Nikon fills two crucial gaps in its lens lineup for Z series mirrorless cameras

The Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 on a blue background
(Image credit: Nikon)

Nikon has given fans of its Z series mirrorless cameras an end-of-year treat with the announcement of two new lenses – an affordable, versatile 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom, and the development of a new 800mm f/6.3 VR S super-telephoto.

Photographers who've been waiting for a cheaper alternative to Nikon's current Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens will be particularly happy to see the arrival of the 28-75mm f/2.8, which will be available to buy in early 2022 for $1,200 (around £908 / AU$1,685).

A lightweight construction means the 28-75mm f/2.8 is around 30% lighter than its more pro-friendly sibling, weighing in at 565g compared to the 805g heft of the 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens. It's also slightly shorter at 120mm long, and internal focusing means that doesn't extend as you zoom.

That super-versatile 28-75mm focal range makes it ideal for everything from landscapes to wide-angle portraits, while the constant f/2.8 aperture means no trade-offs in light gathering as you reach its longest end. While the lens is also compatible with Nikon's APS-C cameras, the Nikon Z50 and Nikon Z fc, the equivalent focal length for them is a slightly less useful 42-113mm.

That versatility is boosted by the 28-75mm f/2.8's impressive minimum focus distance of 0.19m, making it a handy tool for close-ups, and video-friendly features like minimal focus breathing. The latter is a common issue where a lens' elements slightly zoom in or out when you change focus, which isn't ideal for video shooters – although we'll have to see how well the lens handles that in tests.

One of the benefits of mirrorless cameras is their ability to shoot silently, which is useful for weddings and candid street photography, and the 28-75mm f/2.8 has a stepping motor (STM) to help here, too. The lens is also apparently dust- and drop-resistant, albeit with the caveat that this "isn't guaranteed in all situations". This is more of a hobbyist lens than a professional one, after all.

Talking of professional snappers, Nikon has also announced that it's developing a new Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S. This will be an S-line lens (marking it as high-end glass for pros) and will be the first mirrorless Nikon lens to have a so-called Phase Fresnel (PF) design. 

This PF element, which has also been used by Canon on telephoto lenses like the RF 600mm f/11 IS STM, has ridges cut into its rear-side that help reduce issues like chromatic aberration and ghosting, while keeping it relatively light and compact. Lighthouses use a similar design to focus their lamps.

Unfortunately, that's all Nikon was preparing to share about its Nikkor Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S lens, with no mention yet about its release date or pricing, so we can assume that one's a little further off than the 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom.

Analysis: Late flurry makes it a good year for Nikon 

A roadmap showing Nikon Z lenses in 2021

Head here to see the full Nikon Z lens lineup (Image credit: Nikon)

Earlier this year, there were concerns that Nikon's Z-mount lenses had been delayed and that it might struggle to meet its target of hitting "approximately 30 lenses by the end of the fiscal year 2021". We're not yet at the end of that fiscal year, but the signs are now looking much more promising for those who either own, or have been thinking of buying, a full-frame Nikon mirrorless camera.

The new 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom (and development announcement of the 800mm f/6.3 VR S super-telephoto) fill another two important sports in its lineup, and follow a flurry of announcements in the second half of 2021. These have included the 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S and 24-120mm f/4 S telephotos, a much-needed Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S macro lens, and several prime lenses including the wide-angle Z 28mm f/2.8.

Nikon's more hobbyist-friendly cameras, the Nikon Z50 and Zfc, also received the new Nikkor Z DX 180140mm f/3.5-f/6.3 VR, although there's no doubt Nikon's focus has been on fleshing out its full-frame lenses to compete with the likes of Canon. Today's two new announcements, in particular, feel like direct responses to Canon's similarly speedy rollout of new RF lenses.

Of course, announcing lenses and making them available to buy are two different things, and quite a few of Nikon's Z-mount lenses are marked as 'out of stock' in its official store. But we are now reaching the point where the new mirrorless camera systems from both Nikon and Canon are able to offer lens options for most types of photography and budget. 

Sony is still out in front when it comes to the sheer number of mirrorless lens choices, thanks to its headstart in developing next-gen cameras, but the winners of all this competition are undoubtedly photographers – and it's now a fine time to hop on board the mirrorless train, particularly if you're a DSLR owner who's been waiting for mirrorless lens lineups to mature.

Mark Wilson
Senior news editor

Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at both TechRadar and Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.