I never thought that I’d say this, but some of the best lenses for the Nikon Zf aren’t made by Nikon. They’re made by Tamron and Sony. While we’re reviewing the Nikon Zf, we’ve found that the lenses we received from Nikon weren’t always the best for autofocusing. To clarify that statement, Nikon sent us the 40mm f2 and the 24-70mm f4 — and while I adore the 40mm f2, it’s not the best for autofocusing. However, we’ve got the Megadap ETZ21 Pro around the office, which adapts Sony E mount lenses to Nikon Z bodies. And the results were really incredible to us.
We used the Sony Zeiss 55mm f1.8, the Sony 35mm f1.8 FE, and the Zeiss Loxia 35mm f2 — which are all lenses we own. When I say that putting Sony’s own lenses on the Nikon Zf is a night-and-day experience, I’m truly not joking.
First off, the Zeiss Loxia 35mm f2 has problems on Sony cameras that we’ve reported about previously. But that problem doesn’t happen when it’s adapted to the Nikon Zf. It almost makes me feel like Zeiss could get new life by upgrading the build quality of the Loxia lenses and making them for the Nikon Z mount. And since this is a manual focus lens, it’s so perfect for street photography for several reasons.
- It’s a Zeiss lens, and the image quality is incredible.
- It’s manual focus, so I set the lens to focus 6 feet away at f5.6. Because of zone focusing, this gave me quite a bit of space to work with.
- The Nikon Zf has incredibly clean image quality, even at ISO 51,200.
- The camera can shoot seven frames a second
Couple all of these together, and it’s a perfect combination for street photography. Using the Megadap ETZ21 Pro to shoot with the Zeiss 35mm f2 on the Nikon Zf is the single most pleasing experience I’ve had so far during my review process. It was almost like shooting with a Leica M — but this is a Nikon Z body with incredible ergonomics. During my outing with this camera and lens combo, I’ve gotten some of my favorite photographs to date with the camera.
But then we just had to test the autofocusing abilities. With Nikon’s own lenses, the autofocus of the Nikon Zf isn’t anything worth talking about for street photography. They work well enough for many situations, but the combo of the 40mm f2 and the Nikon Zf can’t keep up with fast-moving subjects. However, I felt the Sony 35mm f1.8 FE autofocused much faster than the Nikon 40mm f2 on the Nikon Zf body.
More importantly, it could track people of color with darker skin, even in low light. However, it wasn’t in the darkest situations that we’ve encountered. This is where I was incredibly surprised because Sony’s own cameras are pretty bad at this.
Crazy, right? Well, not really. The 35mm f1.8 is a much more expensive lens than the 40mm f2. I could kind of expect this to happen. Tamron’s Z mount lenses also focused faster than the three Nikon lenses we have right now.
This makes us wonder how the Nikon Zf will work with Nikon’s own 35mm f1.8 — and I’d assume that it’s good, but not as good as Sony’s. I hope that Nikon’s autofocus improves for their smaller primes as they pair perfectly with the Nikon Zf’s retro and smaller camera body. And just think, I wouldn’t have even knew that this would happen if it weren’t for the Megadap ETZ21 Pro.
There’s no clear word on weather resistance when using the adapter though, so I’d be careful in inclement weather.