Too Expensive and Not Fast Enough? Nikon Announces the 14-30mm f/4 Lens for the Z6 and Z7

Too Expensive and Not Fast Enough? Nikon Announces the 14-30mm f/4 Lens for the Z6 and Z7

Nikon has just announced a new lens for the Z6 and Z7 cameras: the NIKKOR 14-30mm f/4S. This lightweight, ultra-wide zoom is in line with the lens roadmap released by Nikon last year and shows a stark contrast with Canon’s approach to new glass for mirrorless bodies.

This is certainly a small lens: at a mere 3.5-inches long when retracted, and weighing in at only 1.07 lbs (485 g), Nikon is clearly tapping into the idea that mirrorless users appreciate smaller, lighter lenses, even if that means making a few compromises along the way. If the success of the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 for Sony’s mirrorless cameras is anything to go by, the market is happy to forego some “pro” aspects if it means affordability, a small size, and less weight to carry. This might be where Nikon is making a  mistake: at just $879, the Tamron 28-75mm is a lot of lens for very little money; the NIKKOR 14-30mm is still going to cost you well over a thousand dollars. As Jared Polin points out, pro shooters expect f/2.8, and f/4 should mean that the price reflects this. At a shade under $1300, many might wait for the price to drop before investing, preferring to stick with their existing glass via an adapter.

As Ted Forbes of Art of Photography notes, the lens does seem to offer excellent edge to edge sharpness, and landscape photographers have plenty to be excited about. They don’t need such fast glass, will appreciate the light weight, and will love the fact that this new lens will accept a filter on the front. Many lenses of this focal range have a bulbous front element, making filters somewhat awkward, and Nikon has worked hard to resolve this.

While Canon and Sigma seem to be busy creating huge, expensive lenses, Nikon seems to be of the opinion that early adopters would prefer affordability. With the exception of the NIKKOR Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct, Nikon’s releases this year are much more conservative: their primes are all going to be f/1.8 and Z6 and Z7 shooters won’t be able to complete their holy trinity (wide zoom, standard zoom, telephoto zoom) of f/2.8 until 2020.

Is Nikon choosing the right path here? It doesn’t create as much drama but it might make the Nikon Z line more accessible to those switching to mirrorless, especially given the dramatic improvements when it comes to shooting video. Your thoughts in the comments, please!

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81 Comments

Daniel Gomez's picture

Its like Nikon doesn't want us to buy their lenses and utilize them for astrophotography. I really don't understand any move they have made lately within mirrorless. Tamron is always much more affordable and the sharpness of their lenses paired with a very wide aperture always allows me to use them for many different types of photography including astro, where Nikon leaves me wanting more and for a much more reasonable price.

Michael Jin's picture

I think that astro is a small enough niche that you might have to wait. They don't even have a lot of general purpose "bread and butter" lenses available yet.

Rob Davis's picture

I guarantee you Nikon is not thinking about astrophotography.

Eric Salas's picture

“Too expensive and not fast enough” for a minute I thought you were telling the truth about the cameras they released and not just the lenses.

But then I realized we all know it’s both now anyways... Good reporting!

Nicolas KIEFFER's picture

nice childish reactions from surely the self claimed geniuses of the world.
Are you seriously adults ? or just childs trying to be the biggest bad ass guy in video games forums ?

user-7055's picture

Bloody hell Eric, any Nikon Z series postings you're straight on it with your sarcy comments. I like the Z series, I like the Fuji X series, I like the Sony A series, I'm not that keen on Canon but hey ho but that's as personal taste. I however don't pounce on reviews like you do, we know you are a Sony user , I'm a Nikon / Fuji user. I'm sorry I must be a complete "see you next Tuesday" for not being a Sony user and I can only apologise ( spelt correctly with an 's')

Eric Salas's picture

I like to make “sarcy” comments. If they weren’t true, I wouldn’t make them.

So far, all this “Holy New Mount”, Nikon “groundbreaking” (their words, not mine) technology has led to an expensive lens nobody will buy and this one... a lack luster excuse for a wide zoom. B&H already having sales including the Z6/7 indicates the main problem.

Nikon isn’t stupid and they clearly know what they’re doing. If people continue to be awestruck by tiny flickers of hope, they’ll throttle their technology like they have been for the past few years.

Happy shooting 🤙

Nikon philosophy with the z-mount seems to be: SUPER LARGE BIG GULP with tiny straw.

Spy Black's picture

I suspect in two years time Sony will be remembered for the Walkman...

Eric Salas's picture

“The Sony Walkman didn’t represent a breakthrough in technology so much as it did a breakthrough in imagination.“ - The History Channel

Can’t make that up so going along with your trolling, it has already happened.

Spy Black's picture

Trolling? I'm just being sarcy...

Although I´d be happy if the lens were at under thousand I can't follow your arguments. Mirrorless is for small and light and especially super wideangle for landscape which will be shot 90% at even smaller apertures isthe perfect reason for f 4.0. You have to carry less than 50% of a 2.8 lens, can use filters and have as the few samples show probably stunning sharpness and great color with good correction, not to speak of the reasonable cheaper price. For me this seems a great lens and perhaps for some reason enought to chose the Z system. What Nikon should do from my point of view is updating the roadmap with a stunnningly good 4.0/70-200 to accompany the 14-30 and 24-70.

Eric Salas's picture

Do you own a mirrorless camera ? Your argument about “small and light” doesn’t make sense to me because it omits the bigger and real reasons to go mirrorless.

Not to mention I shot a landscape this morning at 5am at Donner Pass at 2.8. The argument about only shooting landscapes at F/9+ is ridiculous.

A “stunningly good F4”... yea, you can keep that. Did you forget the lie of how the new mount will enable incredibly fast lenses ?

Michael Jin's picture

Im fine with the speed and price. I just wish it was wider on the wide end like 10mm or at least 12mm... Either that or commit the other way and make it a 14-35.

user-156929's picture

They're attempting to improve optics in the Z line. I think they stopped at 30mm in service to that goal.

Michael Jin's picture

I'm guessing that it's less an optical issue and more a size/weight issue.

user-156929's picture

I would agree with you but then we'd both be wrong! 😂

Michael Jin's picture

Whatever the case, I think by 2022/2023, the Z system is going to be an pretty exciting option for MILC shooters. It's just pretty rough going with the barebones array of native lenses right now. Hopefully, Nikon survives long enough to really show what they can do because I love me some NIKKOR glass (even if it's starting to get obscenely expensive).

user-156929's picture

I thought you switched to Sony!? I can't imagine switching from Nikon. Not because they're the best or anything but, the differences from any system to any other are so small, it wouldn't be worth the time or expense.

Michael Jin's picture

I'm currently using Sony because they have the most mature full frame MILC system at the moment, but I keep a close eye on Nikon developments because if I'm going to switch systems, it's likely going to be back to Nikon. I just want to see how the system matures before making a final decision. It also gives me a few years to save up. :)

I miss Nikon ergonomics and weathersealing. LOL

Rob Mitchell's picture

Actually, I'm lucky enough to have just got my filthy mitts on a 14-30mm to give feedback to Nikon.
I'll be trying out working situations next to it's fatso cousin. The 14-24 is by far my most used lens for aircraft / car interiors.
Dead curious!

Andy Day's picture

Looking forward to getting your thoughts. I'm really interested in seeing what they do with the 20mm f/1.8, especially given that I wrote this article last year: https://fstoppers.com/originals/lens-should-exist-never-will-268949

Lane Shurtleff's picture

Please detail Nikon's claim of minimal focus breathing. Since many in this comment section have nothing better to do than cry like babies that it doesn't do this, or doesn't do that for their own selfish needs (read- "I will never use this lens or ML Z body to do something, but I watched a YT video that someone else complained about, so I must whine too"). Many people complain about the f4 as being too slow (like that MORON FRO KNOWS nothing clown, but if these people used a ML camera they will realize that it's irrelevant. You're looking at a video screen so it can compensate for dim conditions.

Rob Mitchell's picture

As far as I can see so far, their claim is true. I'm not seeing any focus breathing on this sample lens.
It's not a final retail model, it's an internal test one, with permission granted to show that I'm using it, but images produced are for internal use, unfortunately.
So far, I'm Very impressed. I'll be shooting some tight vehicle interiors tomorrow and switching from this to the 14-24 to see how the compare.

Andy Day's picture

I should add: personally, I don't think $1300 is necessarily a lot of money for this lens. Rather, Tamron has set a pretty tough marker when it comes to prosumer lenses.

Rob Mitchell's picture

My biggest issue as full time photographer is that buying off-brand is a hit and miss affair when it comes to being bailed out in the event of equipment failure. Much less an issue if you're not relying on kit of course.

user-156929's picture

+10

Andy Day's picture

Yeah, absolutely, and that's a big difference when it comes to prosumer stuff. I think the rule that you get what you pay for is true for the vast majority of stuff in the world of photography.

YGWYPF is the most quoted and useless rhetoric. Provide examples, preferably quantified.

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