The Best and Worst Deals of Nikon’s September Lens Sales

Tips & Techniques

Nikon just kicked off one of their biggest lens sales of the year! Some of the discounts look really appealing – others, not so much. I’ll break it down lens-by-lens with my recommendations below.

I should mention in advance that not all of these sales are completely new; a few of them have been going on for at least a month, but I’ve gathered them all here for convenience. Most of the following sales will end on September 17th. If you decide to buy one of these lenses, you can support our work at Photography Life through the links to B&H below.

  • Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S $200 off (was $2500, now $2300): I consider this one of the best lenses on the market from any company, period. I wish Nikon had gone with the full $300 discount that they did for some of the other f/2.8 zooms, though. A $200 sale is still solid, just nothing head-turning.
  • Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S $200 off (was $1350, now $1150): A really nice discount on a great wide-angle Z lens. Considering that this lens was already pretty inexpensive, this is one of the best deals of Nikon’s sales this month. I’d strongly consider the 14-30mm f/4 if you’re on a budget. At half the price of the 14-24mm f/2.8, it has about 90% of the performance.
  • Nikon Z 17-28mm f/2.8 $200 off (was $1200, now $1000): Also a great deal. This lens matches the Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S in performance, with a wider maximum aperture but a narrower zoom range. I can’t help but wish we got closer to Tamron pricing on a Tamron-designed lens, but it’s still really good in price-vs-performance.
  • Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S $300 off (was $2400, now $2100): This is as much as Nikon is ever discounts their 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses, and of course, this is an outstanding lens. I expect to see a similar sale around Black Friday in a few months, but otherwise, now’s the time to get it.
  • Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 $300 off (was $1200, now $900): In terms of percentage, this sale is Nikon’s biggest discount of September. This Tamron-designed lens is a really solid performer, and the $300 discount is tied for the biggest sale we’ve ever seen on it.
  • Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8 S $150 off (was $850, now $700): A surprising $150 discount instead of $100. This lens is probably feeling some pressure from all of Nikon’s other midrange primes, but it still stands as one of the best that Nikon’s ever made. The new $700 price is an excellent deal.
  • Nikon Z 50mm f/1.2 S $200 off (was $2100, now $1900): It’s Nikon’s biggest, brightest 50mm lens, and it’s never gone for more than $200 off. That said, you’re still paying a lot (both in price and in size) for f/1.2, considering that the 50mm f/1.8 S lens below is already such a sky-high performer.
  • Nikon Z 50mm f/1.8 S $100 off (was $630, now $530): Nikon hasn’t put as many of their prime lenses on sale this time, but at least the 50mm f/1.8 S gets its usual $100 discount. It’s still one of the sharpest Nikon Z lenses we’ve ever tested, and by percentage, the $100 sale isn’t bad for a $630 lens.
  • Nikon Z MC 50mm f/2.8 Macro $50 off (was $650, now $600): Just $50 off isn’t enough for me to recommend this sale, unless you were about to buy the lens anyway.
  • Nikon Z 70-180mm f/2.8 $150 off (was $1250, now $1100): I’m pretty sure this is the first time that we’ve seen Nikon’s relatively new 70-180mm f/2.8 go on sale. And while $150 off isn’t bad in terms of percentage, it’s the weakest discount among Nikon’s Tamron-designed budget trio of f/2.8 zooms. I expect it to see steeper discounts in the future.
  • Nikon Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S $300 off (was $2700, now $2400): It’s one of the best zoom lenses we’ve ever tested, and the $300 discount is as high of a sale as you’ll ever see. That said, as with the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, I expect the same discount to show up for Black Friday. So, you’ll probably have another bite at the apple in a few months.
  • Nikon Z 85mm f/1.2 S $200 off (was $2800, now $2600): A first-time sale! (I think.) It would have been nice to see such an expensive lens get a $250 or $300 discount, but considering that the 85mm f/1.2 is only about seven months old, I didn’t expect a discount at all.
  • Nikon Z 85mm f/1.8 S $100 off (was $800, now $700): It’s one of the best choices for a portrait lens on the Z system, especially for the price. It gets Nikon’s usual $100-off discount, which is solid but nothing surprising.
  • Nikon Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S $200 off (was $2700, now $2500): This lens is usually neck-and-neck with the Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S in price. However, with $200 off rather than $300 off, that’s no longer the case. It’s still a great lens, and $200 is $200, but this sale should have been a bit higher.
  • Nikon Z MC 105mm f/2.8 S Macro: $100 off (was $1050, now $950): One of Nikon’s best lenses ever, and one of just a handful of lenses that we’ve rated as a perfect 5.0/5.0. I’ll take any discount on it, and $100 off isn’t bad. But $150 off would have made more sense for a $1050 lens.
  • Nikon Z 400mm f/4.5 S $250 off (was $3250, now $3000): This is the most expensive lens that Nikon has put on sale this time around. It would have been nice to see a $300 sale like we did for some of the others, but at $250 off, it’s still a great buy.
Nikon Z MC 105mm f2.8 VR S Macro Lens Sample Photo Vertical Waterfall Landscape Photo
NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z MC 105mm f/2.8 VR S @ 105mm, ISO 64, 1/80, f/5.6

A lot of Nikon’s lenses didn’t go on sale this time, especially their wider primes, even though we’ve seen most of them go on sale in the past. Nikon is probably saving those deals for their holiday sales in a few months. None of the supertelephoto exotics went on sale, either, but that’s nothing new – I don’t expect they will any time soon.

All told, the four best discounts this month are on the Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 S, Nikon Z 17-28mm f/2.8, Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8, and Nikon Z 35mm f/1.8. I’d also give an honorable mention to the $300 sales on the 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8, although those lenses are more expensive in the first place, and the $300 discount is not unheard of.

The worst sale this time is $50 off the Z MC 50mm f/2.8, and I’m not thrilled with the $150-off sale on the Z 70-180mm f/2.8 either. It’s not that those are bad lenses, just that the sale prices should have been at least $50 cheaper in both cases. In fact, I expect that future sales on the 70-180mm f/2.8 will be more than $150 off, and the newness of the lens is the only reason we aren’t seeing steeper discounts yet.

Panorama of a Rainbow Near Kalsoy Lighthouse, Faroe Islands
NIKON Z 7 + NIKKOR Z 14-30mm f/4 S @ 16mm, ISO 64, 1/6, f/13.0

I hope this helped put the September discounts into perspective! Of course, the real “best sale” is always on the lens you were about to buy anyway… and, by the same token, the worst sale is always on the lens you just bought at full price 🙂

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