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Nikon Z 40mm F2 Review



Introduction

The Nikon Z 40mm F2 is a wide normal-length prime lens for Nikon FX full-frame sensor and DX APS-C sensor mirrorless cameras, where it provides a 60mm equivalent focal length.

The 40mm F2 for Nikon was first announced in September 2021. This lens is made in Thailand.

It features 6 elements in 4 groups, including two aspherical elements to help limit spherical aberrations and distortion, while the Super Integrated Coating suppresses flare and ghosting.

The Nikkor Z 40mm boasts a dust- and splash-proof structure and has a minimum focusing distance of 29cm with a maximum magnification of 0.17x.

It has a rounded 9-blade diaphragm which creates an attractive blur to out-of-focus areas of the image and an internal focusing mechanism which means the lens barrel doesn’t move.

This lens uses a stepping motor for fast, quiet and precise auto-focusing and full-time manual focus override is also possible.

The Nikon Z 40mm F2 lens is available now priced at £249 / $299 in the UK and USA, respectively.

Ease of Use

Nikon Z 40mm F2

Weighing in at 170g, the plastic bodied Nikon Z 40mm F2 is very light for a full-frame lens.

Its overall size and weight is well-suited to a camera like the Nikon Z5 that we tested it with, as shown in the product photos.

It measures 70mm x 45.5mm, making it one of the smallest lenses currently available for Nikon’s Z-series mirrorless cameras.

Nikon Z 40mm F2
Nikon Z 40mm F2

The novel 40mm focal length takes a little while to get used to, falling between the more “normal” 35mm and 50mm focal lengths that photographers are more used to, but it quickly loses any real significance after you’ve used it for a while.

It does mean that the Nikon Z 40mm F2 doesn’t have too many direct rivals.

The Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S and Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S take a similar design approach to the Nikon 40mm but offer a slightly wider and narrower angle of view respectively, while offering a slightly faster maximum aperture.

Build quality is fine, exceeding what you might expect from such an affordable prime lens, although it’s not quite as good as those two substantially more expensive S-series lenses mentioned above.

Nikon Z 40mm F2
Nikon Z 40mm F2

It incorporates a plastic mount, rather than metal, and a plastic lens barrel with just a single control, the generously sized focusing ring.

If you’re somebody who rarely uses manual focusing, then another option is to set the focusing ring to control a different function, such as aperture, ISO speed or exposure compensation. This is something you can set via the camera’s main menu and can be quite handy in certain circumstances.

Somewhat surprisingly given the modest asking price, this lens boasts a dust- and moisture-sealed design to support shooting in more inclement conditions.

The Nikon Z 40mm F2 lens accepts 52mm filters via plastic threads on the front of the lens.

Nikon Z 40mm F2
Nikon Z 40mm F2

The lens doesn’t feature built-in optical image stabilisation, relying instead on the camera body’s stabilisation system.

The Nikon Z 40mm F2 lens has a wide, ridged motor-assisted focus ring that is quite nicely damped. Manual focusing is possible by selecting it on the camera body or full-time manual focus override is also possible when in AF mode.

As the the focus ring is not mechanically coupled, there are no hard stops at either end of the range, making it a little more difficult to set focus at infinity. Polariser users should be pleased that the 52mm filter thread doesn’t rotate on focus.

Nikon Z 40mm F2

Nikon Z 40mm F2

The Nikon Z 40mm F2 lens utilises a stepping AF motor that produces almost silent, smooth and fairly snappy auto-focusing, making it well-suited to shooting both stills and video, with the overall lens length remaining constant during focusing.

When it comes to auto-focusing, it proved to be a quick, but certainly not instantaneous, performer on the Nikon Z5 camera that we tested it with.

We didn’t experience very much”hunting”, either in good or bad light, with the lens accurately focusing most of the time.

Nikon Z 40mm F2

This lens only ships with front and rear lens caps – there is no lens hood or any kind of case included in the box.

Focal Range

The 40mm focal length provides an angle of view of 57 degrees on a 35mm full-frame camera.

Nikon Z 40mm F2

Chromatic Aberrations

Chromatic aberrations, typically seen as blue or purple fringes along contrasty edges, were not really apparent in our test shots, only appearing in very high contrast areas.

Nikon Z 40mm F2

Vignetting

With the Nikon Z 40mm F2 lens set to its maximum aperture of f/2, there is obvious light fall-off in the corners, requiring you to stop down by at least 3 f-stops to completely prevent it.

Nikon Z 40mm F2

Distortion

Commendably there’s hardly any barrel distortion evident in either the JPEG or RAW files.

Nikon Z 40mm F2

Sunstars and Flare

The Nikon Z 40mm F2 doesn’t produce very nice sunstars even when stopped-down to f/16, as shown below, and it is a little prone to flare too when shooting directly into the sun.

Nikon Z 40mm F2
Nikon Z 40mm F2

Macro

The Nikon Z 40mm F2 is not a macro lens, offering a close minimum focusing distance of 29cm and a maximum magnification of 0.17x. The following examples demonstrate how close you can get to your subject.

Nikon Z 40mm F2
Nikon Z 40mm F2
Nikon Z 40mm F2
Nikon Z 40mm F2

Bokeh

Bokeh is a word used for the out-of-focus areas of a photograph, and is usually described in qualitative terms, such as smooth / creamy / harsh etc.

In the Z 40mm F2 lens, Nikon have employed an iris diaphragm with 9 rounded blades, which has resulted in appealing bokeh for what is after all a moderately wide-angle lens.

We do realise, however, that bokeh evaluation is subjective, so we’ve included several examples below for your perusal, all shot wide-open at f/2.

Nikon Z 40mm F2
Nikon Z 40mm F2
Nikon Z 40mm F2
Nikon Z 40mm F2
Nikon Z 40mm F2
Nikon Z 40mm F2
Nikon Z 40mm F2
Nikon Z 40mm F2
Nikon Z 40mm F2
Nikon Z 40mm F2

Sharpness

In order to show you how sharp the Nikon Z 40mm F2 lens is, we are providing 100% crops on the following page.



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