However, the new line of mirrorless camera bodies weren't directly compatible with Nikon F mounts, which meant early adopters were eagerly awaiting a whole range of primes and zooms to cover their staple lenses. Now, the company have made everything crystal clear with the release of a lens roadmap, with Nikon promising that 23 Z mount lenses will be available by 2021, covering the whole focal length spectrum.
Just like other mirrorless camera providers, Nikon are aware that fans have put a lot of time and energy into building up their existing DLSR lens collection. Thus, a Nikon FTZ Z Mount Adaptor can be obtained, allowing for a seamless fit of existing Nikon lenses, without any decrease in connectivity and performance. The adapter can be obtained with new Nikon Z cameras, such as the Nikon Z7 with FTZ Mount Adapter which allows photographers to adapt existing Nikkor glass to the mirrorless body.
How is the Z Mount different?
In many ways it comes down to meaning a totally new camera equals a totally new lens design. In the case of the Z mounts lens, this means a larger diameter of 55mm, which equates to being 17% larger than found on F-mount lenses. The flange distance has also been changed (the distances between the sensor and the back of the lens) to 16mm as there is now no mirror employed in the body. The results being generally more compact lenses with faster than ever apertures.
Simply put, if you want the best of the best, 'just take my money' levels of performance, then the S-Line range of Z mount lenses will be just your cup of Darjeeling. Nikon say that the 'S' represents lines of thinking, such as 'Superior', 'Special' and 'Sophisticated.' If the 50mm f/0.95 S Noct is anything to go by, then they have certainly hit the nail on the head.
These lenses are equally capable of stills and video, with a new level of optical performance and resolution, gaining the most from the latest line of cameras. Some other standout features here include a Nano Crystal coating, not just reducing ghosting and flaring, but also for clearer images. A new anti-reflection ARNEO Coating, similar to the Nano Crystal coat, is also available on some of the S lenses.
A control ring also sits around the lens barrel, which can be customised to a range of functions, such as exposure settings, with some of the lenses having an 'organic EL lens information panel' for quick confirmation of lens settings.
Generally, these lenses will have more light capture, due to the shorter flange distance, more sharpness with new optical formulas, greater data transfer with more efficient and faster communication between lens and camera and far less distortion, even at the widest apertures.
Click here to read about more of the benefits of Nikon's S Line lenses (PDF) directly from the Nikon website, including comparisons between sharpness, resolution and more.
The Road Map
If you check out the supplied roadmap below, you'll see a healthy amount of primes and zooms, which include the rather lovely S-Line offerings, plus compacts prime lenses and micro-lenses. Particularly interesting is the 200-600mm zoom, which doesn't just have the extra, ultra-telephoto range, but will be of benefit for those who want an all-encompassing lens without the need for an extender.
Due to the advances across the board in this new range, it's going to take some time to slowly release the full range of primes and zooms. Thus, the roadmap gives a great overview of what's in store, so we can mark our diaries or calendars for when the latest and greatest will be released. The roadmap goes up to 2021 showing the 23 lenses from all categories, having 10 lenses already available by the beginning of 2020.
Below we will go through the standout lenses currently available and the goodies we can look forward to in the rest of 2020 and 2021.
Available Z Mount prime lenses
Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8 S
Starting with the 24mm f/1.8 S, this one as of writing, is the latest Z-mount prime lens and the fourth f/1.8 prime to be released from the company. Part of the S-line, this offering has all the optimum quality you could ever need for wide-angle photography, with a wide and brighter picture and superior optics. It's also ironically, the current widest mirrorless prime, so take that Canon!
Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S
A 35mm is a great alternative to the standard 50mm, with wider coverage. No wonder this was the first prime to be released for the Z system. Top of the line quality, with a wide aperture, especially useful for street, documentary and for even a different look for portrait.
Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S
The 50mm is the standard when it comes to focal lengths, providing an 'as you see it' view of the world. S-line quality refinements, a large and wide aperture and an essential kit lens.
Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 Noct S
Ok, this isn't exactly your everyday walkaround lens, weighing in at 2kg and we're not even going to mention the price. But, if you want to see the full capabilities of the Z mount, then this beast will go where other lenses fear to tread. Apertures as wide as f/0.95 before the Z mount, were either non-existent or too ultra specialist for regular use. Now you can simply give us a ring or order online and you can have one yourself in no time.
Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S
Traditionally a focal length for portrait or wedding photographers, now an 85mm is a great solution for even landscapes in the right hands. This version is a short telephoto lens, benefiting from a very usable wide aperture, fantastic for individual or group shots.
Available Z Mount Zoom lenses
Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S
If your main subjects are landscapes, architecture or you simply need ultrawide angle views, then the 14-30mm f/4 S is a great candidate. Top end optics, along with the ability to fit a front mounted filter. You can see some beautiful sample images from this lens in our blog post here.
Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8S
Covering the most commonly used focal lengths, the 24-70mm is the workhorse lens of the bunch, with a constant aperture of f/2.8, a pre-requisite for photojournalists amongst others. If you don't own any other zoom lens, this is the one to go for.
Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S
This lens can be commonly found in a kit, for example the Z6 with 24-70 lens kit or Z7 camera bodies. More cost-effective than the f/2.8 version, but with a smaller aperture and similar level of optical performance.
Lenses available in 2020 include -
Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR
Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S
Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S
Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S
Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S
Lenses for 2021 include a 28mm and 40mm compact prime, a 60mm Micro and 105mm S Micro macro lens. Along with a 18-140mm DX travel zoom fitting the Z50, a 24-105mm S, 100-400mm S zoom and a 200-600mm telephoto zoom.
Third-party lens makers are also drip feeding us primes and zooms fitting the Z mount, with excellent functionality and performance.
By Nick Dautlich on 17/02/2020
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