Nikon 14-30mm f/4 S Field Test: Does the first Z-mount wide-angle lens live up to the F-mount legacy?
posted Monday, June 17, 2019 at 3:30 PM EDT
The Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S lens is not only first ultra-wide angle lens in the Nikkor S lineup, but it is also one of the more interesting ultra-wide angle zoom lenses out there due in large part to its built-in filter thread. No longer must one choose between having a wide field of view and being able to simply screw on a circular polarizing filter. Further, the new zoom takes advantage of the large-diameter and shallow Z Mount to deliver very good image quality across the frame, especially when shooting wide open.
While the lens is not as fast as something like a Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8, its maximum aperture of f/4 is still plenty fast for many situations – and helps the lens remain reasonably compact and lightweight despite its focal length range. When looking at sharpness, I found that 14-30mm to be impressive when shot at f/4 across its focal length range. With that said, it performs best overall when avoiding the extreme ends of its focal length range, especially when looking at corner sharpness. The lens does a nice job handling distortion and suppressing aberrations as well.
In the field, the lens performed well on the Nikon Z7 camera. Autofocus proved to be quick, quiet and the lens can focus reasonably close. As mentioned earlier, the ability to easily use filters with the built-in 82mm thread is very useful in the field. Further, the lens has a solid build and includes weather sealing.