Lens review

Nikon Nikkor Z 20 mm f/1.8 S

17 July 2020
Maciej Latałło

3. Build quality

The following chart presents a comparison between basic parameters of the tested Nikkor Z 20 mm f/1.8S and other full frame 20 mm f/1.8-2.0 lenses. It's clear that only the Sony lens might be called equally complex when it comes to the optics. The Nikkor is also the longest, a bit lighter than the Viltrox, and a tad heavier than the slower Tokina.

In the following photo the Nikkor Z 1.8/20 is positioned between the Nikkor Z 24–70 mm f/4 and the AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G.

Nikon Nikkor Z 20 mm f/1.8 S - Build quality

The tested lens starts with a metal mount which surrounds contacts and a rear element, 28 mm in diameter. The area close to that element is well matted and blackened, without any electronic parts peeping out from the interior – no reservations here.

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Nikon Nikkor Z 20 mm f/1.8 S - Build quality

A black, metal ring which doesn't move is the first part of the tested Nikkor's proper barrel. On its surface you can find a white dot, making an alignment with a camera easier, an inscription with parameters of the lens, the logo of the producer, an AF/MF switch, allowing you to control the focusing mechanism mode, a „Nikkor S” plate, its serial number, the focusing mechanism working range (∞-0.2 m/0.66ft), and finally information that the lens was made in China.

Nikon Nikkor Z 20 mm f/1.8 S - Build quality

Further on you find another immobile ring, this time made of plastics and devoid of any inscriptions. Then there's a manual focus ring, made of metal, as wide as 48 mm, without any distance or DOF scale. It is a 'focus-by-wire' stepping construction and its whole surface is covered by fine ribbing. Its focus throw depends strongly on the speed of your turning – if you move the ring fast it amounts to less than 90 degrees, when you turn it slower you are able to reach even over 180 degrees. Still the amount of rotation is sometimes rather tricky to measure because a really slow movement doesn't produce any results on the electronic distance scale.

Nikon Nikkor Z 20 mm f/1.8 S - Build quality

It's worth mentioning the fact that fine, metal ribs on the manual focusing ring are very scratch-prone. It's enough to put two such system lenses close together, e.g. in a bag, and they can scratch each other's paint with ease.

Nikon Nikkor Z 20 mm f/1.8 S - Build quality

Next, you see an immobile, plastic ring which near one of its ends gets a bit wider and finishes with a bayonet mount for a hood which you can find in the box with the lens.

The front element doesn't move, is slightly convex and 52 mm in diameter. It is surrounded by a collar with the name and parameters of the lens and a non-rotating filter thread, 77 mm in diameter.

Nikon Nikkor Z 20 mm f/1.8 S - Build quality

When it comes to optical construction you deal here with 14 elements positioned in 11 groups. Three of them are made of low dispersion ED glass and three others are aspherical in shape. Inside there is also a round aperture with nine blades which can be closed down to a value of f/16 at the maximum. Every movable part of the lens's tube is sealed in order to protect the instrument against dust and moisture and the system also features nano-crystal coating.

Buyers get in the box with the lens: two caps, a soft pouch, and a petal-type hood. We think at this price-point you should expect something better, e.g. a much more solid lens bag.

Nikon Nikkor Z 20 mm f/1.8 S - Build quality