Nikon’s Z-mount camera systems have been making ripples ever since they were announced in 2018. And as such, finding the best Z-mount lens is increasingly crucial!
The only problem with this system is the availability of dedicated Z-mount lenses.
There’s an easy solution…
By using the FTZ adapter there are over 360 different legacy lenses compatible with the Z-Mount. Ninety of which are fully compatible with full Auto Exposure (AE) and Auto Focus (AF).
Now, that’s all the more reason to switch to a Z-mount system if you ask me.
RELATED POST: Mirrorless vs DSLR for Beginners (Which one is better?)
So, without further ado, here are the best Z-mount lenses you can buy:
- Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S (Our choice as the best of the best Z-mount lenses)
- Nikon Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S
- Nikon Nikkor AF-S 50mm f/1.8G
- Nikon Nikkor AF-S VR Micro 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED
- Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR
- Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95 III
- Petzval 55mm f/1.7 Art
- Sigma 150-600mm f/5 – 6.3 DG OS HSM sports for Nikon F mount
This is the best Z-mount lenses around in my opinion. Especially, when you consider the price and the functionalities.
There are two versions of the Z 24-70mm. The Z 24-70mm f/4 is the ‘reasonably priced’ version.
Then there’s the $2000+ Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S.
We’ve chosen the f/4 variety since it won’t burn as big a hole in your pocket as the other one. Yet, it will probably get the job done 9 out of 10 times.
That said, if you have loads of cash to burn, and need the extra stop of light from the f/2.8, then, by all means, go for the faster lens. 🛒📸 🤑
The Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S is a full-frame Z-mount lens. Its construction includes 14 elements arranged in seven groups.
It has a 7 blade (rounded) aperture diaphragm. The 24-70mm covering the most commonly used focal lengths. That sweetened the deal for us.
However, it’s not light. It weighs a little over 1-pound. Luckily, the total weight including the lens and Z6 body reaches about 2.4-pounds. Not too shabby!
- Versatile 24-70mm wide-angle to medium telephoto zoom for Z Mirrorless cameras
- New optical Formula that Achieves extreme sharpness across the entire frame with virtually no distortion
- Constant f/4 max aperture for consistent exposure at any focal length
- Great for video with smooth, silent focusing, 5-axis Dual detect optical VR, a new customizable control ring
- Cutting-edge optical technology Empowered by the Z system's larger mount, and shorter Flange distance
The Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S is a standard prime lens. A prime lens has a fixed focal length (no zoom). In this case, the focal length is 50mm.
There are two prime lenses in this range which caught our attention. This 50mm and a 35mm. We pick the 50mm f/1.8 because it is (arguably) the most popular.
Ever hear 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.
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 .04-pounds. The Z-mount? Well, it clocks in at .09-pounds.
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.
We were pleasantly surprised when we compared this lens with some of its more illustrious competitors. The quality of this lens is even more than we expected. Even when shooting wide open, aberrations and distortions are well suppressed. Even wide scenes shot at a wide-open aperture looked good.
- Fast 50mm prime for Z Mirrorless cameras
- Uncanny f/1.8 performance, extreme sharpness and virtually zero distortion
- New ultra-quiet stepping motor for silent focusing
- Beautiful bokeh and superior Low-light performance
- 5-Axis Dual detect optical VR powered by Z cameras
Sure, this isn’t technically a lens, but it is a lens accessory. And to be honest, if you already have an arsenal of F-mount lenses, this is going to be a must-have.
The FTZ adapter increases the versatility of the Z-mount camera systems. The FTZ adapter automatically makes more than 300 lenses compatible with the new Z-mount.
Ok, not all the legacy lenses are fully compatible. i.e., you will not get full AE and AF with these lenses. But there are around 90 lenses which do. Currently, there are 24 lenses dedicated to the new Z-mount. But these additional lenses increase versatility.
- Precisely engineered Adapter for using F-mount nikkor lenses on Z Mirrorless cameras
- Compatible with over 360 F-mount nikkor lenses and Teleconverter
- Connected lenses retain full sharpness and image quality and gain benefits of in-camera VR, Hybrid AF*, silent shooting,...
- Crafted from magnesium alloy and weather-sealed to preserve durability of camera and lenses
We pick some of these lenses which will work with the FTZ adapter as a part of this discussion of the best Z-mount lenses.
Moreover, with the new Z-mount systems with built-in image stabilization, all lenses are by default image stabilized as well.
One major advantage of the Nikon FTZ adapter is that they have a mechanical actuator built-in the lens mount. This allows for legacy lenses which don’t have any mechanical actuator built-in to have the same aperture control as the modern E mount lenses do. 😲🧙🏼♂️
RELATED POST: Nikon Z6 vs Z7: Which Mirrorless Camera Is Best for You?
Nikon’s new Z-mount already has a dedicated 50mm f/1.8 prime. We just covered in fact. The reason why we insist on this lens, despite the Z-mount already having a dedicated 50mm prime, is because this is a cheaper option.
Plus, you might already own this lens if you’re a Nikon patron. But, you will need the FTZ adapter to use it.
The Z-mount 50mm is a heavier proposition, which we’ve already covered.
The good thing about this lens is that when mounted on the FTZ adapter it gives you full auto exposure and autofocus control. That said, this lens is optically inferior to the Z-mount 50mm prime. Corners will be a little soft.
That’s why this lens is better suited with the Z6, which is a lower resolution camera, compared to the Z7, which is the higher resolution unit. Optical imperfections will show up more easily in a higher resolution camera.
- Fast, upgraded f/1.8, compact FX-format prime lens. The picture angle with 35 mm (135) format is 47 degree and the...
- Focal Length-50 mm, Minimum Focus Distance-1.48 ft.(0.45 m)
- Newly developed optical system with Aspherical lens element, Exclusive Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM)
- M/A Focus Mode Switch,Filter Thread 58 mm, Autofocus: Yes. Dimensions (approx.) (from the camera lens mounting flange):...
- Optimized for edge to edge sharpness on both FX and DX-format D-SLRs
The Nikkor AF-S VR Micro 105mm f/2.8G is a ‘macro’ lens designed for the full-frame F-mount camera systems. If you check the upcoming lenses Nikon has listed, none handles macro shooting.
And that is a major issue.
At least for photographers who make a living out of shooting macro photography.
But as the FTZ-mount supports the AF-S VR Micro 105mm f/2.8G it could be a viable option. And if you already own the lens and looking to switch to the Z-mount system, this makes the decision-making process easier.
- Designed for close-up and macro photography; versatile enough for virtually any photographic situation
- Maximum Angle of View (FX-format): 23°20'.Features new VR II vibration reduction technology, Focal Length : 105 mm,...
- Nano-Crystal coat and ED glass elements that enhance overall image quality by further reducing flare and chromatic...
- Includes an internal focus, which provides fast and quiet auto-focusing without changing the length of the lens. Maximum...
- Weighs 279 ounces, and measures 33 x 45 inches; Made In China ;5-Year Warranty (1-Year International + 4-Year USA...
The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR is a classic one-lens-does-it-all kind of design. Mount this on your camera and you’ll never need the reason to change it. It covers the essential focal length that’s required for everyday photography purposes. Starting from 24mm all the way to 120mm.
This lens already comes with built-in image stabilization. Add to that the built-in image stabilization of the two Z-mount camera systems available now, and you have a potent solution for all your low light photography challenges.
Nikon’s current lens roadmap for the Z-mount system doesn’t have a lens that covers the 24-120mm segment. There is one that ranges from 70-200mm but no zooms wider than that. Thus, the 24 – 120mm allows for some extra leverage for everyday photography pursuits.
- Compact and versatile 5x standard zoom lens with f/4 maximum aperture
- Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.24x.Focal Length Range : 24 -120 mm, Minimum Focus Distance : 15 ft ( 045 m)
- Extended range on Nikon DX-format D-SLR cameras
- Nikon VR II (Vibration Reduction) Image Stabilization, Nano Crystal Coat
- 2 Extra-low Dispersion (ED) Elements; 3 Aspherical Lens Elements.Mount Type: Nikon F-Bayonet
Best Z-Mount Lenses From Third Parties
While we discuss the best Z-mount lenses, we can’t ignore some of the third-party lenses. For example, the Mitakon Speedmaster 50mm f/0.95 III.
Announced in April 2019, this is still new to the scene. At the time of writing, the lens is available for pre-order.
The whopping f/0.95 aperture is great for low light. Add to that the 11 aperture diaphragm blades and you have potential fantastic bokeh.
The construction of the lens includes four extra-low dispersion elements and one ultra-high refraction element.
But the major thing you need to keep in mind is that this is a manual focusing lens. You can preorder this lens on B&H.
7. Petzval 5mm f/1.7
You wouldn’t necessarily call the Petzval 55mm f/1.7 Art the best of the best Z-mount lenses. Petzval lenses are definitely an acquired taste. But once you’ve acquired it, it can be pretty addicting.
Petzval lenses are characterized by a soft swirling bokeh in the periphery of the images, while the center or the subject of focus is sharp.
What makes this Petzval design so compelling, and so sought after by creative professionals, is the unique bokeh control feature. There is a dedicated bokeh control ring. This ring allows you to exaggerate or contain how much of the bokeh effect you want to be there in your images.
The design of this lens is simple, it lacks more complex mechanisms which would generally make shooting easier, such as, image stabilization and auto-focus.
The lens features a dual aperture system with a maximum aperture of f/1.7. The construction of the lens reflects a simple design. There are a total of 4 elements arranged in 3 groups.
Needless to say, there is no auto-focusing mechanism nor is there image stabilization. But the new Z-mount cameras come with built-in 5-axis image stabilization. That should, at least, take care of the image stabilization part.
The lens comes with a unique bokeh control feature, allowing you to control the bokeh in your shot.
This is a newly announced lens which is only available for preorder.
Sigma recently released a press statement announcing all of their current lenses are compatible with the new Nikon Z-mount system.
There are a few conditions though…
The statement claims only the Z7 and nothing about the Z6. 🤔
Luckily, all lenses are compatible with the FTZ-mount adapter. Some of the Sigma lenses have only manual focusing option. There are no auto-focusing motors inside them. These lenses will continue to operate as manual focusing lenses only.
Also, some older lenses, shipped prior to November 2013, are not compatible with the F-mount Nikon system DSLRs. These lenses will remain incompatible with the Z-mount system cameras as well.
Nikon does not have a dedicated super telephoto lens in their lineup for the Z-mount. At least not yet.
Of course, you can use one of the telephoto and super telephoto lenses from the F mount lineup, with the Z-mount adapter. There are also some great third party lenses like the Sigma 150-600mm f/5 – 6.3 DG OS HSM Sports. It’s one of the best Z-mount lenses if you’re into sports and wildlife photography.
This lens is designed for the Nikon F mount. However, as per the Sigma press statement, it’s compatible with the new Z-mount via the FTZ adapter. This is a super telephoto lens. The focal length ranges from 150mm to 600mm. 🔭
The lens will take some abuse, though it is not completely weather sealed.
Additionally, Sigma has used thermally stable components in the production of the lens. This means the lens will remain stable within large temperature fluctuations-In other words, the optical quality of the lens will remain stable.
- 150-600mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM / C
- Minimum focusing distance : 280 cm/110.2 inches, focal length :150-600mm. Diaphragm blades: 9
- First hyper-telephoto zoom from the Contemporary line, Dust proof and splash proof mount95mm filter
- Lightweight & compact in construction for higher usability.SIGMA TELE CONVERTER TC-1401 and TC-2001 are dedicated to...
- Water and oil repellent coating on front glass element makes maintenance of the lens surface easier
What’s The Best Z-Mount Lens For You?
We’ve covered the best of the best Nikon Z-mount lenses today. You’ll likely find just what you were looking for from this roundup. Just remember, if you don’t like any of the native z-mount lenses, the FTZ adapter will open up your options significantly. Especially if you’ll consider 3rd party lenses.
Which Z-mount lens do you think is the best? Let us know in the comments below.
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