Since 2018, Nikon has been among these brands offering full frame mirrorless cameras along with Canon and Panasonic, joining Sony and Leica. As a matter of fact, we wrote a complete article listing all current Nikon Z full frame cameras. This will help you narrow down your choice if you are considering an upcoming purchase.
But let’s get back to the subject of this article: Nikon Z wide-angle lenses. While the Nikon Z-mount is new, Nikon has already released more than 20 lenses at the time of this writing. In this article, we will describe the best wide-angle lenses for the Nikon Z-mount, both available for a Nikon full frame as well as for APS-C cameras. There are still not many (even more for APS-C), and most of them are quite expensive. But they are supposed to be the most able to fully support the Nikon Z5, Z6/Z6 II, Z7/Z7 II and Z9 cameras (full frame) and the Nikon Z50, Zfc, Z30 (APS-C). Wide-angle lenses are popular for landscape and architectural photography, offering a wide field of view to shoot dramatic scenes, or indoors with a short setback.
Even if wide-angle APS-C lenses are rare, I decided to split the article in two, presenting :
Below is the list of wide-angle and ultra wide-angle lenses available from Nikon. In addition, we wrote a comprehensive page that will be updated regularly, so you can find all the lenses available for this Z-mount.
The table below summarizes what you should remember about each lens.
|Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 S||Amazon|
|Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 S||Amazon|
|Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S||Amazon|
|Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S||Amazon|
|Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8||Amazon|
So here are the Nikon Z wide-angle lenses that I consider the best:
- Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 S
- Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 S
- Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S
- Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S
- Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8
Below are all the comparative characteristics of the discussed Nikon Z wide-angle lenses.
On the DSLR market, Nikon had released not so long ago a 24mm f/1.8 within the G range that was very popular. They decided, at the end of 2019, to release as their first fixed focal length this 24mm f/1.8 in the S range, which is supposed to be Nikon’s top of the line Z-mount.
This step up in range comes with a more complex optical design, hence more weight and dimensions than the DSLR version. Image quality is very good, especially from f/2.8, and some defects are easily corrected, such as vignetting or distortion. However, others like coma and astigmatism impact more strongly the image on this 24mm. It is not very astrophotography oriented, but it’s excellent for landscapes. The AF is relatively fast and quiet.
At more than 1200€, Nikon’s S range has greatly increased the price of f/1.8 lenses, including this 24mm. Without a native Z-mount alternative, it is the best option, but let’s hope we can get other choices soon.
In early 2020, Nikon kept expanding its f/1.8 range with this 20mm f/1.8 S. The DSLR version was, like the 24mm, of less high-end design. So we have again a bigger and heavier lens with this mirrorless version.
The image quality is very good from full aperture and improves further from f/2.8. Again, coma remains a rather visible problem – so the lens is not particularly suitable for astrophotography, but is excellent for landscapes or architecture. The flare resistance is described as very good, the AF fast and quiet.
At 1300€, this is again a significant price increase compared to the DSLR version, although it is not possible to directly compare these versions, as the f/1.8 DSLR range is not high-end. This 20mm remains the best native option for now.
In the middle of 2020, Nikon announced the release of the mirrorless version of its famous 14-24mm f/2.8. The DSLR version had been so popular that even Canon users were jealous about it. This new version is similar to its previous one, but with a lower weight (the DSLR version weighed almost 1Kg!).
The lens is excellent from full aperture, although there is a slight drop at the ends, but there is virtually nothing to complain about. The design is very high-end with an LCD display showing some information and a bunch of customization possibilities. The AF is very fast and quiet.
For 2800€, you get the best of what Nikon offers. The price seems high, but compared to Canon’s 15-35mm f/2.8 L or Sony’s 12-24mm f/2.8 GM, it’s not a surprise. Obviously not for all budgets, but definitely the best Nikon can offer in this category. This is also the lens (with the f/4 version mentioned below) offering the widest angle of view.
At the beginning of 2019, Nikon released this rather atypical 14-30mm f/4, as the brand decided to change the usual 16-35mm f/4 zoom range slightly. The lens’ weight and its ability to accept screw-in filters, despite the minimum focal length at 14mm, is quite remarkable.
The image quality is obviously less impressive than the 14-24mm f/2.8 S but still very high, even if it decreases as you zoom in towards the long focal lengths. The lens is, once again, not specifically designed for Astrophotography, but is suitable for everything else, with very small weight and dimensions that are a real asset in the field.
For just over 1500€, it’s not what you’d call affordable but then again, compared to Canon’s 14-35mm f/4 L or Sony’s recent 16-35mm f/4 G, it’s not unusual. A great compact and lightweight option considering the focal range.
At the end of 2021, Nikon announced a super light and compact 28mm f/2.8. First released in a “vintage” version at the same time as the Nikon Zfc (APS-C body partly using the design of an old Nikon film camera), it was then released a little later in a modern version, increasing its diameter of 1cm and its weight of 5g.
As a non-high-end lens and given the optical design, we could assume that the image quality would be behind the S series lenses. And not surprisingly, it is the case, since the homogeneity is quite average, the edges being far from the center (which can reach a high level). The design is also more “low-end”: no all-weather construction and more plastic materials. The AF is very fast and quiet. These characteristics lead to a more street-oriented lens, where its weight and size will be very appreciated.
For 300€ (340€ for the “vintage” version), you get a useful and affordable lens, although it will not be as useful for landscape as for reportage.
Here are the comparative characteristics of each lens mentioned above.
|Lens||Focal length||Max. aperture||Filter||D/L||Weight||Min. focus distance||All-weather construction||Stab.||Best Price|
|Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 S||24mm||f/1.8||72mm||78 x 96.5mm||450g||25cm||YES||NO||Amazon|
|Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 S||20mm||f/1.8||77mm||84.5 x 108.5mm||505g||20cm||NO||NO||Amazon|
|Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S||14-24mm||f/2.8||112mm||88.5 x 124.5mm||650g||28cm||YES||NO||Amazon|
|Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S||14-30mm||f/4||82mm||89 x 85mm||485g||28cm||YES||NO||Amazon|
|Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8||28mm||f/2.8||52mm||70 x 43mm||155g||19cm||YES||YES||Amazon|
Currently, the Z-mount is too new and there are few native alternatives, especially if you are looking for a zoom or want to take advantage of autofocus.
The only alternative with autofocus that I know of is the Viltrox AF 24mm f/1.8 Z which costs around 450€. Viltrox lenses generally have significant chromatic aberrations and are sensitive to flare. So you shouldn’t expect to match the quality of Nikon’s 24mm f/1.8 S, but for almost a third of the price, the Viltrox offers decent performance.
Most of the other third-party brands offering lenses for the Z-mount are only manual focus lenses. To only mention what we are interested in, here is a summary table of the lenses I found:
|Lens||Focal length||Max. aperture||Filter||Best Price|
|Samyang MF 14mm f/2.8 Nikon Z||14mm||f/2.8||Non||Amazon|
|Laowa 9mm f/5.6 FF RL Z||9mm||f/5.6||Non||Amazon|
|Laowa 11mm f/4.5 FF RL Z||11mm||f/4.5||62mm||Amazon|
|Laowa 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 Z||10-18mm||f/4.5-5.6||37mm||Amazon|
|Laowa 12mm f/2.8 Zero-D Z||12mm||f/2.8||95mm||Amazon|
|Laowa 14mm f/4 FF RL Zero-D Z||14mm||f/4||52mm||Amazon|
|Laowa 15mm f/2 RL Zero-D Z||15mm||f/2||72mm||Amazon|
|Viltrox 20mm f/1.8 ASPH Z||20mm||f/1.8||82mm||Amazon|
|KIPON Elegant 24mm f/2.4 Z||24mm||f/2.4||49mm||Amazon|
As we can see, there are very few lenses available at the moment, and most of them offer rather average performances. Let’s wait for Sigma, Tamron or Samyang to produce some lenses for this mount one day !
Things are simpler here since Nikon does not yet offer a wide-angle lens for Z-mount APS-C cameras. A Nikon Z DX 12-28mm lens appeared on Nikon’s recent roadmap but has not been announced yet. So it’s better to wait. We can expect it soon, but for now, if you have a Nikon APS-C camera, you’ll have to rely on third-party brands. On this subject, at the time of writing this article, there are few third-party manufacturers offering lenses for Nikon Z APS-C cameras and only Viltrox offers lenses with autofocus.
So I won’t detail the different manual focus lenses offering wide-angle lenses for now. However, here are the details on the only lens that I think is worth considering for now if you have a Nikon Z APS-C camera. You can nevertheless have a look on our dedicated page at all available lenses for Nikon APS-C cameras.
Here is a table summarizing what you should know about this lens. It will be updated as soon as new wide-angle lenses for Nikon APS-C cameras will be available, especially those with autofocus.
|Viltrox AF 13mm f/1.4 Z||Amazon|
Also available for Fujifilm’s X-mount, this Viltrox lens released in summer 2022 is the first wide-angle lens with autofocus for Nikon APS-C cameras. It offers the widest angle of view available today if you ignore manual focus lenses like the 10mm from Laowa or the 10/12mm from Meike. If you are looking for a nice lens for landscape/architecture photography and also very useful indoors with its very large aperture at f/1.4, this Viltrox might be just what you need.
The lens, which offers a classic 67mm filter size, has a very good build quality, all metal (like my Viltrox 56mm f/1.4 E) with a black satin coating. The lens looks very solid and seems a bit large for an APS-C lens with 420g and 9cm length. However, Viltrox has not yet decided to offer an all weather protection on this lens. The lens is not stabilized either, although this is less important for such a wide focal length. Regarding ergonomics, there is a clickable focus ring and a nice focus ring that works very well. There is no AF/MF switch but you will find a micro USB-C port to update the lens through firmware. The autofocus is said to be excellent.
Regarding image quality, it is already very good in the center and sides, but the corners remain behind at full aperture. Closing at f/2.8 will only slightly improve the center of the image but the ends become much better. At f/5.6, the image will be perfectly homogeneous, ideal for landscape for example. About optical defects, there is a real improvement on chromatic aberrations that are low. The bokeh quality is correct although the minimum focusing distance is quite long (22cm) and will not allow to achieve nice background blur. As usual, the resistance to flare is average while vignetting and distortion are overall very well managed.
All things considered, this Viltrox is very good news and a nice lens for those looking for a wide-angle lens for their APS-C Nikon Z-mount camera. The lens will work as well for landscape, indoor (low distortion and large aperture) or Astrophotography. In my opinion, a great achievement that is worth to exist today for a decent price.
That’s it as far as wide-angle lenses for Nikon APS-C are concerned, as I don’t have anything else to talk about. As soon as there are new releases, I will update the article!
For full frame sensors, we can consider lenses below 16mm as ultra-wide angle, and between 16 and 35mm as wide-angle. Obviously, the shorter the focal length, the wider the angle of view. It all depends on your use. For APS-C, you will need to apply the crop factor of x1.5.
As mentioned above, wide-angle lenses are often used for wide shots, especially for landscape photography, architecture, and sometimes indoors with a general overview. Your interest in choosing a large maximum aperture for your lens depends mainly on your use and your practice.
To remind you, in general, having a large maximum aperture will allow you to :
- Shoot faster
- Limit motion blur in low light situations
- Better blur your background (bokeh)
- Reduce your depth of field on a subject.
Very often, as it is my case, we buy this type of lens for applications where we want a sharp set, typically for landscape. However, having a large aperture may allow you to better blur an unsightly foreground or background, although with a wide-angle lens, the blur remains limited due to the short focal length. If you don’t have a tripod and consider indoor photography in low light or very low light, having a lens that opens to f/1.8 will allow you to shoot twice as fast than if you had a lens opening to f/2.8. However, for still subjects, you might as well go for a stabilized lens that will save several stops. In the end, remember that a lens with a larger aperture will cost more, be heavier and cumbersome.
Stabilization is generally less important on short focal lengths. However, if you shoot very often in low light situations or indoors, and if you don’t have a tripod, stabilization can really help you by allowing you to shoot at very low shutter speeds.
This paragraph is progressively losing its utility regarding mirrorless lenses. Indeed, with the reduction of flange focal distance, all mirrorless lenses offer the possibility to use screw-in filters. The perfect example is the Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S which allows the use of a screw-in filter even at 14mm. However, you should know that some other lenses from other brands do not allow the use of classic screw-in filters (because of a curved front element, for example) and require heavier and more expensive systems.
Although the first lenses released by Nikon in Z-mount are of good or excellent quality, with a very good build quality, their prices are very high and the second hand market is almost non-existent.
However, the advantage is that you don’t have to hesitate for a long time. The disadvantage… is that you don’t have a lot of choices so you’ll have to limit yourself to Nikon native lenses to take full advantage of the Z-mount. At least that’s the current situation as I write this article. Let’s hope that third-party brands will provide lenses for this Z-mount soon. I also just published a complete page on the best current Nikon Z telephoto lenses. The choice is limited but interesting.
I hope this article will help you make your choice! Feel free to share in the comments if you have any suggestions on other wide-angle Z-mount lenses. If you want to shoot landscapes/architecture, you should find something you like in this list. In the meantime, we’ve summarized all of the best Nikon Z lenses out there for you in a comprehensive article! More articles are coming on the Nikon Z-mount on the best telephoto lenses, standard and others!
Talk to you soon,