Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S Review: Lightweight, Compact, and Efficient

Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S Review: Lightweight, Compact, and Efficient 1

Nikon’s Z-series is no stranger to the lens market. Prior to the Z 14-30mm release, the series had the Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S and the Z 58mm f/0.95 Noct. As for the f-stops on the other two lenses, the 14-30mm’s f-stop does not compare, but with Nikon everything has its purpose. There are other lenses with the same focal ranges with smaller apertures but when Nikon created this new lens, they wanted to bring something different to the table.

While some prefer to have a smaller aperture, Nikon wanted to keep their new lens lightweight and compact. Aside from that, the wide-angle zoom is the ideal match for mirrorless Z6 and Z7 camera bodies.

There are many qualities that make the Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 S a powerful lens, but with the good there is also some not so great. Let’s take a close look at the structure of this lens and if it is worth investing in.  

Design and Quality

When it comes to shooting in full-frame, the 14-30mm has the same maximum viewing angle as the Nikon AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED, but it has a bigger zoom range. The build of the lens is smaller due to its practical retractable design. It is an f-stop slower so less glass. The lens is also half the weight.

The 14-30mm lens is compact and light, but the glass quality is still up-to-par. There are 14 elements that impact the high quality it produces, and aside from that, the lens is compatible with its F-mount sibling.

The control ring of the lens is signature to the S-line zoom lenses. It is wider than the body and definitely stands out. Nikon kept this design consistent with the placement of the control ring, even with its prime lenses. You will find the normal options for manual focusing, ISO control, and exposure compensation.

Performance

Once you start shooting with the lens, the motor autofocus system is barely noticeable in operation. You can depend on it to snap quickly while still giving you a smooth focus, even during movie capture. The manual focusing is precise when using the electronically controlled ring.

The Nikon S-series has gained recognition for its high-quality imagery and you can expect the same with the 14-30mm zoom. The sharpness, control, and color control are incredible with little distortion and color fringing.

Although, when you are shooting wide, the vignetting is noticeable if not fixed in-camera but it is not as intense. As for the aperture, it remains solid as you go down even if is based on seven diaphragm blades unlike the usual nine blades in wide-angle zooms.  

How Do They Compare?

Nikkor Z 14-30mm f/4 SNikon 14-24 f/2.8
Light and compactMore light – ideal for low light environments
Has a filter optionHeavy
Less expensiveMore expensive
Perfect for those looking for wide-angles

Conclusion

The Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S is a compact ultra wide-angle zoom catered to Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless cameras. This lens is another great addition to the Z-series and will not disappoint.

The superior quality of the lens comes with a price, however, and an expensive one. The 14-30mm is on the pricier end but for an ultra-wide zoom lens, it is fair. It is also a bit slower compared to other lenses in the series, but that isn’t much of a setback. If anything, the price will have you thinking about whether the lens is worth it or not, but regardless, it is a solid lens.  


Pros
Cons
Is compact and lightweight with a retractable designThe f/4 aperture is okay
Captures and produces incredible image quality in all aspectsNo in-lens focus distance scale or VR
Filters can be attachedPricey
Good resistance against flare and ghostingHas limited bokeh
Fast AF operationLens pouch could be better
Focuses quickly even while zooming

Best Deals:

Amazon $1,297
Adorama $1,297

Review Breakdown

Design and Quality: 9    

Functionality: 9

Image Quality: 8

Price: 8

Overall Score: 8.5

The Review

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