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Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S Review - Verdict

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Nikkor Z 50mm F1,2S On Nikon Z7 Front View

Value For Money

The Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S lens is priced at £2299. There are alternatives for the Nikon Z system.

Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S, £439
Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct, £8299

There are also various Nikkor lenses that could be used via Nikon FTZ mount adapter.

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 G, £199
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 G, £389
Nikon AF Nikkor 50mm f/1.4 D, £289


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And then we have independent lenses.

Tokina Opera 50mm f/1.4, £879
Zeiss Planar T* 50mm f/1.4 FE, £1299
Zeiss Milvus 50mm f/1.4, £1159
Zeiss Otus 55mm f/1.4, £3199
Sigma 50mm f/1.4 DG HSM Art, £599
Samyang 50mm f/1.4 AS UMC, £330
Samyang XP 50mm f/1.2, £799

And as a comparison with other marques.

Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L, £1449

There are very few 50mm f/1.2 or faster lenses, and even fewer that can take on the new Nikkor Z in terms of performance. This lens is at the top of the game, as indeed all the S-Line lenses reviewed so far have proven to be. If quality is the only criterion, then the answer is totally clear, this is a lens of refinement and choice. There are things that it cannot do, such as focus to macro distances, and it relies on the camera body for vibration reduction. This latter point is not a major gripe as the VR system is very good, but it does preclude the concept of dual VR between lens and body.

The conclusion is that despite the price, which is inevitable considering the standard of performance, the lens is very good value for money.

For more options have a look at the Top 44 Best Portrait Lenses.


Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S Verdict

Another very expensive standard lens for the Nikon Z system, offering a lens not quite as fast as the f/0.95 Noct but at a fraction of the price. In terms of performance, the two lenses act in a very similar way and at the widest apertures the more expensive lens just has the edge. 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 new f/1.2 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.

The Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S has plenty of performance and plenty of character to justify its price. Editor's Choice.

Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S Pros

  • Outstanding sharpness
  • Virtually zero CA
  • Excellent flare resistance
  • Excellent handling
  • Quality manufacture
  • Custom functions for L-Fn button
  • Beautiful rendition of light sources
  • Virtually no distortion
  • Beautiful bokeh effects

Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S Cons

  • High price
  • Bulky lens

Overall Verdict

Own this lens? Let us know what you think of it in the EQDB.

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22 Dec 2020 9:49AM
How can a 50 mm be so long? It seems Nikon is using F mount optical scheme adding just room and some optics to correct for mirrorless shorter distance.
UKMike2013 9 22 United Kingdom
22 Dec 2020 6:05PM
An outstanding lens no doubt - but an absurd size! Can't see many carrying anything like that for a 50mm.
Lance_B 8 3 Australia
22 Dec 2020 9:57PM

Quote:How can a 50 mm be so long? It seems Nikon is using F mount optical scheme adding just room and some optics to correct for mirrorless shorter distance.

Then you don't understand lens design. The diameter of the flange as awell as the flange to sensor distance can make a large difference in the end performance. If you look at the design of the lens here:
you can see that the rear element goes right to the back of the lens as close as possible to the sensor without protruding past the mount. Not only that, but the width of the last element is almost as wide as the mount throat which would not be possible with the old F mount. So, the new mount has allowed Nikon to design the lens to take full advantage of the extra room this new mount allows.

An AF 50mm f1.2 was NOT possible with the F mount as there was not enough room for the electrical contacts as well as the wider throat required for wider rear element. Added to that, to keep CA and other distortions at bay, this required a wider mount and closer rear element which has been achieved with the new mount. Edge to edge sharpness, wide open sharpness, virtually non existent CA, low distortion, excellent bokeh and decent bokeh balls would be basically un-achievable in the old F mount. Even if they could have achieved some of these benefits, it would have been even larger and heavier and much more expensive than this Z mount design due to the use of much more glass, and more importantly more exotic glass, to correct for aberrations even if they could have been corrected in an F mount design.

This is obviously not a lens for the average punter. This is a lens for specialist use for pros and advanced amateurs that want to get wide open sharpness and shallow DOF for that special look. I see it as another benchmark lens for Nikon. If you want a 50mm lens that does mostly what the 50 f1.2S lens can do but only a half stop slower, look at the sensatioonal 50mm f1.8S that has been compared to some of the best exotics out there. Small, light and a relative bargain.

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