Yes! A true Nikon pancake lens is finally here. The Nikon Z 26mm f2.8 is perhaps an odd focal length to some. But that’s part of its charm. It’s not a 28mm lens or a 24mm lens; it’s right in between. More importantly, it’s insanely small. This is part of what the Nikon system really needs. Coupled with the 40mm f2, I think these could be the only lenses that some photographers would need to bring with them. We had a bit of time to play with it before the announcement, and here’s what we think.
Before going on, know that I only got to use the Nikon Z 26mm f2.8 on the Nikon Z9. I don’t think I’d really ever use it on that camera though. It makes more sense to use it on something like the Z7 or Z6 because they’re smaller and lighter cameras. If the Z8 or Zf come out like the reports are saying they will, this will be a fantastic pairing for them.
Editor’s Note: The Phoblographer found time to meet up with Nikon to test the pre-production lens beforehand. We chose the location, coordinated with talent, and used our own lights and accessories. Nikon paid for a meal we shared. The Phoblographer took care of the studio and talent. Nikon provided us with the camera and lenses to test. They were then immediately returned to Nikon. We believe this sort of information is incredibly important to be transparent about with our audience. We care about keeping your trust, and we’ll always be upfront about what’s happening.
Here’s a look at the Nikon Z 26mm f2.8 mated to the Nikon z9. You can’t tell from this photo, but the lens is very small. And in our build quality section, you’ll see just how small it is.
Here’s the lens hood attached to it. This hood curiously contains the filter holder.
And here’s a photo of just how small this lens really is. More on that in just a moment.
So here’s the great news: the Nikon Z 26mm f2.8 is very small. Above is a photo of my pinky finger next to the lens. As you can see, the lens is as thick as the first section of my pinky. What’s even more impressive is that Nikon gave it weather resistance. So honestly, I have almost no reason to complain about this lens, at least just yet. Sure, it’s plastic, but it’s still built well.
One curiosity here is that the lens itself can’t mount a filter. Instead, it will have to be mounted into the lens hood. This is fascinating. I mean, what happens if you lose the lens hood or the lens hood breaks? My understanding is that you won’t be able to mount a protection filter on it, but this is the best of the both worlds. I’ve become sick of modern lens hoods: they’re so huge. I opt for protection filters. This lens can do both easily. That’s not to say lens hoods can’t hold protection filters, but they do so in a more curious way.
I tested the Nikon Z 26mm f2.8 on the Nikon Z9, which could be one of the worst ergonomic decisions you could make because of how large the camera is. But in terms of autofocus performance, it’s the best Nikon has right now. And the lens performed admirably. I just hope the same AF performance comes to newer cameras.
Ease of Use
Slap the Nikon Z 26mm f2.8 on a camera, point, focus, and shoot. That’s all there is to it. This lens doesn’t have any other sort of controls on it. All you have to remember is to keep the lens hood safe.
A few statements before we get into this. We tested a pre-production variant of the Nikon Z 26mm f2.8. Every tester who’s had it is doing the same. Nikon also only allowed us to shoot JPEGs. So of these images in this section are straight out of the camera with either crops or a creative filter used. We state that clearly within the sections.
The Nikon Z 26mm f2.8 is sharp and effective for documentary-style work. You’re not going to do a ton of work requiring lots of bokeh. In fact, I wouldn’t really buy this lens for the bokeh. You’ll likely get it more for its small size and performance.
With Creative Filter
So far, I’m excited about the new Nikon Z 26mm f2.8. It’s small, lightweight, and a perfect pairing with the 40mm f2. Now, all I’m waiting for is the reported Nikon ZF. Once that’s here and it’s all I want it to be, I’ll gladly buy into the Nikon system.
Here’s the relevant part of the press release. This lens will cost $499.95.
The new NIKKOR Z 26mm f/2.8 is a super-thin wide angle prime for Z series mirrorless cameras, and it’s Nikon’s slimmest and lightest full-frame AF lens ever. Despite its small size, the lens packs a tremendous punch with superior sharpness and beautiful blurred backgrounds with a fast f/2.8 aperture. This is the first NIKKOR Z lens to be slender and light enough to be considered a true “pancake”, with a total length of less than one inch (23.5mm) and a weight of approximately 4.5oz (125g).
The new NIKKOR Z 26mm f/2.8 is so small and lightweight, it’s easy to take anywhere to capture photos and video with maximum impact. Whether shooting street photography, travel vlogs or landscape shots in a unique location, the NIKKOR Z 26mm f/2.8 has you covered as the perfect companion wherever the journey may lead.
Additional Features of the NIKKOR Z 26mm f/2.8
- The slimness and lightness are achieved thanks to the adoption of an All-element focusing system, as well as three aspherical lens elements.
- When mounted on a DX-format camera, the focal length becomes 39mm (equivalent), similar to a standard angle lens.
- A minimum focus distance of approx. eight inches (0.2m) lets users to get close to their subjects.
- Use of an STM motor enables a highly accurate AF drive.
- Functions such as aperture and exposure compensation can be assigned to the control ring.
- Includes a new lens cap and a lens hood that has been specially designed to be slim and work with 52mm filters (filters sold separately)
- The lens is fitted with a durable metal mount, and the body is designed carefully considering dust- and drip-resistant performance enabling it to be taken anywhere with greater confidence. .