With the release of the Z mirrorless system, Nikon promised to deliver lenses with far better optical characteristics when compared to their F mountain counterparts, thank you to the advantages of the Z mount. As the starting time professional-form Z-mount zoom lens, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S had quite a bit of pressure level on it, because how well the “kit” Z 24-70mm f/4 S performed when compared to the F-mount 24-70mm f/2.8E VR. After spending a considerable amount of time with this new lens, we decided to finally publish our findings of possibly the all-time 24-70mm lens ever created.
We know, that’s quite a bold claim to make for 1 of the many 24-70mm lenses out in that location. However, that’southward the determination nosotros came to after testing most 24-70mm lenses on the market (with the exception of the Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM and Panasonic Lumix S PRO 24-70mm f/two.viii). Earlier nosotros go into discussing the optical characteristics of the lens, allow’s see what makes the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/ii.8 S so special.
Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 Due south Overview
As you probably already know, a 24-70mm f/2.viii zoom lens is considered to be a workhorse for many professional photographers out there. With its wide-to-telephoto zooming adequacy and a fast f/2.8 aperture, it is a truly versatile lens that can be used for many types of photography. Unfortunately, designing such a lens while maintaining loftier levels of performance beyond the whole focal range is no easy task. Because of this, most 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses we have seen in the past either showed optical compromises, or performed reasonably well at the expense of huge size and heavy weight. Take a expect at the below chart that shows every modern 24-70mm f/ii.8 lens on the market place today:
|Catechism EF 24-70mm f/two.8L II USM||89x113mm||805g||17/fifteen||7/ten||$1,899|
|Canon RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM||89x126mm||900g||21/15||N/A||$2,299|
|Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED||83x133mm||900g||15/11||7/10||$1,799|
|Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR||88x155mm||1070g||20/16||8/10||$ii,399|
|Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.eight S||89x126mm||805g||eighteen/13||nine/ten||$2,299|
|Panasonic Lumix Due south PRO 24-70mm f/two.eight||91x140mm||935g||xviii/xvi||N/A||$two,199|
|Pentax HD 24-70mm f/ii.8ED SDM WR||89x110mm||787g||17/12||7/10||$1,299|
|Sigma 24-70mm f/2.8 DG OS HSM Art||88x108mm||1020g||xix/xiv||six/10||$1,299|
|Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.viii GM||88x136mm||886g||18/13||8/ten||$ii,199|
|Sony T* 24-70mm f/2.8 ZA SSM Two||83x111mm||974g||17/13||7/10||$2,099|
|Tamron SP 24-70mm f/two.viii Di VC USD G2||88x109mm||899g||17/12||7/10||$1,199|
|Tokina AT-X 24-70mm f/2.8 PRO FX||90x108mm||1010g||17/12||8/x||$1,199|
The Nikon Z 24-70mm f/two.8 S is quite a unique offering when compared to other 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses, because it is relatively compact at 89x126mm (comparable to Catechism’s RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM) and only weighs 805 grams, making information technology the third lightest lens after the Pentax Hard disk 24-70mm f/2.8ED SDM WR (which is most identical to the original Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD). Nikon engineers designed the Z 24-70mm f/ii.8 Due south from scratch specifically to take advantage of the short flange distance, which resulted in a drastically smaller and lighter package when compared to the Nikon 24-70mm f/two.8E ED VR, but with much superior optical characteristics.
As you will encounter from the next page of this review, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/two.8 Due south is optically superb, offer the most consistent performance nosotros have seen amidst all similar grade zoom lenses. What’due south impressive, is that Nikon was able to reach such astonishing levels of performance with less number of optical elements compared to its predecessor – simply 18 elements in 13 groups vs 20 elements in sixteen groups on the 24-70mm f/ii.8E ED VR. Even Canon’s newest RF 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM (which we too expect to be remarkable optically) has a more circuitous optical pattern with a full of 21 elements in 15 groups, which made it almost 100 grams heavier in comparing.
The lens features some of the most avant-garde technologies we have seen to engagement from Nikon. In addition to having four aspherical and two extra-low dispersion elements, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is coated with 4 different coating technologies – ARNEO, Nano Crystal Coat, Super Integrated Coating and Fluorine Coating. While the latter three are common to see on mod loftier-end Nikon lenses, ARNEO is a brand new coating technology that tin can reduce reflections from incident low-cal in vertical direction. The Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.eight Due south is the starting time Z mount lens that comes with such coating.
In addition, the Z 24-70mm f/2.8 South is also the kickoff Nikon lens to feature ii separate AF bulldoze units that utilize stepping motors to evangelize fast, accurate and quiet autofocus operation. Another batch of “Nikon’south firsts” are the add-on of an OLED data panel that tin contain such information as lens discontinuity, focus distance and depth of field figures, also as an assignable L-Fn button for adjusting photographic camera settings. On top of the typical zoom and focus rings, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.eight S as well comes with a programmable band that tin exist used to adjust focus, lens aperture or exposure compensation. Similar to other high-finish pro-form lenses, the lens features both dust and moisture resistance.
Equally you lot can see, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/ii.8 S is the most feature-packed 24-70mm lens on the market. Let’southward take a closer wait at the specifications of the lens before moving on to handling and optical characteristics of the lens.
Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Specifications
- Mount Type: Nikon Z Mount
- Focal Length Range: 24-70mm
- Zoom Ratio: 2.9x
- Aperture Range: f/2.8-f/22
- Maximum Angle of View (FX): 84°
- Minimum Angle of View (FX): 34° 20′
- Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 0.22x
- Filter Size: 82mm
- Lens Elements: 17
- Lens Groups: fifteen
- Special Elements: 4 Aspherical, 2 ED
- Diaphragm Blades: 9 (rounded)
- ARNEO Glaze: Yep
- Nano Crystal Coat: Aye
- Fluorine Coat: Yeah
- Super Integrated Blanket: Yes
- Focus Motor: STM (Stepping Motor)
- Internal Focusing: Yes
- Minimum Focus Altitude: 0.38m
- Electronic Diaphragm: Yes
- Dimensions: 89 x 126mm
- Weight: 805g
Detailed specifications for the lens, along with MTF charts and other useful data can be found on the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 Due south folio of our lens database.
While the first S-series lenses were designed to exist low-cal and compact for Nikon’s mirrorless cameras like the Z6 and the Z7, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.viii S is designed with performance and build quality in mind. Thanks to its tough shell comprised of a mixture of hard plastic and metal, the lens tin withstand quite a flake of abuse in the field. Information technology has excellent weather sealing that protects the lens from dust and moisture. The rear part of the lens features a prophylactic gasket to reduce the potential of dust getting into the camera.
We used the lens in a number of unlike weather weather condition, from cold mountains of Colorado, to very wet atmospheric condition of Faroe Islands. The lens survived it all without any issues, even after being subjected to continuous rain and extreme levels of humidity. Fluorine blanket on the front lens element was particularly helpful in rainy conditions, as it reduced the chance of rain driblet accumulation.
When it comes to treatment, despite its relatively big size (especially when compared to other compact Z-series lenses) the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 handles extremely well on the Z6 and Z7 cameras. It balances nicely on hands, even with the barrel fully extended, and does non get besides front end-heavy. When compared to the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E VR, the lens is 25% lighter and xviii% smaller, which makes a huge difference handling the lens in the field.
There are a total of 5 focal length markings on the lens: 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 70mm. The zoom ring is easy to rotate and is very smooth, even right out of the box. Dissimilar some lenses that show dissimilar resistance at unlike focal lengths, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 Southward seems to be very consistent across the whole range, making it easy and precise to option a particular focal length. The same goes for the focus and the control rings. Since the lens has a focus-by-wire AF mechanism, both focus and command rings tin can be customized through the camera to perform different functions, as seen below:
In improver, as pointed out earlier, there is a defended L-Fn push button on the lens that tin be customized to perform specific functions such every bit preview depth of field or lock focus. Basically, whatsoever part you can programme to the Fn1 or Fn2 buttons tin be assigned to this L-Fn push as well, so it technically extends your camera’south part buttons past one.
The built-in OLED information panel is quite slap-up, because it can toggle different types of information when you press the DISP push button, such as a moving focus scale, focal length or lens aperture. If you would rather not emit any light from the lens, you can turn off the information panel completely.
Due to the relatively large size of the front element, the lens features an 82mm filter thread, which is what most loftier-performance 24-70mm f/2.8 lenses take today as well, including the F-mount Nikon 24-70mm f/ii.8E VR. Mounting and dismounting filters is quite like shooting fish in a barrel, although polarizing filters can be painful to rotate with the lens hood attached.
Speaking of which, the included plastic petal-shaped hood is like shooting fish in a barrel to mount, and has a locking machinery to prevent it from accidentally detaching. Information technology adds a fleck of length to the lens when mounted, just can be very useful in reducing the chance of strong light rays from reaching the front end lens element (it besides helped out when shooting in the rain). While storing or transporting the lens, you can conveniently contrary the hood and it won’t take up any additional space.
Overall, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.viii S handles extremely well and has superb build quality. This lens really shows what the future line-up of pro-series glass from Nikon is going to look like, and that’s very heady.
Focus Speed and Accuracy
As I have previously mentioned, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S has a make new “multi-focus system” that consists of ii synchronized AF drive units. This allows the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/two.eight S to non only focus incredibly fast, but as well deliver superb AF accuracy that we accept never previously seen from Nikon before.
I have already written almost the superior AF accurateness of Z mount lenses in my Nikon Z7 review, just the short version is that the new AF algorithm delivers much better accuracy when shooting stationary subjects when compared to the F mount. This was very visible when I was testing lenses with Imatest – Z mount lenses focused consistently more accurately, requiring little to no aligning after autofocusing. I observed like behavior when testing the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.viii S. The lens focused spot-on each and every time on my test target, which was very impressive.
When it comes to autofocus noise, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/ii.8 Due south is extremely quiet. If you put the F-mount 24-70mm and the Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S side-past-side, you can definitely tell the difference.
Similar to the other loftier-quality Southward-series lenses, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 South is designed to minimize focus animate. Focus breathing tin be painful to bargain with, because at that place is a visible change in field of view during focusing, which tin can be peculiarly damaging when shooting video or focus stacking.
This makes the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/ii.8 S a highly desirable lens for those who like to shoot at larger apertures and focus stack, a technique that can yield much sharper results than using a modest discontinuity in a single exposure (due to lens diffraction, which is much more visible at pixel-level when using loftier resolution sensors).