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This is a page about the Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S wide-angle zoom lens. I believe this lens is quite a bargain for the price. However, I have seen some complaints about softness and vignetting on the internet. Well, I have not found either of these to be a burden in my photography. For one thing, I shoot Raw and post-production has always been an important part of my routine.

Nikon Z 14-30mm S FX lens factoids:

  • Focal length: 14mm – 30mm zoom lens
  • Elements & Groups: 14 , 12
  • Dimensions: 3.5 inches (89 mm) x 3.3 inches (85 mm)
  • Available aperture: f/4 to f/22, 7 blades
  • Minimum focus distance: 11 inches
  • Weight: 17.1 ounces or 1.068 lbs. (Compare Z 50 mm: 14.7 0z.)
  • Weight with Z 50 (DX) camera: 2.06 lbs. (32.97 oz.)
  • Weight with Z 7 II (FX) camera: 2.60 lbs. (41.6 oz.)
  • Nikon DX sensor: 24 x 16 mm (half frame), FX sensor 36 x 24mm (full frame)
  • Filter size: 82mm, no additional adapter needed
  • Water & Dust proof: Yes, as advertised
  • Specialized lens elements: 4 ED (extra-low dispersion elements) and 4 aspherical elements.
  • Field of view on cropped sensor: 21mm – 45mm
  • Approximate cost: $1,146.95 USA
  • f/4 vs. f/2.8? Traditional full stops: f/1.8, f/2.8, f/4/0, f/5.6, f/8.0, f/11, f/16, f/22, f/32
    f/2.8 is one full stop “faster” than f/4, this allows twice the shutter speed if needed
  • VR? No. Hold that camera steady and practice “follow through”
  • Commentary: Quite recently I read a review of the Nikon Z17-28mm f/2.8 criticizing the Z14-30mm f/4 on the basis of cost, aperture, weight, and ease of use. First, both are built for full-frame Z-mount cameras. The Z17-28mm is 34.78 grams lighter (484.78g vs. 450g) and the Z17-28mm cost about $150 less (1196.95 vs. 1346.95). Nothing heart stopping here! Second, f/2.8 is one stop (+1EV) opened up from f/4. If the Z14-30mm were an f/2.8 lens it would cost and weigh much more and not be able to receive screw-in filters. As photographers, we are always making compromises by juggling aperture, shutter speed, and ISO…not to mention size and weight. To me, f/4 is a small sacrifice over f/2.8. We can always move closer to our subject of interest, if circumstances allow, thereby narrowing the depth of field. Granted a poor substitute but worth remembering. Third, the Z14-30mm was criticized for the “Lock” position.” The reviewer suggested that this was an encumbrance to use. I rarely use the lock position and, after reading the lens manual, have yet to discover any requirement that it be used. Although. I do use it upon storage to minimize possible exposure to dust or humidity. Fourth, 14-30mm is not 17-28mm. Angle of view: Z14-28mm: DX 90-50, FX 114-72. Z17-28mm: DX 70-53, FX 104-75. The Z14-30mm is about 9% wider at 14mm… not insignificant. The defense rests!

For a really, really nice comparison of the Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S and the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 S see: (173) Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S vs. Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 for Landscape Photography | Backcountry Journeys – YouTube See also: More info

Now for a few photos:

Z 50 and Z 14-30mm at 22mm, Courthouse Kern County, 1/125s, f/5.6, ISO 400.

Z 50 and Z 14-30mm at 25mm, Gas Heater Outdoors, 1/400s, f/4.0, ISO 2500, (Photoshop).

Nikon Z 50 & Z 14-30mm f/4 S: 30mm, f/4.5, 1/200s, ISO 200 (both are the same original image).

We may forget that a wide-angle lens can make a very good closeup lens. The detail reveals the14-30mm’s strength. I will pronounce myself guilty of over-dramatizing the second image using Photoshop’s Burn tool.

Same as above but after using Photoshop Burn tool.

Nikon Z 50 & Z 14-30mm f/4 S at 30mm, 1/40s, f/4, ISO 10,000.

Nikon Z 50 & Z 14-30mm f/4 S at 14mm, 1/4o0s, f/7.1, ISO 100.

My Workflow Illustration:

Your workflow really brings a digital camera’s image to life. My workflow involves an examination of images in DxO PhotoLab Elite’s PhotoLibrary. I then click on an image which brings the image into Customize. Below we see simple steps to transform an image. DxO PhotoLab Elite is a superior “Raw processor” for those who shoot Raw. You can use it for JPEG images also. This program is simple to learn and very effective.

You can see from the histogram (upper left) that the image lacks dynamic range. That is, the image lacks tones on one or both sides of its histogram. Here we see the image lacks a black point, quartertones, highlights, and white point. It certainly has a lot of three-quartertones and midtones and that is good. There is a lot of information within that data for our use. The image was exposed carelessly (my bad). A camera’s light meter anticipates 50% brightness (18% reflectance) at midpoint. Because the sand is highly reflective, the image is much brighter at midpoint. Consequently, we must help the camera’s light meter see correctly. I should have increased Exposure Compensation by as much as +2EV (Exposure Value). Absent that step, we must make amends for a poor exposure in post-production. With a Raw file, we have much more latitude to correct such errors than with a JPEG file. A JPEG (.jpg) file is intended to be a finished product. And given a skilled hand on the camera, it can be…often.

This is quite a change. The histogram reveals definitive black and white points created by using about every exposure tool available in ProPhoto’s “Light” heading to the right. Note Microcontrast has been increased (Fine may have been better), Smart Lighting and Clear View Plus have been applied, tones adjusted to taste, and Tone Curve set to increase brightness and nudge the white point a tad to the left to round out our dynamic range. I don’t always use a Curves function in this way as some loss of tonal information may occur.

I added a bit of red saturation under the Color heading but not much. My goal was to reduce the cyan (blue) cast.

Under Detail. I chose DeepPRIME XD to reduce noise. There actually isn’t much noise so I could have chosen Prime but no matter. Why did you take out the footprints in front? I liked those footprints! Too distracting. Really?

I use Photoshop to finish things up. Here I used a classic “S” Curves adjustment Layer to add contrast. I could have (should have?) stopped here….

I used Topaz Sharpen AI, which I have installed as a Photoshop Filter, to provide output sharpening. Didn’t need much and Topaz just adds a touch as needed. In extreme cases, Topaz can really save your bacon!

I added a tiny bit of yellow filter in a Photoshop Adjustment layer to warm things up. Now you can tinker with these images until we have world peace but there is no right or wrong. You are the artists!

Here is an example of using PhotoLab’s Exposure Compensation (upper right) as a part of a similar exposure adjustment process. There are a number of different ways to accomplish a similar task. Just keep tonal components in mind as a guide to image exposure adjustment. These are: black point, shadows, three-quarter-tones, mid-tones, quarter-tones, highlights, and white point.

Photography can be fun, profitable, creative, and technically superior at the same time. Contact me for a custom one-to-one camera class in Bakersfield, California. Please text me at: 661-303-9210 (preferred) or email me Here for an appointment.

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