Buying Guides

10 Best Lens for Nikon Z9 (Guide & Reviews 2022)

Rajib Mukherjee Avatar
Rajib Mukherjee
21 October, 2022 • Updated 16 days ago
Share
Share
Best Lens for Nikon Z9
Nikon’s Z9 is the current flagship of the mirrorless segment of Nikon’s camera collection. This professional camera is designed for sports, wildlife, and everything in between – depending on the lens you pair it with.

The camera has a 45.7-MP full-frame Stacked CMOS sensor paired with an EXPEED 7 image processor. This is a fantastic camera for both still shooters and cinematographers. The system comes with a 493-point phase-detection autofocusing system. The 30 fps continuous shooting speed and the 8K video capabilities make the Z9 one of the most powerful camera systems on the market.

Today we’re going to look at the top 10 best lenses you can pair the Nikon Z9 with to elevate your photography game.

Related Post: Best Lenses for the Nikon Z7

QUICK OVERVIEW

Products Features
EDITOR’S PICK
4.9
+470
+470
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 SNikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S
  • Customizable control ring
  • OLED display on the lens barrel
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $3200
  • Customizable control ring
  • OLED display on the lens barrel
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $3200
Check price
at Amazon
TOP PICK
4.8
+150
+150
Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR SNikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S
  • Internal zooming design
  • Fluorine coating
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $2800
  • Internal zooming design
  • Fluorine coating
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $2800
Check price
at Amazon
MOST REVIEWED
4.8
+490
+490
Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S
Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 SNikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S
  • Designed for the Z mount series cameras
  • Stepping motor powers AF
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $700
  • Designed for the Z mount series cameras
  • Stepping motor powers AF
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $700
Check price
at Amazon
BUDGET PICK
4.1
+30
+30
Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 Lens for Nikon Z
Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 Lens for Nikon ZRokinon 14mm f/2.8 Lens for Nikon Z
  • Maximum aperture of f/2.8
  • Manual focusing lens
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $500
  • Maximum aperture of f/2.8
  • Manual focusing lens
  • PRICE RANGE: Under $500
Check price
at Amazon

Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.2 S

Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.2 S

Features

  • Designed for the Z mount camera systems
  • Weather sealed
  • Maximum aperture of f/1.2
  • Multi-focus stepping motor AF
  • Full-time manual focusing override

The Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2S is a premium built prime lens that’s large and feels solid in the hands. Designed for Nikkor Z mount camera systems, this lens won’t work on the traditional F mount camera systems. 50mm lenses are a versatile choice because they’re neither telephoto nor wide angle and sit right on the cusp to be useful for various projects. You can shoot portraits with this lens because it can emphasize the subject, but then you can also shoot street photography because the lens has a decent angle of view of 47 degrees.

This lens is rather large and can feel chunky. A generous amount of metal has been used in the lens’s construction and it also has a metal mount. The lens has a weather-sealing gasket which ensures that the lens can work in inclement weather without any issues.

The design of the lens includes 17 elements arranged in 15 groups. That includes three aspherical elements and two extra-low dispersion elements. Aspherical elements ensure that spherical aberrations don’t influence the quality of the images. On the other hand, low dispersion elements ensure that chromatic aberrations and color fringing are not affecting the lens’s performance. Overall, they also maintain color contrast and sharpness levels.

On top of that, the lens also features ARNEO and nano crystal coatings. These coatings take care of the flares and ghosting and allow the lens to perform even in difficult lighting conditions.

The lens has a programmable dial which you can set to control any of the major shooting functions. The OLED display is a nice touch, though I am not convinced it’s practical that it turns off every 10 seconds. The programmable control ring and the focusing ring in front of it are well-damped and smooth to operate.

Being an f/1.2 lens means it can capture a lot of light in any situation. This is the sort of lens that you can use in low-light conditions and still expect to nail the shot. Most 50mm lenses have an aperture of f/1.8, which stops slower than the f/1.2 lens. One stop of extra light means doubling the amount of light. It’s a huge advantage.

In terms of performance, the lens performs admirably. I noticed some focus breathing in the lens when manually tweaking the focusing ring. Autofocusing performance is very fast and locks focus very accurately. Center sharpness is excellent straight out of the box, even when shooting at f/1.2. Corner sharpness is a little softer at f/1.2, and we also noticed some corner darkness. When stopped down, corner sharpness improves, and so does the brightness of the corners. Center sharpness displays marginal improvement.

If you have a Mirrorless Nikon Z50 then check out this guide!

Pros
  • Weather sealing is very good
  • Programmable ring
  • Superb optical performance
Cons
  • One of the most expensive 50mm primes out there
  • Heavy

Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S

Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.8 S

Features

  • At f/1.8, the maximum aperture lets a lot of light in
  • Stepping motor powers AF
  • Programmable control ring
  • Designed for the Z mount series cameras
  • Weather-sealed construction
  • Nano coating layer
  • Super integrated coating
  • Nine-blade aperture diaphragm

We learned about the 50mm f/1.2 above. Now let’s look at the Z mount 50mm f/1.8 version. This lens is a full stop slower than the f/1.2. It is a great little tool for shooting various subjects, such as weddings, fashion shoots, portrait photos, street photos, and just about every other genre.

F/1.8 is a fantastic aperture for capturing brilliant background blur. This is the ideal lens for capturing those shallow cinematic depth-of-field shots. But more than anything else, this wide-open focal length is handy for shooting stunning low-light photography.

The overall construction includes 12 elements arranged in 9 groups. This includes two aspherical elements and two extra-low dispersion elements. The two aspherical elements ensure that the lens can suppress the effects of spherical aberrations and distortions. The two extra-low dispersion elements suppress the effects of chromatic aberrations and color fringing, affecting the contrast of images.

The lens features both a nano crystal and super-integrated coating. These two coatings ensure that the lens can eliminate the effects of flares and ghosting, which can interfere with the image quality. The images are sharper, and the lens can capture better contrast and color fidelity.

The lens contains a weather-sealing gasket, ensuring that it can work in inclement weather and isn’t affected by moisture and dust.

A stepping motor AF technology powers autofocusing. This technology ensures that the lens can autofocus smoothly and not make jerky movements like in traditional SWM motors.

Pros
  • Excellent autofocusing in video mode
  • The maximum aperture is wide open at f/1.8
  • Great lens for producing background blur
Cons
  • The manual focusing ring is not that responsive compared to others

NIKON NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S

NIKON NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S

Features

  • Comes with two different lens hoods
  • Weather-sealed design
  • Zoom range of 14-24mm.
  • OLED display on the lens barrel
  • A constant aperture of f/2.8 across the zoom range

The premium Z-mount camera lens has a short zoom range of 14-24mm. This wide-angle lens has a fixed aperture across the focal length – f/2.8. The lens is weather sealed, which means you can take this lens to work in any weather conditions without fearing moisture or dust seepage. When compared to the likes of the 50mm f/1.2 lens that I reviewed above, this is a much more compact design and one that’s lighter and more convenient to use.

The construction of the lens includes 16 elements arranged in 11 groups. That includes three aspherical elements and four extra-low dispersion elements. On top of that, the lens also features ARNEO and nano crystal coatings. Overall, the construction quality of the lens is good. This lens appears to have been put together rather well and feels solid in the hands.

The zoom range of 14-24mm is wide enough. It is particularly useful for shooting landscapes, cityscapes, urban architecture, astrophotography, interiors, and other genres where a wide-angle lens is useful.

Autofocusing in this lens is powered by stepping motor technology. This is smooth to operate and is accurate for most parts. The lens comes with a full-time manual focusing override, and the manual focusing ring is very smooth to operate. It should be noted that only the internal lens groups are operating when the lens is focusing, which means the barrel length remains fixed across the focusing range.

With a camera like the Z9, you will be tempted to shoot videos too. When you’re shooting videos, the lens’s autofocusing speed drops, and while there is no change in the optical performance, the lens does not make the whirring sound that it otherwise makes when shooting in still mode.

Performance-wise, the lens is super sharp right in the middle of the frame, wide open when shooting at 14mm, with corner sharpness mimicking that of the sharpness at the middle of the frame.

Pros
  • Programable lens ring
  • Very smooth manual focusing ring and the zoom ring
  • Superb autofocusing performance
Cons
  • Expensive
  • No image stabilization

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f/4 S

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f4 S

Features

  • Weather sealed
  • Maximum aperture of f/4
  • 5x optical zoom
  • Multi-focus system with two separate AF drives
  • Manual focusing override

The 24-120mm f/4 has a DSLR version I have used for a while. It comes as a kit lens with some mid-range full-frame DSLR cameras that Nikon makes. But what about this Z mount version designed for the Z mount camera systems?

The 5x optical zoom range is very useful and gives users who prefer travel photography and general everyday photography a reason not to take the lens off their camera.

The construction of the lens includes 16 elements arranged in 13 groups. These include three ED elements and three aspherical elements. On top of that, the lens also includes ARNEO and Crystal coating to ensure that the lens can withstand the effects of flares and ghosting. The rear of the lens is made of metal, and there is a weather-sealing gasket that ensures that the lens can work in inclement weather without any issues.

The barrel consists of a customizable ring that can be set to control any of an array of shooting functions. The zoom and focusing rings are well-damped and easy to work with. However, the zoom ring does have a slight hardness associated with it which may be a little disconcerting for still photographers. The focusing ring also has an issue: the focusing motor responds a little slowly to the rotation of the focusing ring.

The lens does not feature built-in image stabilization. But that’s not a deal-breaker by any means. The lens can work with the built-in body-based image stabilization on the modern Z-mount Nikon mirrorless cameras.

I noticed that the front element of the lens extends by quite a much when the lens extends. So much so that if you’re using any stabilization rig, you will have to rejig the balance to ensure that the setup works without any issues.

Performance-wise, the lens displays very little focus breathing, and that’s nothing to be worried about. Autofocusing on the lens is powered by a multi-focus system. The system is powered by two separate AF drives synced to ensure fast autofocusing performance. The system is powered by Stepping motor technology, ensuring that the lens can autofocus precisely and accurately.

The center of the frame is very sharp at 24mm and wide open. However, corner sharpness isn’t as good as the center of the frame. Stopping down the lens improves corner sharpness by a little bit. Across the rest of the focal length, we see the same result, with the center sharpness overshadowing the sharpness of the corner.

Pros
  • The zoom range is excellent and versatile
Cons
  • The front element extends by quite a lot when the lens is zoomed
  • The focusing motor responds slowly to the manual focusing ring
  • No image stabilization

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S

Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S

Features

  • Maximum aperture of f/2.8
  • Weather sealing gasket
  • Customizable control ring
  • OLED display on the lens barrel
  • Manual focusing override

The 24-70mm is an excellent all-purpose lens for the Z mount camera system. One of the major advantages of this lens is that it’s a wide-angle and standard prime lens rolled into one. Plus, when you utilize the 70mm focal length, it becomes a portrait lens. True, the focal length does not exceed the requirement of 85mm, but you can still work with this focal length.

The construction of the lens includes 17 elements arranged in 15 groups. These include four aspherical elements and two extra-low dispersion elements. The lens includes ARNEO and nano crystal coating, which takes care of ghosting and flares. The lens mount is made of metal, and the weatherproofing gasket has been used in the design, which takes care of any moisture seepage and prevents dust from getting into the camera.

The lens features a multi-focus system incorporating two separate AF drives for faster autofocusing performance. The system is powered by Stepping motors which are smoother than the traditional SWM motors and offers better control, especially when shooting videos. You get a full-time manual focusing override for easy focus adjustment when needed. The manual focusing ring is a bit stubborn at times to turn. It turns out that sometimes you’ve to apply a bit too much pressure. Additionally, only the lens’ internal groups move when focusing, ensuring that the lens barrel length does not change when the lens focuses.

Still, on the subject of focusing, the manual focusing ring appears a bit detached from the mechanical controls of the lens. Turning the manual focusing ring does not give you the same feedback as when the focusing ring is mechanically connected to the focusing motors. It appears somewhat aloof when turning. Additionally, there is a bit of focus breathing when you manually turn the focusing ring.

Sharpness at the center of the frame at full f/2.8 aperture is very good. But corner sharpness isn’t as sharp. The softness is noticeable. Stopping down the lens improves the lens sharpness at the corner. But the difference is very negligible.

Pros
  • 24-70mm offers a decent focal length range for shooting everyday photography
  • Customizable control ring
Cons
  • The manual focusing ring is a bit stubborn at times
  • The lens does suffer from focus breathing
  • The zoom ring increases the barrel length of the lens

Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S

Nikon NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S

Features

  • Weather-sealed
  • Fixed aperture of f/2.8
  • Internal zooming design
  • Fluorine coating

The 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S is a fantastic piece of optic but it’s pricey and heavy. So, does this lens justify being a part of this list? Absolutely. If you’re a portrait and/or fashion photographer, you will need a lens that can cover the focal lengths of 85mm, 105mm, and 135mm, which are considered the best in the business for portraitures. It’s a perfect companion lens to the 24-70mm f/2.8 I discussed above.

The 70-200mm f/2.8 is a common focal length because most of the lens manufacturers have a lens in this segment. Even Nikon has multiple of these lenses for their F-mount DSLR cameras.

This lens has 21 elements arranged in 18 groups in terms of construction. That includes six extra-low dispersion elements and one fluorite element. It also includes one short-wave refractive index element and two aspherical elements. The first few elements suppress chromatic aberrations and color fringing, while the aspherical elements suppress the effects of spherical aberrations. The short-wave refractive index element is a rare element that Nikon uses, and this element suppresses the effects of chromatic aberrations.

On top of that, the lens also features an ARNEO and a nano crystal coating for suppressing lens flares and ghosting. There is hardly any coating or element that’s missing. The lens also features a fluorine coating which ensures that the lens can withstand moisture smears, fingerprints, and dust on the front element.

Autofocusing is super silent and dead-on accurate. There is nothing I could find to talk about negatively about the lens’s autofocusing performance. The lens performs admirably, whether shooting through the viewfinder or bringing the live view mode into play.

The manual focusing system is a focus-by-wire system. Unlike mechanical systems, this system does not give the same feedback level. The system responds to how much you turn the focusing ring and how quickly you turn it for manual correction. That’s never the ideal approach.

Still, the system does not show any signs of focus breathing when focusing. This is excellent news for people using this lens for video shooting. For still shooters, this was never a problem.

Now about the other optical performance, the lens is very sharp and wide open at the center of the frame. Corners are also admirably sharp. Distortion is negligible, if any at all, at fully zoomed out. However, I noticed pincushion distortion when the lens was zoomed in at 200mm.

Pros
  • Internal focusing elements
  • Refractive index element
Cons
  • The focus by wire technology isn’t very accurate at times

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f/1.8 S

Features

  • f/1.8 maximum aperture
  • Weather-sealed design
  • Stepping motor AF
  • Nano crystal coating

35mm lenses and their 50mm cousins have always been popular among photographers looking for a second lens above and beyond the kit lens. The 35mm wide-angle lens is suitable for street, weddings, architecture, travel, and many other genres. This lens is also suitable for shooting portrait photography, as long as you keep the subject in the middle of the frame and don’t try to fill the frame with the subject. With the subject near the center of the frame and some subject to background distance, you can also get some decent background separation using the f/1.8 aperture to produce a shallow depth of field. The lens comes into its own when working in wide-open spaces. Although many street photographers prefer to use 35mm for their work, its strengths and weaknesses make it somewhat of a difficult choice for shooting street photography.

In terms of construction, this lens consists of 11 elements arranged in 9 groups of three aspherical elements and two extra-low dispersion elements. The lens also has nano crystal and a super integrated coating. The lens has been crafted out of a mix of metal and plastics. The mount is made of metal, and a weather-sealing gasket promises the lens’s use in any weather conditions.

Coming down to autofocusing, the lens focuses well, being powered by a stepping motor AF system. A large manual focusing ring on the lens responds reasonably well to manual focus correction. However, the system appears to lag a little because the focusing mechanism responds a while later when you turn the ring. Still, the lens shows no focus breathing on the subject of focusing, which is good. Focus breathing is a major issue for someone shooting videos. For still photographers, this isn’t going to be a problem. For a videographer, 35mm is a very good focal length.

Now to the optical performance of the lens. The lens wide open at f/1.8 does not seem to be excellently sharp. There is a bit of softness at the center of the frame, and at the corners, softness is noticeable. Stopping down the lens improves corner sharpness and also sharpness at the center.

Vignetting and distortion are present. Wide open, I have noticed that the corners are dark. Stopping down the lens improves corner brightness. Distortion is very marginal and barrel-type.

Pros
  • Weather sealing
  • Good for videos
Cons
  • No image stabilization
  • Image sharpness is an issue wide open
  • Some amount of barrel distortion
  • Some corner darkness is noticed

Nikon NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1.8 S

Nikon NIKKOR Z 20mm f/1.8 S

Features

  • Weather-sealed design
  • Maximum aperture of f/1.8
  • Weather-sealed body
  • Nano crystal coating
  • Super integrated coating
  • Stepping motor-powered autofocusing

The Z 20mm f/1.8 is a great match for the Z9 because of the camera’s high resolution. This combination is perfect for landscape photography. The 20mm is an acquired taste for some photographers because the focal length is too wide for their liking. I love the 20mm prime because it works as a street photography lens. I have had my issues with the 35mm when shooting street photos because, in tight spaces, the 35mm feels a little awkward. It comes into its own, where there are lots of spaces. In situations like these, I wished I had a wider lens, and the 24mm and the 20mm were both in my mind. The 20mm, however, has its issues, and I will come to that shortly.

The lens’s maximum aperture is f/1.8 which is suitable for capturing photos in dark situations where ambient light is at a premium. The 20mm focal length isn’t typically suitable for portrait photography but you can shoot some environmental portraits when the subject is at the center of the frame, and there is sufficient space between the subject and the camera. Distortion will be unavoidable if you get too close to your subject or attempt to fill the frame.

The construction includes 14 elements arranged in 11 groups. That includes three aspherical elements and three extra-low dispersion elements. On top of that, the lens features a nano crystal coating and a super Integrated coating on its elements. The lens has been designed using plastics for the most part, but the rear end of the lens uses a lot of metal. The lens mount, too, is made of metal. A weather-sealing gasket on the lens body ensures that this lens can be used in inclement weather without any issues.

Image stabilization isn’t built-in into the system. That, however, will not be a problem as the lens is compatible with modern Z-mount camera systems that come with body-based image stabilization systems.

The biggest bane of wide-angle lenses is that they have a lot of barrel distortion and stretch corners. However, you can adjust the distortion in the camera or use post-processing software, which should take care of the issue.

The lens’s wide-open optical performance at the center of the frame is very sharp. However, corners are not perfect. Stopping down the lens improves corner sharpness and brightness and the sharpness at the middle of the frame.

Pros
  • Fast maximum aperture
  • Decent build quality with the metal lens mount
Cons
  • A little bit of focus breathing
  • No image stabilization

NIKON NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S

NIKON NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S

Features

  • Retractable design
  • Weather-sealed construction
  • Customizable ring
  • Weather sealed
  • Stepping motor powered AF system

This is an out-and-out landscape photographer’s dream come true. The 14-30mm is an excellent focal length for capturing wide-open vistas, street shots, cityscapes, and anything else that’s wide.

This lens has a fixed aperture of f/4, which may not be suitable for working in low-light situations.

The constriction of the lens includes 14 elements arranged in 12 groups, and out of those, four elements are aspherical. Four extra-low dispersion elements are instrumental in suppressing chromatic aberrations and color fringing.

On top of that, the lens also features a nano crystal coating and a super-integrated coating. These elements suppress the effects of ghosting and flares.

This lens is made of a mixture of plastic and metal. The body is mainly made of plastic, with the rear section displaying metal components. The rear lens mount is also made of metal. A weather-sealing gasket is used on the rear lens mount, which ensures that the lens can be used in inclement weather.

Autofocusing is powered by a stepping motor-driven system that delivers very smooth and quiet autofocusing performance.

There is a customizable ring on the barrel, which is set to work by default as the default manual focusing ring. However, it can be programmed to work as your aperture control, your ISO, or exposure compensation control. However, as there is no dedicated manual focusing ring on the lens (the other ring being the zoom ring), it’s better to leave this as the default manual focusing ring.

The zoom ring also works to bring the lens barrel out. The zoom ring travels a little where the barrel pops out and then travels further for the zoom ring to move in and out. The barrel travels quite a lot when zooming and is a bit stiff to turn.

The lens’s optical performance is very sharp in the middle to start with. Wide open and at 14mm, the lens seems a delight to work with. The corners look less sharp than the middle of the frame but are still acceptable. I have also noticed that the corners look a little dark. This, however, improves when the lens is stopped. Zoomed-in, the middle frame looks very sharp, but the corners are not sharper than they were at the widest focal length.

Pros
  • The lens retracts for easy transport
  • Customizable ring
Cons
  • The maximum aperture is f/4
  • No dedicated manual focusing ring
  • Image stabilization isn’t built-in

NIKON NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR

Features

  • Maximum aperture of f/2.8
  • Manual focusing lens
  • Weather sealed

This is a manual focusing lens. The 14mm is a fantastic piece of optic because it’s an extremely wide-angle lens – perfect for use in tight places, corners, and alleys where a standard 35mm or even a 28mm lens is not unsuitable. But the sacrifice for this incredible feature is that this lens is prone to distortion (as any other extreme wide-angle lens is). The image sides are stretched, and you must correct the pictures in the post.

The bright f/2.8 aperture is always useful when working in dark conditions, adding to its astrophotography prowess.

The rear of the lens reveals no electronic connections. That means nothing goes back and forth between the lens and the camera. The metal lens mount and a rear sealing gasket are found at the back of the lens, which ensures that the lens can withstand the elements of nature.

The construction of the lens includes 14 elements arranged in 10 groups; one aspherical element, one hybrid aspherical element, and two extra-low dispersion elements are present. There are three high refractive index elements as well. The construction is solid and the aperture ring clicks every half a stop, providing a high-quality feel.

One let-down is the front of the lens; the petal-shaped hood is made of cheap plastic and the front element bulges out. You could easily damage the front element with a knock or a bump.

The lens’s sharpness at the middle of the frame is excellent at f/2.8. The corners are a bit softer and some vignetting is visible. Stopping down the lens improves the corner sharpness and the corner brightness.

Pros
  • No connection between the lens and the camera
  • Hyperfocal distance guide on barrel
  • Excellent construction
Cons
  • Manual focusing
  • Front element bulges out
  • Front element does not filter
Rajib Mukherjee Avatar
Written by
Rajib Mukherjee
Rajib is an avid travel photographer and an overall shutterbug. The first time he ever clicked an image was with an Agfa Click IV back in 1984. A medium format film camera. From that auspicious introduction to photography, he has remained hooked to this art form. He loves to test and review new photography gear. Rajib travels quite a lot, loves driving on Indian roads, playing fetch with his Labrador retriever, and loves photography. And yes, he still proudly owns that Agfa Click IV!