Nikon took us by surprise with the overnight announcement (opens in new tab) of its new fast, wide lens during The Photography Show. But we managed to get our hands on a pre-production sample the very next day during the show.
The Z 17-28mm f/2.8 is billed as a cheaper alternative to the company's top-of-the-range ultra-wide-angle Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S (opens in new tab), with the same fast f/2.8 aperture beloved of pros, but with a slightly less-wide 17mm minimum focal length as opposed to 14mm (but slightly longer 28mm at maximum zoom, compared to 24mm on the S-line lens).
The 17-28mm focal length also segues in nicely with Nikon's Z 28-75mm f/2.8 standard zoom – another relatively low-cost fast lens.
Not being an S-line lens means it's likely not to be as crazy-sharp as the 14-24mm, but should be plenty sharp enough for most of us, if it performs as well as other non-S-line Z-mount lenses that we've had through our labs. It's still fully weather-sealed, and has a short 0.19m minimum focus distance, which should allow interesting wide-angle close-ups.
Nikon Z 17-28mm specifications
Focal length: 17-28mm
Max aperture: f/2.8
Mount: Nikon Z full-frame
Filter thread: 67mm
Min focus distance: 0.19m
Aperture blades: 9
Autofocus motor: STM
Being a pre-production sample, we were unable to take test images, but peering though the electronic viewfinder revealed the 1.6x zoom range to be reasonably wide angle. Weighing in at just 450g, it feels remarkably light, and the the 67mm diameter filter thread is pretty modest for a wide-angle lens. The front element is fairly flat, so fitting filters isn't an issue (the 14-24mm lens requires specialist oversized filter holders, such as the one made by Lee Filters). The STM autofocus proved swift and silent too.
The lens is due to be available from 27 October 2022 with a retail price of $1199/£1199.