Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 By Spencer Cox 38 CommentsPublished On November 29, 2022«1. Specifications and Build Quality2. Optical Features3. Sharpness Comparisons4. Verdict5. More Sample Images6. Reader Comments»
I bought this lens – before your review – to use with my Z7 II on backpacking trips to reduce weight. A lot of my photos have sun exposure so I’m concerned that this would pose problems without a lens coating. I may have to go back to the 24-70 F4 lens and an additional lb.
The 24-70mm f/4 is the better of the two lenses when the sun is in the frame, but it’s a hard question because the 28mm f/2.8 is so much lighter. I hope you find a good solution.
When you mention the higher vignetting, distortion, and chromatic aberration, are you seeing these with camera corrections on or off?
All of this is uncorrected of course. Corrections themselves take a toll on image quality (like higher noise in the corners after correcting vignetting) so I believe this is the fairest way.
I guess one person’s ‘small’ isn’t another’s. I regard my D7500 and 18-140 as ‘small and light’, even if I take my 85/f1.8G as well. And both those lenses, bought used, cost less than the 28mm under review.
Nikon seems to me to be doing some very strange things. Why is it messing around with these when there is a serious Z mount equivalent of the D500 yet to be made? What better camera could there be for the 400/f4.5?
Nikon definitely needs a mirrorless D500 equivalent, but I disagree that releasing lightweight lenses for a lightweight mirrorless system is “messing around.” If anything, I wish Nikon had prioritized lighter, inexpensive lenses like these sooner.
The comparison between the D7500 + 18-140mm is not relevant since that’s a crop-sensor zoom versus a full-frame prime. I’m a fan of the D7500 too, but if that’s the comparison you’re trying to make, it’s fairer to compare it against the Z50 + Z 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3.
It makes a ton of sense once you get them in hand. The full-frame Z bodies with the 28 or 40 are actually pretty dang small. My Z6 with the 40mm is noticeably smaller and lighter than my D600 with the 50mm. Actually, I’d say the Z camera is closer in total size to my FM2 than it is to my D600.
Interesting to read this review and also the review on the 40mm F2. Basically all of the findings reflect exactly what I’ve experienced by owning both of these. Despite their short comings, the small size is a huge win. It makes the full-frame Z bodies small enough to be an EDC camera.
Personally, I use the 28mm when I’m going to go out with just one single lens. When I carry the 40mm, I also typically carry my 24-200 as I feel those two pair together very nicely. The 28mm isn’t a whole lot better than the 24-200 at 28mm, while the 40mm at least offers a significantly brighter maximum aperture at 40mm vs the 24-200.
The kits you describe also line up with my experiences, Ben. The 28mm f/2.8 is what I picked when I needed a single tiny lens for carrying all day. Meanwhile the 40mm f/2 pairs extremely well with Nikon’s midrange zooms, and I used it a lot in tandem with the 24-120mm f/4.
I bought the 28mm about a month after I bought my Z50. This is a very nice combo for travel or general walk around set. It is light, small and IQ is very very good. The 28mm becomes a 42mm focal length and that is nicely in between 35 and 50mm. To me this is kinda like “best of both worlds”. :-)
We need to accept that some products are designed to a specific use case or spec. The fact that this lens has a plastic mount, has no switches, doesn’t have certain coatings etc is a design feature, not a flaw. It is designed to accommodate a small and light footprint at an attractive price, while preserving decent IQ. If you need a metal mount, switches, nice sunstar performance etc then there are other lenses in Nikon’s portfolio.
I have no issues recommending this lens if one takes into consideration what this lens is designed for. I personally love this lens! I have even used it on my Z6II at xmass time last year and it produced very nice images. And as you mention in you review, it is a no brainer at this price point.
Good points, Pascal. It seems that most of Nikon’s mirrorless lenses so far have the same set of pros and cons – they prioritize image quality over compactness (even if they’re not huge), and they’re on the expensive side.
It’s nice to see lenses like the 28mm f/2.8 that have some of the opposite pros and cons. Not everyone needs a $1000 24mm f/1.8 that weighs 450 grams, even if it has almost perfect optics. Lots of photographers will be happier with a 28mm f/2.8 that costs $700 less and weighs about 1/3 as much.
Speaking of f2.8, could you please review the Nikon Z 28-75 f2.8? I think it is a unique lens both as all-round and portrait lens.
You bet! I already have most of the sample photos and lab tests for that review. Probably ~2 weeks until it’s published.
Thank you Spencer! I am eyeing this lens since it came out. What I’m attracted to is its portrait and background separation properties as well as its critical zoom range. Can’t wait!
With the price of this lens and the 40mm f2 being so low, I picked up both lenses when they first came out and use them on my FX and DX Z cameras. Until Nikon gives more love to the DX lineup lenses, these are two good alternatives.
Nikon desperately needs more DX glass, but you’re right that these two lenses are a good fit in the meantime.
Fully agree with your comment! Sometimes a lens that’s enjoyable to use finds permanent place not only in your bag but on camera!)
For me such a lens is Nikkor 45mm f/2.8 true pancake lens. This silver beauty is the only lens I kept on my silver Nikon Df when switched to Canon rf system.
Thank you for your commitment to PL and great content you share with us!
That’s such a cool lens. I can see why you’d keep it with the Df. Glad you enjoyed the review!
I hope that Nikon ports the DSLR-designed lens 28mm f/1.4 to the Z format.
To this day, if I’m remembering right, that lens has the highest sharpness figure we’ve ever measured in the lab! And beyond sharpness, it’s just a great lens all-around. I doubt they’ll duplicate it for the Z mount since they haven’t done that with any lens yet, but just use it with the FTZ!
That 28/1.4 is just superb, and if you look around they are arriving on the s/h market at very enticing prices, I bought one a few months back in ‘like new’ condition, all boxed up exactly as it would have been new, but for 40% of Nikon’s RRP, I use it on my DSLR and Z7.
I suspect Nikon will keep the 28mm f/1.4E around until they’re ready to do a completely new 28mm fast prime for Z-mount. The advantages to the larger mount mostly accrue to the wide-angle lens designs, and Nikon could stand to gain a lot, even over the superb 1.4E. If there’s any prime I think they’d port directly over, it would be the 105 f/1.4E, since we know there are fast 85mm and 135mm primes coming to the Z-mount, and the 105 1.4E is already also so good, and there might not be as much to gain from a redesign compared to the 28 1.4E.
FWIW, the combo of the 28/58/105 f/1.4 primes in F-mount are ones I was comfortable investing in, figuring even after I’ve mostly gone to mirrorless, I’d still get a lot of use out of them. I already get better results with the 58 1.4G on my Zfc than on the DSLRs.
Just waiting for the Z 35mm f/1,2 that will replace my Z 40mm f/2.
I advise you to take a closer look at the Tamron SP 35mm F/1.4 Di USD
No thx. I have had many Tamron Lenses in the past, but I was never fully satisfied in comparaison with the Nikon lenses characteristic: especially the Nikon fabulous coatings & colors rendition (& ergonomics also)
That will be quite a replacement!