The best lenses for the Nikon Z6 II in 2024

Picking the best lenses for the Nikon Z6 II is a balancing act between getting glassware good enough to get the most out this excellent mid-range mirrorless camera, but also not blowing the budget on some of Nikon’s more wildly specced pro lenses, which come with price tags to match.

The Nikon Z6 II is one of the best mirrorless cameras around, certainly one of the best Nikon cameras and also one of the best cameras for enthusiasts. But while we have a big guide to the best Nikon Z lenses all round, we wouldn't necessarily suggest all of them for the Nikon Z6 II.

So we’ve picked a set of lenses which cover a wide range of uses and user types but, for the most part, stay at reasonable price levels. Some, such as Nikon’s prime lenses, can be very reasonable indeed.

There is one fly in the ointment. Nikon Z-mount telephotos quickly become very expensive indeed. Very good, yes, but very expensive too. The one consolation is that while cameras come and go, lenses are for life – or they can at least do good service with several cameras in succession. And if you decide to swap your Z6 II for a Z7 II or even a Nikon Z9, you might well be glad that you invested seriously in some top lenses right at the start.

So anyway, and whatever your budget, here are what we think are the best lenses for the Nikon Z6 II right now.

Rod Lawton
Rod Lawton

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews Editor. He has used practically every interchangeable-lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium-format cameras, so he has the expertise to select the best Nikon lenses for you.

The Quick List

Best lenses for the Nikon Z6 II in 2024

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out how we test.

Best everyday lens for the Z6 II

(Image credit: Nikon)
An odd focal range but a much more affordable constant f/2.8 standard zoom

Specifications

Mount: Z FX
Stabilizer: No (in-body)
Min focus distance: 0.15-0.24m
Max magnification ratio: 0.25-0.13x
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions (WxL): 73x86mm
Weight: 335g

Reasons to buy

+
Superb center sharpness
+
Weather sealed
+
Quick, quiet autofocus

Reasons to avoid

-
Quirky focal range

The Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 has a slightly unusual focal range, but it is a brilliant lens that builds on the already strong qualities of the Z6 II’s kit lens, the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4. It”s small and light, and delivers excellent center sharpness, although the pro-spec Nikkor Z 24-70mm S lens is a little sharper in the corners. But for Z6 II owners, the 28-75mm strikes the ideal balance between performance and value.

Read more: Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 review

Most versatile lens for the Z6 II

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)
Sometimes a longer zoom range is worth more than a wider aperture

Specifications

Mount: Z FX
Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor)
Stabilizer: No (in-body)
Min focus distance: 0.35m
Max magnification ratio: 0.39x
Filter thread: 77mm
Dimensions (WxL): 84x118mm
Weight: 630g

Reasons to buy

+
Impressive image quality
+
Versatile 5x zoom range

Reasons to avoid

-
Bigger & heavier than Z 24-70mm f/4 S
-
Slower aperture than Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S

If you would like even more zoom range than the 24-70mm f/4 kit lens, this one goes all the way to 120mm with a 5x zoom range. This does make it somewhat heavier and more expensive, but more versatile too. 

The Z 24-120mm f/4 S is a mirrorless revision of a popular 5x standard zoom made for F-mount DSLRs. The advanced Z lens mount brings advantages that include improved sharpness over the whole frame, as well as a relatively compact build for a lens of this type. 

Read more: Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S review

Best wide-angle lens for the Z6 II

(Image credit: Digital Camera World)
Nikon's first ultra-wide Nikkor Z zoom is still the one to beat in our book!

Specifications

Mount: Z FX
Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor)
Stabilizer: None
Min focus distance: 0.28m
Max magnification: 0.16x
Filter thread: 82mm
Dimensions (WxL): 89x85mm
Weight: 485g

Reasons to buy

+
Ultra-wide maximum viewing angle
+
Great overall quality in a small build

Reasons to avoid

-
Fairly pricey
-
As usual, there’s no focus distance scale

Nikon has released two more ultra-wide zooms since this one – the Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S and the Nikkor Z 17-28mm f/2.8, but we think the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S is still the best wide-angle choice for the Nikon Z6 II despite its smaller maximum aperture, thanks to its space-saving retracting design, longer focal range and its competitive price for a lens in this category. 

It doesn’t hurt that image quality and performance are both very good indeed. Corner-to-corner sharpness is impressive, and it also comes with a lens hood that you can remove to add filters via an 82mm attachment thread. This is an unusual feature in a wide-angle. 

Read more: Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S review

Best compact lens for the Z6 II

(Image credit: Nikon)
Looking for a compact, affordable yet fast 'pancake' prime? Who isn't!

Specifications

Mount: Z FX
Stabilizer: No
Min focus distance: 0.29m
Max magnification: 0.17x
Filter thread: 52mm
Dimensions (WxL): 70x46mm
Weight: 170g

Reasons to buy

+
Compact and lightweight
+
Fast f/2 aperture
+
Sharp and silent

Reasons to avoid

-
No auto/manual focus mode switch

If you’re getting ready for a trip or you enjoy street photography, you’ll want a lens that gives you great performance but doesn’t take up much space in your kit bag. The Z 40mm f/2 is the answer: its pancake design makes it a wonderful match for the Z6 II’s compact body, and its 40mm focal length can cope with all sort of everyday situations.

The reduction in size doesn’t mean a loss in optical quality. Sharpness is good, and the f/2 aperture means bokeh is lovely and smooth. The autofocus is near-silent, so you can grab a movie on the move as well as stills, and its small size means you could comfortably mount your Z6 II and 40mm lens on a gimbal for smooth video.

Read more: Nikon Z 40mm f/2 review

Best portrait lens for the Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)
This is the perfect prime lens for people shots, and not too expensive either

Specifications

Mount: Nikon Z FX
Elements/groups: 12/8
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor)
Stabilizer: None
Minimum focus distance: 0.8m
Maximum magnification: 0.12x
Filter thread: 67mm
Dimensions (WxL): 73x99mm
Weight: 470g

Reasons to buy

+
Super-sharp with beautiful bokeh
+
Works well with in-camera stabilization

Reasons to avoid

-
Depth of field isn’t quite as tight as with an 85mm f/1.4 lens

The full-frame sensor in the Z6 II makes it adept at blurring backgrounds in portraiture, and the affordable price tag of Nikon's 85mm f/1.8 makes this an appealing partner. This focal length is ideal for head-and-shoulders and half-length shots from a natural shooting distance. 

Many 85mm lenses offer an f/1.4 aperture, which technically gives a more shallow depth of field, but when we tested this f/1.8 lens, we found its bokeh quality was at least as good as you’ll find in f/1.4 lenses. It’s a well-made lens that features wether seals. 

Read more: Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S review

Best telephoto lens for the Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)
This pro-level 70-200mm f/2.8 is expensive, but think of it as a future investment!

Specifications

Mount: Z FX
Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor)
Stabilizer: Yes
Min focus distance: 0.5-1.0m
Max magnification ratio: 0.2x
Filter thread: 77mm
Dimensions (WxL): 89x220mm
Weight: 1,360g

Reasons to buy

+
Stunning image quality
+
Superb handling characteristics
+
Super-fast autofocus
+
Highly effective optical stabilization

Reasons to avoid

-
Expensive to buy, but well worth the outlay

Nikon’s top quality 70-200mm f/2.8 telephoto zoom will cost as much as your Z6 II body, but it does set new standards for image quality and all-around performance. It delivers fabulous performance in every respect. 

The autofocus system is highly responsive and accurate, while lens-shift VR delivers 5-stop effectiveness, even at 200mm. Sharpness is stunning from the center right out into the corners, even shooting at the widest aperture. 

Nikon’s telephotos are high-quality but don’t come cheap, and this is no exception – but if you regard it as a long-term investment, the buying decision becomes much easier.

Read more: Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S review

Best super-telephoto lens for the Z6 II

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)
This long-range telephoto zoom is terrific but expensive, so watch out for deals!

Specifications

Mount: Z FX
Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor)
Stabilizer: Yes
Min focus distance: 0.75-0.98m
Max magnification ratio: 0.38x
Filter thread: 77mm
Dimensions (WxL): 98x222mm
Weight: 1,355g

Reasons to buy

+
Superb image quality
+
Compatible with Z tele-converters

Reasons to avoid

-
Large, weighty construction
-
Pricey to buy

Nikon has yet to produce many affordable telephotos for its full-frame Z mount cameras like the Z6 II, and that's pretty much the only remaining gap in the lens line-up. It does mean that while there are some great Nikon Z telephotos, most come with substantial price tags, so they're really only for the keenest wildlife and sports fans. 

However, this is a terrific lens that delivers speedy autofocus and impressive 5.5-stop VR, not to mention exceptional image quality. Overall performance is top-notch, while handling benefits from custom function buttons and a de-clicked control ring, plus a multi-function display.

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

Best macro lens for the Z6 II

(Image credit: Future)
This pro spec Nikkor Z macro lens will give you outstanding close-up details

Specifications

Mount: Nikon Z
Elements/groups: 16/11
Diaphragm blades: 9
Autofocus: Stepping motor
Stabilizer: Yes
Minimum focus distance: 0.29m
Maximum magnification: 1.0x
Filter thread: 62mm
Dimensions (WxL): 85x140mm
Weight: 630g

Reasons to buy

+
Spectacular all-round performance
+
Pro-grade build and handling
+
4.5-stop optical VR
+
Weatherproof construction

Reasons to avoid

-
50% more expensive than 50mm macro

There is a cheaper Nikkor Z MC 50mm macro lens which we recommend for the more modest Nikon Z5, but if you can afford the extra – and we think the Nikon Z6 II is worth it – the Nikkor Z MC 105mm is the better choice. 

Superb image quality for both close-ups and general shooting is aided by a speedy, accurate autofocus system, along with very good optical VR. It also has a multi-function display, a custom function button and an autofocus range limiter. An electronically coupled focus ring handles minute adjustments.

Read more: Nikon Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S review

How to choose the best lens for the Nikon Z6 II

Which lenses fit the Nikon Z6 II?

The Z6 II uses the Nikon Z mount and is compatible with all lenses designed for that mount. Nikon’s own Z-mount lenses all have Z at the start of their model names.

Some Z-mount lenses are designed for use with APS-C format cameras rather than full-frame cameras such as the Z6 II. Nikon lenses that fall into this category have DX as part of their model names. While they physically fit on the Z6 II, these lenses produce a cropped image, so they’re not ideal. None of the lenses in this guide is a DX-format lens.

If you are buying a third-party lens for the Z6 II, always check that it is designed for full-frame (or FX) Nikon Z cameras, rather than APS-C (or DX) Nikons.

The Z6 II is also able to use F-mount lenses, which are made for use with Nikon’s DSLR cameras. For this, you need an adaptor such as the Nikon Mount Adapter FTZ II. The idea is that owners of older DLSR cameras can buy a Z camera and still use their old lenses.

How do I know which lens to get for my Z6 II?

The reason there are so many types of lens in the first place is that different scenes demand different lens designs, particularly when it comes to focal length and aperture rating.

Usually, you will decide what you want to photograph, then get a lens with the focal length that suits the situation. For example, to shoot landscapes you will need a wide-angle lens, while for sports and wildlife you will need a telephoto.

You can watch this video that explains focal length: it helps you work out what kind of lenses you need for different genres of photography. 

How we test lenses

The lens experts in our testing lab run a range of tests under controlled conditions, using the Imatest Master testing suite. Photos of test charts are taken across the range of apertures and zooms (where available), then analyzed for sharpness, distortion and chromatic aberrations.

We use Imatest SFR (spatial frequency response) charts and analysis software to plot lens resolution at the centre of the image frame, corners and mid-point distances, across the range of aperture settings and, with zoom lenses, at four different focal lengths.

There's more to it than just the technical side, though! Beyond the lab, our reviewers test lenses in real-world environments – and sometimes on professional shoots! We work with lenses both indoors and outdoors, in studio conditions and in natural light, with as many different subjects as is possible (or appropriate – there's no point testing a landscape lens' ability to shoot a portrait!). 

We take into account everything from handling and ease of use to speed of autofocus and the overall quality of the images produced. 

Find out more about how we test and review on Digital Camera World

Rod Lawton
Contributor

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at fotovolo.com but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com