With a longer name than the lens itself, the new Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 ultra-compact prime lens looks to be the perfect solution for those in need of a small, large aperture prime lens for FX (full-frame) and DX (APS-C) format cameras. Matching the diminutive size is the price, an MSRP of $299.95.
The semi wide-angle design and small size make it a great choice for travel and street documentary photography, wedding, and other life event photography. For video work, Nikon touts the lens’ “quiet operation, natural focus shift that allows for fluid changes when going from close focusing to infinity, reduced focus breathing, and smooth aperture control.” The small size will make it ideal for video work when using a Nikon Z camera on a gimbal stabilizer. Its short 0.96-feet minimum focusing distance makes it well suited for food photography and top-down compositions.
Physically, the Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 measures 2.8 inches in diameter, 1.8 inches long, and weighs a scant 6 ounces. The lens is threaded for 52mm diameter filters. There are no controls on the lens beyond the wide, ribbed control ring. Using the Customize controls menu on the camera body, the ring can be designated for aperture, ISO, or exposure compensation selection, and of course for manual focusing.
The optical formula is a straightforward Gaussian design of six elements in four groups. Two aspheric shaped elements minimize chromatic aberrations and enhance acuity from center to corners. The nine curve-edged aperture blades stop down to f/16. Even though this not one of the higher-end (more expensive, larger, heavier) Nikkor Z S-Line lenses like the Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8S and 50mm f/1.8S lenses, in the sample photos Nikon supplied with the announcement made with the lens on the full-frame 24-megapixel Nikon Z 5 camera and 20-megapixel APS-C Nikon Z 50, image quality looks very good to excellent, sharp and with good bokeh. Flare resistance looks to be very good as well.
The Nikkor Z 40mm f/2 will be available later this fall.