Nikon released a new Z series lens to close out 2021 – a Z 28-75mm f/2.8. This lens was a surprise to many, including myself, as no one seemed to know it was even in the pipeline until days before the official announcement.
It’ll be interesting to see how the new Z 28-75mm fits in with Nikon’s current Z lineup, as there’s now a Z 24-70mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/4 and a 24-120mm f/4 to choose from. Regardless, it’s good news for Nikon users that Nikon continues on its way to producing and bolstering the Z series. Within a few months, the Z system went from having limited lenses to a really great selection, at almost all focal lengths. Nikon should continue to address the open spots in the Z lineup, like super-telephoto primes, 200-600mm, and more normal primes.
Nikon has also announced the development of an 800mm f/6.3, which should be a very interesting lens.
Nikon NIKKOR Z 28-75mm f/2.8
Release: mid-January 2022
- Z-Mount Lens/FX Format
- Aperture Range: f/2.8 to f/22
- Super ED and ED Elements
- Three Aspherical Elements
- Stepping Motor AF System
- Programmable Control Ring
- Weather-Sealed Design
- Rounded 9-Blade Diaphragm
- 67mm Filters
As I noted above, this is an interesting lens. It could be argued that there are already great Z options in this range and that Nikon may have been better off filling a different need, but again, it’s good Nikon is releasing lenses.
This new 28-75mm f/2.8 still separates itself from the other Z options. First off, it offers a max aperture of f/2.8 at a very low price, $1,199. It is not designated as an ‘S’ lens, a designation reserved for Nikon’s best performing optics, but I still expect the lens to perform exceptionally. If I had to guess, this lens will be very similar to the 24-70mm f/2.8 in the center, but the 24-70mm f/2.8 will perform better in the edges – note the 24-70mm f/2.8 is $2,000.
You’re getting a super-fast mid-range zoom at $1,200, that seems like an awesome deal. But, I think this lens is really for a select group of photographers – those doing portrait or video work.
If you’re a landscape photographer, I think the best option is the new Z 24-120mm f/4. That range is awesome and you don’t need the fast f/2.8 aperture, we’re shooting f/8 and smaller for landscapes anyway.
The range and speed are excellent for portraits and video, where 28-75 provides a useful perspective and fast apertures like f/2.8 are almost always utilized.
Nikon has explicitly stated that the new 28-75mm f/2.8 has some great focusing features, like internal focusing and suppressed focus breathing. Those are key things for video work, which furthers my theory on this lens being aimed at the video/portrait segment.
At the same time, this is a useful range for almost everything and you can’t deny the price for f/2.8.
There are also rumors that this lens marks some type of agreement between Tamron and Nikon. Tamron offers a 28-75mm f/2.8 for various mounts. The build is eerily similar too. I’ve noted in previous articles that a disadvantage of Nikon and Canon is their refusal to cooperate with third-party manufactures like Tamron and Sigma. Some of the best performing Sony optics for the price are made by Tamron and Sigma.
So, we’ll learn more, but perhaps this lens marks an agreement between Nikon and Tamron. That’s a good thing for users.
Overall, we’ll get samples for this lens soon and be able to assess its true performance. But, I expect it should be fantastic, with the more expensive 24-70mm f/2.8 outperforming it at the extremes.
If you’re a landscape shooter, I highly recommend the Z 24-120mm f/4 in this range.
800mm f/6.3 Development
Nikon also announced the development of a Z 800mm f/6.3. We don’t know much, but this lens should prove to be a very interesting addition. There are some 800mm f/5.6’s out there, but those cost upwards of $15,000. They are very niche and obviously expensive.
Nikon is taking a different approach here. They’ve dropped to max aperture to f/6.3, which will reduce weight and price. But, this will also be the first Z lens to adopt a PF (Phase Fresnel) element. If you’re familiar with Nikon, you might know of their 300mm and 500mm PF lenses. The PF design has allowed Nikon to make very compact and portable super-telephoto primes. That’s why this lens is interesting. We could be looking at a respectively portable 800mm lens at a competitive price, albeit the f/6.3 aperture. I don’t think f/6.3 v f/5.6 is a big deal with the incredible high ISO performance of Nikon Z cameras, and the Z9 should be the best yet.
Stay tuned on this new Z 800mm, it could be an awesome lens.
Matt Meisenheimer is a photographer based in Wisconsin. His artistry revolves around finding unique compositions and exploring locations that few have seen. He strives to capture those brief moments of dramatic light and weather, which make our grand landscapes so special. Matt loves the process of photography – from planning trips and scouting locations, taking the shot in-field, to post-processing the final image.
Matt is an active adventurer and wildlife enthusiast as well. He graduated with a degree in wildlife ecology and worked in Denali National Park and Mount Rainier National Park as a biologist. He also spent 6 months working in the deserts of Namibia before finding his path in photography. Matt’s passion for the wilderness has taken him to many beautiful places around the world.
As a former university teaching assistant, Matt is passionate about instruction. It is his goal to give his students the technical and creative knowledge they need to achieve their own photographic vision. He truly enjoys working with photographers on a personal level and helping them reach their goals.
You can see Matt’s work and portfolio on his webpage at www.meisphotography.com