While in Las Vegas for WPPI this year, we got the exclusive opportunity to spend some hands-on time photographing with Nikon’s brand new Nikkor Z 14-30 f4 S prototype lens. Designed for Nikon’s mirrorless Z Mount, the Nikkor Z 14-30 f4 S is a compact, lightweight, ultra-wide-angle lens with a maximum constant aperture of f4 throughout the zoom range. It features built-in filter threads up front, allowing photographers to attach lens filters without the need to rely on expensive and often clunky, third-party filter systems. With a lens design consisting of 14 elements in 12 groups, the Nikkor Z 14-30 f4 S includes 4 ED glass and 4 aspherical lens elements to take full advantage of the high resolving power of the Nikon Z7, while the Nano Crystal Coated elements help reduce ghosting and flaring when compositions include light sources within the frame. The front lens element is also fluorine-coated, making it water and oil repellent.
We tested the Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30 f4 S with a Nikon Z7.
Tech specs for the Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30 f4 S lens are taken from the official Nikon marketing pamphlet
Lens Construction: 14 elements in 12 groups (4 ED glass and 4 aspherical lens elements, elements with Nano Crystal Coat, and fluorine-coated front lens element)
Minimum Focus Distance: 0.28 m/0.92 ft
Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 0.16x
Filter-Attachment Size: 82 mm
Weight: Approximately 485 g
Accessories: LC-82B 82 mm snap-on Front Lens Cap (Supplied), LF-N1 Rear Lens Cap (Supplied), HB-86 Bayonet Hood (Supplied), CL-C1 Lens Case (Supplied), 82 mm Screw-On Filters (82 mm Neutral Color NC Filter/82 mm Circular Polarizing Filter II) (Optional)
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: US$1299
Shipping: Spring 2019
The Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f4 S is a compact, ultra-wide-angle zoom lens for Nikon’s mirrorless Z Mount, constructed from a mixture of metals and plastics. As seen in the image above, the lens is very compact when the lens barrel is retracted in the “off position”. Etched onto the top of the outer lens barrel are the zoom range (14-30mm), maximum constant aperture (f4), along with the alignment dot with which to mount the lens onto a Nikon Z6 or Z7 camera body. A large, rubberized Zoom Ring dominates the front of the outer lens barrel, allowing you to adjust the lens’s focal length. You’ll need to rotate the Zoom Ring into the “on position” in order to extend the inner lens barrel before you can start shooting with the lens. A smaller Customizable Control Ring is located just between the Zoom Ring and the zoom range markings and is set to manual focusing by default.
Here’s the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f4 S when the inner lens barrel has been extended into the “on position” at 14mm.
The inner lens barrel of the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f4 S retracts as you increase in focal length (seen in the above image set to 30mm). At least, that’s what we’d call it.
Moving towards the front of the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f4 S, you can see the threaded filter thread surrounds the front element which supports 82mm filters. This eliminates the need for pricey, third-party filter systems that many ultra-wide-angle lenses require for shooting long exposures images.
While the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f4 S that we got to shoot with was a pre-production prototype, the build quality felt identical to the other Nikon Z mount lenses we’ve used thus far. We weren’t allowed to remove the lens from the Nikon Z7 that it was mounted to, so we can’t confirm whether or not the lens features any weather sealing at the mount. Please stay tuned for our upcoming full review once production models of the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f4 S are available for testing.
Ease of Use
We got to shoot with the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f4 S for just shy of 20 minutes, and need to remind everyone that the unit Nikon had graciously provided to us was a pre-production prototype. With that in mind, the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f4 S was very straightforward to shoot with and felt like a wider version of the 24-70mm f4 S that was announced in conjunction with the Nikon Z6 and Z7.
While we only got to spend a brief time shooting with the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f4 S, autofocus performance was accurate and swift. The subjects we photographed were nearly all stationary and well lit under a cloudless Las Vegas sky, however, so we will need to test the production version of the lens more thoroughly before we can render a comprehensive verdict on the lens’ autofocus performance.
All sample images seen within this First Impressions article are straight out of camera JPGs captured using an early pre-production prototyope Nikkor Z 14-30mm f4 S mated to a Nikon Z7. As a matter of ethics, none of the sample images have been retouched so that you may judge the quality of the images for yourself.
With the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f4 S, Nikon has created a lightweight and compact ultra-wide-angle lens that landscape and architectural photographers will surely want to add to their arsenal. Incorporating front filter threads was a brilliant move on Nikon’s part, effectively eliminating the need to rely on third-party filter systems that are often cumbersome to use and as expensive, if not more so, than the lens itself. While we only got to spend a brief time shooting with the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f4 S, images appear to be sharp and distortion free throughout the focal range. We look forward to reviewing the final production lens comprehensively once review units are available, please stay tuned for our upcoming full review. The Nikkor Z 14-30mm f4 S will begin shipping this Spring for a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price of US$1,299.