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Hands-on: Nikon 17-28mm f/2.8 review

Nikon took us by surprise with the announcement of this fast, wide lens – but we got out hands on it at The Photography Show

Nikon Z 17-28mm f/2.8
(Image: © Future)

Early Verdict

This wide-angle 17-28mm full-frame lens might not be as ultra-wide as Nikon's 14-24mm f/2.8, but if you can live without those extra 3mm you'll pick a lens that's just as fast at around half the price. We should be getting our hands on a production model towards the end of October and will bring you our full verdict then.

Pros

  • +

    Fast f/2.8 aperture

  • +

    Attractive price point

Cons

  • -

    17mm aperture not that wide

  • -

    Not an S-line lens

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 manual focus ring towards the back of the lens is far smaller than the zoom ring. (Image credit: Future)

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
Weight: 450g

At just 450g, the lens is ideal as a lightweight wide-angle travel zoom.  (Image credit: Future)

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.

Nikon Z 17-28mm f/2.8

The manual focus ring can be configured for a variety of other functions when the camera is in autofocus mode.  (Image credit: Future)

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Adam has been the editor of N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab) 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 (opens in new tab), so his wealth of photographic knowledge isn’t solely limited to the Big N.