Call us: 01444 237070

Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Lens Review

While updating our Nikon Z8 review for 2024, I had the opportunity to use the Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Lens for two weeks. As a standard non S-Line model, it stands out as one of the more affordable Nikon zoom lenses, yet it still features a bright constant f/2.8 aperture, making it a great, accessible option for everyday content creation.

Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Lens Review

Cover image @180mm. Camera settings: 1/320 sec. f/2.8. ISO 560

Our Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 lens review delves into its handling, assesses image quality, and compares it to similar options in the Nikon Z mount lens lineup, in order to help you determine if it's the right choice for your photography needs.

So let’s dive right in and see what this lens is all about, starting off with its price.

How much does the Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Lens cost?

The Nikon Z 70-180mm f2.8 Lens price is £1,299.00, which is excellent value considering the full-frame zoom range, which this model covers. For comparison, the professional Z 70-200mm F/2.8 S Lens costs £2,499.00, which is significantly higher for a similar zoom range, albeit one of Nikon’s holy trinity lenses.

Sample image wild garlic captured with Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Lens

Sample image wild garlic @180mm. Camera settings: 1/125 sec. f/2.8. ISO 180

When was the Nikon Z 70-180mm f2.8 released?

The Nikkor Z 70-180mm f/2.8 was released in June 2023, making it a newer Nikon zoom lens, which joins the Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 from 2021. The wide to standard zoom complements the longer telephoto perfectly, covering wide to telephoto with a constant aperture, and two modestly priced lenses.

Spring blossoms captured with versatile zoom lens for Nikon Z

Sample image blossom @150mm. Camera settings: 1/125 sec. f/2.8. ISO 125

Sample images

Shooting with the Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 lens over two weeks in April allowed Nick Dautlich to thoroughly test its weatherproof design under rain, hail, sunshine, and fog, often all in a single day! The sample images captured are edited RAW files, testing the flexibility of Nikon Z8 files.

I was inspired with Wildlife Day – a recent Park Cameras event, and tried to capture as much spring nature as possible within the mid 70-180mm focal range. The RAW files were very easy to work with, showing excellent dynamic range, with sharp details and accurate colours, once tweaked in Lightroom.

Sample image of a butterfly cpatured with the Nikon Z 70-180mm lens

Sample butterfly @105mm. Camera settings: 1/500 sec. f/2.8. ISO 400

Nikon Z 70-180mm f2.8 key features

One of the biggest draws of this particular Nikon Z lens is the wide f/2.8 aperture, which remains constant throughout the versatile 70-180mm zoom range. This is complemented by a series of features, designed for beginner and enthusiast-level photographers to enjoy.

Key features include:

  • Designed for full-frame (FX) mirrorless Z cameras, but works on DX bodies too
  • Constant f/2.8 maximum aperture for control over depth of field and low light handholding
  • Compact, lightweight, and portable design at just 795g
  • Excellent for close-up photography with mimic focus distance of 0.27m at 70 mm, 0.85 m at 180 mm
  • Capture frame-filling tele-macro compositions with a 0.48x maximum reproduction ratio
  • Achieve true macro shots (0.96x) when using the Nikon Z 2.0x Teleconverter (not tested)
  • Fast, quiet and accurate AF with a stepping motor (STM)
  • Compact 67mm filter thread
  • Lens construction includes ED, Super ED and Aspherical glass
  • Weather sealed design

Another butterfly image as a sample

Sample butterfly II @125mm. Camera settings: 1/500 sec. f/2.8. ISO 400

What are the main benefits of this Nikon zoom lens?

Considering its bright f/2.8 aperture, versatile zoom range and accessible price, the Z 70-180mm f/2.8 is arguably the best zoom lens for Nikon Z cameras. Its fast and accurate focusing during tests, enhanced by the Z8’s excellent subject recognition, underscores its performance, and made an enjoyable experience.

Excellent close-up lens for mirrorless camera users

Sample wildflower @101mm. Camera settings: 1/1000 sec. f/2.8. ISO 320

What subjects is a 70-180mm zoom range for?

With a lightweight design and short telephoto to telephoto zoom range, this lens for Nikon creators is an excellent general purpose choice. You can bring it anywhere, and although the optics aren’t range-topping S-Line, it captures beautiful bokeh, excellent subject separation and proved to be extremely versatile.

Some of the most popular subjects covered by this focus range include:

  • Portraits and lifestyle
  • Environmental wildlife and birds
  • Sports photography
  • Weddings and events
  • Fashion
  • Street photography
  • Travel and landscape photography
  • Documentary
  • Close-ups
  • Everyday general-purpose

Chieckn faceoff sample image Nikon Z 70-180mm f2.8

Sample image chickens @ 115mm. Camera settings: 1/1000 sec. f/2.8. ISO 720

How is build quality and handling?

This lens is excellent for field use, boasting a compact design at just 83.5mm x 151mm, with a barrel that extends when zooming for easy transport. It lacks VR, so using a camera with built-in stabilisation like the Z8 with its 5.5 stops, helps maintain sharpness when handholding.

The lens is constructed mainly from plastic and features very few controls, with only a zoom lock switch on the barrel. This design choice by Nikon keeps the lens lightweight while retaining a decent quality feel. However, if you prefer customisable settings, control buttons and rings on your lens, you might want to consider the Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S instead.

Personally I’d rather have a bright and sharp lens at around half the weight and price, and thankfully Nikon caters to both choices.

Bokeh test showing excellent rounded bokeh balls ans smooth falloff

Testing the 9-bladed bokeh, which I found to be really nicely rounded with excellent rendition

Is Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Lens image quality any good?

Despite the modest price the Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 lens achieves excellent image quality. Photos show high levels of sharpness, good contrast and well controlled aberrations. There is minimal colour fringing, even when shooting high contrast scenes, and the lens handled a variety of genres with ease.

The optical formula is responsible for these excellent results, and Nikon utilises 19 elements in 14 groups (including 5 ED elements, 1 super-ED element, 3 aspherical elements) for the design. It also boasts a 9-blade rounded diaphragm opening, which renders lovely round bokeh as highlighted by the bokeh test shot here.

Seascape captured with the versatile zoom lens for Nikon

Sample landscape image @ 180mm. Camera settings: 1/320 sec. f/6. ISO 125

Best lens Accessories

With a 67mm filter thread you can add any type of camera lens filter needed to the Z 70-180mm f/2.8 lens. There are numerous options including circular polarisers, UV filters and ND filters for long exposures or video recording.

It’s recommended to keep your camera lens clean to maintain image quality, which you can do through a combination of lens blower and micro fibre cleaning cloths.

Dogfishin sea sample image

Sample image dogfish in sea @105mm. Camera settings: 1/320 sec. f/4. ISO 100


Nikon has distinguished this zoom lens from the pricier 70-200mm model by omitting features like VR, controls and special lens coatings, such as Arneo or Fluorine. This strategy makes the lens more accessible and affordable, and it has proven to be very successful from an image quality standpoint.

There will be users who need the benefits which a pro-level lens affords, however for many photographers and videographers this Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Lens is all but perfect. It is compact and lightweight, benefits from fast and quiet AF, and captures beautiful image quality with razor sharp details. The zoom range is extremely versatile, especially when considering its close-up capabilities – and it costs significantly less than many alternatives, making this a real winner.

If this sounds like the perfect zoom lens why not head over to the Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Lens to reserve yours, or explore our range of used Nikon lenses to see if there’s second-hand inventory available.

Close-up rock details

Sample rock textures @70mm. Camera settings: 1/500 sec. f/4. ISO 100

Whichever you choose, head out this season to explore its creative potential, and share your images on Park Cameras social channels, we’d love to see what you get up to.

Share this post:


By Nick Dautlich on 25/04/2024

Trade in your old equipment

Fast and easy trade in service ensures your old gear is collected efficiently and you are paid quickly! It's very simple to trade in your unwanted photography gear. Just head over to our dedicated Sell or Part Exchange page, fill out the details, and we'll get back to you with an offer for your old gear. Take the cash, or put it towards the cost of your new gear. It's up to you! Find out more