The Nikon Z6 II is a camera that bridges the gap between hobbyists and professional photographers. At 24.5 megapixels, it doesn’t have the high resolution of its more expensive counterparts, but it handles like a pro camera body and is well suited for many different types of photography. So if you own this body then you should consider investing in some high-quality lenses.
That is why my top pick is the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S. Keep reading to see more options depending on the type of photography you plan on using your Z6 II for the most.
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1. Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S
This lens is the Nikon Z mount version of the popular 24-70 f/2.8 lens. This is Nikon’s sharpest version to date and comes in lighter and smaller than its predecessors.
The 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens in the Z mount lineup is quite impressive. It packs a wide max aperture and a good mid-range focal length and delivers industry-leading image quality.
This made my top pick because of the combination of versatility and image quality.
There’s a reason that the 24-70 f/2.8 lens can be found in almost any professional photographer’s bag. You can shoot anything from wide-angle landscapes to longer focal-length portraits with this lens. Plus the f/2.8 max aperture means you’ll have a lot of control over depth of field and have the ability to shoot in low light.
It is also one of the sharpest 24-70mm lenses that you’ll find in any camera system. This lens takes full advantage of the Nikon Z mount to create exceptional image quality.
The autofocus performance is top-notch as well. It uses two AF drive units synchronized to deliver extremely fast and accurate autofocus. This works well paired with the excellent autofocus system of the Z6II.
On top of all that, this lens comes in lighter and smaller than the F-mount counterpart that was itself one of the best 24-70mm options out there.
2. Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4
The f/4 version of the Nikon Z 24-70mm is very close in sharpness and color and if you don’t need the s/2.8 max aperture then you can save over $1000 with this lens.
I put this lens on the list because it’s a versatile all-around lens, similar to the 24-70mm above. It has a smaller max aperture at f/4 but still has excellent sharpness across the frame and optical performance in general. It’s also around about $1100 cheaper than the f/2.8 version that made the top slot.
This is a good option if you don’t see yourself needing the f/2.8 aperture very much and value sharpness and image quality over low-light performance.
For instance, if you plan on using this zoom lens for landscape photography, then the image quality is far more important than the wide max aperture.
3. Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8
This compact 28mm lens has a nice wide f/2.8 max aperture and its size pairs nicely with the Z6II as a great walk-around combo.
This might be my personal favorite lens to carry around with me on a regular basis.
It’s small and lightweight enough that pairing it with the Z6II makes for a very small setup that is perfect for everyday shooting.
If I am taking a Nikon Z6II to a party, a family get-together, or just out with friends, this is the lens I would probably put on the camera. The 28mm focal length is wide enough that you don’t have to back up to get photos of the people around you and is also a great option for getting photos of the area around you.
But 28mm isn’t so wide that photos of people will be distorted.
In addition, the f/2.8 max aperture makes it easier to get shots in low light, especially compared to the kit lenses often found bundled with cameras that have max apertures in the f/4-6.3 range.
However, if the compact size isn’t as important to you and you want a prime lens with a wider max aperture then this next option will be perfect for you…
4. Nikon Z 50mm f/1.2 S
The 50mm lens should be a staple in every photographer’s bag and this upgrade to the nifty-fifty is the ultimate prime lens that is perfect for your Z6II.
As a Z6II owner, you’re looking to level up your photo quality and a high-end prime can do just that. Prime lenses generally outperform zoom lenses in all aspects of image quality. The 50mm f/1.2 is one of the best in the Z mount lineup.
Sure, you could go for the old classic, 50mm f/1.8, but that’s not all that exciting. The f/1.2 aperture can give you a focal plane of only 10″ from 10 feet away. This means the ability to shoot with beautiful bokeh in any situation.
The f/1.2 aperture also means beautiful low-light photography without having to increase the ISO. So your night photos will be cleaner and sharper.
Any wide-aperture lens like this is a massive difference for anyone that’s never used one. It will allow you to experiment with shallow depth of field as well as shoot in low light much better than any kit lens.
If you plan to use your Z6II for everyday photography like photographing your kids or get-togethers with friends and family, you’ll be thankful to have the option to use f/1.2, especially in indoor situations.
5. Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4
This lens has everything a landscape photographer needs, great sharpness and color, a compact but rugged build, and the ability to use standard 82mm filters.
You might be surprised that I chose this lens over the more expensive 14-24mm f/2.8 S lens. There are three reasons for that.
First, this lens is over $1000 cheaper than the f/2.8 version and still exceptionally sharp. Second, it is lighter and more compact, which you’ll appreciate if you end up hiking to any landscape location carrying your gear on your back.
Third, and arguably the most significant is that this is the rare zoom lens that lets you shoot as wide as 14mm and still use conventional 82mm filters. If you shoot landscapes for any length of time, you want to start using filters to help control glare and cut down on light for long exposures and it can be quite frustrating to need an entirely different set of filters just for one lens.
This lens makes it possible to have a single set of filters for all your lenses. The time and money you save on that alone make this lens worth it.
I wouldn’t worry too much about the f/4 max aperture either. It’s rare that you would ever use a wide aperture like that for shooting landscapes. If you shoot astrophotography and need a wide aperture then you would be better off with a prime lens like the Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8.
6. Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8
Possibly the best telephoto zoom lens on the market today. This updated version of the classic 70-200mm f/2.8 lens is even better than the previous one.
This is simply an excellent lens with really no negatives I found. Second, there really aren’t many other telephoto options in this range in the Z-mount lineup. So your choices are to pay the $2,399.95 MSRP or use an FTZ Adapter with an older F-mount lens.
I think you get a lot more value for your money by investing in the Z mount version. You won’t need to use an adapter and the autofocus speed and image quality are second to none.
7. Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S
The Z version of the popular 85mm f/1.8 is a lens that should be in the bag of every photographer that likes to photograph people.
The Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 has all of the same benefits as the 50mm version, but if you are shooting a lot of portrait photography, then the 85mm is a perfect focal length for portraits.
By using a longer focal length, you’ll be able to stand farther away from your subject while still filling the frame. This adds something called compression in photography, which helps to give a more flattering look to people.
Of course, the longer focal length also can be somewhat limiting for everyday use. So keep that in mind. This lens is great as a second or third option for the Z6II while the ones at the top of this list are more versatile and good for everyday use.
Lenses To Avoid
The truth is that there really aren’t any bad Z-mount lenses. Nikon hasn’t opened up the specs to third-party manufacturers to create their own lenses and they’ve done a great job at making high-quality lenses even at the lower price ranges.
You can also use the adapter to put F-mount lenses on this camera so be sure to check out my complete guide to the best Nikon lenses.
But there are a couple I wouldn’t recommend for the Z6II…
Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S
This is an exceptional lens when it comes to image quality, sharpness, and contrast. But I’m not listing it here because it’s bad, I’m actually listing it here because it’s a little too good.
The reality is that you can get almost the same performance for half the price with the 14-30mm f/4 listed above.
The f/2.8 maximum aperture is less useful on a wide-angle lens like this than it is on mid-range and telephoto lenses. At a 14mm field of view, you aren’t going to get much bokeh even when shooting at f/2.8.
If you want a lens for shooting wide-angle portraiture or need the wide maximum aperture for astrophotography, you would probably be better off with either the Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 which is a prime lens with an even wider max aperture and excellent image quality.
You will also need 112mm screw-in lens filters if you use them in your photography, compared to the 14-30mm f/4 that will take 82mm filters that you can use on all your lenses.
Overall, it is admittedly a great lens but wildly overkill for a 24.3-megapixel camera like the Z6II.
Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR
I am not a fan of “super-zooms” like this that cover a huge focal length range.
Yes, you can get a “do everything” lens but you’re making sacrifices on the image quality and the aperture to get such a huge focal length range.