Nikon continues to expand its full-frame Z series lineup announcing two new FX format lenses. The NIKKOR Z 20mm F1.8 S and the NIKKOR Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 VR are both viable options for video or photography.
The NIKKOR Z 20mm F1.8 S is part of the S-line which is a benchmark grade for Nikon's optical performance. Specifically, the S-line has been designed to be a step above other non-S-line NIKKOR lenses in resolution and rendering performance. Not only do S-line lenses have better end to end sharpness when shooting wide open but focus breathing and autofocus is improved.
It joins the 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 85mm F1.8 S-line primes as well as the 58mm F0.95 Noct. Optically, it’s made of 14 elements in 11 groups, including three ED and three aspherical elements. It features a nine-blade aperture for a more rounded bokeh. It also receives an anti-reflective Nano Crystal Coat to eliminate internal lens element reflections.
The 20mm is a fast wide angle lens for video shooters that features a stepping motor for fast and quiet autofocus. Another standout on the Z mount lens is its customizable control ring thanks to a focus-by-wire system. It means a Nikon camera menu where you can change the ring to adjust focus or exposure or you can select it to do nothing at all. This functionally is similarly found on the Canon RF lenses.
Between primes and zooms, there are currently 10 S-line lenses available for Nikon’s Z mount cameras with more in development.
A Steady Zoom
While not part of the S-line, the Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 VR is a full-frame FX format lens for Z mount cameras. It’s designed with 19 elements in 15 groups including two ED glass, 1 aspherical ED glass, and 2 aspherical elements. Instead of a Nano Crystal Coat, the lens elements have a fluorine-coat and Nikon’s new ARENO coating to reduce ghosting and flare caused by light entering the lens vertically
The lens is an 8.3x zoom with autofocus which has smooth and silent subject tracking. It has up to 5-stops of built-in optical vibration reduction, hence the VR in its name. It works directly with the IBIS on the Nikon Z cameras for smoother video. Focus breathing on the lens has been reduced to a minimum as well. Like the S-line lenses, it features a customizable, clickless control ring. It also accepts 67mm filters for placing neutral density or polarizing filters.
What Nikon has done with the Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 VR is combine two S-line zooms into one. The Z 24-70mm F4 S and Z 70-200mm F2.8 VR S give you the full zoom range in one compact lens. While it's slightly slower than F2.8, the advantage of having a smaller footprint while traveling might be worth considering.
Pricing & Availability
The NIKKOR Z 20mm F1.8 S will be available this March with a suggested price of $1,049.95. The NIKKOR Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 VR will be available a month later in April with a suggested price of $899.95.