Hands-on with the Z Nikkor 28mm F2.8 Special Edition

Nikon has just announced the NIKKOR Z 28mm F2.8 (SE) lens. The ‘SE’ in the name stands for Special Edition, as this is a re-styled version of the 28mm lens that’s already been announced, though not yet released, and has been on Nikon’s roadmap for a while now.

This Special Edition 28mm F2.8 is styled primarily to match the new Nikon Z fc mirrorless camera (check out our hand-on article dedicated to the camera), and although that camera comes with an APS-C sized sensor, the 28mm F2.8 lens is actually designed to cover full-frame sensors image circle. This means that the lens will function just fine on the Z fc, though you’ll get a similar field of view to that of a 42mm lens (full-frame equiv.).

Nikkor Z 28mm F2.8 Special Edition

Mounted on the Z fc, you see that the two make for an attractive combination (though it doesn’t look out of place on Nikon’s other Z cameras, as we’ll see shortly). As well as being unabashedly aimed at the style-conscious consumer, the lens and camera are both designed to be as lightweight as possible and thus to keep with you.

That doesn’t mean the 28mm F2.8 is light on glass, though, with nine elements in eight groups, including two aspherical elements. When the lens is stopped down, the seven aperture blades are visible through the front element, and you can see the 52mm filter thread here as well.

Nikkor Z 28mm F2.8 Special Edition

Around the back, we see a plastic lens mount and a rather large rear element that will sit close to the sensor. At 160g (5.7oz), Nikon is calling this the lightest FX (full-frame) lens they’ve ever produced, and the plastic mount likely contributes to this. Nikon claims that the lens is sealed with consideration to dust and drip resistance, but there is no gasket seal to be found around the mount.

Autofocus on the 28mm F2.8 is taken care of internally, with two stepping motors. AF speed is quick though not instantaneous, and should be more than a match for the types of photography a 28mm lens would inspire.

Nikkor Z 28mm F2.8 Special Edition

The Z 28mm F2.8 (SE) is light on external controls; at the end of the barrel is a nicely damped customizable control ring, styled like the company’s Ai-s manual focus lenses, allowing for control over manual focus, aperture, exposure compensation or ISO value. You’ll have to switch between autofocus and manual focus via the camera. You can also see that the lens focuses down to 0.19m (7.5″) from the focal plane for 0.2x maximum reproduction ratio.

Nikkor Z 28mm F2.8 Special Edition

Mounted onto the full-frame Z5, you’ll basically forget the 28mm F2.8 is even there and makes for a lightweight overall kit. Optically, Nikon says the lens should stand up to even the 47MP resolution of the Z7 II, which we’ll be looking into as we get working on a sample gallery in the coming days.

The Z 28mm F2.8 (SE) will be available as a kit with the Z fc camera in late July 2021 for a suggested retail price of $1199, and will sell separately starting in fall of 2021 for $299.

And that wraps up our tour of the NIKKOR Z 28mm F2.8 Special Edition. Let us know what you make of it in the comments.

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