Nikon Z 40mm f/2 By Spencer Cox 61 CommentsLast Updated On November 29, 2022«1. Specifications and Build Quality2. Optical Features3. Sharpness Comparisons4. Verdict5. More Sample Images6. Reader Comments»Table of ContentsSpecifications and Build QualityOptical FeaturesSharpness ComparisonsVerdictMore Sample ImagesReader Comments
I just ordered a “like new” copy of this lens from mpb for $218 after a referral code discount. There are a lot available which seems a bit strange considering it is not a bundled kit lens and the positive opinions of it. The Panasonic 20mm 1.7 was one of my favorite m43 lenses, so I am looking forward to it.
Thanks for this thorough review. I’ve had the 28mm lens for a while and am enjoying it on both the Z6 and Z50. Just ordered the 40mm and its due to arrive in a couple of days; looking forward to it. I’ve never had any problems with plastic lens mounts and doubt that I’ll ever have any with these small lenses. You’d have to be exceedingly rough on your gear to break the lens at the mount. I’m typically not a prime lens guy but consider these lenses to my cheap, cheerful and light lenses for walking around with.. :-)
2020’s version of beloved nifty fifty.
It serves a very similar purpose! And it’s lighter and sharper than a lot of older 50mm “nifty fifty” lenses.
I happen to love the lens as the 40mm f/2 prime is what I sorely since my days of shooting Leica with a 40mm Summicron. Regarding the lens mount, my fix was to simply swap out it out with the the metal mount from a used FTZ adapter (about half the price of new). Fortunately, it was an easy DIY job that fit perfectly. Not only was back focus/alignment was unchanged but you gain the rear rubber dust gasket of the S lenses. Not mentioned in the review is that the plastic mount design does not have the rubber gasket feature. Don’t expect Nikon service to make the swap for you even if you provide the parts, It’s only a DIY job. Regarding the lack of fluorine coating, I simply use a Hoya HD filter to protect the front glass and has a feature similar to fluorine coating.
Wow! I never figured that you could swap in a metal mount yourself, at least not without side effects. Well done. I’m way too inept mechanically to try that myself (I dropped my engineering major in college and pretty rapidly switched to journalism) – but I’m glad it worked for you.
It’s an easy job, just remember to re-use the black metal screws that came with the 40/2 lens, not the chrome FTZ screws. The black metal screw have coarser threads to better secure to the lens’ plastic body.
That’s fascinating. If all it involves is unscrewing four screws twice, swapping the mounts, and screwing them back in, even I could manage that! You’ve definitely expanded my mindset today.
You’re almost, there are also 4 smaller screws on the side that secure the rear baffle with the rectangular opening to the mount. Three are identical and the fourth at the 12:00 position is slightly different, so be careful to keep track of them. Obviously is best to own a decent set of precision screwdrivers that nicely fit the screws (I got mine from RadioShack years ago but I’m sure you can get them on Amazon). Don’t forget to insert the rubber gasket from the FTZ adapter before dropping the metal mount in place or you’ll have a gap. It fits perfectly. Here’s a picture of the finished product: file:///C:/Users/alwey/Downloads/2406911.pdf
I like to take a crack at this DIY. Thanks for writing about it. Your link however points to the PDF in your own drive. Any way to post this in a public place like DropBox for others to access? Thanks again for the great idea.
Here’s a link with a picture of the finished lens I posted in FM forum: www.fredmiranda.com/forum…/1770415/0
Wow, this is awesome to know, thanks Alan. 😃🍻
Great and informative review, thank you very much!
I recently bought the lens when it was discounted and I use it in my peoplephotography when 50mm are a bit too long. Of course, the S-line 50mm prime lens is clearly better in sharpness and rendering, and I also find the bokeh of the Z 40mm a bit on the “nervous side” in some cases. But overall it is a very capable lens that fits well on the Z5. I don’t mind the plastic mount at all; none of my other Nikkors can be mount that smoothly as the Z 40mm.
Glad you liked the review, and thanks for adding your experiences, Thomas. The 40mm f/2 makes good tradeoffs in my opinion, considering that any lens this small will have its share of tradeoffs. The plastic mount still frustrates me, but you should read the comment below by Ken where he made some good points in favor of it.
As always, great review Spencer!
I have the 28 / 2.8 lens and use that on my Z50. The lens becomes a 42mm on a DX camera. This is great for street and general work around combo. It is small and light and people don’t really notice you. IQ is very good too. Love that lens!
Thank you, Pascal! My 28mm f/2.8 review should be up within a week, as I tested that lens concurrently with the 40mm f/2. The two perform pretty similarly overall, but each one has its strengths and weaknesses. I’m glad you’re enjoying yours so much so far.
Thank you for a great review Spencer.
I have both the 28 and 40 that I use on my Zfc and sometimes on my Z7ii bodies. If Nikon brings out a Zf, these will be perfect.
I have a couple of Z7ii bodies that I use with my 20 or so AIS and D lenses in MF mode. For example I have the 28 1.4D which is legendary. As a direct comparision, the 28 2.8 directly compares very favourable to a lens that I love and I feel the same with my 40 2.0, which is significantly better than my 40 2.0 Ultron.
I also have the 1.8 primes. The compact primes are not in the same league as those, but the 1.8 primes do not have the benefits of the compact primes’ small size.
So these compact primes are ideal for their use case.
Nikon seems to be positioning their camera lineup for a Zf in the future. Both of the retro-style lenses (this one and the 28mm f/2.8 SE) are full-frame lenses, and just the name Zfc heavily implies “Zf crop”! But who knows, and the pandemic also messed up their release schedule somewhat.
I hope the 40mm f/2 and 28mm f/2.8 do well enough to convince Nikon to make more lenses like this. A set that adds a 20mm, 60mm, and 85mm muffin lens (or really any set covering ultra-wide to short telephoto) would be a great match for the light weight of mirrorless cameras.
I enjoy using this lens as a medium and small lens to carry between my 14-24 2.8 and 70-200 2.8 (you barely notice it in the bag) but it comes in handy for “normal” shots and doubles as a fun lens for pictures of the wife or friends.
Glad you’re enjoying the lens. Now that you mention it, 40mm is just about the perfect split between the 24mm focal length of the 14-24 and the 70mm focal length of the 70-200. A 50mm would be too close to 70mm, and a 35mm would be too close to 24mm!
Before moving to mirrorless, I often used an 18-35 + 70-300 setup for hiking in the mountains, occasionally with a 50 in the middle. So I can very much relate to your setup.
Good review as always, but thanks, I prefer Canon rf 35mm f1.8 macro is stm.
I’ve used that lens and was a big fan of it! It’s not quite a pancake or “muffin” lens like this one, but the price is good ($400 with the current sale), and it’s obviously much better for close-ups than the 40mm f/2.
One thing people seem to overlook about the plastic mount is that it provides weather sealing without the need for a gasket. Metal/metal interfaces wick water like mad. Plastic/plastic and plastic/metal typically do not. This still falls under “cost reduction” motivation, but it isn’t just down to the cost of the metal mount itself. By going plastic the complications in assembly of adding the gasket found on the metal Z mounts is avoided further reducing cost while still maintaining weather sealing features.
And of course as places that rent thousands of lenses a month will tell you there really isn’t any sort of durability issue with plastic mounts, but people are entitled to their opinions about plastic mounts regardless.
You’re one of the first people I’ve ever seen defend plastic lens mounts, but honestly those are great arguments. I hadn’t considered the waterproofing concern. In any case, Nikon could have circumvented the issue by offering the regular 40mm f/2 with the plastic mount, and the 40mm f/2 SE with a metal mount for a higher price.
I just think it is a minor issue. I suspect that if you had 1,000 40mm 2.0 lenses, 2 might break because it had a plastic mount. 20 might break for other reasons. Might be a different issue with a super telephoto – but you know – with the right plastic – it might be the superior choice.
Multiply the price of the lens by 2/1,000 just to put a number on how trivial this issue is.