Nikon Z 24-70mm f / 2.8 S Lens Review: A New Benchmark


When the Z Mirrorless system was first announced, Nikon vowed to provide lenses with much better image quality and optical features than the DSLR F-Mount siblings, and it all started with the Nikon Z 24-70mm f / 2.8 S lens. Despite the fact that the F / 4 “Kit” version performed better than the F-Mount version, $ 2,295 24-70mm f / 2.8 S lens It can be one of the best 24-70mm lenses of all time.

Most people would agree that the 24-70mm lens (36-105mm in crop / DX format) is one of the biggest workhorse in any photographer’s toolkit because it provides a decent wide-angle in the telephoto zoom range that is suitable for many. Photographic style and need. It includes everything from landscape to product, portrait work in one lens. Thanks to the consistent f / 2.8 aperture, the lens is the central core of the “Holy-Trinity” workhorse lens and is often described as the standard “desert island” lens.

With Nikon’s initial laser focus to get professionals into the mirrorless system, the S-Lens had to outperform its existing rivals. While it may be one of the most expensive lenses of its focal lengths on the market, it comes loaded with the best-performing specifications for the most part.

Build quality and design

The Z 24-70mm f / 2.8 S lens is larger, faster and heavier than the f / 4 version for mirrorless systems, but still shorter in length (one inch) than the F-Mount Vibon, making it much more portable and easier to pack while traveling. It consists of 17 components in 15 groups including two extra-low scattering components (ED) and four aspherical components as well as nine spherical blades and a focal range of f / 2.8 to f / 22. The lens has an extra customizable control ring and buttons to allow you to quickly change multiple settings and modes without removing the camera from your eyes. In addition, the lens has a small OLED information display on the barrel of the lens that can be cycled by displaying various information including focal length, focus distance and aperture.

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The 24-70mm f / 2.8 S measures about five inches long with a barrel diameter of about 3.5 inches, and weighs about 805 grams. While not exactly small, it is one of the lightest and smallest 24-70mm f / 2.8 lenses for a mirrorless camera overall. The focus ring sits on the front of the barrel and the zoom ring sits directly behind (just above the OLED display). Due to the overall “hardness” of the rings to achieve incredibly easy to zoom and focus, all three rings adjust smoothly as there is little to no flow due to the overall “hardness” of the rings.

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The focus ring is noticeable because it has a motion-sensitive system, which means that moving it slowly will allow for incredibly precise micro-adjustments when the ring rotates quickly so that the focus moves from one extreme to the other with minimal movement. This is great when shooting for stills, but using this special lens can be a bit of a pain to focus on while working on video.

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The programmable L-Fn button next to the display mode button can be set via the camera’s menu system with autofocus lock, subject tracking, image playback and many more options to make it easier to focus through the lens instead of fighting with touch. Screen menu at work. Personally, I tend to set the L-fn button for tracking mode and the control ring for ISO compatibility. Finally, at the very beginning of the lens there is a switch for quick switching between manual and autofocus modes.

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24-70mm f / 2.8 S lens base, control ring, buttons and switches, as well as fully weather-sealed to protect against dust and moisture, including seals on each joint between components. The only thing logically missing from this particular lens is a built-in vibration reduction (VR) system. While this is by no means a breakbreaker because professional Z mirrorless bodies have built-in image stabilization that works incredibly well, it would be nice to have a few extra steps of VR to work in very low light conditions that event photographers often do. Find out in themselves.

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Another nice feature of the 24-70mm f / 2.8 S lens is the fluorine-coated front and rear lens components for dust, moisture, smudge and fingerprint resistance, as well as a felt-coated lens hood that helps protect the lens from light leaks. And prevent any flaring. Finally, for those who want to use filters with the system, the all-purpose lens comes with an 82mm thread size for screw-in filters.

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The bottom line here is that the lens is built a lot like a tank, and although it’s heavier than the f / 4 siblings, it doesn’t really affect how it feels to use it. Over the past few months, I’ve used this lens for everything from auto shows, comic-cons, weddings, fashion images, product photos and astrophotography for advertising, as well as landscape, road and candid shooting.

Image quality and performance

The 24-70mm f / 2.8 S is one of the sharpest and cleanest lenses ever made by the company, consistently surpassing all its siblings as well as the most competitive lenses (according to DXOmark) The lens has a close-focus distance of 15 inches (0.37 meters) and a manual focus at 70mm with a magnification of 1: 4.2, which means it can not only work great as an everyday and general-purpose lens, but it can too. Used to capture images of great products / food / drinks with very impressive sharpness.

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Autofocus has been incredibly impressive with this lens. It employs a new multi-focus system that behaves similar to the Sony G master lens, using multiple autofocus motors and groups to improve system performance. The difference with Nikon is that it uses two stepper motor equalizers to move two focus groups at the same time. This seems to make the system incredibly quiet and more accurate, however, it often seems that it takes a little longer to get out of focus to focus on your subject than the f / 4 version or even the f-mount DSLR versions. .

No matter how sharp the lens is overall, the distortion is still somewhat noticeable if you don’t enable distortion correction and vinnet removal on camera (or through a lens profile in Photoshop / Lightroom). By default, the Nikon Z system seems to automatically apply lens profile corrections directly to RAW files when imported by Adobe. But after manually disabling and re-enabling those settings for a few photos (see GIFs below) you’ll see the difference between turning profiles on and off.

24mm profile enabled / disabled
24mm profile enabled / disabled
70mm profile enabled / disabled
70mm profile enabled / disabled

As far as image sharpness goes, the objects in the center region of the lens are consistently and impressively sharp, regardless of the focal length used, but the angles become a bit softer when you shoot wide. Once you get down to f / 5.6, edge-to-edge sharpness is almost perfect where there is no visible vignetting or distortion.

The bokeh is nice and smooth when shooting wide open, and it’s a huge improvement over the f / 4 version, but can occasionally have a “cat-eye” type bokeh pattern with a busy background outside – the focus zone near the edge of the frame. This pattern may not be a big deal or pleasing to anyone, but for me, I prefer my bokeh patterns to be a little more consistent. Even with that grip, the lens can create some pretty stellar bokeh throws.

Fortunately, because of the lens design, there are virtually no problems with lens flare, chromatic confusion or ghosting. Over the months of using the lens for multiple projects, everything was very well controlled and because of this potential problem I have no shots that were “throwway”.

Below I have captured with Nikon 24-70mm f / 2.8 S a series of photos across different disciplines, showing its versatility.

A superior successor to the legendary F-Mount Lens

With the release of the Z 24-70mm f / 2.8 S, Nikon has given its mirrorless users a larger, sharper, and better weather-sealed version of its f / 4 sibling that is still smaller than the other mirrorless lenses in its class. Although the cost is significantly higher than the f / 4 version and it arguably focuses a little slower than the DSLR F-mount version, it’s still worth more than what you get in return, especially if you already have 14-24mm and 70mm. To complete the Trinity -200mm Z Mount Lens.

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The 24-70mm f / 2.8 S is an amazing lens, the successor to its DSLR predecessor with truly outstanding sharpness, clarity, bokeh and close-up performance. One of the smallest and lightest lenses in its class, it has incredible weather ceilings and is far from the best 24-70mm f / 2.8 lens produced by Nikon.

Have options?

Nikon Z 24-70mm f / 2.8 S vs f / 4 kit

As I mentioned earlier, there are several options, including in the Nikon lineup $ 2,096 DSLR 24-70mm f / 2.8 ED-IF VR (With FTZ adapter) which is bigger and heavier, $ 997 Z 24-70mm f / 4S kit lens Which is small and light, but you will lose extra control, extra aperture range, as well as several other features. There are also $ 1,196 Z 28-75mm f / 2.8 The lens is that one Affordable alternative If you are right with a slightly lower image quality and a different focal range.

Outside of Nikon, there are a few more third-party DSLR lenses $ 1,199 Tamron SP 24-70mm f / 2.8 VC USD G2 And $ 1,299 Sigma 24-70mm f / 2.8 DG OS HSM art lensBoth must be used FTZ adapter.

Will you buy it?

Yes. The Nikkor 24-70mm f / 2.8 S lens It’s more than worth the investment and it’s the absolute workhorse of a lens.

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