Lens Selection and Z9

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    Topic: Lens Selection and Z9 Read 551 Times
  • Jeff Burns
    Jeff Burns
    Silver Member
    Posts: 4
    Cameras, Lenses and Shooting Gear
    on: November 21, 2021 at 2:06 pm
    I have preordered a Nikon Z9 and can use help sorting out the options for lenses. Since this is a complete system change I am starting from scratch.
    The past is not always prologue but it is a good place to start. I am moving from an APSC system I purchased six and a half years ago. Lenses for this system include an 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6, 50mm F/1.8, and a 200mm F/2.8. The zoom is a collection of compromises but it is a good all around lens. I often wish it was faster, and occasionally wish for better quality. The 50 mm is a cheap plastic lens but it is very useful. On APSC it is a good portrait length. The fast aperture is helpful for low light, and with some cheap close-up lenses it is not bad for macro. The 200 mm has noticeably higher quality than the other lenses. For both portraiture and wildlife I find I am at F/2.8 often. It has also been my best lens for macro work.
    I want a wider angle lens. Over the years I’ve used panorama stitching extensively and recently have been enjoying the wide angle lens in my iPhone (13 mm full frame equivalent). I’ve also used the 14 mm Nikkor on full frame and and found it very useful.
    My current home has abundant wildlife and 200mm is not long enough for good photographs.
    This is the system I have in mind:
    • Nikon NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S
    • Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f/4 S
    • Nikon NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S
    Advantages of this combination:
    • Wide focal length range
    • Fast at wide angle for astro and night photography
    • 24-120mm makes a good one lens kit
    • 24-120 and 100-400 share 77mm filter size
    • Both 24-120 and 100-400 have good magnification for macro
    • All native Z mount
    • Consistant ergonomics (all have the extra control ring)
    Negatives of this combination:
    • Cost. I will probably have to delay purchase of one lens.
    • Slow max aperture limiting low light, wildlife, and portraiture.
    The best way to round out this system would be to add a fast prime or two (35mm and 85mm) and a fast telephoto. Unfortunately, it will take some time before I have the budget for more lenses. The question then is what are the best compromises?
    My first thought is to skip the 14-24mm for now. The 24-120mm is 3 mm wider than my current kit, and I can still stitch. On the long end there are some F mount options that will be cheaper even after purchasing the FTZ adapter.
    The Nikon AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR has decent reviews. This would be over a $1000 savings. The Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports is also less expensive and offers extreme versatility, but reviews are more mixed.
    Any ideas are welcome.
    Jeff
    Oliver Ritter-Wolff
    Oliver Ritter-Wolff
    Silver Member
    Posts: 196
    Re: Lens Selection and Z9
    Reply #1 on: October 12, 2023 at 5:42 am

    Hi Jeff,

    I have the Z9, alongside the Z7II (and at times a Z5) in use and the following lenses:

    • Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-120mm f/4 S (Great and unique lens that I often take alone with the Z7II. For the focal length range well image edges over the zoom range.)
    • Nikon NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S (Excellent lens which I use for sports, wildlife and landscape. Soon I will also try it with the TC1.4x.)
    • NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S (Very good macro but also portrait lens, like pretty much all macros in the range ;). )
    • NIKKOR Z 20 mm f/1.8 S  (Excellent throughout from open aperture)
    • NIKKOR Z 35 mm f/1.8 S (Excellent throughout from open aperture)
    • NIKKOR Z 85 mm f/1.8 S (Excellent throughout from open aperture)

    From time to time I still had the following lenses in use, but I gave them away again:

    NIKKOR Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S; The lens is optically excellent, but quite large and heavy, i.e. almost identical to the Nikon NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S. I then almost always took the latter with me, since I rarely need the higher speed and would have much preferred a 4/70-200mm, which Nikon unfortunately does not have. The Nikon (Tamron) 2.8/70-180mm I find a bit short on top and it unfortunately has no function buttons which I use intensively.  We have in our NPO pool a Sony a7IV with the two f4 G lenses 20-70mm and 70-200mm which I often take as an alternative if it suits what I am shooting. Furthermore I had the Nikon (Tamron)NIKKOR Z 28-75mm f/2.8. It is quite good but was replaced by the 4/24-120mm. The NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR was also very decent on the Z5 at 24MP. Above 24MP, however, the drop-off at the edges becomes quite noticeable, so that too was ultimately replaced by the 24-120mm.

    I had further ordered the NIKKOR Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR, which is hardly available here in Germany. With the announcement of the NIKKOR Z 600mm f/6.3 VR S, however, I canceled the 180-600mm the other day, since the 600mm (plus Z-TELEKONVERTER TC-1.4x) fits my needs better. I plan to purchase it in 2025.

    In 2024, the Z-TELEKONVERTER TC-1.4x and the NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S will be added.

    I still had a 135mm in focus and was very curious about the NIKKOR Z 135mm f/1.8 S Plena. However, I find the price of just under 3000€ clearly too high compared to the Sony FE 135mm F1.8 GM. Therefore, I use the latter from our NPO pool when necessary.

    The costs are of course considerable, especially if you are starting from scratch. I had previously used the Canon RF system for almost two years, which is also very good but had a few points that I didn’t like quite as much. After the last price increases, it was more expensive than Nikon or Sony for most lenses.

    Maybe instead of the Nikon 100-400mm the Tamron 150-500mm F/5-6.7 Di III VC VXD is an alternative for you, which is now also available for the Nikon Z mount? Unfortunately, it also has no function buttons. We have it in the NPO pool on the Sony a7IV and it’s very good, although the Nikon 100-400mm is a bit better at the edges.

    The inexpensive Nikon/Tamron lenses, such as the 17-28mm, the 28-75mm, and the 70-180mm are all not bad, but never quite approach the level of the S-Line lenses and are functional and/or reduced in focal length. On the other hand, they are less expensive.

    AF-S Nikkor 200-500mm F5.6E ED VR is good, I used to have it on the Nikon D850 but I wouldn’t take it today as the F lenses are slowly being phased out.

    The Sigma 60-600mm f/4.5-6.3 DG OS HSM Sports is supposed to be quite good, but I don’t know it from personal experience. You might have to compare it with the Tamron 150-500mm mentioned above.

    Oliver

    https://www.riwodot.de

    https://vero.co/riwodot

    https://www.instagram.com/riwodot/

    Kevin Raber
    Kevin Raber
    Silver Member
    Posts: 1276
    Re: Lens Selection and Z9
    Reply #2 on: October 12, 2023 at 2:28 pm

    Jeff, looks like quite the package you are putting together.  Maybe you would consider writiung an article for PXL on your exoereinces from considering the camera to purchase, purchasing it and what your first impressions are.  I’m sure the readers here would love to read it.  BTW if you haven’t bought it yet give a shout out to Roberts Camera in Indianapolis.  They can hbelp you with a plan to get the most for your dollar.  Ask for Phil and he’ll make sure you are taken care of.

    Good luck.

    Kevin Raber
    Owner and Publisher of photoPXL

    Jeff Burns
    Jeff Burns
    Silver Member
    Posts: 4
    Re: Lens Selection and Z9
    Reply #3 on: October 15, 2023 at 8:04 am

    I have had the Z9, Z 24-120mm f/4 S, and  Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S for about a year-and-a-half now. It is a wonderful system and a vast improvement over my APSC system. The quality of my work improved after purchasing this system.

    These two lenses make a good combination for the landscape and wildlife work that have been my focus for the last few years. I would still love to add a wide angle lens such as the 14-24mm f/2.8, 14-30mm f/4, or 20mm f/1.8, and a telephoto like the NIKKOR Z 400mm f/2.8 TC VR S, but even with the additional lenses I expect that more than 50% of shots would be with the lenses I have now.

    Despite how good the Z9 is, I would not carry it in a situation where I could not devote a significant part of my time to photography. It is too bulky and heavy to carry just in case I want to take a picture. My iPhone now fills this need fairly well, but small cameras like a Leica Q3 would be nice for casual travel photography. Someone might suggest a Z8 as lighter alternative, but I think I would still get the Z9 today.  The built-in GPS in the Z9 is important to my workflow, the battery lasts a very long time, and it never overheats with video.

    Kevin, I would be glad to write another article for you, but need to find a good topic – there are more than enough Z9 reviews. I purchased the Z9 and lenses from Roberts.

    Z9, Nikkor Z 100-400 f/4.5 S

    Z9, Nikkor Z 24-120 f/4 S

    Z9, Nikkor Z 100-400 f/4.5 S

    Oliver Ritter-Wolff
    Oliver Ritter-Wolff
    Silver Member
    Posts: 196
    Re: Lens Selection and Z9
    Reply #4 on: October 15, 2023 at 10:08 am

    Hello Jeff,

    I also think that the Z8 doesn’t end up saving so much weight and size that it would be worth trading it in. But that’s why for everyday or city photography I mostly use the Z7II with the 4/24-120mm or the Sony a7iv with the 4/20-70mm from our NPO pool instead since the set is then lighter and more compact in each case.

    Btw. good pictures :).

    Oliver

    https://www.riwodot.de

    https://vero.co/riwodot

    https://www.instagram.com/riwodot/

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