There’s no denying that 2022 was a light year for Nikon lens releases, with only three new lenses coming to fruition. But the three optics Nikon did release are exciting, bring a lot of overall value to the Z system, and hopefully foreshadow some pretty big things to come for the system. Nikon played catch-up in the early part of the year, working to keep up with demand after the Z9 release, in late 2021. The second half of the year, however, saw Nikon cater to the versatility of its flagship with a pair of super-telephoto releases, along with a new sleek ultra-wide zoom that highlights the compact and lightweight potential of the Z system.
NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S
Nikon’s first lens of the year, announced just about halfway through the year, straddles the two themes of 2022: a super-telephoto that is lightweight and compact. The NIKKOR Z 400m f/4.5 VR S is the type of lens for which many photographers have been pining. It gives the full super-tele reach in a more nimble and accessible form factor. Compared to the Z 400mm f/2.8, this lens is 3.8 lb lighter and 6" shorter in length—it’s approximately the size of a 70-200mm f/2.8, which is a very handholdable lens compared to most 400mm options. Trading in a couple of stops of light for a significantly smaller and lighter package is a pretty enticing deal for hobbyists, amateurs, and even some professionals looking for a portable option to photograph birds, wildlife, and sports subjects.
Nikon NIKKOR Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S Lens Customer Review By David Eliud
"Love it, I had it less than a week and already one of my favorites, really hand-holdable and I may say, sharper than the 70-200mm Z wide open. I need to do more tests but it is SHARP, and the focus with the Z9 it’s so great… I really like it a lot and since the 2.8 version its unavailable, this is a GREAT choice, at least for day use since its f/4.5."
NIKKOR Z 17-28mm f/2.8
Released in the fall, the NIKKOR Z 17-28mm f/2.8 is the second lens in its line of smaller, sleeker f/2.8 zooms that challenge the notion that bright zooms need to be big. A perfect partner to last year’s NIKKOR Z 28-75mm f/2.8, this ultra-wide zoom adds a broader range while maintaining a similarly compact design and fast f/2.8 maximum aperture. Outside of the partnership with the 28-75mm, Nikon has positioned this lens as a great option for creators; the versatile wide-angle focal lengths are great for selfies and other day-in-the-life content, and the lens’s size makes it suitable for both FX and DX cameras. Additionally, it uses a stepping motor for quiet focusing performance, has a programmable Control Ring, and its internal zoom and internal focus design make it simple to use on gimbals and rigs.
NIKKOR Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S
Nikon’s final lens of the year is arguably the most impressive Z-mount lens to date: the NIKKOR Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S. Very similar to the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S, this lens adds a bit more length to make it more suited to birding and even more distant sports and wildlife subjects. Like the Z 400mm f/2.8, this super-tele isn’t content with just being a 600mm prime—it also incorporates a 1.4x teleconverter to permit near-instant switching to an effective 840mm f/5.6 position without needing to unmount the lens. It has all the Nikon lens tech you’d expect to find in something of this class, like Nikon’s Silky Swift VCM AF system, 5.5-stop-effective VR when used via Synchro VR, and a bevy of specialized elements to combat various aberration types. A serious lens for serious photographers, it’s the type of optic you’re bound to see at the largest sporting events in the world or in the most far-off and remote corners, photographing rare and exotic wildlife specimens.
Even though Nikon only released three lenses this year, each felt like an important release. The 400mm f/4.5 sits as an every-person’s super-telephoto while the 17-28mm f/2.8 is a versatile ultra-wide that’s accessible and portable. And then, with the 600mm f/4, Nikon is making it clear that the Z system can be taken seriously for professional photographers who are looking for a seamless transition (along with new benefits) from DSLRs. It will be interesting to see how Nikon continues to develop its mirrorless system, especially with such a well-rounded telephoto portfolio. It begs the question, what’s next in line for Nikon Z?
What are your thoughts on Nikon’s 2022 lens releases? Which lens was your favorite? And what are you hoping to see next year for the Z system? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments section, below.
Where are all the third party Z lenses? The options are still disappointing even after 4 years. What's going on?
This article is focusing just on Nikon's own releases from 2022, but it seems like things are just beginning to open up for third party options: check out the new Sigma 16, 30, and 56mm DC DN lenses for Nikon Z along with the handful of other options from Tamron, Viltrox, etc. I'd expect to see more options from these brands over the next year or two now, and Nikon is continuously adding to their own system, too. Which lenses/focal lengths are you hoping to see for the Z system?
Boa tarde. Porque a B&H não envia mais os catalogos para compra, desde o início da pandemia? Eram minha referência para minha mim e minha familia, antes de ir as compras de férias.
Z len only?
Yes, it seems like Nikon sees Z as their future and the F mount as the past now. I think it will be pretty unlikely to see any new F mount lenses going forward as they transition to adding both professional-grade and entry-level lenses for the Z system; it's looking like they expect all levels of shooters to move over to mirrorless at some point and are building out the lens lineup to accommodate that.