NIKKOR Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 (SE) Review

NIKKOR Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 (SE) Review

NIKKOR Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 (SE) Review

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Great DX Lens

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The Nikon 28mm f/2.8 Special Edition (SC) lens is a very nice compact DX lens for use on a Nikon Z camera and works equally well on an FX Z camera but was made for the DX camera bodies such as the Nikon Zfc or Nikon Z50. A wonderful lens for the price point!

The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 SE lens was originally released as a kit lens for the DX crop Nikon Zfc Camera body, the lens is now available separately as a prime lens offering from Nikon.

I was pleasantly surprised when my Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 lens arrived, opened the box, and removed the lens. I was expecting a cheap-feeling plastic lens, although there is lots of plastic the lens felt well built and solid with a tiny bit of heft. of 5.7oz or 160g. My 28mm was part of the kit for the Nikon Zfc and wanted the Nikon Z 28mm as my starter lens for the camera.  I was pleasantly surprised with both the camera and lens.

The good and not so good: 

The optical performance of this lens is very good it is on par with other Nikon S lenses except this lens does not sport the fancy coatings the more expensive S lenses get and in most shooting situations you will not notice. I normally do not shoot in a harsh backlight or directly into the sun. I find all images are very sharp, with great contrast with good color reproduction. I took some shots and once home viewing them it was like I was still there as the near-perfect color and light matching made the image pop, 3d like.

With an f2/8 starting aperture, it is plenty fast enough for low light shooting indoors or outdoors, when it gets too dark drop on a Nikon Speedlight and you are all set.

Close focusing is another strong point for this lens, not a macro but you can get closer than most lenses with the Nikon 28mm SE, a close focusing distance of 0.63 feet (0.19 meters), NIKKOR Z 28mm f/2.8 (SE) rewards you for getting close to your subject.

Speaking of focus, the Nikon 28mm SE is very snappy from infinity to near focus, you will not be disappointed. Not to mention this is an Internal Focusing lens using Stepper Motors keeping the lens compact and near-silent operation - great for video work

Build Quality of the lens was surprisingly good, I was taken back by how well made the lens was and how solid it felt in my hands. When I use the lens I do not feel like I am being cheated due to its low price.

Weight - Nikon states you will forget the 28mm SE is even there and I agree, This lens is a pleasure to use and carry all day long. Its 28mm focal length which is a 42mm DX equivalent makes the lens a perfect daily shooter for everyday life, street, family, and group shots. I do not hesitate to grab this little lens over my older 28mm F mount with the FTZ. 

The lens offers manual focus override if you grab the front focus ring just like all other Nikon lens does and like other "electronic" lens this is a fly by wire lens meaning your input is translated and then sent back to the lens, there is no direct mechanical connection with the focus ring so manual focus input is not realtime, but fast enough.  The focus ring can be "re-programmed" to be an aperture ring or set to other functions within the Nikon Z camera menu. I leave mine in the default setting.

A few things I wished were on/in this lens:

The lens sports a plastic lens mount. At first, I thought that was a very bad thing but after using the lens and knowing just how light the lens is I now feel it really does not matter for a lens this light.

The lens does not have image stabilization built-in and neither does the Nikon Zfc making it totally up to you to keep the shutter speed high, use a Speedlight or use a tripod to get pin-sharp images as the light goes down.

The lens does not employ NANO or Flourine coatings or any of Nikon's newer coatings - so in harsh lighting, you may have some image degradation. Knowing this shortfall I simply avoid those shooting situations.

Summary: The lens is a keeper and will be with me for a long time! I recommend this lens for any Nikon Z shooter who has a DX camera body and suggest the FX shooters give it a try as well. Would I buy it again? Yes!

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