We just uploaded our first-ever video review to YouTube, covering the Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 S! Check it out below if you’re interested:
Of course, we will also publish our usual review of this lens on Photography Life when possible, so keep an eye out. But the video above is similarly comprehensive as our written reviews, so if there’s anything about the Z 20mm f/1.8 that you were wondering, this should answer all your questions.
Not to spoil anything, but if sharpness is what you’re after, this lens could be an excellent choice for you!
I’d like to do more comprehensive reviews like this on our YouTube channel before long, if there’s enough interest in it. If you enjoyed this video, feel free to leave a comment (either here or on YouTube) and click the “like” button as well.
And if you would like to be notified when we release our next videos, you can subscribe to our channel here. I recommend clicking the “bell” icon under any video if you want to make sure you receive notifications; otherwise, YouTube sends them out sporadically or not at all.
Awesome review Spencer – I really appreciated how in-depth it was, with realistic test scenarios. I’ve used my F-mount 20mm 1.8 for a while for Milky Way shots and general landscapes, and this was super helpful in evaluating the new lens. I think that given how impressive Nikon’s Z-mount zooms have been, I will wait a while longer to see how good the 14-24 2.8 is and see if it obsoletes the 20mm for my uses!
Just a small request – I think in the video when you compare the weights of Z vs F-mount lenses, it would be helpful to also include the weight of the FTZ adapter, since that’s how Z-users would be using the F-mount lenses.
Keep up the great work – Photography Life consistently is one of my go-to photo websites!
I noticed in your video that twice you were standing at the edge of a cliff (which really distracted me from what you were saying, not to mention was a bit nervewracking about your safety). It made me wonder about focusing. It seems like double the distance would not work in that circumstance, since you are overlooking a void and assuming that you want to shoot what’s on the other side. How then would you focus?
Good question – there are two different cases. The first is when there is no foreground, at which point it’s easy to focus simply at infinity.
The harder case is when there is a foreground, but the “double the distance” spot is in the void, so to speak, and there’s nothing to autofocus on. At that point, you can either guesstimate the distance with manual focus, or use a slightly more specialized technique: set your lens to the widest aperture, and manually focus until the foreground blur and background blur are equal. Then, stop down to your desired aperture. This method perfectly mimics the “double the distance” technique, and results in focus at the same spot, but takes longer, so I usually don’t write about it.
Oh, and I forgot to mention – the spots where I was standing weren’t as harrowing as the video may make them appear. I’m pretty iffy about heights and wouldn’t be willing to stand within tripping distance of the edge of a cliff!
Spencer greetings from Australia. Good work another unbiased review full of information. I particularly find it helpful that you compare the lens with the alternatives on offer and provide examples taken in the real world. I changed to the Z system in March and have never been happier. I kept reading how good the Z lenses were and they are.
Much appreciated! The Z lenses are in another league, it’s been awesome to see.
Your video was really useful when seeing your comparisons of images with DSLR and Z versions of the same lens. I don’t use my DSLR 20 f/1.8 frequently, so I’ll stick with that and purchase the 14-30. The main advantage a written review has is that it can quickly be referred to in the future, i.e. much more accessible that a long video. I’d rather see written reviews continued, augmented by video when you think the extra effort is worth it.
Glad you enjoyed it! Written reviews will absolutely continue – it’s really the video reviews that are more up in the air.
I did the same as you, buying the 14-30mm instead. When I’m shooting astrophotography with it, I’ve begun doing image blending to maximize image quality, and it’s a system I’m really happy with.
Thank you Spencer. On my end I enjoy both traditional PL written reviews and this one. Waiting for your next videos :)
Happy to hear it, thanks, Fabrice!
Great review, very informative and right on the point
Thank you, Boris!
This is a very helpful review, Spencer. I purchased a Z6 early this year to replace my D750 and I already own the 20mm f1.8 G version lens, so I’ve been trying to decide whether I should continue using it or update to the S version. Your well-researched and reasoned review has given me the information I need. I’m likely to keep the one I have and eventually add the 14-30. Thanks!
Glad it could be so useful! That’s what I’ve done as well – kept my F-Mount 20mm f/1.8 and bought the 14-30mm f/4 instead.
Hi Fred, if I may..
Besides the stuff one can see on paper that differentiates both cameras, would you say that the Z6 has allowed you to improve your craft over the D750? If yes, how?
There has been a bit of a learning curve with the Z6, especially with the focus modes. I still prefer my D500 for shooting birds and wildlife, as I find the optical viewfinder easier to follow action.
But for landscapes, street photography and general use, I feel the Z6 has improved my ability to produce good images. Its main strengths, aside from the lighter weight, are the IBIS, which has allowed me to hand-hold at much lower shutter speeds without compromising sharpness, great for architectural interiors where tripods are not allowed; the ability to move the focus point anywhere in the finder, a great aid when composing landscapes; the focus peaking feature, which allows very precise focus for portraits and other critical needs; and the i-menu, which allows for easy customization of often-used features such as bracketing.
In general, I couldn’t be more pleased to have made the change to mirrorless. I’m not an early adopter of new models and I waited more than a year to switch, but I’m really glad. did.
could you review noct 58 0.95？
I would love to! Not sure that we will any time soon, given the extreme specialty of the lens, but it’s a possibility.
Many thanks, your review is one of my favorites with both scientific measurements and REAL word usage. A comparison with Otus 55 1.4 would be nice.
Immense thanks for the consummate review. As I’m heavily invested in my F-mount system, I will keep watching your mirrorless adventures to determine the right moment to make the transition. Thanks for saving my dollars. Unlike other websites, I can trust you whether you say when something is genuinely good or, to quote Nasim, “crappy” and not worth recommending to PL readers. Keep up the excellent work, good Sirs.
I usually don’t watch video reviews as I want to get the summary information in about 2 minutes, but that was a really well done video, well worth watching. Kuedos for the ‘completeness’ of the review, it is very practical and of course calling out the potential variance between short range test chart performance and long range landscape performance. Good stuff, really the ony way it could be any better would be with another few copies which is usually impractical (possibly something the test charts could run more easily and if theres a +/- 15% difference as opposed to +/- 2% then call it out).
Much appreciated! Agreed, testing multiple copies is always ideal. We’re able to do so on certain reviews, but usually only if one of us or our friends purchase the lens for our personal use. That hasn’t yet happened with this lens. (I was close, but went with the 14-30mm f/4 instead.)