Nikon releases "compact & lightweight" 40mm f/2 standard prime for mirrorless

Nikon Z 40mm f/2
(Image credit: Nikon)

Nikon has announced the imminent release of the NIKKOR Z 40mm f/2, a compact and lightweight prime lens compatible with full-frame (Nikon FX-format) mirrorless cameras. The lens will be available from 30 September 2021, with a suggested retail price of $299.95/£249.00.

Despite being just 1/3-stop slower than lenses such as the Z 50mm f/1.8 S and Z 35mm f/1.8 S, it is considerably shorter and less bulky, weighing in at 170g extending to just 1.8in – although it is not an 'S-line' optic. While we've yet to test it in the field, Nikon claims it to be: "Sharp, fast, and small enough to wield discreetly, it’s great for everything from vlogs to vibrant snapshots."

With a 40mm focal length, the slightly-wider-than-standard prime lens offers a natural angle of view that is ideal for candid portraits, and without a big lens in their face, subjects should feel more comfortable. The lens can be paired with any Nikon Z series full frame or DX-format camera, where the effective focal length becomes a slightly-longer-than-standard prime 60mm.

When it comes to video, the lens is so small and light that it should be well suited for filming engaging first-person perspectives, as well as interviews and how-to videos. The ultra-compact build is designed with consideration for dust and drip-resistance, making it easy and reliable to carry around for day-long outings. 

Nikon Z 40mm f/2 paired with a Nikon Z 50 mirrorless camera. (Image credit: Nikon)

 The wide Z mount combines with the lens’ wide f/2 maximum aperture to deliver great low-light performance, ideal for capturing the mood of dimly lit situations. The lens build comprises 6 elements in 4 groups with a rounded 9-blade diaphragm that creates a gorgeous, circular bokeh that draws attention to the subject, enabling soft, natural-looking bokeh so that photographers and movie shooters can capture images with softly blurred, super-creamy backgrounds that really make their subject stand out.

It utilizes an electromagnetic diaphragm for precise aperture control and stable exposure during continuous shooting, and offers a short 0.96ft (0.29m) minimum focusing distance, which should be excellent for capturing subjects such as food and top-down photos of décor and tablescapes.  

It also features quiet operation, natural focus shift that allows for fluid changes when going from close focusing to infinity, as well as reduced focus breathing and smooth aperture control for seamless 4K video shooting.  

Rob Harmon, Senior Commercial Lead, Nikon Northern Europe, says: “We are thrilled to welcome this versatile prime lens into the ever-growing Nikon Z system. This lens is a great value-for-money entry point into the world of Nikon Z. It’s so compact and lightweight that it’s ideal as a main walk-around lens or a lightweight second lens.” 

NIKKOR Z 40mm f/2 key details 

(Image credit: Nikon)

Nikon lists the key features of the Z 40mm f/2 as follows:

Bright f/2 standard prime lens: 40mm angle of view on Z series full-frame cameras. 60mm angle of view on a Z series DX-format camera.

True to life: the lens renders stills and movies with beautiful detail, depth, and colour.

Artful bokeh: putting subjects in sharp focus against beautiful, softly blurred backgrounds has never been easier.

Great up close: minimum focus distance of just 0.29m. Sharpness is superb, even up close.

Fast, silent autofocus: powered by an ultra-quiet stepping motor and enhanced by the additional light gathered by the Z mount, focusing is fast, accurate – and silent.

Made for video: videos won’t be ruined by focusing sounds. Focus breathing is dramatically reduced so you can adjust focus without affecting the shot's angle of view.

Pocketable: small enough to keep on the camera or slip into a coat pocket.

Adaptable: the silent control ring can be set to control focus, aperture, exposure compensation, or ISO.

Protected: sealed to protect from dust and water droplets.

Pre-order at BH Photo (USA)

Pre-order at Wex Photo (UK)

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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.