The Best Nikon Z Lenses for Prime Shooters

There are lots of photographers who love what Nikon does. And if you’re a fan of their cameras, then you’ll also be a fan of their Z lens lineup. Take what the F-mount has, make it smaller, faster, and more weather-resistant. Then you’ll have what you see in this buying guide. Check out the best Nikon Z lenses for prime shooters right here. And always remember: we’ve tested all of these!

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Pro Tips on Using the Best Nikon Z Lenses

Here are some pro tips on using the best Nikon Z Lenses and this buying guide:

  • We’ve tested all of these lenses that we’re mentioning in this buying guide. More importantly, there are links to our reviews in each section. Even better, we’ve also shot all the images you see in this roundup.
  • Nikon Z lenses are pretty small for what they are. They’re also lightweight and weather-resistant at least to some degree.
  • The best Nikon Z lenses that we’re choosing either really stand out from the rest or they’re great lens offerings for what they are. Some of these have won our Editor’s Choice award too.
  • Personally, we like using the best Nikon Z lenses with camera bodies that give really fast autofocus performance.
  • If we had to pick one lens that you should buy right now, it would be the Nikon 40mm listed in this buying guide of the best Nikon Z lenses for prime shooters.

Nikon Z 50mm f1.2 S

Pros

  • Excellent balance between sharp and sterile
  • Beautiful bokeh
  • Accurate colors
  • Weather-sealed
  • Digital lens info display

Cons

  • Long and heavy
  • Autofocus is slower than the competition.

How’s the Image Quality?

In our review, we state:

“I expected big things from the images shot with the Nikon 50mm f1.2 S — and I wasn’t disappointed. The lenses are really the best part of the Z series. The 50mm continued the trends that I’ve seen from other Z lenses with excellent sharpness and minimal aberrations.”

Who Should Buy It?

Portrait photographers surely need this lens! You can buy this lens over at Amazon.

Nikon Z 35mm f1.8

Pros

  • Robust weather sealing
  • Excellent sharpness
  • Compact and lightweight
  • The autofocus improved because the camera bodies got better.

Cons

  • More expensive than competing Full Frame 35mm f1.8 lenses, though it can be argued that it is the most feature-packed and the best.

How’s the Image Quality?

In our review, we state:

“35mm is a versatile focal length popular among many photographers, suitable for street, landscapes, portraits, and many other genres of photography, so it made a lot of sense for Nikon to introduce the Nikon NIKKOR Z 35mm f1.8 S as one of the first lenses for the Z Mount system. Overall, we found the image quality of the lens to be damn good. It’s sharp, has creamy bokeh, and doesn’t really give you an sort of issues when it comes to the image quality. Couple this with the lens being very compact and you’ve got a great product.”

Who Should Buy It?

Street photographers and general shooters should reach for this lens. You can buy this lens over at Amazon.

Nikon Z 40mm f2

Pros

  • Durable, incredibly so!
  • Beautiful image quality
  • I like the colors.
  • Autofocus is great, but the smarts on the cameras aren’t so much when it comes to subject detection. However, it’s solid in the studio
  • Nice bokeh
  • It’s a 40mm!
  • Bro, it’s $299.99. Like, this is THE IMPULSE BUY lens from Nikon.

Cons

  • Autofocus on the Nikon z6 II is much improved, but still falls behind other brands for stuff like street photography

How’s the Image Quality?

In our review, we state:

“Can you tell that the Nikon 40mm f2 Z isn’t an S series lens? Well, it’s kind of tough to do that. The S series lenses seem to have this extraordinary aesthetic beauty that I can’t really put my finger on. But so too does the Nikon 40mm f2 Z. With that said, the lens is still pretty clinically well developed.”

Who Should Buy It?

Anyone, it’s an impulse buy. You can buy this lens over at Amazon.

Nikon Z 85mm f1.8

Pros

  • Sharp image quality
  • Weather sealing
  • Smallish size
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • It’s held back by Nikon’s autofocusing abilities (or lack thereof), but they’ve gotten better.

How’s the Image Quality?

In our review, we state:

“The photographers who most likely will be springing for the Nikon Z 85mm f1.8 are portrait photographers. However, we also have to make an exception for those who like to take candids while feeling like they’re a fly on the wall. An 85mm lens does a great job with that. With this in mind, those photographers will surely care about the bokeh. And with nine aperture blades, the bokeh on the Nikon Z 85mm f1.8 is fantastic. It’s creamy and beautiful, in fact I haven’t seen boken I’ve liked this much from a Nikon lens since using the 105mm f1.4 prime. Photographers will also be happy with the sharpness, the color, and the fact that there are no technical problems with this lens.”

Who Should Buy It?

Portrait photographers will gobble this one up! You can buy this lens over at Amazon.

The Phoblographer’s various product round-up features are done in-house. Our philosophy is simple: you wouldn’t get a Wagyu beef steak review from a lifelong vegetarian. And you wouldn’t get photography advice from someone who doesn’t touch the product. We only recommend gear that we’ve fully reviewed. If you’re wondering why your favorite product didn’t make the cut, there’s a chance it’s on another list. If we haven’t reviewed it, we won’t recommend it. This method keeps our lists packed with industry-leading knowledge. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.