Home » Lenses » The Best Nikon Z-Mount Lenses in 2020

The Best Nikon Z-Mount Lenses in 2020

Nikon’s hasn’t sat quietly after launching the Z-mount system and the initial set of lenses that came with the Z6 and the Z7 cameras. They have been silently filling the shelves with new and interesting glass to woo all types of photographers to switch over. Sometimes though, at the detriment of their own well established DSLR line-up. But going forward everyone knows that mirrorless systems are going to pip DSLRs as the most dominant camera type (haven’t they already?).

Here we round up the best Nikon z mount lenses:

Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR
Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR
Versatile all-in-one zoom, best for landscapes, architecture, and lively street photography;
Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S
Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S
This lens can do everything and a little bit more. Highly comprehensive lens for Nikon Z series kit.
Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S
Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S
This 85mm lens is perfect for portrait photographers. Not too heavy the optical quality is incredible.
Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S
Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S
This 35mm lens is perfect for most photography needs. Optically stunning and the 1.8 aperture is perfect for background blur.
Nikon Z 50 f/1.8 S
Nikon Z 50 f/1.8 S
50mm lenses are excellent all-rounders, this lens is no exception to that rule. The lens is optically sound, giving you amazing shots no matter what.
Nikon Z 50mm f/1.2 S
Nikon Z 50mm f/1.2 S New
Breakthrough autofocus, great for studio, street, wedding photography, and portraits;
Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S
Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S
This is a perfect option for landscape photographers looking for a versatile set of focal lengths for all landscape scenarios.
Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S
Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S New
Great image quality. Excellent handling.
Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 S
Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 S
This is a fantastic lens for casual photography, be it street, family, or landscape!
Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S
Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S
Focuses quickly, quietly, and smoothly, and is well sealed;
Nikon Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 S
Nikon Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 S
powerful mid-range zoom, fast, bright, stunning!
Rokinon 85mm f/1.4
Rokinon 85mm f/1.4
Good portrait lens on a budget.

Best Nikon Z Lenses

  1. Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR
  2. Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S
  3. Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S
  4. Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S
  5. Nikon Z 50 f/1.8 S
  6. Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S
  7. Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S
  8. Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S
  9. Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 S
  10. Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S
  11. Nikon Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 S
  12. Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 for the Nikon Z mount

1. Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR

Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR

An all-in-one lens for outdoor shooters

The range of this lens is perfect for those looking to upgrade from a kit lens but still keep a comprehensive focal length range. Kitted with advanced technology, this is a lens anyone would be happy with!

Best For

This lens would suit someone looking for one lens that does it all. The lens is composed of a number of aspherical and ED elements. Plus, the engineers at Nikon have applied ARNEO and nanocrystal coating as well. ARNEO coating is helpful in combating the effects of ghosting and flares.

Should I Buy It?

There are many reasons to own the Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR. The lens features an impressive five stops of vibration reduction. The other features include a full-time manual focusing override and a programmable control ring to control Exposure Compensation and other exposure settings.

Another impressive thing about the lens is the new AF-P motor. This is Nikon’s version of a stepper motor that drives the auto-focusing mechanism using micro pulses instead of the jerky movements of the traditional SWM motor.

NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR

The only thing that probably does not go in favor of this lens is the maximum aperture range. At 24mm you can only use a maximum of f/4 and when you zoom in all the way to 200mm the widest available aperture is f/6.3. So, if you plan on using an all-purpose lens for indoor and low light shooting then this is definitely not the right lens. This is best used outdoors in good light.

That said if you are looking for better optical quality in with a comparable zoom range, check out the next lens on this list.

2. Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S

Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S

A new lens that fits the bill for many photographers

This lens can do everything and a little bit more. If you’re looking for a highly comprehensive lens to add to your Nikon Z series kit, this is a great lens!

Best For

If you have a bit more money to spare then the Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S is your best bet by far. The 70-200mm is a great lens for everything that cannot be captured by a wide-angle lens. I.e., better portraits, action, sports and a little bit of wildlife and birding. So, unless you want one lens to cover all your bases, the Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S is a better choice. Albeit at a higher price tag.

Related Post: Best Cameras for Wildlife Photography

Should I Buy It?

There are many reasons why you should buy this lens. The revamped auto-focusing system is just one of them. But the new ARNEO and nanocrystal coatings are a very important selling point. Not to mention the fixed f/2.8 aperture and the superior image quality. With this lens, you’ll always have an advantage over other cheaper lenses. Plus there is a programmable control ring on the lens barrel. The default setting is manual focus adjustment. However, you can set this to control aperture or adjust exposure compensation.

3. Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S

Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S

A portrait prime

This 85mm lens is perfect for portrait photographers. Thanks to its build, it is not too heavy and can be handheld. The optical quality is incredible.

Best For

This 85mm prime is the best Z mount lens for shooting portraits. Nikon’s Z-mount 85mm prime has a fast aperture of f/1.8. Perfect for those blurry background portrait shots. And the 9-blade diaphragm makes getting that blur a breeze.

The lens features a nanocrystal coating. But there is no ARNEO coating like the previous two lenses that we had discussed above. That said the lens features a Super Integrated Coating.

Nikon has used stepper motor technology in the design of the auto-focusing mechanism of the lens. This is a precise pulsing technology that ensures that the lens moves the focusing elements much more smoothly when locking focus. The lens features a full-time manual focusing override.

The Z 85mm f/1.8 S has a programmable control ring. By default, it is set to manual focusing. But then you can change it and set it to control exposure compensation or manually adjust the aperture.

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Should I Buy It?

NIKKOR Z 85mm F/1.8 S

Overall the optical quality of the lens is fantastic. The weight of the lens is a shade over 1 pound, so it’s not too heavy that you’re unable able to hand-hold for long periods of time. The 85mm fixed focal length plus the f/1.8 aperture and the new stepper motor makes a beautiful combination. This is a great lens if you are shooting stills or movies.

4. Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S

Nikon 35mm f/1.8 S

A lens that checks all boxes

This 35mm lens is perfect for most photography needs. It is optically stunning and the 1.8 aperture is perfect for creating background blur in your images.

The 35mm f/1.8 is a standard prime designed to be the mainstay of street and journalistic style photographers. A prime lens has a fixed focal length, which can be limiting for some photographers.

The construction of the lens includes ED elements along with aspherical elements and nanocrystal coating.

Best For

Being a standard focal length you can use this lens for a lot of everyday photography requirements. Street photography is a specialty genre that works well with a 35mm prime. In addition to street photography, you can use the lens to shoot indoors, architecture, a bit of environmental portraiture, as well, along with group shots and weddings.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

Just like the other S lenses in this series, the Z 35mm f/1.8 S comes with a programmable physical control ring. And of course, you can set it to control exposure compensation and aperture instead of focus.

Should I Buy It?

We keep discussing the many advantages of Nikon’s Z-mount camera system. The greatest advantage being the versatility of the lenses. And apart from the different genres that we discussed at the top the lens is also suitable for shooting movies. Thanks to the stepper motor technology implemented.

The Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S the fast wide aperture is perfect for capturing a lot of light in any lighting situation.

5. Nikon Z 50 f/1.8 S

Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S

A Z-mount nifty fifty

50mm lenses are excellent all-rounders, this lens is no exception to that rule. The lens is optically sound, giving you amazing shots no matter what.

Best For

There are two prime lenses in this range that caught our attention. This 50mm and the 35mm. We selected both of these lenses as two of the best Z-mount lenses based on their individual merits.

Ever heard the phrase “nifty-fifty“? It’s a classic focal length!

The 50mm f/1.8 S is fast and accurate. It produces great images in the right hands. Being a standard prime you can shoot a wide range of different genres with this lens.

But there’s a catch, the lens is hefty…

It’s more than twice the weight of the F-mount standard prime. The F-mount version of this lens weighs just 0.04-pounds. The Z-mount? Well, it clocks in at 0.09-pounds.

Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S

In terms of handling the lens is good. The main difference is in its optics. There are a number of new elements including a second aspherical element which suppresses spherical aberrations quite well.

Additionally, there are two Extra-low Dispersion (ED) elements which take care of chromatic aberrations.

Should I Buy It?

We were pleasantly surprised when we compared this lens with some of its more illustrious competitors. The quality of this lens is a lot higher than we expected. Even when shooting wide open, aberrations and distortions are well suppressed. For a lens that performs well across the board, this is definitely a good buy.

6. Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S

Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S

The Standard prime for your Z mount camera

Fast wide lens. Excellent image quality.

We have already listed the Z 50mm f/1.8″ in this list. But this one is a special lens. The Z 50mm f/1.2 S. It stakes its claim as one of the best z-mount lenses. The aperture is a full one stop wider (and therefore faster) than the Z mount 50mm prime – the 50mm Z f/1.8.

When you have the advantage of one full stop of light you can literally experiment the hell out of any scene. For example you can try opening the lens aperture all the way on a sunny day (albeit with the help of a 4-6 stop ND filter). Doing so allows you to completely obliterate the background and produce nice bokeh even on a sunny day.

This technique comes in handy when shooting portrait photography. Especially, when you are using the Z50. The Z50 is an APS-C camera (crop sensor powered) and that gives you an additional advantage. The crop factor extends the effective focal length and makes it a 75mm lens (35mm format equivalent). Almost the perfect focal length for shooting portraits.

But even with the 50mm focal length the lens is a versatile shooter with lots of applications in various genres of photography. Needless to say, the wide aperture comes in handy when shooting in low light as well. Such as when you are shooting street photography at night or doing astrophotography or anything in a low light situation. With an f/1.2 aperture you can practically shoot hand-held in any situation without any issues. Regardless of the lighting situation.

In terms of construction the Z 50mm f/1.2 S is composed of 17 elements arranged in 15 groups. It consists of a number of extra-low dispersion elements plus aspherical elements to take care of aberrations and distortions.

On top of that the lens features ARNEO and Nano crystal coating to ensure that lens flares and ghosting is suppressed. Additionally, the lens also features super integrated coating. This coating too does a similar job as to the ARNEO and Nano Crystal coating.

The only thing that bothers us is that the price tag. This is definitely one of the most expensive Nikkor lenses as well as one of the most expensive Z mount lenses made by the company.

7. Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S

Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S

A comprehensive wide-angle zoom

This is a perfect option for landscape photographers looking for a versatile set of focal lengths for all landscape scenarios.

Best For

Wide-angle lenses such as these come into their own when we take them to shoot interiors, architecture and vast sweeping vistas. They are equally good for shooting cityscapes.

There is a bit of vignette at the corners when shooting at the wide focal length. Stopping down the lens or zooming in changes that. In any case, you can always adjust the vignette during post-processing.

Just like other S lenses the Z 14-30mm f/4 S comes with a programmable physical ring. The lens uses the new stepper motor technology auto-focusing mechanism. The lens also features a full-time manual focusing override.

Should I Buy It?

Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S

The construction of the lens ensures that the lens is able to resist moisture and dust and dirt. Additionally, a fluorine coating has been added to ensure that the lens front element is able to resist dirt and fingerprints.

The maximum aperture of the lens is f/4 and the lens has only seven diaphragm blades. Please note this is a landscape lens and so you would ideally be using this lens at a much smaller aperture than f/4.

8. Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S

Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S

Best lens for landscape and architecture for the Z mount

Great image quality. Excellent handling.

Nikon recently came out with this new lens. The 14-24mm f/2.8 S for the Z mount. This lens replaces the need to mount the legacy F-mount 14-24mm lens. And that also makes the FTZ adapter redundant. The legacy 14-24mm lens is heavier and bulkier. While the Z mount 14-24mm is a lot less heavy. 350 grams to be precise. With the less weight you have more working time and less chances of injuring your arm wielding a heavy lens and camera combination.

Apart from the obvious advantage of less bulk and weight, the Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S has a few additional advantages. This lens comes with four extra-low dispersion elements along with three aspherical elements. Together, these elements are responsible for suppressing lens various aberrations and distortions, thus producing high quality images which are sharp and with accurate color rendition.

Apart from these elements the lens also comes with ARNEO and Nano crystal coating. These elements are responsible for suppressing lens flares and /ghosting. These two can have a serious impact on your images especially when working in difficult lighting conditions.

But the biggest advantage is probably in the areas of auto-focusing. The Z mount lens comes with the latest Nikon Stepping Motor technology. This technology is a much more precise one though a bit on the slower side.

Along with the new improved auto-focusing mechanism you also have full-time manual focusing.

Finally, the lens has a total of 9 aperture blades. Usually when the number of aperture blades are higher bokeh quality is also better. But then again you would hardly be using this lens for bokeh.

9. Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 S

Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 S

A wide angle prime with a wide aperture

This is a fantastic lens for casual photography, be it street, family, or landscape!

Best For

This is a great landscape lens. You can also use it for architecture and interiors. This would also serve as a good video lens because it is very sharp even at f/1.8. Plus the out of focus effects that you could get with this lens is also great.

Should I Buy It?

The only problem with lenses like this is the lack of versatility. While you know it is a great lens for shooting certain genres, you might hesitate to take it to a concert or an indoor event. The reason is you cannot zoom in or out. You need something like a fast 24-70mm or a 16-35mm if you are going to photograph at a concert.

NIKKOR Z 24mm f/1.8 S

Also, the Z 24mm f/1.8 S suffers from some amount of vignette especially when shot wide open. This is, however, not a major issue as you can easily remove it in Photoshop or Lightroom using lens profile correction.

If you need just one fast wide-angle lens to take care of all your needs, then the Z 24mm f/1.8 is not ideal for you. It would probably be a good second choice lens for photographers who already own a wide-angle zoom lens and can’t resist the temptation of f/1.8 aperture.

10. Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S

Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S

Wide angle prime

Focuses quickly, quietly, and smoothly, and is well sealed;

A 20mm is usually a landscape or a cityscape photographer’s tool. You can also use the Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S for shooting architecture and interiors. Because the lens gives you an angle of view of about 94 degrees. That’s good enough for shooting a wide variety of photography genres.

In terms of construction the lens consists of 14 elements arranged in 11 groups. These include three aspherical elements and three extra-low dispersion elements. These take care of several types of aberrations and distortions.

On top of that the lens comes with a Nano Crystal coating as well as Super Integrated Coating. As you are aware these elements are responsible for suppressing lens flares and ghosting. They also improve the overall color reproduction as well as contrast and sharpness of the images.

The lens employs a total of two stepping motors to employ smooth autofocusing performance. Additionally, you get full-time manual focusing abilities for precise adjustment of the focus when shooting.

Speaking of manual focusing and the manual focusing ring. This ring is actually a programmable control ring. That means you can reprogram it to do n number of things. And not just adjust focus manually. So you can program it to control aperture or even set it to adjust exposure compensation.

The fast wide aperture of the lens is composed of nine rounded blades. The result is a fine bokeh performance. Although this lens is not meant for bokeh. But more for the purpose of capturing light. Lots of it, even in the lowest light situations. And that is thanks to the fast f/1.8 aperture.

11. Nikon Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 S

Nikon Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 S

The must have zoom for your Z mount

Powerful mid-range zoom, fast, bright, stunning!

The standard zoom lens that serves most purposes that you can come across on an everyday basis. This is the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S. This lens is the equivalent of the 24-70mm f/2.8 designed for the F-mount, except this one is specifically designed for the Z mount camera system. So, you don’t need the FTZ adapter. Just like the rest of the lenses that have been discussed here.

Let’s quickly take a look at the construction of this lens. The internal construction of the lens consists of a total of 17 elements arranged in 15 groups. These includes couple of extra-low dispersion elements. Along with that there are four aspherical elements as well. Together these elements take care of a number of aberrations and distortions that normally plague your photos.

On top of that the lens also features Nikon’s ARNEO and Nano Crystal coatings. These coatings ensure that the lens is able to suppress lens flares and ghosting which is something that is common placed when shooting in difficult lighting conditions.

Additionally, these lenses feature what Nikon states is their multi-focus system. This system employs not one but two stepping motors. The result is extremely fast autofocus lock, something that you would normally not associate with Stepping Motor technology. And the best part is that the whole focusing thing is very smooth.

Plus the lens also has full-time manual focusing feature. Just grab the programmable control ring and you would be able to manually focus the lens. And since the ring s programmable, you can program the same to work as your aperture control or even your exposure control. Overall this is one of the best z-mount lenses you can invest in.

12. Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 for the Nikon Z mount

We love a decent 85mm lens. Because that is the ideal foal length for shooting portrait photography. Especially when you are using a full-frame camera. Well, Nikon makes both full-frame and crop-sensor mirrorless cameras for their latest Z-mount series. And the 85mm is the perfect focal length for shooting portraitures if you are using the Z6 or the Z7 or even the latest Z5. No doubt, the Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 is one of the best z-mount lenses and the best for portraiture.

The lens features a number of functionalities. But the greatest USP of this lens is definitely the fast f/1.4 aperture. That aperture will allow you to completely obliterate anything behind your subject. And that is a requirement from time to time.

Especially, when you are shooting in a place with a not-so-interesting background. But generally speaking you would love to create those soft out of focus effects for your portrait images.

The other benefit of a fast wide lens is definitely when shooting in low light conditions. Because when shooting in low light conditions every incremental stop of light gives you double the amount of light than the previous aperture. That’s a super advantage.

With a kit lens that’s always a problem. As soon as you change to a prime lens you get the advantage of being able to collect extra light. And that extra light allows you to create well exposed photos even in low light situations.

Let’s take a look at the construction of the lens. A total of 9 elements arranged in 7 groups make up for the construction of the lens. These elements include a Hybrid aspherical element. This element takes care of aberrations improving the image quality overall. On top of that the lens also has a multi-coating layer that improves contrast and sharpness by suppressing lens flares and ghosting.

Please note this is a manual focusing lens. This lens won’t autofocus on any of Nikon’s Z mount cameras. So you will have to rely on the Eye-Detection AF technology of your mirrorless Z mount camera in order to have some degree of control over where it is focusing. Mind you this will only work when you are shooting portraits. Facial recognition will be ineffective against any other targets.

In the absence of eye-detection you would have to manually focus using the focusing ring. This is one of the primary reasons why a lot of portrait photographers (and for that matter other photographers) don’t like using a manual focusing lens.

There is no image stabilization on this lens either. However, that should not be a deal breaker for you because with the f/1.4 aperture you can shoot with a faster Shutter Speed compared to a f/3.5 lens (a kit lens usually has a maximum aperture around f/3.5).

In any case if you are shooting genres like astrophotography or capturing long trails of light, image stabilization is not going to do you any good. You need a tripod in order to shoot such stuff. Finally, the Rokinon 85mm f/1.4 has weather sealing. Weather sealing on this lens allows you to use it in any kind of weather without any issues.


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