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Nikon Nikkor Z 28mm F/2.8 Lens Review

The Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 is an inexpensive wide-angle lens that's lightweight, which makes it ideal for travel, and John Riley has been putting it to the test.

| Nikon Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 in Interchangeable Lenses
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Nikon Nikkor Z 28mm F/2.8 Lens Review: Nikkor Z 28mm F2,8 Front Oblique View | 0.3 sec | f/16.0 | 100.0 mm | ISO 100

The introduction of the Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 lens offers a rare opportunity, as the SE version of this optic has been previously reviewed. The SE version is a retro design to match the DX (APS-C) format Zfc camera but was also looked at on the Nikon Z7 II full-frame body. This new version is also a full-frame lens, but without the retro styling and perhaps there could be other internal changes as well. It gives us the opportunity to examine whether or not the mounting affects the performance, perhaps especially in terms of batch consistency, flare and vignetting. The SE version was a clear Editor's Choice. Will the new lens be as good, indeed will it be good enough to be another Editor's Choice? Let's bring out the Nikon 45.7MP full-frame Z7 II and see what the new lens can deliver.  


Nikon Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 Handling and Features

Nikon Nikkor Z 28mm F/2.8 Lens Review: Nikkor Z 28mm F2,8 On Nikon Z7II | 0.5 sec | f/16.0 | 68.0 mm | ISO 100

The lens is chunky but, thanks to its largely plastic construction, very light at just 155g. In terms of balance, it does not impinge upon the camera handling at all, barely being registered as there, it is so light. The chunkiness does mean that there is a good grip on the generously-sized focusing ring. However, we digress, and starting our tour of the lens as usual at the front there is a tiny front element in the centre of the conventional 52mm filter thread. This is the standard size used in the days of Nikon manual focus lenses. There is no lens hood supplied, which is a pity as a hood could be regarded as an essential accessory for any lens. Even if it adds little to controlling flare it offers a buffer for impacts at the front of the lens and can help to avoid water splashes reaching the front element. The lens is dust and drip-resistant and using it during the review period in quite persistent rain did not seem to be a problem.

Back to the manual focusing ring, this is wide, offers good grip and turns as smoothly as any electronic ring should. The damping is just about perfect. Focusing is fast and virtually silent, using 2 stepping motors, and also seems consistently accurate. Focusing is down to 0.19m (0.63 feet), which offers a maximum magnification of 0.2x, or 1:5. Although by default this ring controls manual focus, it can be set instead to exposure compensation, aperture or ISO by altering the setting in the camera menus.

Nikon Nikkor Z 28mm F/2.8 Lens Review: Nikkor Z 28mm F2,8 On Nikon Z7II Transverse View | 1/4 sec | f/16.0 | 68.0 mm | ISO 100

Also within the camera's purview is VR (Vibration Reduction) and with the Z7 II, this reviewer on this day found a benefit of about 3 stops. This will of course vary from photographer to photographer and from day to day but is of immense value in extending our shooting capabilities. Although in reviews we turn off any in-camera corrections that we can, in this case, there is no choice regarding distortion and therefore that correction is always in place.

Lens construction is 9 elements in 8 groups, including 2 Aspherical. IF (Internal Focusing) means the dimensions of the lens do not change. The diaphragm comprises 7 rounded blades. Focus breathing is not intrusive, a boon for videographers.

The lens mount is plastic; not a problem with such a light optic. The mount fits smoothly and securely onto the camera. There is no rotational play in the fitting whatsoever.

Nikon Nikkor Z 28mm F/2.8 Lens Review: Nikkor Z 28mm F2,8 On Nikon Z7II Flat Front View | 0.4 sec | f/16.0 | 53.0 mm | ISO 100

It looks as though for a travel, reportage style lens, 28mm could rapidly become the new standard for full-frame, as seen primarily in high-end compacts. There are not many 28mm lenses for DSLR and mirrorless cameras, but the same arguments could hold good and perhaps we will see more of them in the future.

The lens handles beautifully, and so we might expect as there is nothing to it to unbalance our unfettered interaction with our subject. It does its job without fuss and operates smoothly in every respect.  


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