The Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S was one of the most hotly anticipated Nikon Z lenses, especially given that it is the first ultra-wide for the new mirrorless system. So far, every Z lens has received near-universal praise for its image quality. However, photographers’ initial impressions of the ($1300) Nikon 14-30mm f/4 were… much more mixed. How does this lens really fare overall, from automatic lens corrections to sample variation? This review explains everything you need to know.
I spent a couple weeks using the 14-30mm f/4 for landscape photography around the American Southwest to evaluate the lens. Meanwhile, Nasim tested a second copy in New York for architectural and environmental portrait photography. In either case, both the desert and the city are great for ultra-wide zooms – and the 14-30mm f/4 S covers an ideal range of focal lengths for many landscape and travel photographers.
14mm is wide enough for most subjects, and 30mm is actually a bonus compared to 24mm (where typical 14mm zooms stop). The 14-30mm focal lengths fit nicely as part of an “f/4 zoom trio” with the 24-70mm f/4 S and the upcoming, rumored 70-200mm f/4 S. Other photographers may skip the midrange zoom entirely and pick only this 14-30mm plus the telephoto, perhaps with a 50mm prime in between.
At the time of publishing this article, the 14-30mm f/4 is the only native ultra-wide lens for the Nikon mirrorless system (i.e., wider than 24mm). The next ones we know about will not ship until 2020, according to the updated Nikon Z lens roadmap. At that point, we’ll get two: a 20mm f/1.8 S, and the first “pro” ultra-wide Z lens, the 14-24mm f/2.8 S. So, if you want to use your Nikon Z6 or Z7 with an ultra-wide right now, you don’t have many options. It’s pretty much the 14-30mm f/4 or adapted lenses.
That said, I’m glad Nikon went this route rather than introducing either the 14-24mm f/2.8 or 20mm f/1.8 first. The 14-30mm f/4 simply has a broader appeal than the upcoming f/2.8 zoom, which will be significantly heavier and more expensive by comparison. And, as nice as I’m sure the 20mm f/1.8 will be, Nikon rightly decided it was important to cover 14mm as soon as possible – especially for a camera system targeted so heavily at landscape and travel photographers.
Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S Specifications
- Mount Type: Nikon Z Mount
- Focal Length Range: 14-30mm
- Aperture Range: f/4 to f/22
- Aperture Blades: 7 (rounded)
- Filter Size: 82mm
- Lens Elements: 14
- Lens Groups: 13
- Special Elements: 4 Aspherical, 4 ED glass
- Fluorine Coating: Yes
- Nano Crystal Coating: Yes
- Super Integrated Coating: Yes
- Electronic Diaphragm: Yes
- Focus Motor: AF-P Stepper Motor (STM)
- Internal Focusing: Yes
- Internal Zooming: No
- Minimum Focus Distance: 28 cm (11 inches)
- Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1:6.25, or 0.16x Magnification
- Weather/Dust Sealing: Yes
- Mount Material: Metal
- Dimensions (Diameter by Length): 89 x 85 mm (3.5 x 3.35 inches)
- Weight: 485 g (17.1 oz)
- Angle of View: 114° (at 14mm) to 72° (at 30mm)
- Made In: Thailand
- Supplied Accessories: LC-82B 82mm Front Lens Cap, LF-N1 Rear Lens Cap, HB-86 Bayonet Hood, CL-C1 Lens Case
On the next page, we cover the 14-30mm f/4’s build quality and handling compared to other lenses on the market: