Nikon is launching two distinctly different, must-have lenses in March

Nikon 85mm f/1.2 S and Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8
(Image credit: Nikon)

Nikon has just introduced two brand new lenses to its Z series lineup: the super-fast Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S that's perfect for professionals, and the compact Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8 pancake that's perfect for content creators.

These two distinctly different lenses are suitable for stills photography and video. While the Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S is aimed more at top-level photographers using one of the best professional cameras (opens in new tab), like the Nikon Z9 (opens in new tab), the Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8 is Nikon’s smallest AF lens ever – making it the perfect accompaniment to compact bodies like the Nikon Z fc (opens in new tab) and Nikon Z30 (opens in new tab)

• Check out the best Nikon cameras (opens in new tab) and see the Big N's top APS-C and full-frame DSLR and mirrorless bodies

The long-awaited Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S looks set to be one of the best lenses for portraits (opens in new tab), with an incredibly wide aperture of f/1.2 making it perfect for shooting in low-light conditions – and combined with the classic focal length will create superb subject separation and beautiful bokeh. When shooting wide open, the shallow depth of field is described to be “astounding” while the in-focus areas are pin-sharp. 

Sample image from Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S (Image credit: Nikon)

Like the Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.95 Noct (opens in new tab), it has 11 rounded diaphragm blades that help create a rounded bokeh effect, and ED (extra-low dispersion) glass is used to ensure that color fringing is at a minimum. It’s constructed of 15 elements in 10 groups, including 2 aspherical elements on top of the ED. 

On the lens there is a control ring and a function button that can have custom settings applied. It benefits from an almost-silent multi-focus system and dual stepping motors, and for those who shoot outdoors it is extensively weather-sealed and dust resistant – so you can use it pretty much use it anywhere and not worry about it getting damp or full of debris. 

Sitting comfortably at the opposite end of Nikon's Z-mount lineup is the impressive Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8 lens. Weighing just 130g it’s Nikon’s lightest AF lens ever, and seems set to challenge the best pancake lenses (opens in new tab), but the super slim size doesn't mean that Nikon has skimped on quality. 

Sample image from Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8  (Image credit: Nikon)

Made up of 8 elements in 6 groups, and built with a 7-blade diaphragm, it delivers silky blurred backgrounds and smooth bokeh is achievable whether shooting stills or video. With a minimum focusing distance of 20.3cm, you can still get pretty close to your subjects and maintain focus – but you’ll likely be shooting from further away with this lens anyway. 

It also benefits from an all-element focusing system, which means all lens groups and elements move at the same time, providing constantly sharp images regardless of position and making this a very versatile lens.

Both lenses are also compatible with Nikon's APS-C (DX) Z-mount systems, where they possess an equivalent focal length of 127mm when shooting with the 85mm portrait lens or 39mm when shooting with the 26mm pancake. 

The Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S will be available in late March for $2,799.95 / £2,999 / AU$4,799.95, while the Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8 will be available in early March for a starting price of $499.95 / £529 / AU$899.95. 

Pre-order the Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S lens from B&H (US) (opens in new tab)
Pre-order the Nikon Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S lens from Park (UK) (opens in new tab)

Pre-order the Nikon Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8 lens from B&H (US) (opens in new tab)
Pre-order the Nikon Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8 lens from Wex (UK) (opens in new tab)

Sample image from Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8  (Image credit: Nikon)

Sample image from Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S (Image credit: Nikon)

Sample image from Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S (Image credit: Nikon)

These are the best Nikon Z lenses (opens in new tab) available today

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.