider lenses, along with cinema and TV adopting the widescreen format. Perhaps 26mm could be the new 28mm. Maybe, but what is certain is that 26mm does bridge that gap and retains a slightly less extreme look than the 24mm, whilst increasing the field of view of the 28mm. Let's see where it all fits in practice, both in use and in the technical tests, using the 45MP full-frame Nikon Z 7 body.


Nikon Nikkor Z 26mm F/2.8 Handling and Features

Nikon Nikkor Z 26mm F/2.8 Lens Review: Nikkor Z 26mm F2,8 Vertical View | 1/6 sec | f/16.0 | 135.0 mm | ISO 100

First impression is of a small but chunky-looking lens that makes no effort to be elegant in its appearance. It is very well made, weighs in at a minuscule 125g and measures a svelte 23.5mm long and 70mm in diameter. There is a supplied bayonet fit lens hood, but no ordinary hood as this one incorporates some of the design elements of the lens as a whole. Apart from protecting against stray light and flare, the front of the hood is actually where the 52mm filter thread can be found. This leaves any filter used very exposed, so the wisdom of that choice could be debated. However, what it does do is move the filter forwards so it will not obstruct the focusing movement of the lens, which uses what is described as an "all element focusing system", a grand way of describing how the entire optical cell moves outwards as a unit as we focus closer. The movement is not enormous, but the optics would protrude and be vulnerable if the hood were not used. The lens cap pushes on, with or without the hood, and seems secure enough, being quite deep. It is all a slightly unusual and interesting piece of design work.

Nikon Nikkor Z 26mm F/2.8 Lens Review: Nikkor Z 26mm F2,8 Front Element View Without Hood | 1/4 sec | f/16.0 | 88.0 mm | ISO 100

There is just one control ring on the lens and as default, this adjusts manual focusing. It is active in AF for final tweaking of the point of focus. The control ring can also be customised via the camera menus, with a choice of adjusting ISO, aperture or exposure compensation. AF is fast, accurate and virtually silent. Focusing is down to 0.2m, or 0.66 feet, for a maximum magnification of 0.19x. Focusing is usefully close, without moving into macro territory. With videographers especially in mind, focus breathing is suppressed.

Optical construction is 8 elements in 6 groups, including 3 aspherical. The diaphragm comprises 7 blades that provide a rounded aperture for improved bokeh. The lens as a whole is dust and moisture-resistant, almost a requirement in any lens intended as this one is for vlogging, travel and street photography.


Nikon Nikkor Z 26mm F/2.8 Lens Review: Nikkor Z 26mm F2,8 With Hood | 1/4 sec | f/16.0 | 135.0 mm | ISO 100

For the purposes it is aimed at, the idea of a small, light, fast-focusing prime lens is an attractive proposition. Move into position and shoot, with no delay for zooming; the single prime lens is a liberating experience. We expect the quality to be high, as every “plastic fantastic” has paved the way in creating high expectations of low-cost lenses. This particular lens is not really low-cost, so how does it fare? Let's look at the technical tests and see how it performs.


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