With the Nikon Z mirrorless system firmly established with a wide choice of optics, we’ve picked out the best of them. From wide-angle primes to telephoto zooms, users of Nikon mirrorless cameras will find plenty among the following with which to fill up their kit bags – regardless of budget.

We’ve been stringent with our criteria for this guide. Only lenses that have been reviewed by our technical team, and received either a top score of 5 stars or 4.5 stars, are eligible for inclusion. We only recommend the best of the best here. This doesn’t limit us only to the expensive stuff; there’s a lens priced at under $300 / £300 on this list. If we think a lens justifies its price tag, then it makes the list.

We haven’t forgotten about Nikon’s APS-C cameras, including the Nikon Z30, Nikon Z50 and Nikon Z fc. These can take full frame Nikon Z lenses directly, but with standard or ‘kit’ lenses, you’re better off with Nikon’s specially designed Nikkor Z DX lenses. These include the:

Nikon Zfc with 16-50mm DX lens
Nikon Zfc with 16-50mm Z DX lens. Image: Nikon

Nikon is bringing out new lenses frequently as it fills out its Z-mount lens range, including the Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S, Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8 and Nikkor Z 70-180mm f/2.8.

The main lenses included in this guide are a mix of types and of focal lengths, and range from budget to top-end prices. They all have one thing in common though – they’re seriously impressive lumps of glass!

How to choose the best Z-mount lens

You may wonder what focal length of lens you need. This depends largely on what you want to shoot. If planning to capture wide vistas in landscape, or large frame-filling architecture shots, a wide-angle (anything less than 28mm or so) is a good bet. For a good naturalistic walk-around lens, then a standard lens (35-50mm) is your port of call. For portraiture, a short telephoto (about 85mm) will work, as this will flatter facial features and help you get plenty in the frame. And if you’re capturing distant subjects, then a long telephoto of more than 150mm will be essential.

This is a good general approach. Other considerations will arise as we get into the lenses. You may also want to consider a zoom lens to provide you with multiple perspectives in one optic. This is useful, but does tend to have an impact on image quality. Prime lenses, i.e. those with a fixed focal length can’t be beat for delivering ultimate sharpness.

All of Nikon’s full-frame Z-series cameras feature in-body image stabilisation (IBIS), and this helps keep images sharp when using slower shutter speeds. But you’ll still benefit from a lens with built-in Vibration Reduction (VR), as this will also help, particularly with longer telephoto lenses.

If you own an APS-C (DX) camera, then note that these cameras (the Z30, Z fc and the Z50) don’t have IBIS, and will therefore benefit from a VR lens. Also, there aren’t many DX-format Z lenses yet. While you can use a full-frame lens on a DX body, they will be subject to a 1.5x crop factor that increases their effective focal length (for instance, a 50mm lens would provide the equivalent perspective of a 75mm lens)

So, read on for our round-up of the current Best Z-Mount Lenses for Nikon cameras


Best DX-format fast aperture prime lens: Nikkor Z DX 24mm f/1.7

The DX 24mm f/1.7 is Nikon's first dedicated prime for its DX-format Z-mount mirrorless system
The DX 24mm f/1.7 is Nikon’s first dedicated prime for its DX-format Z-mount mirrorless system. Photo credit: Amy Davies

Amateur Photographer verdict

Gives APS-C users an affordable way to shoot at wide apertures and at a classic focal length
Pros
  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • Fast maximum aperture
Cons
  • Limited weather sealing
  • Plastic mount
  • No optical image stabilisation

At a glance:

  • 9 elements in 8 groups
  • Weight: 135g
  • Price: $276 / £289

With its attractive price and fast maximum aperture, this Z DX 24mm prime will appeal to photographers wanting the perfect walkaround lens. It is small and light and meshes wonderfully with cameras such as the Nikon Z30, Zfc and Z50. Coverage-wise, it gives the full-frame focal length equivalent of 36mm so it’s ideal for street, travel and family record photography. An extra dimension is its ability to focus as close as 18cm from the sensor.

In our test it proved a capable optical performer too, especially bearing in mind its tempting price, giving good sharpness at f/1.7 with the best performance coming at f/2.8-4.

Read our Nikkor Z DX 24mm /1.7 review


Best standard zoom lens for Z-Mount: Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S

Nikon Z7 II with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens (MT)
Nikon Z7 II with 24-70mm f/2.8 lens (MT)

Amateur Photographer verdict

Produces outstanding sharpness and contrast, and built to endure the demands of professional use
Pros
  • Superb build quality and weather sealing
  • Outstanding sharpness and contrast
Cons
  • On the pricey end
  • No built-in stabilisation

At a glance:

  • 17 elements in 15 groups
  • Weight: 805g
  • Price: $2,096 / £2,069

The Nikkor Z 24-70mm f2.8 S lens is a premium “standard” zoom lens, giving an f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range, weather sealing, and professional level build quality. Nikon has managed to make a smaller and lighter lens when compared to the F-Mount 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, however, the F-Mount lens features VR, whereas the Z 24-70mm lens relies on in-body image stabilisation. One thing to note, is the price, which could be too expensive for some, but Nikon also offer a clever retracting 24-70mm f/4 lens and a Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8, both of which are half the price.

Read our Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S review


Best long standard zoon for Z-mount: Nikkor Z 24-120mm f4 S

Nikkor Z 24-120mm f4 S review image
Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S. Photo credit: Amy Davies

Amateur Photographer verdict

An ideal all-rounder covering a good focal length range at a more affordable price
Pros
  • Built just right for travel
  • Good optical performance
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • F/4 can be limiting
  • No built-in stabilisation

At a glance:

  • 16 elements in 13 groups
  • Weight: 630g
  • Price: $1,096 / £1,034

The Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S strikes a nice balance between a broad focal length, a fixed aperture, the promise of superior image quality and a reasonably travel-friendly size and weight. At $1,096 / £1,034, it’s just over half what you’d pay for the 24-70mm f/2.8. As part of Nikon’s pro-level S-series you’d expect good performance and the 24-120mm doesn’t disappoint. A great option for travel photography or if you’re looking for a good zoom range and to keep the weight down in your kitbag.

Read our Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S review


Best premium wide-angle Z-mount zoom: Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S

Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S with Z7
Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S with Z7, Photo: Michael Topham / AP

Amateur Photographer verdict

High end zoom with fast aperture, and impressive build quality, but comes at a high asking price
Pros
  • Outstanding image quality
  • Rubberised zoom/focus rings
  • Lighter than F-mount counterpart
Cons
  • Control ring somewhat over-sensitive
  • Painful asking price

At a glance:

  • 16 elements in 11 groups
  • Weight: 650g
  • Price: $2,497 / £2,249

The Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S wide-angle zoom offers an f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range, and gives highly impressive image quality. There’s a customisable control ring, and like other premium Z mount lenses features a built-in display panel. There’s weather sealing, as you’d expect, as well as excellent flare resistance. There’s only one downside to this lens, and that’s the price, at $2,497 / £2,249.

Read our Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S review


Best telephoto zoom for Z-Mount: Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S

Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S
Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S. Photo credit: Michael Topham

Amateur Photographer verdict

Features state-of-the-art optical performance that produces impressively sharp images, beautiful background blur and excellent contrast
Pros
  • Built in Vibration Reduction
  • Gorgeous image quality with excellent aberration control
  • Removable tripod foot
Cons
  • Very expensive
  • Just as heavy as F-mount equivalent

At a glance:

  • 21 elements in 18 groups
  • Weight: 1,360g
  • Price: $2,396 / £2,339

The telephoto zoom lens offers stunning image quality, with fast and quiet autofocus. As a pro lens, you’ll also find that it is weather sealed, keeping it safe in inclement weather conditions. Vibration Reduction (VR) is included and works in combination with IBIS if the camera has it. Being priced at $2,396 / £2,339, quality doesn’t come cheap, but the lens does deliver exceptional optical performance, and is well justified.

Read our Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S review.


Best mid-price Z-mount wide-angle zoom: Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8

Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 Review
The Nikon Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 lens. Photo credit: Angela Nicholson.

Amateur Photographer verdict

A very capable lens, excellent for low light situations, with f/2.8 constant aperture
Pros
  • Pleasingly lightweight for an f/2.8
  • Can close-focus
  • Image quality is excellent
Cons
  • Minimal physical controls
  • Quite a narrow zoom range
  • Relies on in camera stabilisation

At a glance:

  • 13 elements in 11 groups
  • Weight: 450g
  • Price: $996 / £1,079

While this isn’t one of Nikon’s top-flight ‘S’ lenses, it carries a four-figure price tag so that makes it premium in our book. Fortunately, the Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 acquits itself well, covering a useful standard focal range with a constant aperture of f/2.8 that gives the user real versatility in the field. Image quality is excellent across the frame, and while the construction isn’t fully weather sealed, the rubber gasket around the mount helps keep out dust and moisture.

Read our Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8 review


Best long telezoom for Z-Mount: Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S

Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S review image
Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S. Photo credit: Amy Davies

Amateur Photographer verdict

Versatile across multiple subjects. Even though not cheap it offers a good compromise between performance and affordability.
Pros
  • Versatile, useful zoom range
  • Teleconverter compatibility
  • Excellent sharpness
Cons
  • Pricey for a zoom

At a glance:

  • 25 elements in 20 groups
  • Weight: 1,435g
  • Price: $2,696 / £2,339

The Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S telephoto zoom is the second longest focal length lens in the Nikon Z mount line up after the 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR. This versatile zoom can be paired with 1.4x (making up to 560mm) or 2x (making up to 800mm) teleconverters to further boost focal length capabilities for sports and wildlife. It also includes Vibration Reduction, which promises up to 5.5 stops of compensation. Overall it’s a very pleasing performer and earned a GOLD in our review.

Read our Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S review


Best Z-Mount macro lens: Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S

Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S lens review shot
The Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S is a superb macro lens. Photo credit: Angela Nicholson

Amateur Photographer verdict

Delivers impressive sharpness across the frame, and superb depth of field from its widest down to f/32 apertures.
Pros
  • Exceptionally good sharpness
  • Full weather sealing
  • Big focus ring with manual override
Cons
  • Diffraction at smallest apertures

At a glance:

  • 16 elements in 11 groups
  • Weight: 630g
  • Price: $946 / £944

The Nikon Nikkor Z MC 105mm f2.8 VR S is Nikon’s premium macro lens for the Z system, priced at $946 / £944, the lens offers excellent levels of sharpness, weather-sealing, and built-in Vibration Reduction (VR). With an aperture of f/2.8 this lens also makes a good option for portrait photography. Nikon currently offers two Z-mount macro lenses, this one, and the cheaper Nikkor MC 50mm f/2.8, priced at $597 /£611.

Read our Nikon Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S review


Best Z-Mount wide-angle prime: Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8 S

Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8 S review image
Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8 S. Photo credit: Angela Nicholson

Amateur Photographer verdict

Compact, lightweight and bright, with pro level optics. Suitable for a variety of genres.
Pros
  • Wide aperture gives beautiful bokeh
  • Close focusing distance
  • Precise, reliable autofocus
Cons
  • Relies on in-camera stabilisation

At a glance:

  • 12 elements in 10 groups
  • Weight: 450g
  • Price: $997 / £989

Available for around $997 / £989, the Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8 S lens is a compact, and lightweight alternative to the 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens, and is brighter with an f/1.8 aperture, making it great if you are going to be shooting in low-light conditions. The lens is a great choice for landscape, street, and interior photography. There’s a close focusing distance of 25cm, so you can get nice and close to your subject.

Read our Nikon Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8 S review


Best Z-Mount 85mm portrait lens: Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S

Nikon Z 85mm f1.8 S
Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f1.8 S. Image credit: Michael Topham

Amateur Photographer verdict

Works particularly well for portraits, especially when combined with Eye detection AF
Pros
  • Well-optimised for portraits
  • Excellent optical quality
  • Solid build
Cons
  • Quite expensive for an f/1.8
  • Physically large

At a glance:

  • 12 elements in 8 groups
  • Weight: 470g
  • Price: $696 / £719

The Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S offers a weather-sealed body and a great focal length for portraits. With an aperture of f/1.8, the lens gives a pleasing background blur and bokeh. The optical quality of the images is impressive. But the $696 / £719 price tag may set some back from buying this prime.

Read our Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S review


Best affordable Z-Mount standard prime: Nikkor Z 40mm f/2

Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 review image
Nikkor Z 40mm f/2. Photo credit: Andy Westlake

Amateur Photographer verdict

Overall it has decent optics, reasonably bright aperture, portability and responsive AF.
Pros
  • Very affordable and good value
  • Optical quality impresses
  • Slender and lightweight
Cons
  • Sharpness suffers up close
  • Noticeable vignetting at f/2

At a glance:

  • 6 elements in 4 groups
  • Weight: 170g
  • Price: $276 / £230

Selling for an affordable £249, the Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 lens is a mixture of strong optical performance at a keen price. Slotting between the established ‘standard’ 35mm and 50mm prime focal lengths this 40mm weighs just 170g and is just 45.5mm long. The autofocusing on the lens is pretty snappy and is both silent and accurate.

Read our Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 Review


If you’re looking for a different lens, then here is our handy, at-a-glance list of all the Nikon Nikkor Z-Mount lenses currently available:

Z-Mount Prime Lenses

Z-Mount Zoom Lenses

DX (APS-C) Lenses

Teleconverters:

  • Z Teleconverter TC-1.4x
  • Z Teleconverter TC-2.0x

Mount adapter:

  • FTZ II
  • FTZ

As of January 2024 there is only one lens the S-line 35mm remains to be announced from the Nikon roadmap.

Find more great buying advice, in our buyer’s guides section!


Further reading


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