Nikon announces its new “Extraordinary” Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S portrait lens for Z mount mirrorless

Feb 7, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Nikon announces its new “Extraordinary” Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S portrait lens for Z mount mirrorless

Feb 7, 2023

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

Share on:

As well as the Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8 Pancake lens, Nikon has also today announced the release of the Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S lens for the Nikon Z mirrorless system. Billed as “extraordinary”, it’s a lens that Nikon Z shooters have wanted for a long time. As with the 26mm f/2.8, the development announcement for the 85mm f/1.2 S came at the beginning of the year while being shown off at CES.

It’s Nikon’s new premium portrait lens, offering a traditional focal length for the genre while providing the super wide aperture that lets you get a creatively shallow depth of field, as well as allowing you to shoot in darker conditions. Nikon says that it’s a “truly unique optic” with outstanding optical performance that “goes beyond the impressive sharpness”.

As part of Nikon’s “S” series of Nikkor Z lenses, it’s one of their premium lenses. The Nikon equivalent to Canon’s L glass. As such, it offers high resolution and very sharp detail, at least in theory. With a price tag of almost three grand, one would hope so, too. Nikon says that special emphasis has been given to the look and character of the out-of-focus bokeh areas, producing a soft and natural blur with a subtle and gradual transition to the in-focus areas.

It looks like the new Nikon lens takes some cues from the company’s own Nikkor Z 58mm f/0.96 NOCT lens, too, with a similar 11-blade aperture diaphragm, with ED glass to help suppress colour fringing. Very precise positioning of the lens elements also helps to eliminate a lot of the “onion-ring” characteristics sometimes seen with such wide-aperture lenses. It features two STM stepper motors to coordinate the position of two focusing lens groups simultaneously. The pair of high-torque motors, Nikon says, “ensure outstandingly quiet, fast and accurate operation”.

Focal Length85mm
Maximum Aperturef/1.2
Minimum Aperturef/16
Lens MountNikon Z
Format CompatibilityFull-Frame
Angle of View28° 30′
Minimum Focus Distance85cm
Maximum Magnification0.11x
Optical Design15 Elements in 10
Groups
Diaphragm Blades11, Rounded
Focus TypeAutofocus
Image StabilizationNo
Filter Size82 mm (Front)
Dimensions (ø x L)102.5 x 141.5mm
Weight1,160g

I think this lens will likely see high demand from portrait shooters that want a little more than the Nikon 85mm f/1.8 S lens can provide. Of course, you’re adding $2,000 to the cost of the f/1.8 in order to get the f/1.2. Is an extra stop of light really worth an extra $2,000? Well, for a lot of people, it probably won’t. For some people, it most definitely will be worth it. That’s something only you can really figure out based on your own needs and budget.

The Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S is available to pre-order now for $2,796.95 and begins shipping in late March.

Filed Under:

Tagged With:

Find this interesting? Share it with your friends!

John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Join the Discussion

DIYP Comment Policy
Be nice, be on-topic, no personal information or flames.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *