Nikon unveils Z 85mm F1.2 S portrait prime and Z 26mm F2.8 pancake lens


posted Tuesday, February 7, 2023 at 12:00 AM EDT


After appearing at CES in January, Nikon has fully unveiled two new lenses for its mirrorless Z system, the Nikon Z 85mm F1.2 S portrait prime and the compact Z 26mm F2.8 pancake lens.

Looking first at the Z 85mm F1.2 S, an exciting lens for portrait photographers. It's an extremely fast 85mm lens and Nikon's first-ever 85mm lens with an F1.2 max aperture. "The NIKKOR Z 85mm f/1.2 S is a lens that unquestionably exhibits the extraordinary potential of the Z mount to resolve amazing details and dimensionality, and I’m confident this lens will quickly establish itself with legendary status among its users,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc."

Nikon Z 85mm F1.2 S

The 85mm F1.2 S lens includes 15 elements across 10 groups, including a pair of aspherical elements and an ED element. Impressively, like Nikon's 58mm F0.95 Noct lens, the new 85mm F1.2 prime has an 11-bladed aperture diaphragm, promising extremely soft bokeh and circular out-of-focus light sources. The ED element helps suppress color fringing, and the elements have been arranged to eliminate "onion-ring" bokeh, which is when there are visible rings inside out-of-focus elements. The lens also includes Nikon's Nano Crystal Coating to suppress ghosting and flare.

Nikon Z 85mm F1.2 S with lens hood on Nikon Z9

The lens includes Nikon's advanced multi-focusing system to deliver strong optical performance throughout the focus range, plus fast, precise autofocus. Swift and accurate autofocus is especially important at F1.2, as there's minimal margin for error. The lens includes a pair of stepping (STM) motors to coordinate two focusing groups simultaneously. The minimum focusing distance is 0.85m (2.8 ft.), resulting in a maximum reproduction ratio of 0.11x.

As you might imagine, the 85mm F1.2 S is a fairly large-diameter lens. Its max diameter is 102.5mm (4.1 in.), and it is 141.5mm (5.6 in.) long. The lens has an 82mm filter thread. The lens weighs 1,160g (2.56 lbs), which is only 70g heavier than the Nikon 50mm F1.2 S lens. Compared to the Canon RF 85mm F1.2, Nikon's new lens is about 35g lighter but more than 20mm longer. The Nikon Z 85mm F1.2 S includes a large focus ring, a dedicated control ring, an L-Fn button and an AF/MF switch.

Nikon Z 85mm F1.2 sample image. Credit: Nikon

The Nikon Z 85mm F1.2 S lens will be available in late March for a suggested retail price of $2,799.95, the same list price as Canon's RF 85mm F1.2 portrait prime.

While the Z 85mm F1.2 S is a relatively fast, fairly large prime lens, the new Z 26mm F2.8 pancake lens is relatively slow but extremely small. The super-thin wide-angle prime is Nikon's slimmest and lightest full-frame lens with autofocus ever. The lens is just 23.5mm (1 in.) long and weighs a paltry 125g (4.2 oz.), less than the weight of a pair of Nikon EN-EL15C batteries.

Nikon Z 26mm F2.8 on Nikon Z7 II

The Z 26mm F2.8 lens fits eight elements inside its small frame, including three aspherical elements. The lens accepts 52mm filters and includes a specially-designed slim lens hood that barely adds any length to the lens.

The lens focuses as close as 0.2m (8 in.), resulting in 0.19x magnification. The lens includes an STM motor to deliver quick and quiet autofocus. Interestingly, the lens uses all its elements for focus, which is unusual. The lens includes a control ring, which can control shooting parameters like ISO or exposure compensation or be used for manual focus.

Nikon Z 26mm F2.8 sample image. Credit: Nikon

The Nikon Z 26mm F2.8 will be available in early March for $499.95.