Best Z Lens For Video

Carole Stephens
• Monday, 18 January, 2021
• 8 min read

The Nikon Z6 (Amazon, B&H) has a new lens mount, the Z -mount, and this means new native lenses. In this mega-article, let’s go over the most useful lens options for the Nikon Z6, specifically for video and cinematography.

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A “native” lens is one specifically designed for the Nikon Z -mount system, and which allow the following: Electronic metadata like iris, focal length, distortion, fall-off, focus, etc.

If you’re into vlogging or travel videos, or some challenging wedding or corporate work then maybe it will be fine. To be honest though, even though the lenses seem fine as far as image quality is concerned (the 50 mm f/1.8 S I have is stellar) I can’t seriously recommend them for professional video shooting or cinematography.

To make matters worse, as you can see from the roadmap above, it’s going to be sometime before they give you a full kit enough to handle different video situations, so you’ll have to complement them with third-party lenses. With the optional Mount Adapter FT, the F-Mount NIKKI lenses you love* retain all of their sharpness plus gain the benefits of in-camera VR, silent shooting, smooth, fast Hybrid AF and more.

I’m going to divide the options into the following categories, and you can pick whichever you like: The key here is to use manual lenses, simply because the autofocus is not very practical even for basic level motion.

Tip: If you can’t live without autofocus, stick to Nikki Z lenses as listed above. You can’t get any kind of muscle memory going, and you’re totally dependent on the lens for the job.

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The single greatest advantage prime lenses have in general is they can open wider than zooms. This makes it a great option for low light cinematography.

And there’s really no excuse for not having at least one prime because they also tend to be cheap without sacrificing quality. Even though the Nikon Z6 (Amazon, B&H) has a crop factor of 1.1 via HDMI in 10-bit mode, I wouldn’t take that into account because it’s a very small difference.

Here’s information on each mount, in increasing order of the focal flange distance: Multifocal Flange Distance in mm Z Nikon Z -mount16 C C-Mount17.526 EF-M Canon EF-M mount18 E Sony E-mount18 FM Sony18 MFT Micro Four Thirds mount19.25 RF Canon RF-mount20 L Lacey L-mount20 M Lacey M mount27.8 FT Four Thirds mount38.67 FD Canon Manual FD mount42 EF Canon EOS EF mount44 EF-S Canon EOS EF-S mount44 LPL APRI LPL-mount44 A Minolta/Sony A-mount44.5 K Pentax K-mount45.46 F Nikon F-mount46.5 R Lacey R-mount47 PL APRI PL mount52Third-party lenses come to their own lens mounts.

It connects two mounts that naturally don’t fit together, and It makes up for the flange focal distance. Optional: Provides contacts that allow you to control aperture, zoom, focus, etc., from the camera itself, like the FT adapter (Amazon, B&H).

So you can pretty much adapt any lens designed for full frame to the Nikon Z mount. Which makes it really hard to give a recommendation because people pick lenses for a multitude of reasons.

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Personal taste and aesthetics factor big time in any decision. However, it is hard to argue against this next list in terms of performance and value for money.

I like Lacey R primes, but they are hard to find or recommend for everybody, and the price is high. If I’m recommending a lens, it should be available to purchase for most people worldwide, must be serviceable, and must offer tremendous value for money without sacrificing quality.

The other option you might want to look at is Mass Miles in the Nikon mount. Even though these are stellar lenses, on the whole they offer similar image quality to the Sigma line, but at higher prices.

There are really great full frame lenses, like the APRI Signature Primes or the Lacey Thalia, but these are rental items, hardly available for purchase for us “regular folk”. More practically, you could either go with Mass CP.3 primes or better yet, with Sigma Cine lenses in the PL mount.

For more names, check out my APRI Alexa OF review. The major disadvantage of the Toking lenses are they are extremely heavy.

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How many people would go for such a heavy lens with a camera like the Nikon Z6 (Amazon, B&H)? Full frame zoom lenses are hard to find.

To be honest, these are not lenses a Nikon Z6 owner is likely to purchase (except the Toking), as they are way too expensive. Part of Nikon's mission was to use the technical advantages of the new Z mount to produce a new wave of optically bold and brilliant lenses, and it seems to have worked.

The net result is greater freedom in the design of high-performance lenses and, sure enough, every Nikki Z -mount lens that we’ve seen so far has been an absolute cracker. For the most part, Nikon has followed suit with its Z -mount lenses, giving them modest aperture ratings of f/1.8 for the majority of primes (the specialist Nikki Z 58 mm f/0.95 S Not is a notable exception) and f/4 for zooms.

Mount: Z FX | Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor) | Stabilizer: Yes | Min focus distance: 0.5-1.0 m | Max magnification ratio: 0.2x | Filter thread: 77 mm | Dimensions (AXL): 89×220mm | Weight: 1,360g The autofocus system is super-fast and unerringly accurate, while lens -shift VR delivers 5-stop effectiveness right out to the longest focal length.

Ultra-wide lenses are epic for exaggerating the perspective between nearby objects and distant backgrounds, as well as for simply shoehorning more of a scene into the image frame. This one comes with all the usual attractions of Z -mount S-line lenses, including a customizable control ring and a rapid yet virtually silent stepping motor autofocus system.

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Typical of Z -mount Nickers, the lens relies on the in-body stabilizers of Z5, Z6 and Z7 cameras as a steadying aid, as well as omitting a physical focus distance scale. Getting back to the plus points, image quality and overall performance are easily up to usual S-line standards, with superb corner-to-corner sharpness, especially for such a wide-angle lens.

Ideal for the long or short haul, this ‘super zoom’ lens gives you everything from great wide-angle coverage to powerful telephoto reach, at the flick of a wrist. That’s pretty remarkable, considering it can replace separate dual 24-70 mm and 70-200 mm zoom lenses, albeit with a more restrictive aperture rating of f/6.3 at the longest setting.

Completing the holy trinity of fast f/2.8 S-line zooms, it slots in neatly next to the Nikki Z 24-70 mm f/2.8 S and promises uncompromising wide-angle image quality. The 16-element optical stack includes 3 aspherical elements, along with Nikon’s NATO Crystal and ARNO Coat for reducing ghosting and flare.

When you want a wider viewing angle than your 24-70 mm zoom can deliver, this is the ideal prime lens for Z5, Z6 and Z7 cameras. Image quality is up to the typically terrific standard of Z -mount Nikki S-line lenses, and you can enjoy similarly refined handling, virtually silent autofocus, and negligible focus breathing.

The wide viewing angle and fast aperture combine to give great versatility for everything from cramped interiors to rolling landscapes and beyond, taking in heavenly skies at night. It’s pretty pricey, costing about the same as Nikon’s Z 14-30 mm f/4 S zoom, but the sheer quality and performance makes the 20 mm well worth the money.

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Mount: Z FX | Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor) | Stabilizer: No (in body) | Min focus distance: 0.25 m | Max magnification: 0.15x | Filter thread: 72 mm | Dimensions (AXL): 78×97mm | Weight: 450g Nikon’s brace of Z -mount 24-70 mm zoom lenses for its full-frame mirrorless cameras perform so well that you’d be forgiven for wondering why there’s a need for a 24 mm prime as well.

Mount: Z FX | Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor) | Stabilizer: No (in body) | Min focus distance: 0.25 m | Max magnification: 0.19x | Filter thread: 62 mm | Dimensions (AXL): 73×86mm | Weight: 370g Like the rest of the Nikon Z prime lenses, this one is optically excellent, which helps make up for the relatively modest f/1.8 maximum aperture, when many rival 35 mm lens are f/1.4s.

Mount: Nikon Z FX | Elements/groups: 12/8 | Diaphragm blades: 9 | Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor) | Stabilizer: None | Minimum focus distance: 0.8 m | Maximum magnification: 0.12x | Filter thread: 67 mm | Dimensions (AXL): 73×99mm | Weight: 470g 85 mm f/1.4 lenses are often preferred for their tighter depth of field, which can blur the background a little more effectively and make the main subject really stand out.

Tipping the scales at just 135g, this DX (APS-C) format standard zoom for the Z50 pretty much qualifies as a ‘pancake lens ’, measuring a mere 32 mm in length when retracted. The flip-side is that, compared with weightier FX (full-frame format) Z -mount lenses, it feels a bit less solid and has a plastic rather than metal mounting plate.

Like most similarly priced APS-C format cameras, the Z50 lacks IBIS (In Body Image Stabilization) but the lens comes to the rescue with 4.5-stop optical VR (Vibration Reduction). Although small, the little Nikki punches above its weight, delivering great sharpness and contrast even when shooting wide-open, which is just as well considering that the widest available aperture shrinks to f/.6.3 at the long end of the zoom range.

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Mount: Z DX | Autofocus: Pulse (stepping motor) | Stabilizer: 5-stops | Min focus distance: 0.5-1.0 m | Max magnification: 0.23x | Filter thread: 62 mm | Dimensions (AXL): 74×110mm | Weight: 405g Designed for Nikon’s DX-format Z50, this telephoto lens has an ‘effective’ zoom range of 75-375 mm in full-frame terms, edging into super-telephoto territory.

Compared with the impressive autofocus speed, the aperture rating is less ‘fast’, shrinking to f/6.3 at the long end of the zoom range. However, that particular issue is minimized by excellent sharpness and contrast even when shooting wide-open, along with a 5-stop optical VR system that lives up to its claims.

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