Top 10 Nikon Z lenses - as bought last year!

Top 10 Nikon Z lenses - woman using Nikon Z30
(Image credit: Nikon)

If you're a keen photographer or budding filmmaker that loves shooting video from 4K to 8K, as well as stills the best Nikon cameras might have tempted you over to the system with the impressive flagship model, the Nikon Z9 with its 45MP sensor and cinematic 8K video capabilities and its lightening-fast 120fps.

While cameras certainly help to produce most of the 'work' when capturing your next commission or video masterpiece, we all know that lenses can be used to make a great difference in the way your images or videos look.

So what do Nikon photographers actually buy? New York photo megastore B&H Photo Video has shared with us this list of the ten most popular Nikon lenses it sold in 2022.

These range from the best Nikon telephoto lenses to some of the best Nikon Z lenses for every budget, so If you're looking to match optical performance with your Nikon Z7 II, or you want to have a 'do-it-all' lens for your Nikon Z5 each lens on this list is perfect for your budget and need, so scroll down and see what other customers are buying, and why maybe you should too. 

(Image credit: Future)

1. Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S

We love Nikon's ultra-wide 'trinity' lens for its spectacular performance – if only it wasn't so BIG!

Mount: Z FX | Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor) | Stabilizer: None | Min focus distance: 0.28m | Max magnification: 0.13x | Filter thread: 112mm (plus rear filter slot) | Dimensions (WxL): 88x124.5mm | Weight: 650g

Uncompromising optics and coatings
Fast constant aperture
Fully weather sealed
Twice the price of Z 14-30mm f/4 S...
... and significantly heavier and longer

The Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S is the widest member of a holy trinity of S-line zooms with f/2.8 constant apertures. A very obvious attempt to lure pros to the Z mount, it has to provide exceptional image quality to meet these exacting standards, and it does deliver on that front. The 16-element construction includes 3 aspherical elements, as well as Nikon's Nano Crystal and ARNEO Coat that reduce ghosting and flare. The front element also has a smear-resistant fluorine coating. The lens is fully weather sealed, and like the 14-30mm, it comes with an included lens hood that enabled filters to be used, though they do need to be huge 112mm filters. Nikon offers its own Neutral Colour and Circular Polarizer filters in this size if you're struggling to find any. 

Read our full Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S review 

(Image credit: Future)

2. Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S

The second of Nikon's 'trinity' lenses is a pro favorite, but we do find it pretty big on a Z body

Mount: Z FX | Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor) | Stabilizer: No (in-body) | Min focus distance: 0.38m | Max magnification ratio: 0.22x | Filter thread: 82mm | Dimensions (WxL): 89x126mm | Weight: 805g

Exceptional optical performance
Data panel
Bigger and heavier than f/4 lens

We’d still recommend the Nikkor 24-70mm f/4 lens (above) for enthusiasts and travel photographers purely for its size and affordability, but for professionals and experts, the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is a no-brainer. It’s a top-quality professional lens at the leading edge of optical performance. 

The smaller lens is already so well corrected for color fringing and distortion that it left little room for improvement, but the 24-70mm f/2.8 is even sharper in the centre, far sharper at the edges, and delivers not just higher levels of resolution overall, but amazing consistency across the focal length and aperture range. The only thing is if you want the best you have to pay for it, both in financial cost and weight.

Read our full Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S review 

(Image credit: Nikon)

3. Nikon Z 40mm f/2

Small but highly capable, the Nikon Z 40mm f/2 is an excellent everyday prime lens

Mount: Z | Stabilizer: No | Min focus distance: 0.29 | Max magnification: 0.17x | Filter thread: 52mm | Dimensions (WxL): 70x46mm | Weight: 170g

Compact and lightweight
Fairly fast f/2 aperture
Sharp and silent
No genuine lens hood available
No optical image stabilization
No auto/manual focus mode switch

A little lens with a big heart, the Z 40mm is a truly versatile prime with a focal length and viewing angle that work really well for street photography, portraiture, architectural shooting, and more besides. 

It feels right at home on both FX (full-frame) and DX (APS-C) mirrorless bodies and boasts a good turn of speed in both its autofocus performance and f/2 aperture rating. The lack of a lens hood, even as an optional extra, is disappointing but overall, the Z 40mm is a strong performer and a steal at the price.

Read our full Nikon Z 40mm f/2 review 

(Image credit: Future)

4. Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR

We're not mad on superzooms because of their size and optical compromises – but this is a good one

Mount: Z FX | Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor) | Stabilizer: 4.5-stops | Min focus distance: 0.5-0.7m | Max magnification: 0.28x | Filter thread: 67mm | Dimensions (WxL): 77x114mm | Weight: 570g

Huge zoom range
Effectively replaces two zoom lenses
Typically narrow maximum aperture at the long end of the zoom range

Ideal for the long or short haul, this ‘superzoom’ lens gives you everything from great wide-angle coverage to powerful telephoto reach, at the flick of a wrist. It’s impressively compact and lightweight for a full-frame compatible superzoom, measuring 114mm in length and tipping the scales at just 570g. That’s pretty remarkable, considering it can replace separate dual 24-70mm and 70-200mm zoom lenses, albeit with a more restrictive aperture rating of f/6.3 at the longest setting. 

Travel-friendly credentials include weather seals and a fluorine coating on the front element to repel moisture and grease, as well as an anti-glare ARNEO Coat for when (or if) the sun comes out. It also boasts a 4.5-stop optical stabilizer which works in conjunction with the in-body stabilizers of the Z5, Z6, and Z7, and is even more desirable in the Z50 which has no IBIS. On the latter, you gain in telephoto reach what you lose in wide-angle ability, the ‘effective’ zoom range equating to 36-300mm in full-frame terms.

Read our full Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR review for more details

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)

5. Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S

It's surprising how often a little extra focal range is worth more than an ultra-fast aperture

Mount: Z FX | Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor) | Stabilizer: No (in-body) | Min focus distance: 0.35m | Max magnification ratio: 0.39x | Filter thread: 77mm | Dimensions (WxL): 84x118mm | Weight: 630g

Impressive image quality
Versatile 5x zoom range
Customizable L-fn button/control ring
Bigger & heavier than Z 24-70mm f/4 S
Slower aperture than Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S

Building on bygone popularity, the Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S is a mirrorless version of a somewhat classic 5x standard zoom for F-mount DSLRs. It makes the most of optical enhancements afforded by the Z system’s larger mount circumference and closer proximity to the image sensor. The net result is enhanced sharpness and all-around image quality, across the whole frame and throughout the entire zoom range, along with a reasonably compact and lightweight build. However, the lack of VR makes it less ideal for DX-format mirrorless cameras like the Z 50 and Z fc.

Read our full Nikkor Z 24-120mm f/4 S review for more details

(Image credit: Future)

6. Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S

Every pro needs a 70-200mm f/2.8 in their kit bag – though we needed a bigger bag for this one

Mount: Z FX | Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor) | Stabilizer: Yes | Min focus distance: 0.5-1.0m | Max magnification ratio: 0.2x | Filter thread: 77mm | Dimensions (WxL): 89x220mm | Weight: 1,360g

Stunning image quality
Superb handling characteristics
Super-fast autofocus
Highly effective optical stabilization
Expensive to buy, but well worth the outlay

Nikon’s top quality f/2.8 telephoto zoom for its full-frame mirrorless cameras sets new standards for image quality and all-around performance. It’s a fabulous lens that delivers spectacular performance in every respect. The autofocus system is super-fast and unerringly accurate, while lens-shift VR delivers 5-stop effectiveness right out to the longest focal length. 

Throughout most of the zoom range, levels of sharpness are absolutely stunning, right across the entire image frame and into the extreme corners, even when shooting wide-open at f/2.8. Of course, all this doesn't come cheap, but the price is certainly justified.

Read our full Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S review for more details

(Image credit: Matthew Richards)

7. Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S

Nikon's first Z-mount super-tele zoom lens

Mount: Z FX | Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor) | Stabilizer: Yes | Min focus distance: 0.75-0.98m | Max magnification ratio: 0.38x | Filter thread: 77mm | Dimensions (WxL): 98x222mm | Weight: 1,355g

Superb image quality
Fast autofocus and 5.5-stop VR
Compatible with Z tele-converters
Large, weighty construction
Stiff hood with our review sample
Pricey to buy

It’s been a long wait, but the Z 100-400mm VR S finally brings a super-telephoto lens to Nikon’s Z-mount stable. And it’s certainly been worth the wait. This is a fabulous lens that combines rapid autofocus and highly effective 5.5-stop VR with superb image quality.

 All-round performance is top-drawer, while handling is enhanced by customizable function buttons and an additional ‘de-clicked’ control ring, along with a multi-function OLED display. It’s a weighty lens with a hefty price tag, but a worthy Z-mount successor to the aging Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR lens, launched back in 2013 with DSLRs in mind.

Read our full Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S review for more details

Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S

(Image credit: Digital Camera World)

8. Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S

We like this as a good 'nifty fifty' for full frame Nikon Z cameras, but it's a great portrait lens on the DX models too

Mount: Nikon Z FX | Elements/groups: 12/9 | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor) | Stabilizer: None | Minimum focus distance: 0.4m | Filter thread: 62mm | Dimensions (WxL): 76x87mm | Weight: 415g

Razor-sharp image quality
Dreamy bokeh for a 50mm f/1.8 lens
Quite pricey for a 50mm f/1.8 prime
No focus distance scale

50mm f/1.8 lenses are often regarded as the poor relations of f/1.4 standard primes. But despite its modest aperture rating, this Z-mount lens delivers sumptuous image quality, with amazing levels of sharpness across the whole image frame and negligible distortion or color fringing. 

The f/1.8 aperture also enables a reasonably compact and lightweight build, in keeping with slim-line mirrorless camera bodies. Even more impressively, the quality of the bokeh is remarkably good for a 50mm f/1.8 lens, with a particularly smooth rendition of defocused areas. Autofocus is very fast and virtually silent, and the lens is well-built with a weather-sealed construction. It’s pretty pricey for a 50mm f/1.8 prime but well worth the money.

Read our full Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S review 

(Image credit: Future)

9. Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S

Great for portraiture and still life with Z-mount cameras... but what we really want is an f/1.4 version

Mount: Nikon Z FX | Elements/groups: 12/8 | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor) | Stabilizer: None | Minimum focus distance: 0.8m | Maximum magnification: 0.12x | Filter thread: 67mm | Dimensions (WxL): 73x99mm | Weight: 470g

Super-sharp with beautiful bokeh
Works well with in-camera stabilization
Depth of field isn’t quite as tight as with an 85mm f/1.4 lens

Only a little larger and heavier than Nikon’s Z 50mm f/1.8 S lens, this 85mm optic is better suited to portraiture on full-frame cameras. The focal length is ideal for head-and-shoulders and half-length shots from a natural shooting distance. 85mm f/1.4 lenses are often preferred for their tighter depth of field, which can blur the background a little more effectively and make the main subject really stand out. 

Based on our tests, however, the bokeh (pictorial quality of defocused areas) produced by this lens is easily on par with f/1.4 lenses, and better than some. As with other Z-mount f/1.8 S-line primes, the build quality is very good and features weather seals. A drawback of unstabilized 85mm telephoto lenses is that camera shake can degrade sharpness in handheld shooting, but the in-body stabilization of Z5, Z6, and Z7 cameras helps to deliver consistently sharp shots.

Read our full Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S review 

(Image credit: Future)

10. Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S

This pro spec Nikkor Z macro lens has performance to match and the results we got are outstanding

Mount: Nikon Z | Elements/groups: 16/11 | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Stepping motor | Stabilizer: Yes | Minimum focus distance: 0.29m | Maximum magnification: 1.0x | Filter thread: 62mm | Dimensions (WxL): 85x140mm | Weight: 630g

Spectacular all-round performance
Pro-grade build and handling
4.5-stop optical VR
50% more expensive than 50mm macro

The Nikkor Z MC 105mm is something special. Sublime image quality for both general shooting and extreme close-ups is backed up by a super-fast and highly accurate autofocus system, along with highly effective optical VR (Vibration Reduction) that can work in tandem with the in-body stabilizers of Nikon’s full-frame Z-series cameras. 

Handling exotica includes a multi-function OLED display, a customizable Lens-function button and control ring, plus an autofocus range limiter, along with an electronically coupled focus ring that enables ultra-fine adjustments. Everything’s wrapped up in a tough, weather-sealed construction. Image quality, all-round performance, and handling are simply sensational.

Read our full Nikkor Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S review 

As you can see from the list above it features a vast array of focal lengths, some of them being the best-known Nikon standard zoom lenses, and further which are perfect if you're looking for the best lens for portraits or looking for the best Nikon telephoto lenses for sports or bird photography.

Hopefully, this list would have helped you in some way to make your purchase of some of the best Nikon lenses on the market today. If this has been of interest why not take a look at what we think are the best cameras for sports photography, best cameras for wildlife or if filmmaking is how you make your bread and butter, why not take a look at the best 6K and 8K cameras.

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Sebastian Oakley
Ecommerce Editor

For nearly two decades Sebastian's work has been published internationally. Originally specializing in Equestrianism, his visuals have been used by the leading names in the equestrian industry such as The Fédération Equestre Internationale (FEI), The Jockey Club, Horse & Hound, and many more for various advertising campaigns, books, and pre/post-event highlights.

He is a Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, holds a Foundation Degree in Equitation Science, and is a Master of Arts in Publishing.  He is a member of Nikon NPS and has been a Nikon user since the film days using a Nikon F5 and saw the digital transition with Nikon's D series cameras and is still to this day the youngest member to be elected into BEWA, The British Equestrian Writers' Association. 

He is familiar with and shows great interest in street, medium, and large format photography with products by Leica, Phase One, Hasselblad, Alpa, and Sinar. Sebastian has also used many cinema cameras from the likes of Sony, RED, ARRI, and everything in between. He now spends his spare time using his trusted Leica M-E or Leica M2 shooting Street photography or general life as he sees it, usually in Black and White.