Best and Worst Deals of Nikon’s May Sales

Tips & Techniques

A few times a year, Nikon tends to go wild and put nearly all their current products on sale. Now is one of those times, with a big sale that lasts until May 29. Which deals are worthwhile and which ones are duds? I’ll go through each product one by one below.

One thing to keep in mind is that every deal is a good deal if you were already planning to buy the lens or camera at full price. When I call something a bad deal, it doesn’t mean you should avoid the product, just that I wish Nikon had given a steeper discount.

Table of Contents

Mirrorless Lens Sales

All in all, most of Nikon’s best sales this month are on their lenses. There’s not a bad discount among these, although some stand out as better than the others.

  • 14-24mm f/2.8: 8% off (was $2400, now $2200). 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 it did for the other f/2.8 zooms, but a $200 sale is still solid.
  • 14-30mm f/4: 15% off (was $1300, now $1100). A hefty discount on an excellent wide-angle Z lens. This is one of the best deals of Nikon’s sales this month, and I’d strongly consider it if you’re on a budget. At half the price of the 14-24mm f/2.8, it has about 90% of the performance.
  • 20mm f/1.8: 10% off (was $1050, now $950). Nikon knocked it out of the park with their wide angle Z lenses, including this one. $100 off is the expected discount for an f/1.8 prime, exactly as Nikon tends to do. It’s a solid deal.
  • 24mm f/1.8: 10% off (was $1000, now $900). The same $100 discount as expected, which is not something to complain about. Now’s a good time to pick up this or the 20mm version.
  • 24-70mm f/2.8: 13% off (was $2300, now $2000). This is as much as Nikon is usually willing to discount their pro-level glass, with a nice $300 off the usual sale price. It’s a great lens, and now’s the time to get it, with one of the better sales of this month’s bunch.
  • 24-200mm f/4-6.3: 11% off (was $900, now $800). I’m a fan of this lens, and $100 off is probably as much as we could expect from it. It’s a solid deal, although note that if you were planning to buy a Nikon Z camera today too, the lens is $200 off when bundled with a full-frame Z-series camera.
  • 28mm f/2.8: 17% off (was $300, now $250). Even though this is just a $50 discount, the lens was only $300 in the first place. It’s a very useful piece of glass and makes the Z system nearly pocketable. At this price, I’d get it if you haven’t already.
  • 28-75mm f/2.8: 25% off (was $1200, now $900). In terms of percentage, this is a huge deal and one of the biggest that Nikon has ever done for one of its brand new lenses. But keep in mind the controversy behind this lens: It has the same design as the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8 (the older G1 version, not the newer G2). The older Tamron lens is already discontinued, and the newer version costs $900 for the Sony E mount. So, I leave it up to you whether Nikon’s $900 price is a good deal or not.
  • 35mm f/1.8: 18% off (was $850, now $700). A surprising $150 discount instead of $100. This lens is probably feeling some pressure from the 28mm f/2.8 and 40mm f/2 lenses, which are smaller, lighter, and cheaper. But the 35mm f/1.8 is still the best performer of the bunch, so take that as you will.
  • 40mm f/2: 17% off (was $300, now $250). Everything I said about the 28mm f/2.8 applies here, too. I like how light this lens is; it really lives up to the promise of mirrorless being a more portable system in theory. Of the two, I tend to prefer 28mm as a focal length, but I like that this lens is a full stop brighter at f/2 instead of f/2.8.
  • 50mm f/1.2: 10% off (was $2100, now $1900). It’s Nikon’s biggest, brightest 50mm lens, and I don’t remember it going on sale very often before. The $200 discount is solid, but not enough that I’d get the lens unless I’d been planning to do so already.
  • 50mm f/1.8: 17% off (was $600, now $500). We’re back to the $100 discounts on Nikon’s f/1.8 glass. I’m content with that considering the 50mm f/1.8 is a less expensive lens in the first place at $600. It’s one of the sharpest Z lenses, although I’d still keep my eye on the 40mm f/2 at half the price and less than half the weight.
  • 50mm f/2.8 Macro: 8% off (was $650, now $600). This isn’t a big discount over the usual price, but I think it’s only the first or second time I’ve seen Nikon put one of its Z-series macro lenses on sale.
  • 70-200mm f/2.8: 12% off (was $2600, now $2300). 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 usually see.
  • 85mm f/1.8: 13% off (was $800, now $700). Rounding out the list is the usual $100 discount on Nikon’s 85mm f/1.8. It’s one of the better choices for a portrait lens on the Z system at the moment, and now is as good a time as any to buy it (or wait until the fall/winter sales where it will probably be $100 off once again).

There are also a few bundle deals where the lens is on sale when bought with a particular Nikon camera:

  • Two-lens DX Kit: On sale when bought with Z50. Usually $1350 for the kit, now $1200. This is a solid deal that includes the 16-50mm and 50-250mm Z-series lenses.
  • 24-50mm f/4-6.3: On sale when bought with Z5, Z6, Z7, Z6 II, Z7II, or Z9. $100 off with any of those cameras. Since the lens is usually $400, this is a reasonable discount. Don’t go out of your way for it, but if you were already buying a Z camera, this may be enough to make the 24-50mm worth adding.
  • 24-70mm f/4: On sale when bought with Z5 or Z9. $400 off with either of those cameras. I’m not sure why Nikon didn’t include any of the Z6 or Z7 cameras in this deal, but it’s a pretty good discount nevertheless. The lens is usually $1000 if you buy it on its own. However, so many photographers bought this lens years ago as part of a kit that used prices are quite low, about $450, so you may want to just buy used.
  • 24-200mm f/4-6.3: On sale when bought with Z5, Z6, Z7, Z6 II, Z7II, or Z9. $200 off with any of those cameras. This is a good sale on a great do-it-all lens for the Z system that usually costs $900. I like that Nikon is putting this lens on sale both individually (where it’s $800) and at a higher discount when bundled with one of these cameras.

As I said, the lens sales were pretty good overall this time around, and there’s not really a bad one in the bunch. If you were considering expanding your Z-series glass, it’s a good time to do it.

Mirrorless Camera Sales

The camera sales are definitely weaker this time around. I’d skip most of these this month.

  • Nikon Z5: 7% off (was $1400, now $1300). This isn’t the biggest sale we’ve ever seen on the Z5 (which once went down to $1000). Even if that’s not going to happen again, I’d still pass for now and hope that the discount is steeper later this year.
  • Nikon Z6: 20% off (was $2000, now $1600). It may seem like this is a big sale, but it’s really not. The Z6 has been at this $1600 markdown price for months. That said, it’s a very good camera and I think $1600 is a good price for what you get.
  • Nikon Z7: 11% off ($2800, now $2500). Same situation here. It’s been selling at $2500 since at least late 2021, so this isn’t really a sale. It’s a decent price, but I’d rather buy used considering the great prices of the Nikon Z7 on eBay and on FredMiranda, usually under $1700.
  • Nikon Z7 II: 3% off ($2900, was $3000). This is a pretty bad sale of just $100 off, although it is technically a sale. Until this month, the Z7 II was consistently $3000.

Other Sales

There is also some DSLR and miscellaneous gear on sale this month. Most of it can be skipped at these prices, but there are a couple of good options.

  • Nikon D7500 with 18-140mm: 7% off (was $1500, now $1400). This is a good do-it-all kit, but I wish Nikon had put it on sale for more than just $100 considering the age of the camera. Not a great sale.
  • Nikon D7500 with 18-55mm and 70-300mm: 7% off (was $1500, now $1400). My thoughts are the same as above. Of the two, I’d prefer the one-lens kit with the 18-140mm so I could carry it everywhere more easily and not worry about changing lenses.
  • Nikon D780: 4% off (was $2300, now $2200). A great camera, but not a great discount. I’d go for the D850’s more substantial deal instead.
  • Nikon D850: 17% off (was $3000, now $2500). Nikon keeps putting the D850 – our favorite DSLR of all time, and still one of the best cameras on the market of any type – on sale. This new $500 discount is on the larger side. If you aren’t convinced by mirrorless, this is the camera I’d recommend the most, and it’s a good price right now.
  • MB-D16 Battery Pack: This is definitely the most specific sale of the bunch. The MB-D16 is only compatible with the Nikon D750, not any of Nikon’s newer cameras. I’m guessing they just had some leftover stock. In any case, the sale price of $140 is much less than the usual asking price of $340, so I’d pick it up if I were a D750 user.
  • FTZ II Adapter: Usually $250 but currently $200 if you purchase it with a Z-series camera. It’s not a great discount. In the past, Nikon ran some sales where they literally gave away an FTZ adapter with the camera. The newness of the FTZ II probably plays a role in the more meager sale this time.

Where to Buy

All of these deals can be found on this page at B&H. We’re part of B&H’s affiliate program, which means that if you buy something through any B&H link on our site, you’re helping support Photography Life without costing you anything extra. Thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions below!

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