Nikon’s new 17-28mm f/2.8 is a compact & affordable ultra-wide for Z-mount
Building out its list of fast, well-priced mirrorless glass, Nikon's latest should appeal to a wide range of users.
Nikon continues expanding out its Z line of mirrorless lenses with sensible, well-priced options. As a follow-up to January’s Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8, the newly-announced Nikon Z 17-28mm f/2.8 adds an ultra-wide perspective to the company’s affordable f/2.8 series of zooms. And at just under a pound, it’s a lightweight option, fitting nicely on Nikon’s full-frame or even APS-C mirrorless cameras.
Nikon Z 17-28mm design & build
Consistent with the trend in the lens world, Nikon’s new ultra-wide zoom lens is smaller and lighter than many comparable options. Weighing just 15.9 ounces, Nikon says it is 30% lighter than the popular Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8. It’s also lighter than the Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4.
The new 17-28mm f/2.8 measures 3 inches in diameter and 4 inches in length with an internal zoom, so that size is consistent no matter what focal length you use. The compact size and internal zoom are ideal for video creators who use gimbals since you’ll be able to zoom without rebalancing the gimbal.
The lens is fully sealed against dust and moisture for some protection against the elements. There is also an antifouling coating to make wiping off dust, dirt, and fingerprints easy. It accepts 67mm front filters, which, being a common size, will be easy to find. And, chances are many of your other lenses use the same size, so you won’t need to purchase multiple filters of different sizes.
On the lens body is a programmable control ring. By default, it controls manual focus, but you can change it to adjust exposure compensation or aperture.
The Nikon Z 17-28mm features 13 elements in 11 groups with a focus on sharpness. It includes a Super ED glass element to improve image quality across focal lengths, so you can zoom in without losing sharpness. There are also two extra-low dispersion elements to reduce color fringing and chromatic aberrations. Finally, three aspherical elements help minimize distortion, something architectural photographers will benefit from.
The constant f/2.8 aperture makes this lens excellent for low-light conditions. And, combined with the rounded 9-blade diaphragm, you’ll be able to get pleasing bokeh, even with the wide-angle perspective. It can focus as close as 7.5 inches, allowing for some dramatic detail shots.
Utilizing a high-speed stepping motor (STM), the Nikon 17-28mm lens should have fast, accurate, and quiet autofocus. Like the zoom function, focusing is internal, so the lens won’t change length when focusing. That also enables better speed so that it will lock onto focus faster.
As with other lenses released recently, Nikon reduced focus breathing in this lens, which refers to a slight change in focal length when adjusting the focusing distance. Video creators will benefit from the lack of focus breathing, along with the click-less control ring, since videos will be smoother.
Who’s the Nikon 17-28mm for?
The ultra-wide-angle perspective and fast, constant f/2.8 aperture make this lens an appealing choice for a variety of Nikon photographers. Landscape, architecture, and astrophotographers will all benefit from the expansive view. It should also be capable of a nice shallow depth of field and pleasing bokeh, making it suitable for wedding and event photographers looking to create portraits while documenting event spaces.
And with a handful of video-centric features and a compact size, it should also be excellent for videographers and vloggers. It is a versatile option, made more so because of its affordable price.
Price & availability
The Nikon Z 17-28mm f/2.8 is available for pre-order now and will be fully released on October 31 for $1,199.95. Consider it your treat this Halloween.