Best Nikon Z lenses 2024: the finest glass for your Nikon Z-series camera

Best Nikon Z lenses buying guide, featuring the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S
(Image credit: Future)

There’s never been a better time to buy a Nikon Z lens: the catalog of glass for Nikon’s mirrorless camera family is bigger than ever. Whether you want a nifty fifty, a portrait prime or a travel zoom, there’s now a Nikon Z lens for pretty much every shooting scenario.

Of course, no single Nikon Z lens can cover every situation. It matters what you plan to shoot, as well as how much you’re willing to spend. That’s why our guide covers a full spectrum of Nikon Z lenses. We’ve spent hours reviewing each one and distilled our feedback here to help you choose.

We’ve been thoroughly impressed, not only with Nikon’s up-market S-line lenses for Z-series cameras, but also by the image quality and all-round performance of its more budget-friendly glass. Whether you have a full-frame or crop-sensor Nikon mirrorless camera, you’ll find examples of both below.

Top 3 picks

The summary below will give you an instant overview of the best Nikon Z lenses you can buy in 2024. When you find one that fits your needs and budget, use the links beneath each entry to read our in-depth review.

Best by use-case

Written by
Tim Coleman
Written by
Timothy Coleman

Tim is TechRadar's Cameras Editor. He has more than 15 years’ experience as a freelance photographer and technology journalist. Tim has shot with equipment from a number of camera manufacturers, including Nikon. He’s tested lenses of all shapes and sizes, and has a deep technical understanding of what makes a good Nikon Z lens. Tim notes, “The larger-diameter flange on Z-mount cameras and its closer proximity to the image sensor means there’s more freedom in lens design. One resulting improvement is superior sharpness across the whole image frame, compared with anything we’ve seen from Nikon’s F-mount lenses.”

The best Nikon Z lenses for 2024

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Below you'll find full write-ups for each of the best Nikon Z lenses in our list. We've tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The best standard zoom Nikon Z lens

The best standard zoom for full-frame Nikon Z cameras

Specifications

Type: Zoom
Sensor size: Full-frame
Focal length: 24-70mm
Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Image stabilizer: No
Weather seals: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.38m
Filter size: 82mm
Dimensions: 89x126mm
Weight: 805g

Reasons to buy

+
Advanced handling characteristics
+
Amazing all-round performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Typically large filter thread
-
A bit on the weighty side
Buy it if:

You want a versatile zoom: Whether you're shooting stills or video, this lens shoots sharp and focuses fast over a useful focal range.

✅ You value how a lens handles: A third control ring, OLED display and function button make this a great lens to shoot with.

Don't buy it if:

You want the lightest possible lens: It's hardly a heavyweight, but at 805g there are lighter zoom lenses out there.

❌  You need image stabilization: There's no Vibration Reduction, which could be an issue if you're camera doesn't have IBIS.

Competition is fierce among Nikon's standard zoom lenses. The Z 24-70mm F/4 S is a superb lens that delivers excellent image quality from a compact, lightweight, retractable construction. The newer Z 24-50mm F/4-6.3 is even smaller but is relatively lacking in zoom range and has a narrower aperture at the long end. For the ultimate in image quality and handling, though, there’s no beating this f/2.8 zoom.

Like the Nikon Z 14-24mm F/2.8 S, it boasts the same fast and constant aperture rating, and the same layout of multi-function OLED display, tertiary customizable control ring and customizable Lens Function button. Pro-grade build quality and handling characteristics are therefore identical, making you feel right at home when swapping between the two. From our tests, autofocus is super-fast, manual focus works with smooth precision, and the third control ring is brilliant for stepless aperture control when shooting movies. Image quality is absolutely fabulous, too. There’s no denying it’s pricey, but it’s also a real gem.

Read more: Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S review 

The best superzoom Nikon Z lens

The best superzoom lens for Nikon Z-series cameras

Specifications

Type: Zoom
Sensor size: Full-frame
Focal length: 28-400mm
Maximum aperture: f/4-8
Image stabilizer: Yes
Weather seals: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.2m
Filter size: 77mm
Dimensions: 85x142mm
Weight: 725g

Reasons to buy

+
Useful optical zoom range
+
Great, intuitive handling

Reasons to avoid

-
Not as sharp as a prime lens
-
F/4 isn't the best for low light
Buy it if:

✅ You want a do-it-all lens: With a range of 28-400mm, you can cover a wide variety of scenes without switching glass.

✅ You want a lightweight zoom: Despite its impressive range, this zoom hits the scales at a travel-friendly 725g.

Don't buy it if:

You like to shoot specific subjects: If you don't need so much versatility, you'll get sharper results from prime lens.

❌  You shoot a lot in low light: With a maximum aperture of f/4, this lens is better suited to daylight conditions.

A multi-purpose zoom lens with a versatile 14.2x optical zoom range, the Nikkor Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR is as useful for shooting faraway subjects as it is for pin-sharp portraits with attractive bokeh. Thanks to a minimum focus distance of 0.2m at its widest setting, it can also capture reasonable close-ups. In our review, we noted that it’s a relatively lightweight lens which is nice to handle, complemented by a control ring that can be customized.

As is almost always the case, you’ll get sharper stills from a dedicated prime lens, but our tests found that image quality isn’t lacking. Paired with the full-frame Nikon Zf, the 28-400mm f/4-8 VR captured huge amounts of detail, with edge-to-edge sharpness. It also benefits from effective Vibration Reduction. A maximum aperture of f/4 isn’t perfect for low light, but this is otherwise as close as you can get to the ultimate all-rounder.

Read more: Nikon Z 28-400mm f/4-8 VR review

The best everyday Nikon Z lens

The best Nikon Z prime lens for everyday shooting

Specifications

Type: Prime
Sensor size: Full-frame
Focal length: 40mm
Maximum aperture: f/2
Image stabilizer: No
Weather seals: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.29m
Filter size: 52mm
Dimensions: 70x46mm
Weight: 170g

Reasons to buy

+
Fantastic value
+
Impressive performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Mount and thread are plastic
-
Soft at minimum focus distance
Buy it if:

✅ You want an affordable first prime: Cheap, lightweight and fast, this is a great entry-point into Nikon's Z-mount system.

✅ You want a versatile prime lens: An alternative to the nifty fifty, the 40mm focal length is fantastic for everyday shooting.

Don't buy it if:

You need edge-to-edge sharpness: Even at its sweet-spot of f/8, there's a hint of softness in the corners.

❌  You want to shoot up close: Its minimum focusing distance is relatively close, but it's not the sharpest for macro photography.

A wider take on the standard nifty fifty, this 40mm f/2 lens is a fantastic value first prime lens for full-frame Nikon Z-series mirrorless cameras. Although it has a plastic mount and thread, we found in our review that it’s still a well-built and robust barrel, complete with splash-resistance. It’s also extremely light, which makes for a featherweight combo when paired with something like the Nikon Z6 – a camera it complements well with its minimalist, switch-free design.

We noted in our review the “classic” character of the Z 40mm f/2, exhibiting rich colors in the right circumstances. It’s definitely sharpest at its center, with the sweet spot lying between f/5 and f/8. There is some softness at the extreme corners and when focusing close, as well as coma that’s noticeable during night photography. In reality, though, these are minor issues, and the 40mm is a quick, versatile lens that represents excellent value for the price.

Read more: Nikon Z 40mm f/2 review

The best wide-angle zoom Nikon Z lens

Best Nikon Z lenses

(Image credit: Nikon / Laowa)

4. Nikon Z 14-24mm F/2.8 S

The best wide-angle zoom lens for Nikon Z-series cameras

Specifications

Type: Zoom
Sensor size: Full-frame
Focal length: 14-24mm
Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Image stabilizer: No
Weather seals: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.28m
Filter size: 112mm
Dimensions: 89x125mm
Weight: 650g

Reasons to buy

+
Spectacular maximum viewing angle
+
Includes filter attachment thread

Reasons to avoid

-
Very pricey for this class of lens
-
The cheaper f/4 lens is better value
Buy it if:

✅ You want best-in-class performance: With a constant f/2.8 aperture across its entire focal range, this lens shoots fast and sharp.

✅ You want top-tier handling: Features such as an OLED display and function button mean this is a lovely lens to shoot with.

Don't buy it if:

You want a budget wide-angle zoom: The f/2.8 S doesn't come cheap, making the f/4 alternative better value.

❌  You want smooth portrait bokeh: One if the very few drawbacks is that bokeh in out-of-focus backgrounds could be smoother.

For most people, the Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S is the perfect wide-angle zoom: it's compact, lightweight and delivers superb image quality. So why would anyone spend roughly twice the price on this 14-24mm alternative? Because it makes f/2.8 available throughout the zoom range. Besides that extra f/stop of aperture, it also has extras shared with Nikon's other 'trinity' zooms. Those include a handy customizable Lens Function button, as well as an OLED display that can show aperture, focus distance, depth of field and the exact focal length.

Based on our tests, image quality and all-round performance are spectacular. Unusually for such a ‘fast’ ultra-wide-angle lens, it comes with two hoods, the larger of which enables the fitment of oversized 112mm filters without the need for a specialist filter holder. Ultimately, it’s the best wide-angle zoom for Z-series cameras, even if you can’t beat the Z 14-30mm for value.

The best standard prime Nikon Z lens

Best Nikon Z lenses

(Image credit: Nikon / Laowa)

5. Nikon Z 50mm F/1.8 S

The best standard prime for Nikon Z-series cameras

Specifications

Type: Prime
Sensor size: Full-frame
Focal length: 50mm
Maximum aperture: f/1.8
Image stabilizer: Yes
Weather seals: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.4m
Filter size: 62mm
Dimensions: 76x87mm
Weight: 415g

Reasons to buy

+
High-quality construction
+
Superb image quality

Reasons to avoid

-
Some might prefer an f/1.4 aperture
-
No optical image stabilization
Buy it if:

✅ You want a sharp prime lens: Impressively sharp and distortion-free, this lens produces fantastic quality images.

✅ You appreciate weather sealing: Weather seals mean this is a lens you can rely on even in tricky conditions.

Don't buy it if:

You want the smallest nifty fifty: It's not too weighty at 415g, but this lens is on the large size for a 50mm f/1.8 prime.

❌  You need image stabilization: It's relatively fast, but the lack of Vibration Reduction could matter if your camera lacks IBIS.

The look and feel of Nikon’s f/1.8 prime lenses is consistent across the entire range: they're all well-built and feature weather seals, so handling feels natural when you swap from one to another. That's just as true with this nifty fifty, which gives a natural viewing perspective on any of Nikon’s full-frame Z-series bodies, while also working well as a portrait prime on DX format Nikon Z50. The only drawback with the latter is that the lens doesn’t feature optical stabilization and the Z50 has no sensor-shift stabilization, so camera-shake can be a problem.

The optical design features two aspherical elements and two ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements. In our tests, we found that these team up to deliver superbly sharp images with negligible distortion or colour fringing. Nano Crystal Coat and Super Integrated Coating combine to keep ghosting and flare to a minimum. Some might miss the faster f/1.4 aperture rating of many 50mm primes for DSLRs, but this f/1.8 lens still delivers beautiful bokeh and only costs about a quarter of the price of Nikon’s top-notch Z 50mm f/1.2 S lens, which is also about 2.5 times heavier.

The best mid-range zoom Nikon Z lens

The best mid-range Nikon Z zoom lens

Specifications

Type: Zoom
Sensor size: Full-frame
Focal length: 70-180mm
Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Image stabilizer: No
Weather seals: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.27m
Filter size: 67mm
Dimensions: 86x151mm
Weight: 795g

Reasons to buy

+
Compact and lightweight
+
Constant f/2.8 aperture

Reasons to avoid

-
No Vibration Reduction
-
Limited controls on the lens
Buy it if:

✅ You want a good value telephoto: Offering constant f/2.8 aperture at a reasonable cost, this lens represents great value.

✅ You want a tidy telephoto zoom: Impressively compact and lightweight for an f/2.8 telephoto, this is great choice to travel with.

Don't buy it if:

You need Vibration Reduction: This lens is designed for use with full-frame Nikon mirrorless cameras that have IBIS.

❌  You need greater reach: 70-180mm is useful, but other Nikon Z lenses can get you closer if you need a telephoto range.

Shorter than Nikon’s 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, this 70-180mm zoom offers almost as much versatility for a much more accessible price, without sacrificing that all-important constant f/2.8 aperture. As a result, we think it’s a great choice for enthusiasts who want a relatively compact mid-range zoom that can cover a range of subjects. In our review, we noted that it doesn’t have the same premium feel as its professional cousin, but the smaller size and lower weight make it a comfortable pairing with a camera like the Nikon Z7 II.

Absent are features such as Vibration Reduction or much in the way of direct access controls. The lens also loses edge sharpness when the aperture is wide open, and suffers some vignetting. On the other hand, results are sharp and clear if you stop down to f/5.6, and optical distortion is minimal. Overall, we think the 70-180mm f/2.8 is a cost-effective zoom that performs well in a variety of shooting scenarios.

Read more: Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8

The best telephoto zoom Nikon Z lens

The best telephoto zoom for Nikon Z-series cameras

Specifications

Type: Zoom
Sensor size: Full-frame
Focal length: 100-400mm
Maximum aperture: f/4.5-5.6
Image stabilizer: Yes
Weather seals: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.75m
Filter size: 77mm
Dimensions: 98x222mm
Weight: 1,355g

Reasons to buy

+
Very versatile zoom range
+
Incredibly sharp images

Reasons to avoid

-
Variable maximum aperture
-
Could be more affordable
Buy it if:

✅ You value versatility: Covering an optical range of 4x, this lens lets you easily shift from portraits to action.

✅ You shoot at maximum aperture: At its maximum aperture setting, this lens exhibits excellent sharpness and control.

Don't buy it if:

You shoot a lot in low light: The variable f/4.5-5.6 maximum aperture is decent, but low lighting will be a challenge.

❌  You're on a limited budget: It offers a lot, but there's no escaping that this lens represents a significant investment.

Built primarily for action, this telephoto zoom combines the benefit of a 400mm maximum reach with the versatility of a 4x zoom. What’s more, it does so with precious few compromises. Yes, its variable maximum aperture isn’t the fastest for low-light work, while its price tag might give you pause for thought. But in almost every other respect, this is a remarkably useful and reliable lens.

In our tests, we found images tack-sharp from edge to edge, even when the aperture was thrown out wide. Vignetting control is impressive, too. Autofocus proved fast and almost silent, making the Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 a competent choice for recording video. It also benefits from excellent build quality – including full weather-sealing – and nifty handling, with three smooth control rings and a handy digital display. Add Vibration Reduction to the mix and there’s no doubting how versatile this lens is.

Read more: Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S review

The best Nikon Z lens for bokeh

The best Nikon Z lens for bokeh

Specifications

Type: Prime
Sensor size: Full-frame
Focal length: 135mm
Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Image stabilizer: No
Weather seals: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.82m
Filter size: 82mm
Dimensions: 98x140mm
Weight: 995g

Reasons to buy

+
Produces super smooth bokeh
+
Extremely sharp across the frame

Reasons to avoid

-
Relatively pricey
-
Quite a tight focal length
Buy it if:

✅ You're a portrait specialist: The optical quality of the Plena lens is particularly evident in portrait details.

✅ You want Nikon's best lens: Dreamy bokeh and incredible sharpness make this close to the perfect lens.

Don't buy it if:

You only need shallow depth of field: Its bokeh is stunning, but you can get soft backgrounds for less elsewhere.

❌  You want a lens that can shoot macro: A minimum focus distance of 0.82m mean this isn't a great lens for close-ups.

Not everyone needs perfect bokeh. But if smooth soft-focused backgrounds define your portrait photography, you can’t do better than Nikon’s second signature Z-mount lens. Build quality is as impeccable as you’d expect from a Pro series lens, with a rugged metal chassis that feels minimalist, yet also benefits from a large focus ring, customizable button and rear control ring.

Optically, image quality from the Plane is unrivalled. As well as large, buttery bokeh that’s free of fringing, you get the pinnacle of pin-sharp detail – especially when paired with high-resolution models like the Nikon Z8. If you only need a shallow depth of field, you’ll find better value by opting for a standard portrait lens like the Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S. And if you’re only in it for the focal length, Sigma’s 135mm f/1.8 Art lens is cheaper. A minimum focus distance of 0.82m also limits the Plena’s macro capabilities. But if you’re a portrait specialist, you won’t anything more appealing in Nikon’s Z-mount line.

Read more: Nikon Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena review

The best prime lens for crop-sensor Nikon Z cameras

The best prime lens for DX format Nikon cameras

Specifications

Type: Zoom
Sensor size: APS-C
Focal length: 24-70mm
Maximum aperture: f/2.8
Image stabilizer: No
Weather seals: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.38m
Filter size: 82mm
Dimensions: 89x126mm
Weight: 805g

Reasons to buy

+
Small, lightweight prime lens
+
Extremely sharp for the price

Reasons to avoid

-
Plastic rear mount
-
Less flexible than a zoom
Buy it if:

✅ You want a sharp, simple prime: Small, light and sharp, this is a great lens for capturing detail wherever you go.

✅ You shoot a lot of video: Shallow depth of field and close-focusing make the 24mm f/1.7 a great lens for video.

Don't buy it if:

You want zoom versatility: It's obvious, but this lens is fixed at a relatively wide 24mm that's not useful for distant subjects.

❌  Your camera doesn't have IBIS: This lens doesn't have Nikon's Vibration Reduction system, so it won't help with camera shake.

Nikon took a while to release a dedicated prime lens for its DX format Z-series cameras. This is the first: a compact prime that gives the equivalent field of view as a 36mm lens on a full-frame camera. And what it loses in zoom flexibility, it gains in optical quality: detail is extremely sharp at the very centre of the frame. And while there is some drop-off towards the edges, definition is impressive throughout, especially considering its price and size.

Less is more with the Nikkor Z DX 24mm f/1.7. The barrel itself is basic, with only a manual focus ring to speak of. At 135g and 70x40mm, it’s as small and light as you’d expect, making it a perfect partner to the Nikon Z fc or Nikon Z30. That’s particularly true of the latter, as its shallow f/1.7 depth of field and close-focusing capability mean its a good choice for video. There is vignetting with correction turned off, but given that this is enabled by default, images out of the camera will be virtually perfect.

Read more: Nikon Z DX 24mm f/1.7 review

The best super-telephoto prime Nikon Z lens