For Nikon’s first foray into the full-frame digital mirrorless world, its new Z-series cameras have become worthy rivals to Sony’s A7 and A9 cams, sometimes even beating Sony at its own game when it comes capturing high-quality video.
But one of the biggest gripes about Nikon’s Z cameras at launch was a somewhat lackluster selection of native Z-mount lenses. Currently, Nikon Z camera owners are limited to two 35mm and 50mm prime lenses at f/1.8, along with a 24-70mm zoom lens at f/4.
In a vacuum, those might seem fine, but when compared to the slightly faster glass available for Canon’s new EOS R full-frame mirrorless camera like the RF 28-70mm f/2 zoom lens and the 50mm f/1.2 prime lens, it’s clear Nikon has some work to do. And while it’s true Z owners can use Nikon’s FTZ mount adapter to equip older f-mount glass, that’s not exactly an ideal solution for people looking to invest in an all-new system.
So at CES 2019, Nikon is introducing a new $1,300 ultra-wide Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 zoom lens that the company says is the world’s first 14mm full-frame lens that can accept attachable filters. Intended for landscape, architecture, and travel photographers, the new 14-30mm is about 30 percent shorter and lighter than the current 16-35mm f/4 f-mount lens, and more than 50 percent lighter than the more expensive 14-24mm f/2.8 Nikkor lens, though the new Z-series lens doesn’t quite match the latter’s f/2.8 max aperture.
As you’d expect from a new Z-series lens, the 14-30mm is compatible with Nikon’s 5-axis in camera vibration reduction, and features a fluorine coating to help protect it from dust, grease, and moisture. And when it comes to filters, Nikon says the lens’ essentially flat front element is the key to allowing the use of typical 82mm screw-on filters without the need for any additional attachments. However, with an aperture of f/4, it seems like there will still be a number of photographers out there who wish the new 14-30mm was just a little bit faster.
Meanwhile, for people who may have been going back and forth about jumping into Nikon’s new full-frame camera system, Nikon has teamed up with a bunch big name accessory makers to create what it’s calling the Z6 Filmmaker’s kit, which bundles a new Z6 camera with add-ons including a 24-70mm lens, FTZ mount adapter, Atomos Ninja 5 external monitor, Rode Video Mic Pro+, Moza Air 2 3-axis gimbal, an extra battery, 12-month sub for Vimeo Pro, and an assortment of instructional tutorials. That’s basically everything you need to turn yourself into a vlogger overnight, but with a total price tag of $4,000, you better be really committed to your video making dreams.
All told, the new wide-angle zoom lens and camera kit should be welcome additions to the Z-series ecosystem, but sadly they don’t do much to address the concerns of anyone hoping for faster native Z-mount glass. The new Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 lens will be available later this spring, while the new Z6 Filmmaker’s kit is set to go on sale later before the end of the month.