Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 vs. Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8: A Battle of Focal Lengths for the Photography Enthusiast

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Welcome to the world of photography, where the choice of lens can transform your images from ordinary to extraordinary. Today, we’re delving into a comparative analysis of two popular camera lenses, the versatile Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 and the revered Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8, both key members of a photographer’s toolkit.

Are you a budding landscape or street photographer, yearning for the wide-angle perspective to capture more of the stunning vista or bustling urban life? Or perhaps you are an aspiring portrait photographer, seeking to create beautiful, intimate images with smooth, dreamy backgrounds? These lenses have proven their worth in these genres and beyond, with the 28mm lens known for its expansive view and the 50mm lens for its exceptional sharpness and beautiful bokeh.

Reading further, you’ll gain insights on how these lenses can enhance your photographic prowess, regardless of your genre preference. You’ll also find a comparison of their features, from their construction to their image quality, and how these features impact their real-world performance. By the end of this journey, you’ll be equipped to make an informed decision that aligns perfectly with your photographic style and goals.

Join us as we explore the artistic potential of these lenses, and how they can propel your photography to new heights. Let’s begin this enlightening expedition into the realm of 28mm and 50mm lenses. Your photography will never be the same again!


Nikon NIKKOR Z 28mm F2.8Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm F1.8 S
Max ApertureF2.8F1.8
Aperture TypeFixedFixed
Focal Range (mm)2850
Mount TypeNikon ZNikon Z
Max Format35mm FF35mm FF

The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 and the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 each possess their own unique traits and strengths. Both lenses have a fixed aperture, meaning the maximum aperture is maintained throughout the use of the lens. They also share the same Nikon Z mount type and the maximum format of 35mm full-frame (FF), which indicates they are compatible with Nikon Z series cameras and capable of providing a full-frame field of view, offering versatile use for many photographers.

The 28mm lens has a maximum aperture of f/2.8. This lens’s focal length and maximum aperture make it particularly suited to landscape and architectural photography, where a wider field of view and greater depth of field are typically desired. A wider depth of field ensures that most elements in the frame, from the foreground to the background, remain in focus, providing a comprehensive view of the scene. However, the maximum aperture of f/2.8 makes this lens less efficient in low light situations compared to the 50mm lens.

The 50mm lens, on the other hand, features a larger maximum aperture of f/1.8, which can be beneficial for a variety of photography types, especially in lower light conditions where this wider aperture can allow more light to hit the camera’s sensor. This larger aperture also provides a shallower depth of field, which is desirable for portraits or other situations where you want to isolate a subject from its background. The potential downside here could be increased distortion or vignetting, but these issues can generally be corrected in post-processing.

To sum up, if one frequently shoots landscapes, architecture, or street scenes where a wide-angle view and more extensive depth of field are needed, the 28mm lens might be the better choice. However, if the photographer prefers shooting portraits, or often finds themselves in low-light conditions, the 50mm lens, with its wider maximum aperture, would be a more fitting choice.

Design and Ease of Use

Nikon NIKKOR Z 28mm F2.8Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm F1.8 S
Diameter x Length (mm)⌀70×43mm⌀76×86.5mm
Weight (gr)155415
Filter Thread (mm)5262
Weather SealingNoYes
Distance ScaleNoNo
DoF ScaleNoNo
Hood SuppliedNoYes

The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 and Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 present differing attributes that can significantly impact a photographer’s shooting experience and the resulting images. Each has its own set of advantages depending on the particular circumstances and requirements of a photo shoot.

The 28mm lens is lighter and more compact, with a diameter of 70mm, a length of 43mm, and a weight of 155 grams. Its filter thread, which is the size of the filter that can be screwed onto the front of the lens, is 52mm.

On the other hand, the 50mm lens is significantly larger and heavier, with a diameter of 76mm, length of 86.5mm, and weight of 415 grams. This lens has a larger filter thread size of 62mm.

The 28mm lens has a distinct advantage in terms of portability and discretion due to its compact size and lightweight construction. It would be easier to carry around for extended periods, blend into crowds for street photography, and store in a camera bag. The lens’s smaller size and lighter weight also contribute to a more balanced camera setup and ease of lens swapping.

The 50mm lens, although heavier and larger, offers significant advantages in terms of durability. This lens would likely be a better choice for photographers who frequently shoot outdoors in varying weather conditions and need a robust lens capable of withstanding those elements.

In conclusion, if portability and discretion are top priorities, the 28mm lens would be superior. However, if durability and versatility under diverse weather conditions are more important, the 50mm lens would be the superior choice. It’s all about finding the lens that best suits your photography needs and style!

Lens Mount and Barrel

The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 and Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 each have distinctive characteristics when it comes to the lens mount and barrel, crucial components that affect lens durability, usability, and performance.

Beginning with the 28mm lens, the lens mount is crafted from polycarbonate, a type of plastic noted for its durability and wear resistance. While some may perceive the use of plastic as less premium, it’s worth noting that polycarbonate often outperforms certain metals in terms of longevity and resilience. Despite this, caution is advised when handling the camera by the lens, as excessive stress could potentially damage the mount. The mount lacks a rubber gasket for dust and moisture protection, instead relying on a hard plastic lip for sealing. This design decision could limit its effectiveness in harsh environmental conditions.

The barrel of the 28mm lens is also primarily plastic, giving it a lightweight feel. Although it might seem less substantial due to its material, it’s well-crafted and robust, boasting a high-quality build. Its design includes a rubber-covered plastic focus ring, which enhances grip and allows for smoother focus adjustments, leading to a pleasant handling experience.

In contrast, the 50mm lens employs a metal lens mount, ensuring a firm and reliable connection with the camera body. The design includes four locking ears for a secure fit, reducing any wobble when attached. A notable feature is the rubber gasket around the mount, which offers enhanced protection against dust and moisture, making this lens more suited to a range of environmental conditions.

The lens barrel of the 50mm lens is constructed using a blend of high-quality metals and polycarbonate, providing a sense of premium quality and durability. Engraved moldings filled with paint further contribute to the fine aesthetics of this lens. This combination of materials and design choices results in a sturdy and aesthetically pleasing lens barrel that promises enhanced durability.

The lighter, more portable, and cost-effective 28mm lens with its plastic mount and barrel would appeal to photographers prioritizing affordability and ease of transport. However, it might not be as durable or suitable for harsh environments.

On the other hand, the 50mm lens, with its robust metal mount and a high-quality blend of materials for the lens barrel, caters to photographers valuing durability, a premium feel, and better protection against dust and moisture. The trade-off here is the increased weight and potential cost.

Weather Sealing

Looking at the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8, its design does not explicitly include weather sealing. The absence of a dust gasket at the lens mount and the lack of obvious water ingress points suggest it might not be fully prepared for extreme environmental conditions. Despite this, the lens employs a hard plastic lip at the lens mount, which can provide some resistance against dust and dirt. Its performance has proven commendable in mild adverse conditions such as light rain. However, it’s important to understand that while the lens can withstand minor environmental stressors, it’s not recommended for use in harsh conditions without additional protection due to its design limitations.

In contrast, the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 exhibits a more robust approach to weather sealing. It features a dust gasket at the lens mount, which adds an extra layer of defense against dust and moisture, ensuring a secure and protected attachment. This lens benefits from comprehensive weather sealing incorporated into its design, enhancing its resilience under diverse weather conditions. Nevertheless, it’s noteworthy that this lens lacks a fluorine coating on the front and rear elements, a feature often found on high-end lenses to repel dust and moisture. Thus, a bit of extra attention may be required to keep these exposed glass elements clean. Interestingly, the rear focus design, devoid of moving parts on the exterior, adds to the lens’s environmental hardiness.

Weather sealing is an essential consideration for photographers venturing into diverse environmental conditions. Fully weather-sealed lenses like the 50mm offer superior protection and durability, functioning optimally even under adverse conditions. On the other hand, lenses without full weather sealing, such as the 28mm, might be more susceptible to damage and performance issues in such situations. They often require additional protective measures.

In conclusion, if weather sealing is a priority, the 50mm lens is evidently superior. Its extensive weather sealing measures ensure it can brave the elements with more resilience and reliability than its 28mm counterpart. However, keep in mind that while weather sealing is a beneficial feature, its necessity largely depends on your specific shooting environments and requirements. Shooting mainly indoors or in controlled settings may not warrant the need for such a feature. The key is to choose a lens that matches your photography needs and the demands of your preferred shooting conditions.


Starting with the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8, it features a solitary focus ring situated towards the lens’ front. Its rubberized surface fosters a comfortable grip, augmenting usability. With the integration of a fly-by-wire system, the ring’s operation is notably smooth, permitting meticulous adjustments during manual focusing. The focus ring can be customized to manipulate other settings like ISO or aperture, promoting adaptability to various shooting conditions and personal shooting styles. Despite this versatility, tactile feedback remains satisfactory with a balanced level of resistance.

Moving on to the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8, it offers a single broad control ring. This 38mm wide ring is located towards the front of the lens barrel, serving a multifunctional purpose. Though its knurled metal surface lacks a rubberized grip, its engineered smoothness allows easy single-finger operation. Besides manual focus adjustments, the control ring can manipulate aperture, exposure compensation, or ISO when in autofocus mode. However, the absence of physical feedback upon reaching the end scale of any assigned function is noteworthy. Another significant point is the non-linear response of the focus ring. It operates on a ‘focus by wire’ system, meaning fast or slow rotations change the focus speed accordingly. This enables swift focus shifts with quick movements, and precision fine-tuning with slow rotations, resulting in a seamless blend of simplicity and flexibility.

Judging by different criteria, the 50mm lens stands out in terms of precision control and flexibility due to its wide multifunctional control ring and non-linear response. However, the 28mm lens exhibits superior ergonomics and user-friendly customization options, thanks to its comfortable rubberized grip and setting adaptability.

In conclusion, if precision control and flexibility are paramount, the 50mm lens appears superior due to its advanced features. Nevertheless, for photographers prioritizing ergonomic comfort and customization options, the 28mm lens might prove a better choice.


The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 takes a minimalistic approach with a complete absence of external switches or buttons. As a result, all adjustments, including the change between autofocus and manual focus settings, are performed through the camera’s menu system or by utilizing a function button on the camera body. Such a design leans on the camera’s controls, which helps maintain a streamlined physical appearance of the lens but at the expense of intuitive and rapid accessibility. Not having an AF/MF switch implies that users must interact with the camera’s settings to transition between autofocus and manual focus modes, which may be a less expedient method for photographers who frequently alternate between these modes during a photoshoot.

Contrarily, the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 exhibits a more user-friendly layout, incorporating an AF/MF switch on the lens barrel. This switch enables effortless toggling between Auto Focus and Manual Focus modes, enhancing convenience. When set to ‘AF,’ the focus ring doubles as a multifunctional control ring, allowing adjustments to various camera settings based on the camera’s menu configuration. However, this switch lacks physical feedback when reaching the end of its scale, posing a potential challenge in low-light conditions or when operating the camera without visual confirmation. Although it promotes a sleek design, this lens might require a brief adjustment period for photographers habituated to lenses with more physical controls and feedback.

In summary, the 50mm lens with its AF/MF switch offers an edge in usability and operational speed over the 28mm lens, despite its lack of tangible feedback. However, photographers prioritizing a streamlined design might be drawn to the sleek profile of the 28mm lens.

Filter Thread

The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 incorporates a standard 52mm filter thread, a size that is quite common, which simplifies the process of locating suitable filters. The filter thread, made of plastic, may not provide the same durability as its metal counterparts but it should suffice for regular usage. A significant advantage is that the front element and the filter thread remain stationary during focus. This characteristic makes the lens convenient when using polarizing filters or graduated neutral density filters. These types of filters could become misaligned if the lens elements rotated while focusing.

On the other hand, the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 offers a larger 62mm filter thread size. This dimension, while still commonplace, is slightly larger than the filter thread of the 28mm lens, allowing for greater light gathering capacity. This lens features a metal filter thread, enhancing its robustness and durability. Similar to the 28mm lens, its front element and filter thread do not rotate when focusing, increasing its usability with certain types of filters. The lens also accommodates filters of this size without causing vignetting, even when downsized to 39mm, demonstrating its versatility and compatibility.

In conclusion, the 50mm lens offers superior features in terms of filter thread due to its durable construction and larger size, which can provide photographers with a wider array of creative possibilities.

Lens Hood

Starting with the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8, it is noted that this lens does not include a lens hood within its package. Nikon, the manufacturer, hasn’t specified an official lens hood for this model, leaving the user to source an alternative if they wish to employ one. There are several third-party products compatible with this lens, which can be found on online marketplaces such as Amazon. While these may not be officially endorsed by Nikon, they should fit the 52mm filter thread on this lens.

In contrast, the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 does provide an included lens hood within its package, specifically the HB-90 model. The lens hood is packaged separately in a clear plastic bag and located on the right side of the folded cardboard dividers. Composed of durable plastic, this lens hood is designed to effectively minimize unwanted peripheral light, maintaining image contrast and reducing potential flare. It also features an ergonomic design that provides easy grip and handling, facilitating the process of attaching and removing the hood from the lens. Its bayonet mount design, known for secure attachment and quick installation, further improves the user’s experience. Another notable feature of this lens hood is its reversibility, which allows it to be mounted backward onto the lens for convenient storage when not in use.

Comparatively, the 50mm lens offers superior features regarding its lens hood, thanks to its inclusion in the package, ergonomic design, and the convenience of its reversibility. This feature set could enhance the user experience, providing better image quality by reducing unwanted light and flare while also adding protection to the lens.

Focusing and Optical Stabilization

Nikon NIKKOR Z 28mm F2.8Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm F1.8 S
AF MotorStepper motorStepper motor
Rotating Front ElementDoes not rotate on focusingDoes not rotate on focusing
Min Focus Distance0.19m0.4m
Max Magnification (X)0.20.15
Full-Time Manual FocusYesYes
Focus MethodInternalInternal

Focusing Performance

Starting with the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8, it’s equipped with a dual motor focus system including a stepping motor, a trait common in Nikon’s Z-mount lenses. Its autofocus performance is generally robust and on par with comparable lenses. The lens maintains a constant length irrespective of focus and zoom settings due to its internal focusing mechanism. This feature also ensures that the front element does not rotate while focusing, which is beneficial when using polarizing filters.

The lens offers a minimum focusing distance of 7.5 inches, enabling close-up shots. Despite exhibiting a slight focus breathing, this change in the angle of view during focusing isn’t significant for most focus maneuvers. However, in low light conditions, focusing may be somewhat challenging especially when set to AF-C mode, while AF-S mode performs well under better lighting.

Interestingly, the lens features an instant manual-focus override that can be engaged simply by turning the electronic focus ring. This manual focus override functions smoothly even in AF-C mode, providing an excellent manual focus experience. Also noteworthy is the silent autofocus, which is valuable for video shooting or situations requiring absolute silence. Despite its dual motor setup, the autofocus motors are barely noticeable audibly, but slight vibrations can be felt during focusing.

Moving on to the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8, this lens stands out for its efficient and virtually silent autofocus mechanism that uses a stepping motor. It’s capable of focusing quickly, approximately 0.5 seconds from infinity to 0.6m. Moreover, the lens demonstrates minimal focus variation under well-lit conditions.

The lens features a large focus ring that enables instant manual focus changes. Using a ‘focus by wire’ system, the lens offers precise, speed-sensitive control. While the lens does exhibit some focus breathing, it’s so slight that it’s unlikely to impact most photographic scenarios.

Similar to the 28mm lens, the 50mm lens also utilizes an internal focusing design, maintaining a constant length regardless of focus settings. It exhibits a barely audible noise during autofocus operation, although it can produce a slight buzz when recording video with the built-in microphone.

To summarize, both lenses have their merits. The 28mm lens offers a seamless transition between auto and manual focus, and its silent autofocus is advantageous for video shooting. On the other hand, the 50mm lens shines with its quick and precise autofocus performance, including under well-lit conditions.

Optical Stabilization

Starting with the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8, it lacks inherent optical stabilization. Nevertheless, it can harness the sensor-shift Image Stabilization (IS) or Vibration Reduction (VR) if such features are available in your camera. This camera-based stabilization compensates for minor motions that might blur the image, offering approximately a two-stop real-world improvement. In practical terms, this allows for slower shutter speeds than would be feasible without blur from camera shake. For instance, from a normally required shutter speed of 1/60th of a second, the two-stop stabilization would enable you to use a shutter speed of 1/15th of a second, which can be particularly advantageous in low-light conditions necessitating slower shutter speeds. Importantly, this stabilization process is typically silent and its effectiveness is subject to factors like your hand-holding technique and shooting conditions.

On the other hand, the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 also lacks built-in optical stabilization, but it can effectively utilize in-body stabilization featured in the Nikon Z cameras it’s intended for. This lens yields a 3-stop stabilization advantage. Concretely, with Vibration Reduction (VR) enabled, images were consistently sharp down to 1/12 sec (2 stops), and even at 1/6 sec (3 stops), the results were comparable to 1/50 sec with VR disabled. However, beyond 1/3 sec (4 stops), image blur became significant and by 0.6 sec, there were hardly any usable results.

When considering the benefits of optical stabilization, it’s key to note the role of camera shake in image clarity, and how this differs for wide-angle versus telephoto lenses. For wide-angle lenses like the 28mm, camera shake is less likely to degrade image quality due to their wider field of view and shorter focal length. Yet, in low-light situations or when shooting handheld at slower shutter speeds, image stabilization can make a noticeable difference. Similarly, the 50mm lens, typically used for portrait photography, can also benefit from optical stabilization under specific conditions, such as low light, handheld shooting, or when capturing video.

In conclusion, both lenses lack internal optical stabilization but can effectively utilize in-camera stabilization, with the 50mm lens offering a slight advantage in stabilization effectiveness with a 3-stop benefit. This, combined with the nature of typical usage scenarios for a 50mm lens, including portrait and low-light photography, could make its optical stabilization performance superior.

Image Quality

Nikon NIKKOR Z 28mm F2.8Nikon NIKKOR Z 50mm F1.8 S
Special Elements2 aspherical elements2 aspherical + 2 ED elements, Nano Crystal Coat
Diaphragm Blades79


The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 exhibits chromatic aberration, spherical aberration, and coma to varying extents depending on conditions. The longitudinal chromatic aberration is particularly noticeable at wide apertures, lessening slightly at f/4, but it’s worse in close-ups than in distant shots. Notably, this lens handles lateral chromatic aberration quite well.

Spherochromatism, a chromatic aberration subtype causing colored fringes on out-of-focus areas, is pronounced when shooting at large apertures, such as f/2.8. Additionally, the lens suffers from significant coma, which distorts point light sources into tails, particularly at the edges, but improves by f/4 and disappears by f/5.6. Spherical aberration, shown as “color bokeh,” is evident, especially when using the lens at its full aperture, decreasing by f/4, and vanishing by f/5.6. However, it’s crucial to remember that certain camera settings and post-processing methods can alleviate these issues.

Contrarily, the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 excels in controlling chromatic aberration, especially longitudinal chromatic aberration (LoCA), which is minimal between f/1.8 and f/2.8. The coma aberration, a common issue distorting point light sources at the image’s edges, is superbly managed even under harsh lighting conditions or high-contrast night scenes.

The lens exhibits a slight amount of spherochromatism, a spherical aberration variant leading to color fringing around objects not perfectly in focus. But this doesn’t have a substantial impact on image quality. It should be noted that these issues tend to lessen as the lens is stopped down. Moreover, the Nikon Z6 and Z7, the cameras this lens is designed for, handle lens-profile corrections effectively.

Based on these factors, the 50mm lens is superior in terms of aberration control. It demonstrates outstanding performance in mitigating chromatic and coma aberrations, and only a mild presence of spherochromatism. Furthermore, it works seamlessly with the lens-profile corrections of its corresponding cameras, ensuring optimal image quality.


The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 shows impressive sharpness, particularly at the center, across all apertures, consistently rendering highly detailed images. The peak of this center sharpness is noticeable even at its widest aperture, f/2.8, a tribute to the superior optics employed. However, at such wider apertures, some softness appears in the corners. This is a common characteristic among lenses of this range and does not significantly degrade image quality. When the lens is stopped down to around f/4, corner sharpness notably improves, although it may not match the center’s clarity. This softness might be attributed to issues like field curvature and sagittal coma flare, more apparent when photographing night skies or celestial subjects.

Sagittal coma flare reduces contrast but is substantially improved by f/4 and entirely resolved by f/5.6. This lens appears to produce the sharpest images between f/4 and f/5.6. Avoiding smaller apertures such as f/11 is advisable to prevent softness caused by diffraction. As for sharpness across various distances, this lens outperforms in capturing distant subjects compared to close-ups. It performs exceptionally well for wide-angle shots when stopped down to around f/8. Yet, remember that final image sharpness is also dependent on factors like camera settings, shooting conditions, and the photographer’s expertise.

On the other hand, the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 exhibits outstanding sharpness, which is particularly commendable at the center even at a wide open aperture of f/1.8. This is comparable to the performance of high-end lenses like the F-mount 28mm f/1.4E. The center sharpness persists even when stopping down to smaller apertures like f/2.8. Exceptional corner sharpness is another notable feature of this lens, even at f/1.8.

Some slight softness might be detected at the corners when shot at 45MP, but this is typically unnoticeable due to factors like falloff and shallow depth of field at f/1.8. For superior border clarity, f/5.6 might be the ideal aperture. The lens retains its sharpness even at narrower apertures such as f/8 and f/11. Sharpness consistency across different distances further enhances this lens’s versatility for diverse photography types.

Comparatively, the 50mm lens exhibits superior sharpness due to its impressive performance across both center and corner regions of the frame, across a range of apertures. Its remarkable sharpness at various distances enhances its versatility, making it an excellent choice for a wide range of photographic scenarios. Therefore, in terms of sharpness, the 50mm lens appears to be the better option.

Bokeh Quality

The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 presents a fairly pleasing bokeh quality, a commendable feature considering its wide-angle and relatively slow aperture. The smooth transition from in-focus to out-of-focus areas is characteristic of recent Nikkor lenses and adds to the lens’s appeal. The bokeh merges subtly into the overall composition without being overly attention-seeking. Though some ‘onion-skinning’ is observable in out-of-focus highlights, it doesn’t significantly impact the image quality. As the aperture narrows, however, the circles of confusion fail to maintain a perfectly round shape, demonstrating some elongation and potential inconsistencies linked to the aperture blades. Despite these minor issues, the bokeh output of this lens is satisfactory for its category.

In comparison, the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 generates a soft and attractive bokeh, exhibiting excellent control over the background blur. This lens can create a gentle blur in out-of-focus areas, particularly at wide apertures, which is a sought-after feature for portrait photography. While some ‘onion ringing’ and mild ‘nervousness’ are perceptible in the bokeh, the lens beautifully blurs the transition zones, lending pleasing softness to sharp elements. The lens’s ability to produce softly textured bokeh balls that appear slightly compressed at the edges adds to its overall aesthetic appeal. The well-managed longitudinal chromatic aberration (LoCA) ensures the pleasing quality of out-of-focus highlight areas.

However, it’s worth noting that there could be minor issues like a slight brightening around the edges of bokeh balls and a subtle cat-eye effect in off-center highlights. Furthermore, the lens tends to render highlights with a defined outline and might reveal ‘bullseye’ patterns within specular highlights in certain scenarios. Regardless of these factors, the bokeh performance of this lens remains remarkable, making it a highly versatile choice for various photography styles.

In conclusion, the 50mm lens’s bokeh quality is superior, characterized by its smooth transition zones, textured bokeh balls, and excellent control over background blur. These features, combined with its consistent performance across various apertures and distances, make it a more appealing choice for photographers looking to add a dreamy and aesthetically pleasing bokeh to their images.


The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 showcases commendable handling of flare and ghosting. It stands its ground even under testing lighting scenarios like shooting directly into the sun or close to the frame edge, managing these optical artifacts effectively. A mere hint of veiling flare can be detected at its widest aperture of f/2.8, signifying a well-calibrated optical design and the efficient application of anti-reflective coatings.

Although the lens doesn’t entirely eliminate flare, it tames it to a degree where it doesn’t interfere significantly with the image quality. As for ghosting, this lens exhibits proficient control, ensuring that lighting within or near the frame edge doesn’t cause noticeable ghosting artifacts. This characteristic affords photographers greater creative leeway when incorporating potent light sources into their scenes.

On the other hand, the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 demonstrates admirable aptitude in mitigating flare and ghosting. Nikon’s incorporation of Nano and Super Integrated Coating substantially diminishes these optical disturbances. The petal-shaped lens hood design assists in obstructing direct light rays from hitting the front lens element. The lens admirably withstands strong light sources, including direct sunlight, producing images with minimal flare and ghosting. Under more extreme circumstances, like direct light beams entering the lens or lights just outside the frame corner, the lens manages flare and ghosting admirably.

Notably, this lens outperforms the Zeiss 55mm f1.4 Otus in controlling flare, ghosting, and glare when light directly strikes the lens at an angle. However, the effects are subject to variables like aperture and the angle of light incidence on the lens. Consequently, the effects can be provoked or minimized with careful composition against strong light sources. It’s also important to maintain a clean rear lens element, as smudges or debris could potentially compromise the lens’s capability to control flare and ghosting.

In conclusion, while both lenses demonstrate proficient control over flare and ghosting, the 50mm lens edges out due to its Nano and Super Integrated Coating and its specially designed petal-shaped lens hood. Additionally, its impressive performance even under extreme light conditions underscores its superior handling of flare and ghosting. Thus, for photographers who frequently shoot in challenging lighting conditions, the 50mm lens would be a more fitting choice.


With the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8, perceptible vignetting is present, most prominently at the extreme corners when used with a full-frame sensor. With the aperture fully open at f/2.8, this can reach over 1EV at the corner – quite noticeable indeed. However, there’s a relatively large zone where the vignetting is minor and can be disregarded, especially encompassing the DX corners. As the lens aperture is gradually stopped down, the vignetting effect lessens, becoming virtually negligible by f/4 for most photography genres. Nikon’s Vignette Control is somewhat helpful, but it doesn’t fully eradicate the pronounced FX corner vignetting at its default setting. If your workflow includes RAW shooting, you have the opportunity to modify the vignetting in post-production using photo editing software.

The in-camera vignetting adjustment offers HIGH, NORMAL, LOW, and OFF settings. The necessity to manage the vignetting depends on your specific imaging objectives. Interestingly, vignetting can occasionally be employed creatively to direct focus towards the center of the frame or to imbue an image with an artistic or vintage effect. Utilizing filters doesn’t seem to exacerbate the vignetting issue; stacking several regular screw-in 52mm filters does not induce any additional vignetting on full-frame.

Switching focus to the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8, there’s conspicuous vignetting at larger apertures, specifically f/1.8 and f/2, with a measurement of approximately 2 stops at the extremes at f/1.8. The vignetting effect significantly reduces even at f/2 and becomes nearly invisible beyond f/2.8. Importantly, even at its peak, the vignetting does not obscure details. Activating the in-camera vignetting correction to ‘normal’ further diminishes this effect.

Nikon’s Z series camera users can apply in-camera peripheral illumination correction at three levels: Low, Normal, High, as well as an off setting. With the normal correction, the vignetting is still visible until f/2.8. Adobe Lightroom or CaptureOne can also manage vignetting effectively during post-processing. Furthermore, the lens profile selected can influence the level of vignetting correction. Using a 62mm filter does not appear to induce any additional noticeable vignetting. While vignetting is certainly present, especially at larger apertures, numerous ways are available to effectively mitigate it.

In conclusion, both lenses do exhibit vignetting. However, the 50mm lens appears to control this effect more effectively, especially with the in-camera correction feature and its less significant impact at apertures beyond f/2.8. Thus, if you are looking for a lens with superior vignetting control, the 50mm lens would be the preferred choice.


The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 maintains an excellently controlled distortion profile. When paired with Nikon’s Z cameras, the lens benefits from an always-on distortion correction feature, which significantly aids in producing a clean image output. For more precision-oriented applications, like scientific imaging, you might consider a minor adjustment with a +0.5 factor via Photoshop’s lens correction filter for flawless results.

However, if your preference is raw data over JPG images, the distortion correction will rely on the specific software you use to convert raw data into visible images. It’s important to note that even with these corrections, there’s a slight indication of pin-cushion distortion. Despite this, the distortion control of the 28mm lens remains quite proficient for general photography applications.

On the other hand, the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 reveals only very minor barrel distortion, roughly around 0.57%. This level of distortion is practically undetectable unless you’re scrutinizing your images with a ruler or shooting subjects with precise lines or architectural elements. To entirely eliminate it, the Auto Distortion Control feature on your Nikon camera or software interventions such as Photoshop’s lens correction filter can be employed.

However, even in the absence of these corrections, the distortion is barely perceivable to most users. Consequently, the distortion of the 50mm lens is unlikely to pose a significant challenge in most photographic scenarios.

To summarize, both lenses exhibit well-managed distortion profiles, but the 50mm lens edges out the 28mm due to its extremely minor barrel distortion. This minute distortion is nearly imperceptible in normal usage and requires no correction for most photography genres, making the 50mm lens the superior choice when it comes to distortion control.

Final Verdict

With a thorough analysis of the features and performance of both lenses, a final verdict can be reached.

The Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8, with its wider field of view, would be an excellent choice for landscape, architectural, and street photography. It also benefits from a lightweight design and a seamless transition between auto and manual focus, making it a solid choice for videographers. Its silent autofocus operation can be a boon for video shooting where noise is a concern. However, it’s worth noting that while it is more affordable and portable, it might not offer the durability needed for demanding environments or professional use.

Conversely, the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8, with its superior sharpness, minor barrel distortion, and better control over vignetting, aberrations, and flare, is a high-performance tool for most photography genres. Its wider maximum aperture makes it particularly apt for portrait, low-light photography and everyday photography. Despite being heavier and potentially more costly, it boasts a robust construction that withstands diverse weather conditions, making it ideal for professional photographers who prioritize durability and reliability. Additionally, the lens’s outstanding bokeh quality and more effective stabilization feature add more to its appeal.

From the perspective of experience levels, the 28mm lens is more suitable for beginner to intermediate photographers. Its lighter weight, ease of use, and affordability make it more approachable. However, the 50mm lens, due to its more complex features and premium build, aligns better with the needs of advanced or professional photographers. It offers superior image quality and versatility that pros would appreciate in various demanding conditions.

Meet the Author

Wei Mao

Wei was a cruise photographer who worked at Disney Cruise Line. He is a lucky traveler who has been to more than 20 countries with his camera while working on an around-the-world cruise. Photography has changed his view of the world forever. Now he wants more people to benefit from photography through his blog.

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