Lens review

Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30 mm f/4 S

1 February 2021
Maciej Latałło

3. Build quality

Currently there are no lenses with parameters identical to the tested Nikkor in our database so we can compare it only to instruments with parameters more or less similar – and that comparsion is presented in the following chart. As you can notice, the Nikkor 14-30 mm remains disntincly smaller and lighter than its f/2.8 system brother and also than the Sony 12-24 mm that offers wider angles of view. It seems the aged Sigma 15-30 mm designed for SLR cameras resembles the Nikkor the most, at least when it comes to basic parameters. Still, the Sigma is noticeably bigger, and heavier; you also cannot use classic filters with it.

In the photo below the Nikkor 14-30 mm is positioned next to its system 24-70 mm brothers: the f/4.0 model on the left and the faster f/2.8 model on the right.

Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30 mm f/4 S - Build quality

The tested lens starts with a metal mount surrounding contacts and a rear element, 22 mm in diameter. In folded position and at 14 mm that element is a bit deeper than the contacts and when you pass to 30 mm it hides over 2.5 cm deep inside the tube. The interior of that tube is properly blackened but, unfortunately, we noticed many slits and visible electronic parts – you can't say the lens is fully sealed from this side and it's not a piece of good news.

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Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30 mm f/4 S - Build quality

The first part of the proper body of the Nikkor is a black ring made of metal that doesn't move. The ring is 18 mm wide, with a white dot, making an alignment with a camera easier. Apart from the dot it also features an inscription with the lens's parameters, the producers logo, an AF/MF switch, used to control the focusing mechanism working modes, a 'Nikkor S' series plate, a serial number, the focusing mechanism working range (∞–0.28m/0.92ft), and also information that the lens was produced in Thailand.

Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30 mm f/4 S - Build quality

Then you see a manual focus ring, less than 1 cm wide, covered by fine ribbing. It doesn't feature any distance scale or DOF scale. It is a 'focus-by-wire' stepping construction and 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. With the parameters of the lens both these values are sufficient to allow you very precise settings.

Further on you find another immobile ring, this time made of plastics and devoid of any inscriptions, and a big aperture ring, as wide as 39 mm, most of its surface covered by ribbed rubber armour. Below that ring you see focal length markings at 14, 16, 20, 24, and 30 mm along with a red dot, indicating the resting position of the lens.

Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30 mm f/4 S - Build quality

When the lens is in its resting position the part of the device sticking out from the body (so minus the mount) is 85 mm long. Passing from the resting position to the14 mm focal length the lens increases to 113 mm and it is at its longest. Increasing the focal length makes the front element system go back and the length of the lens decreases to 101 mm at the 24 mm focal length. When you pass to 30 mm the length of the lens increases a bit once again, this time to 102 mm.

The front element system extends on a homogeneous tube made of plastics. The front element itself is slightly convex, 57 mm in diameter. It is surrounded by an inscription with the name and parameters of the lens, a non-rotating fitler thread, 82 mm in diameter, and a hood mount.

Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30 mm f/4 S - Build quality

When it comes to optical construction you deal here with as many as 14 elements positioned in 12 groups. The producers weren't skimpy when it comes to special elements: you find here as many as four low dispersion ED glass elements and four others that are aspherical in shape. Inside there is also a round aperture with seven blades which can be closed down to a value of f/22 at the maximum. The producers also boast of Nano Crystal Coat and super-hydrophobic fluorine coating, covering the surface of all outer optical elements.

Buyers get in the box with the lens: two caps, a soft pouch and a petal-type hood.

Nikon Nikkor Z 14-30 mm f/4 S - Build quality