How to get started with the NIKKOR Z DX 12-28mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ VR in 5 steps

Nikon Team 90-Second NIKKOR20 dec 2023Leestijd: 5 min

Next up in our series celebrating 90 years of NIKKOR, is our first Z mount power zoom lens; purpose-built for DX cameras and made for vloggers

For vloggers and filmmakers, as well as still fans, the NIKKOR Z DX 12-28mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ VR is a versatile ultra-wide zoom lens packed with technology. The power zoom function means you can remotely control the lens – fantastic when you’re filming yourself. Made specifically for Nikon DX cameras, including the Nikon Z 30, Z 50 and Z fc, it goes from ultra-wide to wide views but can also be used up close. Ready to up your creativity? Here are five things to try.


1. Go remote

You can control the zoom function using a button on the camera, but you can also use the Nikon ML-L7 remote control or the free Nikon SnapBridge app. It’s perfect for vlogging. Take some footage of yourself, testing out the 11 different speeds of zoom available. You can go in slowly to add drama, from smooth ultra-wide to wide in 36 seconds, or snap in quickly to catch a detail (in just over a half a second with a fast-and-hard zoom!). As it’s a power zoom, whatever speed you choose the zoom is steady and uniform for a real ‘pro’ look – something difficult to achieve when zooming by hand.  


Read more: Get zooming for video creativity

Nikon Team
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2. Get on the move

One of the main differences between taking stills and video is that the camera can move while you film. You can put your camera on a gimbal but, with built-in vibration reduction on the lens, you can also go handheld, panning across to take in a super-wide panorama. It also means you can ‘walk and talk’ with the NIKKOR Z DX 12-28mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ VR attached to the camera, either speaking to the camera yourself or interviewing someone on the go, with footage staying smooth and stable. The compact dimensions and light weight of the lens make it a particularly flexible and nimble on a wide variety of rigs.  


Read more: Why are Z series mirrorless cameras better for video?


Film with ease

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3. Get set for vlogging

With a Nikon DX camera and the NIKKOR Z DX 12-28mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ VR lens, you’re all set, but a few extras will get the most out of your gear when filming yourself. A good tripod is a must to keep everything still and steady (don’t balance your camera on furniture or anything else!). Check to see that the camera is level with your face in the frame as no one wants to be looking up your nose. Lighting is key, and a simple ring light LED could be enough – just check where the shadows are falling. And for premium sound quality, a microphone that attaches to the camera or a wireless system that can be clipped on to your shirt can really elevate your output. Plus, vlogger Cathrin Manning’s favourite part of this power zoom is the fact that it doesn’t automatically reset back to ultra-wide when you switch off the camera. It stays where you last set it.


Read more: How to vlog for beginners with Cathrin Manning

YouTuber Cathrin Manning's YouTube thumbnails for Nikon magazine. Nikon magazine assets.

Make better vlogs with Cathrin Manning

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4. Get out in the wild

The 12-28mm focal length makes it a great landscape lens. You don’t have to travel to exotic locations to take impressive landscapes, either. Different light at different times of day can turn an OK landscape into a dramatic vista. Try just before sunset or just after sunrise to get the best skies and long, dramatic shadows. Landscapes aren’t just for stills either – a beautifully filmed panorama makes a great shot to include in a travel video.


Read more: Go ultra-wide on video for immersive drama 


5. Get close to the action

Although the NIKKOR Z DX 12-28mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ VR is an ultra-wide-angle lens, it also has a very short minimum focus distance of just 19cm, meaning you can get very close to a subject. Try out new angles on everyday objects, and at close range you’ll get great separation and a nice blurry background. Detailed ‘tight’ shots such as these can also add real mood to video.


Read more: The ultimate guide to ultra-wide lenses  

The key stats: NIKKOR Z DX 12-28mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ VR

Type: Nikon Z mount

Format: DX

Focal length: 12-28mm

Maximum aperture: f/3.5 to 5.6

Minimum aperture: f/16 to 25

No. of diaphragm blades: 7 rounded diaphragms

Minimum focus distance: 0.19cm

VR image stabilisation: Yes

Weight: 205g approx.

Dimensions: Approx. 72mm x 63.5mm (2.9i x 2.5 in)


Want to see it in action? Check out our 90-second NIKKOR video below.

Thumbnail for Episode 2, 90-sec NIKKOR. Nikon magazine assets.

NIKKOR Z DX 12-28mm f/3.5-5.6 PZ VR in action

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Opties voor delen

Celebrating 90 years of NIKKOR

Introducing a new video series from Nikon Europe. In each episode, we'll take a NIKKOR Z mirrorless lens and tell you everything you need to know in 90 seconds


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Go ultra-wide on video for immersive drama

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Time to get zooming for video creativity


Unlock greater creativity