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Nikon adds a fast, professional zoom lens to Z-mount lineup

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The 24-70 f/2.8 S might prove essential for pro Z6 and Z7 shooters

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Image: Nikon

Nikon announced a new addition to its Z-mount lens lineup this evening: the Nikkor Z 24-70 f/2.8 S is shipping this spring for $2,299.95. It’s a focal length that’s already covered by the kit lens available with either the Z6 or Z7, but this lens is cut out for professionals shooting weddings, landscapes, events, street photography, environmental portraits, and more. It’s also designed to be an excellent performer when shooting video.

According to Nikon, the DSLR equivalent is among its most popular lenses for video, so the company wasted little time recreating that glass for its new Z-mount system. It’s a lens that’s built to produce beautiful bokeh and crisp, high-resolution shots (especially if you’re putting it on the Z7). And this version is smaller (18.4 percent shorter) and lighter (by 24.7 percent) than the F-mount lens. It’s quieter, too — crucial for video — and remains weather sealed throughout.

Nikon is claiming a lot of firsts with the new 24-70 f/2.8 S. Here’s what the company says:

The NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is the first NIKKOR lens to use the all new Nikon-designed ARNEO coat, which is used in conjunction with Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat to significantly minimize flare and ghosting. The lens also includes Nikon’s new Multi-Focus System to help ensure fast and accurate autofocus even when shooting close-up subjects. Additionally, the 24-70mm f/2.8 S is the first NIKKOR Z lens to feature a dedicated manual focus ring independent of the customizable control ring, a Function (L-Fn) button, and an Organic EL Lens Information Panel for quick reference of key settings such as focus distance, depth-of-field, aperture and focal length.

Image: Nikon

The separation of the control ring and focus ring will definitely help customize the Z6 or Z7 to your liking, and it makes for much quicker adjustments when shooting. Same goes for the added function button, which is located where your left thumb would rest on the lens.

The electro-luminescent (EL) display is a tiny screen that can be toggled between focus distance/DOF, focal length (with a more precise reading than the lens markers), or aperture. Like its other native Z-mount lenses, the new 24-70 takes advantage of the mount’s wide 55mm diameter for edge-to-edge sharpness. It doesn’t include lens-based VR (vibration reduction), but the in-body image stabilization on the Z cameras shouldn’t make that feel like too much of a loss.

Image: Nikon

Unfortunately, Nikon still isn’t ready to share release details for the manual focus 58 f/0.95 lens that should be another great showcase of what the Z system is capable of. But for now, customers who weren’t sold on the kit 24-70 now have a much faster option. As for those longtime Nikon shooters who already own the older DSLR version, well, there’s nothing stopping you from just attaching it to a Z6 or Z7 with the lens adapter.

The Z-mount lens family with the new 24-70mm f/2.8 lens and the as-yet-unreleased 58mm f/0.95 lens.
Image: Nikon

Separately, Nikon has announced that its firmware update for the Z6 and Z7 that will add eye-detect autofocus and improved AE/AF performance will be available sometime in May. Those are much-needed enhancements that could help Nikon better compete with a few of Sony’s key strengths. RAW video output and support for CFexpress memory cards are additional features that will be added to both cameras through future updates, with release timing TBD.