Best Z Mount Lenses for Nikon in 2023

The Nikon Z mirrorless system is now firmly established with a wide choice of optics, so here’s our pick of the best Nikon Z mount lenses on sale. From wide-angle primes to telephoto zooms, we’ve got the lenses here for any Nikon mirrorless user to fill up their kit bags with – no matter their budget.

We’ve been strict with our inclusions for this guide – only lenses that have been reviewed by our technical team, and received either a top score of 5 stars or a close-to-top score of 4.5 star, are eligible to be included. That means we’re only recommending the best of the best here. But that doesn’t mean this is just 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 it onto this list – that’s all there is to it.

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

How to choose the best Z-mount lens

You may be asking yourself what focal length of lens you need. This is going to depend largely on what you want to shoot. If you’re planning on capturing wide vistas in landscape, or large frame-filling architecture shots, a wide-angle (anything less than 28mm or so) is a good bet. If you want a good naturalistic walk-around lens, then a standard lens (35-50mm) is your port of call. For portraiture a short telephoto (about 85mm) is a good bet, 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.

There’s more to it of course, as we will discuss as we get into the lenses, but this is a good way to start thinking about it. You may also want to consider a zoom lens to allow you to have 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 it’s worth noting 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 that 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

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.

    Pros:

  • Small
  • Lightweight
  • Fast maximum aperture
  • Cons:

  • Limited weather sealing
  • Plastic mount
  • No optical image stabilisation
  • 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)

    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.

    Pros:

  • Superb build quality and weather sealing
  • Outstanding sharpness and contrast
  • Cons:

  • On the pricey end
  • No built-in stabilisation
  • Read our Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S review

    Best long standard zoom for Z-Mount: Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S

    Nikkor Z 24-120mm f4 S review image

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

    At a glance:

  • 16 elements in 13 groups
  • Weight: 630g
  • Price: $1,096 / £1,034
  • The Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S offers a good compromise 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.

    Pros:

  • Built just right for travel
  • Good optical performance
  • Affordable price
  • Cons:

  • F/4 can be limiting
  • No built-in stabilisation
  • 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

    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.

    Pros:

  • Outstanding image quality
  • Rubberised zoom/focus rings
  • Lighter than F-mount counterpart
  • Cons:

  • Control ring somewhat over-sensitive
  • Painful asking price
  • 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

    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, so is easily justified.

    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
  • 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.

    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.

    Pros:

  • Pleasingly lightweight for an f/2.8
  • Can close-focus
  • Image quality is excellent
  • Cons:

  • Minimal physical controls
  • Quite a narrow zoom range
  • 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

    At a glance:

  • 25 elements in 20 groups
  • Weight: 1,435g
  • Price: $2,696 / £2,339
  • Up until the arrival of this Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S telephoto zoom the longest focal length in the Nikkor zoom lens range for full-frame Z-series cameras only went up to 200mm. 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.

    Pros:

  • Versatile, useful zoom range
  • Teleconverter compatibility
  • Excellent sharpness
  • Cons:

    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

    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 offer two Z-mount macro lenses, this one, and the cheaper Nikkor MC 50mm f/2.8, priced at $597 /£611.

    Pros:

  • Exceptionally good sharpness
  • Full weather sealing
  • Big focus ring with manual override
  • Cons:

  • Diffraction at smallest apertures
  • 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

    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.

    Pros:

  • Wide aperture gives beautiful bokeh
  • Close focusing distance
  • Precise, reliable autofocus
  • Cons:

  • Relies on in-camera stabilisation
  • 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

    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 pleasing background blur, and bokeh. Optical quality of the images produced by the lens is impressive. The lens is available for $696 / £719.

    Pros:

  • Well-optimised for portraits
  • Excellent optical quality
  • Solid build
  • Cons:

  • Quite expensive for an f/1.8
  • Physically large
  • 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

    At a glance:

  • 6 elements in 4 groups
  • Weight: 170g
  • Price: $276 / £233
  • Selling for a highly 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. 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
  • 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 that are 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
  • Nikkor Z-series roadmap (updated November 2022)

    Nikon Nikkor Z lens roadmap

    Future Nikkor Z-series lenses on roadmap (as of November 2022):

  • 26mm compact prime
  • 35mm S-Line
  • 85mm S-Line
  • 135mm S-Line
  • 200-600mm
  • 600mm S-Line
  • Find more great buying advice, in our buyers guides section!

    Further reading

    Best Nikon Mirrorless Cameras To Buy in 2023

    Best Full-Frame Mirrorless Cameras in 2023

    Best Nikon F-Mount lenses to buy

    Nikon Z9 review

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