Best Lenses for the Nikon Z5 / Z6 / Z6 II

I recently published a write-up about the greatest lenses for the Nikon Z7 and Z7 II , but the list expands a bit for lower resolution detectors. In this article, I’ll go through every Nikon Z lens plus some F-mount lenses to see how they perform on the Z5, Z6, and Z6 II.

First, I want to explain something. Bad lenses having any sharper or better on a low-resolution sensor. What goes on instead is that the gap in between good versus great lens gets narrower when you do not have as many pixels; you’re unable to see minor differences or even flaws in the lenses because easily. The result is that the listing below is basically the same as in my previously article using some lenses added that didn’t quite make the reduce last time.

As with before, these suggestions are only based upon the clarity numbers that we’ve measured in the lab at Photography Life ( see the full list of lenses we’ve tested here ). This means that lenses we haven’t measured don’t make it straight into this article, nor do lens that have other good qualities but aren’t tack-sharp.   Therefore , take this article as a jumping-off point that compares baseline sharpness and not as a substitute to get more detailed reviews.

Nikon Z6 with 14-30mm f4 Sample Landscape Photo
NIKON Z 6 + NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S @ 14mm, ISO 100, 1/4, f/8. 0

Therefore , let’s take a look at our suggestions. I’ll start with the Nikon Z lenses and then move to F-mount lenses that can be adapted with the FTZ adapter .

Z-Mount Lenses

Highly Recommended for the Z5, Z6, and Z6 II

Recommended for the Nikon Z5, Z6, and Z6 II

  • Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6. 3  ( our review )
  • Nikon 24-200mm f/4-6. three or more, though “highly recommended” on 35mm and 50mm focal lengths only ( our review )

Not Yet Measured within Lab

  • Nikon MC 50mm f/2. eight Macro
  • Nikon 28mm f/2. 8
  • Third-party Z-mount lens
Nikon Z6 with 24-70mm f4 S Sample Photo of Bear Cubs
NIKON Z 6 + NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S i9000 @ 70mm, ISO 2k, 1/320, f/4. 0

The extra lens that made the reduce to “highly recommended” now are the 14-30mm f/4 H and 24-70mm f/4 Ersus. These two lenses aren’t very as sharp as the others, but the 24 megapixel messfühler helps equalize things sufficient to make the differences harder to identify. The 24-200mm f/4-6. 3 or more also just barely reaches the amount of “highly recommended” but only at the 35mm and 50mm focal lengths.

This isn’t to say the 24-50mm or 24-200mm are poor lenses. In fact , the 24-200mm is my main vacation lens on my Nikon Z6. But side by side, you’ll definitely notice some clarity differences between those lens and the others, assuming sufficient technique.

Today let’s look at the F-mount lenses that qualify as “highly recommended” on the Nikon Z5, Z6, and Z6 II. Only about a dozen F-mount lenses reach that standard around the 45-megapixel cameras, but there are many more this time. Where applicable, I’ll include a link to our review of the lens in question.

F-Mount Lens

There are so many F-mount lenses available in the first location, and we haven’t tested all of them in the lab (especially third-party lenses). Keep in mind that the following recommendations are based  only on sharpness and there are other reasons you may want a lens in practice. Nonetheless, here’s the list:  

Nikon Z6 with F-mount 20mm f1.8G Milky Way
NIKON Z 6 + NIKKOR F 20mm f/1. 8G @ 20mm, ISO 6400, 15 seconds, f/2. 0

Naturally, a few lenses that didn’t make the cut may still be the best choice for your requirements. I chose to have an arbitrary cutoff when making the list above: There must be at least one central length/aperture combo at which the particular lens scored at least 2900 in the center, 2200 in the midframe, and 1900 in the corners in our Imatest tests. These numbers aren’t specific in and of themselves except as a way to create a hard cut-off that is neither too strict nor lenient.

The result is that some lenses missed the cut whenever we haven’t measured them upon Imatest, or if their numbers are just slightly low. This doesn’t mean they’re poor lenses. For example , the Nikon 58mm f/1. 4G simply doesn’t reach those part sharpness numbers, but would it need to? It’s an excellent portrait lens meant for capturing attractive bokeh   and the corners will often be out of focus anyhow.

The last stage I’d like to make is all about adapted lenses. If you’re already willing to use these F-mount lenses with the Nikon FTZ adapter, you should keep your options open up and look at lenses originally made for non-Nikon cameras. With a third-party adapter that functions similarly as the FTZ, you can use various other lenses like Cannon EF and Sony FE on the Nikon Z system while retaining autofocus in some cases. We haven’t tested lots of those lenses in the laboratory, but some of them are seriously good and well worth considering if you have the right adapter.

Conclusion

There are dozens of lenses with excellent sharpness for the Nikon Z5, Z6, and Z6 II – both Z-mount and F-mount. Again, sharpness isn’t the only factor that will matters when choosing a zoom lens, but you can at least rest assured the lenses above are “sharp enough” that you can pay attention to their particular other characteristics instead.

If you’re really searching for peak sharpness (or you’re using a Nikon Z digital camera with more than 24 megapixels associated with resolution), you may find that our Best Lenses regarding Nikon Z7 and Z7 II article is a better answer to your questions. That article parses out some of the smaller sharpness distinctions between these lenses and ends up eliminating a lot of F-mount glass that doesn’t quite make the cut.

In any case, I hope this article has been useful for you in choosing a lens set for your Nikon Z5, Z6, or Z6 II. If you have questions about why certain lenses produced the cut or did not, I’ve used most of these lens personally, so just inquire me below. Keep in mind that we all haven’t tested every lens on the market at Photography Existence, so if it’s not on our lens review checklist , I probably don’t know for sure if it might make the cut or not.

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