Nikon’s first f/1.4 lens for Z-mount is the classic that street photographers have been waiting for, and it’s surprisingly affordable

Nikon Z 35mm f/1.4 lens in action on city streets
(Image credit: Nikon)

Nikon's growing range of Z-mount lenses for its mirrorless cameras – which we rate among the best mirrorless cameras – has a new addition, and it's a true classic for street, reportage and event photography; the Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.4.

As the 43rd Z-mount lens, it's surprising to read that this is the first f/1.4 lens in the range, and the fast aperture prime is also more affordable than expected. 

Retailing for $599 / £649 / AU$1,099 and available from July, the street shooter isn't afforded Nikon's pro 'S' moniker, but it does feature the fast f/1.4 aperture for low-light work and a shallow depth of field that many pro photographers harness to help their subjects stand out.

It's a simple lens with no external buttons; you get a focus ring and a customizable 'clickless' control ring that can be used to adjust one of aperture, ISO, exposure compensation and more.

There's no official dust and drip resistant rating, which is what you'd get if this was a pricier pro lens. However, it is a compact lens, weighing just 14.6 oz / 415g, making it a good fit with Nikon's mid-sized mirrorless cameras, such as the new Nikon Z6 III.

All in all, Nikon has taken a vastly different approach to Canon who also recently launched a 35mm f/1.4 lens. Canon's RF-mount version is a pro 'L' lens that's three times the price of Nikon's new lens, and it's a chunkier hybrid lens packed with controls for video creatives.

Mind you, Nikon stills bills its new 35mm lens as being equipped for today's hybrid shooters: it suppresses focus breathing, while linear focusing enables accurate manual focus pulling. It also features Nikon's multi-focusing system for quick, smooth and steady autofocus, while close focusing is up to 0.89ft / 0.27m.

Nikon Z 35mm f/1.4 lens on white background

(Image credit: Nikon)

Is this the 35mm lens Nikon fans wanted?

There was a time in my professional photography days in East Africa, before becoming TechRadar's Cameras Editor, that I almost solely used a 35mm f/1.4 lens. It's a versatile type of lens especially for reportage photography, telling stories of people and places.

I often utilized the maximum f/1.4 aperture of my classic Sigma 35mm f/1.4 Art lens to help subjects stand out in street photography and on-location portraiture, plus it comes in handy for low-light scenes such as indoor events – scenarios that pros often find themselves in.

Nikon's new Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.4 is not the optically complex and rugged lens that some pros would hope for, for working in extreme outdoor environments. However, I still expect it to be one of the most popular Z-mount lenses available. 

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Timothy Coleman
Cameras editor

Tim is the Cameras editor at TechRadar. He has enjoyed more than 15 years in the photo video industry with most of those in the world of tech journalism. During his time as Deputy Technical Editor with Amateur Photographer, as a freelancer and consequently editor at Tech Radar, Tim has developed a deeply technical knowledge and practical experience with cameras, educating others through news, reviews and features. He’s also worked in video production for Studio 44 with clients including Canon, and volunteers his spare time to consult a non-profit, diverse stories team based in Nairobi. Tim is curious, a keen creative, avid footballer and runner, and moderate flat white drinker who has lived in Kenya and believes we have much to enjoy and learn from each other.