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.
In order to complete this review, I spent a couple weeks using the 14-30mm f/4 for landscape photography around the American Southwest. Meanwhile, Nasim tested a second copy of the lens in New York for architectural 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.
- 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 of this review, we cover the 14-30mm f/4’s build quality and handling compared to other lenses on the market: