Nikon announces Z 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR DX all-in-one zoom for APS-C Z-mount mirrorless cameras
posted Wednesday, October 13, 2021 at 12:01 AM EDT
Back in 2015, Nikon released a new, versatile "travel zoom" lens for their APS-C-based DSLR cameras, the 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6G ED DX VR. Today, they've unveiled a similar optic for their APS-C-format mirrorless cameras, the NIKKOR Z DX 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR. Like the DSLR-format sibling, this all-in-one zoom lens provides a very versatile 27-210mm-equivalent zoom range, making it a great choice for wide landscapes, traveling, casual portraits and general photography and snapshots. It also has built-in optical image stabilization, which helps with capturing sharp images in low-light situations. Plus, Nikon's current pair of DX-format Z cameras do not have in-body image stabilization, so it being in the lens is a nice feature to have.
Despite the similarities in focal length range and the variable f/3.5-5.6 aperture, the new Z-mount 18-140mm lens uses a different optical design than Nikon's F-mount DSLR version. The new lens uses a total of 17 elements placed into 13 groups and incorporates a pair of ED glass elements and two aspherical elements, whereas the DSLR version is comprised of 17 elements in 12 groups, including 1 ED glass and 1 aspherical element. The inclusion of ED (Extra-low Dispersion) glass and aspherical elements in the lens helps suppress chromatic aberration and fringing as well as help ensure excellent resolution performance across the frame.
Additionally, the new Z 18-140mm lens can focus closer than its DSLR counterpart, with a minimum focusing distance of just 0.2m (0.66 ft.) at 18mm, compared to the 0.45m (1.48 ft.) of the F-mount version. The maximum magnification ratio is also slightly better with this new mirrorless-format lens, at 0.33x at 140mm (vs 0.23x on the other version). While still not a macro lens, the Z 18-140mm offers good performance for close-up wide-angle shooting as well as the ability to zoom in and focus closely on subjects for pleasing, high-detail photographs.
As mentioned earlier, the Z 18-140mm f/3.5-5.6 lens includes built-in optical image stabilization, or Vibration Reduction as Nikon calls it. The on-board VR system of this new lens is yet another area of improvement compared to the earlier DSLR lens, with this zoom offering up to 5 stops of VR correction compared to 4 stops on the F-mount version.
In terms of focusing characteristics, the Z 18-140mm lens utilizes an STM (stepping motor) system for autofocusing, allowing for fast and quiet AF performance. Further, Nikon states that the lens has been designed for minimal focusing shifts while zooming as well as suppressed focus breathing (framing shifts while changing focus), which makes the lens a good option for video recording.
When it comes to the lens's physical design, the new 18-140mm follows Nikon's clean and simple styling seen on the majority of other Nikkor Z-mount lenses. The lens features a sleek, matte black exterior with a large, ridged zoom ring towards the front end of the lens and a thin, customizable control ring further back. The custom function ring can be programmed to adjust various camera and exposure settings for both stills and video. The Z 18-140mm measures about 73mm (2.9 in.) in diameter and 90mm (3.6 in.) in length and uses a 62mm filter size, making the lens smaller in both lens and diameter compared to the earlier DSLR version. It's also lighter in weight (despite the same overall number of lens elements), weighing approximately 315g (11.2 oz.) compared to 490g (17.3 oz.).
Nikon also states that the lens features a dust- and drip-resistant construction, giving it some protection again adverse weather. Based on the single product photo we received, however, it's hard to tell if there is a weather sealing gasket around the lens mount (presumably there is, given that the DSLR version of this lens included it).
Pricing and Availability
The Nikon Z DX 18-140mm f/3.5-6.3 VR lens is scheduled to go on sale starting in November (for the US) with a suggested retail price (SRP) of $599.95, putting it at the same launch price point as the DSLR version. There's no information as to whether this lens will also be sold in a kit with either the Z50 or Z fc camera bodies.