Nikon’s 26mm f/2.8 pancake lens is the company’s slimmest and lightest full-frame AF lens ever

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’s 26mm f/2.8 pancake lens is the company’s slimmest and lightest full-frame AF lens ever

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:

Nikon has announced its new Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8 lens, which it describes as “a premium pancake for everyday carry”. Despite being such a small and light lens, it’s designed to cover a full-frame sensor, with Nikon claiming that it “packs a tremendous punch with superior sharpness and beautiful blurred backgrounds” thanks to its f/2.8 aperture. It’s the first lens Nikon has made for the Z system that they consider to be a true “pancake” lens.

It measures less than 1″ in length (23.5mm to be precise) and weighs a mere 125g for shooting things such as street photography, travel vlogs and landscape photography. Nikon says that its small stature and weight have been achieved thanks to an “all-element focusing system” powered by an STM stepper motor for fast and accurate positioning.

Development of the lens was announced at the beginning of 2023, along with the development of the Nikkor Z 85mm f/1.2 S – which also launched today – and was on show at CES during that initial development announcement. It’s not taken long for it actually to become a reality, though. Obviously, it had already been developed at the point of the “development announcement”, which is how it managed to be on show at CES. Still, it’s nice that it wasn’t announced, forgotten about and released two years later – as has been the case sometimes with some manufacturers.

One surprising thing about the lens, to me at least, given the images that were put out during the initial announcement, is that the Nikkor 26mm f/2.8 Pancake actually has a 64mm filter thread. I’m still not seeing where the threads are that this is supposed to attach to, but it’s nice to know it’s available. With a lens this wide on full-frame, though, you’ll want to be careful using polarisers or variable NDs on it, as you’ll occasionally see cross-polarisation artifacts.

Focal Length26mm (35mm Equivalent Focal Length: 39mm)
Maximum Aperturef/2.8
Minimum Aperturef/16
Lens MountNikon Z
Format CompatibilityFull-Frame
Angle of ViewUnspecified
Minimum Focus Distance20cm
Maximum Magnification0.19x
Optical Design8 Elements in 6
Groups
Diaphragm Blades7, Rounded
Focus TypeAutofocus
Image StabilizationNo
Filter Size52 mm (Front)
Dimensions (ø x L)70 x 23.5mm
Weight125g

There is a Nikon HB-N111 lens hood available for the Nikkor 26mm f/2.8 Pancake, though. This attaches to the lens via bayonet and provides another filter thread on front. It has to, really, because even though there are no threads visible in the images of the lens, the bayonet mount for the hood would be behind any filter you chose to attach. I’m not entirely sure how well the lens hood for this lens will perform, given that it’s so wide, but it’s an option.

When it comes to weather sealing, Nikon says it has some degree of weather sealing, but there’s no real indication as to how much, just that it’s “dust and drip-resistant”. It does sport a metal mount to attach it to your camera body, though. No plastic here, which should make it pretty durable if you’re constantly swapping out for other lenses.

The Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8 Pancake is available to pre-order now for $496.95 and beings 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 *