12 lenses of Christmas: Nikon celebrates the new year in style in January 2022

Nikon Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S
(Image credit: Matthew Richards)

Join us as we jump into the Digital Camera World time machine and revisit all the lenses that featured in our news and reviews during 2022. We’ll be looking back at the whole year, month by month, in a ’12 lenses of Christmas’ sort of way so stay tuned for further instalments every day. To open the show, here’s what January had to offer.

First up for January’s news coverage was that the much anticipated Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S was officially launched, taking its place as the longest native Z-mount NIKKOR to date, thanks to its built-in 1.4x teleconverter.

See other installments in our 12 lenses of Christmas series (opens in new tab)

The Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S works equally well as a 560mm f/4 lens, thanks to it’s built-in 1.4x teleconverter. (Image credit: Matthew Richards)

Wooing a wide audience, the Irix 21mm T1.5 cine lens became the sixth in the company’s series, available in no less than seven mount options including Canon RF, Nikon Z and Sony E. In other news, Cosina announced that it would showcase two new Voigtländer and Zeiss ZM & DSLR lenses at the forthcoming CP+ imaging show.

Samyang boosted its range of autofocus lenses for Sony cameras with the announcement of a new AF 135mm F1.8 FE lens, also badged as Rokinon in the USA. Taking in a wide remit, the lens was advertised as being optimized for portraits, astrophotography, landscapes and video capture.

Samyang AF 135mm F1.8 FE

The Samyang/Rokinon AF 135mm F1.8 FE promised to be a dreamy portrait lens for Sony mirrorless cameras. (Image credit: Matthew Richards)

Bringing up the tail end of January’s news, the Meyer Optic Görlitz Trioplan 35mm f/2.8 II was announced with availability for pretty much any and every camera mount. The third in the series, this would be the first of the trio to be made at Meyer’s new Hamburg facility in Germany and promised to deliver the company’s trademark Tripoplan ‘soap bubble’ bokeh.

The first lens of the year to land on our test bench was the Irix 30mm f/1.4 Dragonfly, a fast wide-angle stills prime that builds on the existing cine version of the lens, delivering excellent performance and build quality at a reasonable price.

We praised the Irix 30mm f/1.4 Dragonfly for its image quality for combining impressive sharpness with beautiful bokeh.

Next up was the Nikon FTZ II which is a refresh of the original mount adaptor for using F-mount lenses on mirrorless Z-system cameras. Gone is the protrusion with tripod mounting socket, which got in the way of the Z 9’s vertical grip. We tested the Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S at the same time and were very impressed with the quality and performance, although it’s a hefty lens with an even heftier price tag.

The Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S was the first super-telephoto lens in native Z-mount but there have been a fair few more over the rest of the year. (Image credit: Matthew Richards)

Yet another Nikon Z-system standard zoom was next on the list, the Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S bringing a favorite F-mount lens into the Z fold, with enhanced handling exotica and refinements in image quality and all-round performance. Finally, the Samyang AF 18mm F2.8 FE proved that quality doesn’t need to come with a big price tag or a heavyweight construction, the diminutive lens punching well above its weight.

Back to basics
• What are the best camera lenses to buy (opens in new tab)?

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• Best lenses for astrophotography (opens in new tab)
• Best lenses for bird photography (opens in new tab)
• Best lenses for landscape (opens in new tab)

Lenses for your camera
• Best Canon lenses
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• Best Nikon lenses
• Best Olympus lenses
• Best Panasonic lenses
• Best Pentax lenses
• Best Sony lenses

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Matthew Richards

Matthew Richards is a photographer and journalist who has spent years using and reviewing all manner of photo gear. He is Digital Camera World's principal lens reviewer – and has tested more primes and zooms than most people have had hot dinners! 


His expertise with equipment doesn’t end there, though. He is also an encyclopedia  when it comes to all manner of cameras, camera holsters and bags, flashguns, tripods and heads, printers, papers and inks, and just about anything imaging-related. 


In an earlier life he was a broadcast engineer at the BBC, as well as a former editor of PC Guide.