Nikon Nikkor Z 26mm Pancake Lens Review

The Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8 pancake has been a polarizing lens. Those who really like it, such as myself, appreciate its compactness and terrific image quality. While others think it's too slow focusing and noisy.

IMG_0730.jpeg 26mm Z with included lens hood on a Nikon Zf.

After spending some time with this wide angle on my Nikon Zf full-frame mirrorless camera, I can say that the 26mm has been wonderful for travel, street photography, and events. Let's take a closer look to see what you think.

IMG_0747.jpeg 26mm Z, no lens hood, mounted on a Nikon Zf.

What I Like About the Nikkor Z 26mm

  • Compact (0.9" long)
  • Wide Angle of View (79 degrees)
  • Bright Maximum Aperture (f/2.8)
  • Dust and Drip Resistant
  • Metal Lens Mount and Solid Construction
  • Outstanding Center Sharpness
  • Close Focusing Capability Is Very Useful
  • Includes Clever Lens Hood and Slip-On Cap
  • Looks Fantastic on the Nikon Zf

What I Don't Like About the Nikkor Z 26mm

Some reviewers have complained about the focusing noise. Yes, you can hear it - not so much on the street, but sitting in a quiet room. So I would say that this isn't an optic for weddings and funerals. But for my purposes, noise isn't an issue.

Another complaint I've read is that it is slow-focusing. For example, if you compare it to the Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.8 S ($626 and 3" long), the 26mm will be slower. It's even slower than my Nikkor Z 24mm-50mm zoom. That being said, I don't think I lost one shot in San Francisco due to its focusing ability. My recommendation is that you don't use it for fast-action photography.

Photography is about tradeoffs - figuring out what you need for a shoot, and what you can live without. In my view, the Nikkor Z 26mm f/2.8 is well-suited for travel photography, urban work, and most events. Its pluses are compactness, a relatively fast aperture, and excellent sharpness.

Bottom Line

Once you recover from having spent $200 more than you would have for the Nikkor Z 28mm f/2.8 lens, you're likely going to be happy with your investment. The 26mm f/2.8 is a gem of a lens. It makes full-frame photography so much more portable. And the images it produces are beautiful.

A Few Pictures with the Nikkor Z 26mm on a Nikon Zf

ZF1_1319-12-03 San Francisco Zf-1024.jpg

ZF1_1289-12-03 San Fran-1024-V2.jpg

ZF1_1414-12-03 San Francisco Zf-1024.jpg


Photos by Derrick Story.