Nikon completes budget not-quite-trinity with cut-price 70-180mm f/2.8 tele-zoom

Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8
(Image credit: Nikon)

Nikon has announced the Z 70-180mm f/2.8, a fast all-purpose telephoto zoom that’s around half the price of its S-line Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S ‘trinity’ lens. 

Like the S-line lens, this one has a fast, constant f/2.8 aperture that’s great for portraits, lifestyle, sports, nature, landscapes, cityscapes, events, and more – even in low light. 

Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 on Nikon Z50 (Image credit: Nikon)

Mount: Nikon Z
Full frame: Yes
Image stabilization: No
Autofocus: Yes
Lens construction: 19 elements in 14 groups (inc 5 ED, 1 super-ED and 3 aspherical elements)
Diaphragm blades: 9 (rounded)
Minimum aperture: f/22
Minimum focusing distance: 0.27m (70mm) - 85m (180mm)
Maximum magnification ratio: 0.48x
Filter size: 67mm
Dimensions: 83.5x151mm
Weight: 795g

As it ‘only’ extends to 180mm rather than 200mm, its focal length is 20mm shorter than the pricier lens, and it doesn’t have built-in image stabilization either – although full-frame Nikon Z-series cameras all boast in-body image stabilization anyway. The lens does come with weather-sealing, although Nikon does point out that it’s not as comprehensive as in the more expensive lens. Quiet focusing and suppressed focus breathing make the lens a good option for video shooting too.

It’s very capable when it comes to close-up shooting. Minimum focus distance is just 0.27mm at the short end and 0.85mm at 180mm. But the lens can be combined with Nikon’s teleconverters for near-macro levels of magnification. With the TC-2.0x attached, the focal length extends to 360mm with a reproduction ratio of 0.96x – only a smidgen shy of the 1x ratio of a true macro lens. 

(Image credit: Nikon)

The lens is constructed from 19 elements in 14 groups, including five ED (Extra-low Dispersion) elements, one super-ED element and three aspherical elements. The front element has an antifouling coating to make it easier to clean. The Z 70-180mm f/2.8 weighs just 795g, and is just 151mm long, making it  travel-friendly for a telephoto zoom. A zoom lock switch locks the lens at the 70mm position, preventing ‘lens creep’ when on the move. 

The lens follows in the footsteps of Nikon’s not-quite-trinity Z 17-28mm f/2.8 and Z 28-75mm f/2.8 lenses, which have slightly unconventional focal ranges compared with classic trinity lenses, while still having the same fast f/2.8 aperture, yet only cost around half as much. It shares the same 67mm filter thread as these two lenses, enabling the sharing of the same set of filters.  

The lens will be available from July 2023 at a launch price of $1,249.95 in the US, £1,299 in the UK and AU$2,099 in Australia.

Pre-order from B&HPhoto (US)

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Adam Waring

Adam has been the editor of N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine for almost 12 years, and as such is one of Digital Camera World's leading experts when it comes to all things Nikon-related. 

Whether it’s reviews and hands-on tests of the latest Nikon cameras and lenses, sharing his skills using filters, tripods, lighting, L brackets and other photography equipment, or trading tips and techniques on shooting landscapes, wildlife and almost any genre of photography, Adam is always on hand to provide his insights. 

Prior to his tenure on N-Photo, Adam was also a veteran of publications such as PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine, so his wealth of photographic knowledge isn’t solely limited to the Big N.