Now that 2022 is in the books, it's a good time to look back at the year that was for Nikon – and what a year it was!
If you’re a Nikon wildlife or sports photographer then 2022 will have no doubt been one of the most exciting in recent memory, with no fewer than four outstanding super-telephoto lenses released throughout the year. This began with the Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S in January, the Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S in April, Nikon Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S in June before the Big N rounded off the year with the Nikon Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S in November.
Following the release of the mighty Nikon Z9 at the tail end of 2021, it’s really not surprising that big, pro-grade S-Line optics took center stage throughout the year – but 2022 wasn’t all about big bulky glass and professional kit.
It also brought with it a brand new entry-level mirrorless camera release in the form of the Nikon Z30. This little Z camera was targeted firmly towards vloggers and videographers looking to step up from smartphones and enjoy the benefits of a proper interchangeable lens camera. It also represents the most affordable entry point into Z mount to date at just $659.95.
And although the Z30 was Nikon’s only new camera release of the year, we were delighted when the Big N announced the stylish Black Edition of the incredibly popular Nikon Z fc, along with a handful of other new colors too. Add the wide-angle Nikon Z 17-28mm f/2.8 to the list and it’s incredible just how much the Z-mount line-up has grown since its release back in 2018. Here’s the lowdown on anything and everything Nikon that was released in 2022…
January – Nikon Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S
Nikon kicked off the year in style by announcing the Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S. This slick super-telephoto prime is a tantalizing prospect for sports and wildlife shooters, thanks to its long reach – boosted to 560mm f/4 via the built-in 1.4x teleconverter – and fast AF capabilities.
With an MSRP of $13,999.95, it's firmly targeted towards pro shooters. But when we reviewed the lens in May, we swiftly awarded it top marks, citing its incredible imaging performance, super-fast f/2.8 aperture and the added versatility of that built-in teleconverter as reasons to recommend this top-draw Z lens.
April – Nikon Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S, 660GB CFexpress and Z9 firmware
Sports and wildlife photographers had to wait patiently until October 2021 for Nikon to announce its first super-telephoto lens in the Z-mount line-up: the Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S. However, it was certainly a sign of things to come because 2022 has definitely been the year of the long Z-mount lenses. And it was Christmas come early for anyone with $6,500 to spend on glass, thanks to the release of the incredible Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S.
The Big N continued its 100% record in 2022 when the long-lens behemoth earned our gold standard on test, delivering super-fast autofocus, professional build and handling and excellent image quality. Sure it’s a big beefy optic, but we were pleasantly surprised by its 2,385g weight and admirably pared-down size, thanks to the inclusion of a Phase Fresnel element.
But that wasn’t all. Nikon also released a high-capacity memory card in the form of the Nikon 660GB CFexpress memory card (Type B). A timely announcement, since it coincided with a much-anticipated firmware update for the mighty Nikon Z9, finally affording video types the opportunity to shoot crystal-clear 8.3K 60p RAW video in-camera, as well as 4K 60p UHD footage oversampled from 8K – providing glorious quality at smaller file sizes. And the update also provided new codecs in the form of ProRes RAW HQ and Nikon’s N-RAW.
May – Awards galore for Nikon
May was awards season for Nikon, which took home a slew of accolades from the Red Dot Award: Product Design 2022 and the 2022 TIPA World Awards. The former awarded five products including the Nikon Z fc, Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S, Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S and Z9, which took home the Best of the Best award. While the latter handed out a trio of wins to the Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S, Z fc and Z9, which was once again the highlight, winning the Best Full-Frame Professional Camera category.
June – Nikon Z 30, Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S and Prostaff P7 & P3
June was a busy month for Nikon, with two new Prostaff binoculars announced in the form of the P7 and P3, but the big news was an entirely new mirrorless camera release, the Nikon Z30. This video-centric offering featured a 20.9-MP DX-format sensor, 11fps burst speeds, and 4K UHD 30p and Full HD 120p using the full width of the sensor. Add to that a proper flip-out vari-angle screen and the complete absence of an EVF, and this compact device was unashamedly specced for vloggers and videographers seeking a step up from even the best camera phones.
In our Nikon Z30 review we praised the camera's best-in-class build quality, image quality, flip-out screen and affordable access to the gorgeous range of Z-mount optics. We had hoped it would feature a headphone socket and in-body image stabilisation, but this is after all Nikon’s most affordable Z camera ever at just $659.95!
And if a brand new camera wasn’t enough, Nikon spoiled us with yet another super-telephoto prime, the Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S. This sports and wildlife optic wasn’t exactly the fastest prime in the world, but what it lacked in speed it more than made up for thanks to its small and lightweight form, beautiful image quality and great handling. And that’s precisely why we awarded Nikon its third consecutive five-star lens review of the year. If an MSRP of $3,249.95 is within your budget and you don't require a super-fast lens, then the Z 400mm f/4.5 VR S is a great option.
August – Nikon swipes quartet of awards
Nikon picked up four more accolades at the EISA Awards 2022-2023. Camera of the Year was – you guessed it – the Nikon Z9, while a trio of lenses added to the Big N’s trophy cabinet with the Z 800mm f/6.3 VR S dominating the Telephoto Lens category, the Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S swiping gold in the Professional Telephoto Lens category and the Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S emerging triumphant from the Macro Lens category. None of which is surprising, considering we awarded all three lenses top marks when we tested them.
September – Nikon Z 17-28mm f/2.8
September brought with it another new lens, albeit one that was considerably wider than the rest of the year’s releases. The Nikon Z 17-28mm f/2.8, with its MSRP of $1,199.95, proved a tantalizing addition to the Z-mount line-up for travel, event, landscape and even astro photographers thanks to that f/2.8 max aperture. A minimum focus distance of 0.19m even allowed for a little close-up photography, too, and when we put the optic under the microscope we couldn’t help but award another five-star review. Image quality, the lens’s compact nature and the short working distance all proved plus points, resulting in a well-deserved perfect score.
November – Nikon Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S, Z fc Black Edition & MC-N10
Leave it to Nikon to end the year in style. November was a bumper month, with no fewer than three physical releases in the form of yet another superb super-telephoto prime, a remote grip and a slick all-black paint job for the much-loved Nikon Z fc. The Nikon Z 600mm f/4 TC VR S isn’t for everyone. After all, it costs an eye-watering $15,499.95. However, that’s a justifiable outlay for a working pro who shoots sports and wildlife – and was just in time for the 2022 World Cup, too.
This was the only lens throughout the whole year that wasn’t awarded top marks. We cited the large and heavy form factor, price and loss of close-range sharpness at 840mm – achievable via the built-in 1.4x teleconverter – as reasons why it just missed out on top marks. But when you consider just how specialist an optic like this is, the great performance at 600mm, versatility of the built-in teleconverter and great handling, this lens still comes highly recommended.
Another specialist piece of kit was the Nikon Remote Grip MC-N10. This accessory for videographers affords better control of the camera in question as part of a video rig. This peripheral features an Arri standard rosette fitting, runs via two AA batteries and connects to compatible cameras (Nikon Z9, Nikon Z7 II, and Nikon Z6 II) via USB-C.
We'd take any excuse to return to one of the most charming Nikon cameras ever made, so we couldn’t have been happier when Nikon announced its webstore-exclusive Nikon Z fc Black Edition and Z 40mm f/2 (SE), alongside six new colors for the Premium Exterior. If you’re looking for a stylish companion that can accompany you wherever you go, there’s arguably no better Nikon camera available right now.