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Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 Lens Evaluation: Tiny, Mighty, And Low-cost

Nikon 28mm f/2.8 review

There was lots of chatter and pleasure surrounding the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 lens when it was introduced as a particular pairing (together with a particular model) with the Z fc digital camera. As one of many smallest and lightest lenses launched for the Z mirrorless system that comes paired with one of many shorter focus distances, the $297 “pocket” lens packs lots of punch in a tiny and reasonably priced package deal.

The tiny full-frame wide-angle lens (interprets to about 42mm on a crop sensor) is usually fabricated from plastic and fairly a bit lighter than Nikon’s higher-end glass. It weighs a scant 155 grams (5.5 ounces) which makes it fairly straightforward to hold round as an on a regular basis lens. The shut focus distance (7.5 inches) and claimed climate sealing solely add to this.

The lens is technically positioned in between the 24mm f/1.8 S and the 35mm f/1.8 S lenses however lacks the “S” designation of its siblings. Given the attention-grabbing focal size, it’d shine higher on a crop sensor physique. On a full-frame system, this lens offers customers a 75-degree area of view however on a DX system just like the Z fc or Z50 it offers slightly nearer to the “human eye” perspective. For the aim of this evaluation, I examined it on a number of full-frame methods, nonetheless, I consider the 28mm lens was meant to do better issues if it have been connected to a DX system just like the Z fc or Z50 (neither of which I had entry to, sadly).

Construct High quality and Design

Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 Lens mounted on the z9 body.

The compact lens is kind of related in design to Nikon’s 40mm f/2 lens with very related dimensions and exterior look. The one management ring on the lens controls the main target ring by default, however it may be personalized to regulate the aperture or different options relying on the digital camera. Additionally, just like the 40mm f/2 lens, the 28mm additionally excluded the Auto/Handbook (AF/M) focus swap and acquainted lens hoods sometimes accompanying most Nikon lenses.

Inside, the lens is fairly just like its 40mm sibling as a result of it too is lacking inside picture stabilization. Since all the Nikon Z mirrorless methods have IBIS, it’s in no way a dealbreaker however having just a few extra steps of stabilization for these low gentle moments would have been good.

When in comparison with the S-line of lenses, the 28mm f/2.8 body and lens mount is made largely of plastic making it really feel slightly extra fragile. I suppose the good thing about the plastic physique means it’s a lot lighter, and naturally, retains the worth a lot decrease. And regardless of it being fabricated from plastic, the lens does nonetheless really feel surprisingly sturdy and well-balanced.

One other draw back of it not being an S-lens is it’s lacking the extra “fancy” coatings, and whereas it’s largely unnoticeable should you search for it and do some heavy comparisons with pictures shot in harsh backlit conditions (like taking pictures into the solar) the variations between the excessive and low-end Nikon glass will begin to develop into obvious.

Nikon Z 28mm F/2.8 Lens Top View Mounted on Z6

Picture High quality and Efficiency

Whereas I discovered the lens to be a little bit of an “in-between” focal size on my full-frame our bodies (I examined it with the Nikon Z6, Z6 II, and Z9), the pictures have been fairly clear, sharp, and the autofocus was extremely fast (and quiet) when monitoring shifting objects, attaining correct focus in below a second in just about each state of affairs I may throw at it.

The management ring on the lens, being completely customizable, is of a “clickless” design (which is useful for video shooters) and there’s no haptic suggestions out there for minimal or most focus/aperture ranges. Nonetheless, when focusing manually, there’s a little little bit of focus respiratory when pulling from its most to minimal focus distances. The magnification, not less than in my testing, was barely even noticeable had I not been taking pictures with a tripod on static targets, and even then it’s so minimal that it shouldn’t be a problem for informal stills or video work.

28mm HDR Image

When stepped right down to f/2.8 via f/4, there may be some very minor aberration and vignetting within the pictures that will be largely unnoticeable have been you not in search of it particularly. As soon as the aperture is ready to above f/4 there are subsequent to no points in readability, sharpness, or aberration for the remainder of its vary. Like many of the lenses of this nature, I discovered the sharpest focal candy spot to be round f/5.6 to f/8 for many situations. With such a large area of view, when taking pictures objects shut up, it is ready to create a powerful separation between the topic and the background even at greater f-stops, that means creatives don’t have to really feel caught within the f/2.8 zone for his or her pictures.

As for the bokeh, whereas the separation is easy and simple to handle, the precise bokeh sample appeared to be the blandest of the Nikon Z lenses I’ve been ready to make use of to this point. It isn’t unhealthy by any means, it simply didn’t stand out in any manner.

It’s price noting as nicely that when taking pictures on the Z mirrorless system an possibility is out there for “Vignette Management.” If that is enabled, even simply on “regular” the minimal quantity of vignetting current turns into nearly invisible, aside from when taking pictures large open at f/2.8. At that aperture, the acute corners will nonetheless have seen vignetting within the uncooked information. (All of that is simply adjusted in publish and/or by making use of the lens profile to the pictures)

LA Wide Angle - 28mm f2.8
LA Large Angle – 28mm f/2.8
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LA Large Angle – 28mm f/5.6
LA Wide Angle - 28mm f8
LA Large Angle – 28mm f/8
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LA Large Angle – 28mm f/11
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LA Large Angle – 28mm f/16

Beneath are a set of pattern pictures taken with Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 lens:

Tiny, Mighty, And Low-cost

Whereas the Z-mount 28mm f/2.8 lens from Nikon might not ship the identical top-notch high quality because the S-line of lenses, it does ship rather a lot at a considerably cheaper price than those self same S-line lenses command. It performs persistently with minimal aberration and has a top-notch and quiet autofocus motor making it moreover helpful to videographers. Additionally, did I point out it’s low cost?

A very powerful characteristic of this lens is its small dimension and weight, particularly in comparison with its value. Whereas the efficiency was not mind-blowing on an FX system, I get the impression when related to a DX digital camera, any of the problems I had with aberration or vignetting across the corners can be negligible.

Both manner you have a look at this lens, it’s discreet and durable sufficient to journey with photographers as a part of their “on a regular basis” equipment.

Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 mounted on z9 body, side profile

Are There Alternate options?

Nikon already has a number of S-line alternate options for this lens that sit on both aspect of its focal vary, however they’re considerably greater priced. This consists of the $997 24mm f/1.8 S and the $847 35mm f/1.8 S. Whereas each are “shut” in focal vary and are bigger and heavier. It must also be famous that they’re far much less discreet than the 28mm f/2.8 for one thing like road images.

Trying past Nikon, the $429 Viltrox AF 24mm f/1.8 is fairly related, quicker, and slightly nearer to the worth of the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8. I can’t converse to the standard of the images it produces, nonetheless.

Ought to You Purchase It?

Sure, if you’re in search of a lens to fill within the gaps between the opposite focal lengths or just desire a very reasonably priced walkabout lens for journey and road images. The $297 28mm f/2.8 lens is well worth the low value of entry.

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