Nikon’s Z 70-180mm f/2.8 is a lower-budget alternative to the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR

Jun 21, 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 Z 70-180mm f/2.8 is a lower-budget alternative to the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR

Jun 21, 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.

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Nikon has announced a new Nikkor Z 70-180mm f/2.8 lens (buy here) targeted towards those who can’t quite justify the expense of the Nikkor Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR (buy here). It’s actually around half the price of its higher-end sibling (slightly higher or lower depending on current deals), but it loses one or two features in the process.

For a start the focal length isn’t quite as long, topping out at 180mm instead of 200mm. So, you do miss out on a little bit of reach. It also doesn’t feature any kind of built-in image stabilisation or Vibration Reduction (VR). This means that you’ll get no stabilisation at all on APS-C bodies and you’ll be relying on IBIS with full-frame bodies.

Announced today alongside the Nikkor Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 VR, the Nikkor Z 70-180mm f/2.8 rounds out Nikon’s low-budget trilogy quite nicely. It adds to the Z 17-28mm f/2.8 (buy here) and Z 28-75mm f/2.8 (buy here) to create a cheaper alternative to the holy trinity of lenses. Right now, all three of those lenses together would cost around $3,140. This sounds like a lot, but it’s a small price compared to the $6,790 you’d need for the Z 14-24mm f/2.8 (buy here), Z 28-70mm f/2.8 (buy here) and Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR zoom lens trio.

Aside from being less expensive, another benefit to this lens (assuming you don’t need VR in the lens) is that it’s smaller and lighter than the Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR. Weighing only 795g, that’s significantly lighter than the Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR’s 1,360g. It’s almost a whole other lens or a small camera body. If you want to keep that longer focal length but pack lightweight, it sounds like a good option.

Nikon says it’s optimised for video with suppressed focus breathing, a customisable control ring, and a linear focus ring option for manual focus control. Of course, it’s going to be pretty great for stills, too. It offers a fast autofocus system, with a dust and drip-resistant design to keep your optics clean.

Nikon Nikkor Z 70-180mm f/2.8 Specs

Focal Length70-180mm
Max aperturef/2.8
MountNikon Z
FormatFull-Frame
Focus TypeAutofocus
Minimum Focus Distance27cm @ 70mm to 85cm @ 180mm
StabilisationNone
Filter Diameter67mm
Dimensions83.5 x 151mm
Weight795g

Price and Availability

The Nikkor Z 70-180mm f/2.8 lens is available to pre-order now for $1,246.95 and begins shipping mid-July.

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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.

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2 responses to “Nikon’s Z 70-180mm f/2.8 is a lower-budget alternative to the 70-200mm f/2.8 VR”

  1. CGSingleton Avatar
    CGSingleton

    John the lack of VR will affect not only ASP-C bodies but all FX format DSLR’s.

    Only mirrorless bodies will be immune.

    1. Kaouthia Avatar
      Kaouthia

      There are no FX format DSLRs that take Z mount lenses. There are also APS-C Z mount bodies that don’t have built-in IBIS.