Nikkor Z 28-75mm f/2.8: Fast, Compact And Affordable
The Nikon Z 28–75mm f/2.8 is a surprise package from the company in the crowded segment of standard zoom lenses. Shridhar Kunte reports.
Despite having two very similar lenses in its roster, like the Z 24–70mm f/4 S and the Z 24–70mm f/2.8 S, Nikon introduced another interesting option—an in-between lens that is the Nikon Z 28–75mm f/2.8 S, which is a stop faster than the Z 24–70mm f/4 S, and borrows state of the art features from the Z 24–70mm f/2.8 S. The only difference here is that the new lens starts at 28mm instead of 24mm.
It is constructed using 15 elements in 12 groups, One Super ED element and one extra-low dispersion element (to help control chromatic aberration), and three aspherical elements (to keep distortion and spherical aberrations low). The lens’ 9 blade aperture is rounded to produce engaging bokeh. It comes with a stepping motor to keep the focusing speed fast and silent, despite camera to subject distance. The lens has a minimum focusing distance of 19cm, a filter size of 67mm, and a zoom ratio of 2.6x.
At 28mm, the lens offer a magnification ratio of 1:2.9, which is handy when shooting macros at the wide end. It does not come with an option for Vibration Reduction, however, the VR function can be controlled from the camera body. The front element of the lens is coated with antifouling coating that takes care of smudges, fingerprints, and dirt. In addition to special weathersealing throughout the construction, there is a rubber gasket on the lens mount.
For testing purposes, I used the lens on the Nikon Z7; it is a well balanced combination. The lens weighs 565g; when you compare this with its counterparts in the FX mount, this is about two times less. The zoom ring is wide enough to grab and operate with the left hand, and turns with some resistance. It can hardly be operated with one finger, but the lens still shows a bit of zoom creep. On the other hand, the control ring, located closer to the camera, is really narrow. It has a knurled metal surface, moves smoothly, but is a bit stiffer than the earlier Z-Nikkors. During focusing, the front element stays still. This is a plus for circular polariser users.
The multi-function control ring of the Z 28–75mm f/2.8 can be assigned to operate the aperture (which is the default), exposure compensation, ISO sensitivity, or focus, or can be simply switched off. There is no dedicated manual focusing ring. The multifunction ring automatically falls back to its customary focus control when the camera is switched to manual focus. The lens lacks an AF/MF switch, a feature that both the 24–70mm zoom lenses have.
The lens is quick to focus on subjects at varying distances, and the motor is nearly inaudible when doing so. When used at the wide end, the image quality is excellent at the centre, but for better results, I preferred using the lens at f/4. The edges, however, are bit soft at the wide end of the lens. The corner sharpness is better even when used wide open, with 28mm and 75mm being better than 35mm and 50mm. There is a tad bit of light fall off till f/4 at the entire focal length, but from f/5.6 onwards it is not visible. There is a visible barrel distortion at 28mm. This is noticeable on linear subjects near the edge of the picture frame. From 50mm onwards, there is visible pincushion distortion. Both of this can be easily corrected in post-process.
The Nikon Z 28–75mm f/2.8 is suitable for a range of different subjects and genres, including street photography, landscapes, and environmental and full-length portraits. As mentioned, in its Z series lineup, Nikon has two other lens with similar focal range—the 24–70mm f/4 S kit zoom and the high-end Z 24–70mm f/2.8 S. The 28–75mm f/2.8 lens is wisely pitched between these two. There are also many similarities between the first generation Tamron 28–75mm f/2.8 and this Z mount lens. It’s small and light, and comes at a reasonable price of Rs. 89,995, which makes it a feasible option for those who can only dream of f/2.8 zooms or opting to buy a budget kit lens.
This article originally appeared in the March 2022 issue of Better Photography.
Optical speed of f/1.4
Virtually distortion free, excellent optical performance
Weather resistant design, robust metal design
Aperture ring, compact size
|Warranty & Support
Wide service network, two-year warranty
|VALUE FOR MONEY||3.5/5|
|Who should buy it?||Portrait, street and landscape photographers who love this combination of focal length and aperture.|
|Why?||The lens performs consistently well and allows for
a certain degree of versatility in picture-making.