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Nikon’s newest lens is the $800, portrait-savvy Nikkor Z 85mm F1.8


Nikon Z photographers will soon be able to use a classic portrait lens without having to resort to an adapter. Nikon has unveiled the Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.8 S, a native Z-mount lens designed for portraiture, fashion, weddings, other events, and video. The 85mm focal length has long been a favorite of portrait photographers for its flattering amount of compression. It’s often paired with a fast aperture that produces a shallow depth of field.

As part of the S series, Nikon says the new lens encompasses the company’s best optics, which aredesigned for edge-to-edge sharpness. Built from 12 elements in eight groups, the Z lens uses a totally new design compared to its F-mount counterpart for Nikon’s DSLRs. Like all high-end Nikkors, it uses a nine-blade aperture that creates circular bokeh even when stopped down. The lens also utilizes two Extra-Low Dispersion elements to combat aberration, along with Nano Crystal Coating to prevent ghosting and flare.

The autofocus system, Nikon says, is designed to produce excellent resolution at the minimum focusing distance of 2.6 feet from the front of the lens. Like other lenses in the S lineup, the new 85mm uses a quiet autofocus motor to help the lens pull double duty for stills and video. Nikon says videographers will also appreciate the minimal focus breathing. The lens is compatible with the 5-axis system built into the Nikon Z bodies.

On the exterior, the lens is weather-sealed to match the sealing on the Z 6 and Z 7. A custom control ring, a feature unique to S lenses, can be set to control aperture or exposure compensation. The lens weighs just over a pound and adds 3 inches to the front of the camera body.

The 85mm f/1.8 joins the existing 50mm F1.8 and 35mm F1.8 native Z-mount lenses, along with the 14-30mm F4, 24-70mm F4, and 24-70mm F2.8 zoom lenses. The lens is one of the cheaper options in the Z series, with an expected retail price of about $800, which puts it in between the price of the 50mm and the 35mm primes. It is expected to start shipping in September.

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