Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50/4-6.3 Lens (24-50mm f/4-6.3)

Review of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50/4-6.3 Lens (24-50mm f/4-6.3).

Overall Rating:

Nikon

This lens is 2 years old and made in China. It has three aspherical elements and two ED elements. It is very compact and this is its greatest appeal. Curiously, the rear element is larger than the front one. This lens features a stepper autofocus motor which focuses quickly. It does not appear to be a varifocal zoom because it does not change focus as it is zoomed — rare today. Buy as part of a kit, because at $400 USD, this lens is a little overpriced. It only focuses down to 1.1 feet (0.35 meters). This lens was introduced when 45MP cameras were modern.

Nikon
sunflowers at minimum focus distance of 1.1 feet, f=50mm/8 (detail)

This lens does not focus very closely and as such has a poor maximum reproduction ratio of 0.17×. Adding a 52mm Nikon Close-up No. 2 attachment lens helps. This filter attachment is really just a +3.0 diopter lens. This diopter reduces the focal length a little bit, for example, at 50mm the lens is actually reduced to 43mm. The formula to figure this is 1000 ÷ [(1000 ÷ LensFocalLength) + DiopterPower] = EffectiveFocalLength, so 1000 ÷ [(1000 ÷ 50mm) + 3.0] = 43mm

Nikon
sunflowers with +3.0 diopter lens, f=50mm/8 (detail)
Nikon
tea ball infuser with +3.0 diopter lens, f=50mm/8; is it sharper than the Nikkor 28-300mm?? (detail)

Compactness Compared

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Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR II compared (captured with Nikon 1 V3 camera)

Performance

There is a very small amount of color fringing in the corners. There is vignetting to be found wide-open at f=24mm which is gone by f/11, and there is a bit wide-open at f=35mm and f=50mm which is almost gone by f/8. Barrel distortion is heaviest at f=24mm while there is slight pincushion distortion at f=50mm. It seems distortion is well controlled at f=35mm. Distortion is not uncommon in wide-angle zoom lenses.

Color fringing detail at 2-to-1.

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center at f=24mm/8
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corner at f=24mm/8
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center at f=35mm/8
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corner at f=35mm/8
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center at f=50mm/8
Nikon
corner at f=50mm/8

The autofocus is zippy and dead silent. It is a good choice for video w/on-camera mic. There is a little focus breathing, however.

This lens is sharp wide-open and in the center at f=24mm. The lens softens a touch as it is zoomed in to f=50mm. Stopping down to f/8 does improve the corners a lot and the center just a little. Yes, f/8 is the optimum aperture to set the lens at all the time.

The Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens is a sharper lens at wider apertures but with significantly greater weight and size. It is hard to tell the difference between these lenses when shooting at f/8.

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f=50mm/8 (detail)

Infrared

Infrared performance not tested.

Bokeh

The bokeh, what little of it there is, seems fine.

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f=24mm/4
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f=35mm/5
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f=50mm/6.3

Ghosting & Flaring

This lens exhibits very little ghosting and no flaring when photographing a subject with a bright background like a tree with the sun behind it.

Nikon
very little ghosting f=24mm/4
Nikon
no flaring f=24mm/22
Nikon
very little ghosting f=50mm/6.3
Nikon
no flaring f=50mm/36

Compatibility

Because this is a Z-mount lens designed for Nikon's latest mirrorless cameras, it is not compatible with older DSLR cameras.

Construction

It is all plastic including the lens mount. This is obviously done to save money. It still seems durable enough, however.

The diaphragm has seven blades and is rounded.

This lens is NOT weather-sealed and it has a too-weak bit of resistance when moving out of the compressed, locked position. These problems will negatively affect the lens "mechanics" score below.

Conclusion

Nikon set out to make their smallest, lightest full-frame zoom lens possible and in this they succeeded. It is shorter than the Nikkor AF-S DX 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 G VR II kit lens, which used to be the smallest Nikon zoom lens (and requires the 30mm long FTZ adapter to work on Z cameras). Frankly, it's lens contruction (see below) with its ED and aspherical elements makes it look like it may be a sharper lens than it is. But it performs well enough to make a great travel lens, and its cost as a kit lens with the Nikon Z5 is not too great at $300 USD.

Specifications

Focal length 24 to 50mm
Maximum aperture f/4-6.3
Minimum aperture f/22-36
Lens construction 11 elements in 10 groups
Angle of view 84° to 47°
Maximum reproduction ratio 1:5.9 (0.17×)
No. of diaphragm blades 7 (rounded)
Filter-attachment size ø52mm
Accessories HB-98 hood
Diameter × length Approximately 73.5 × 51 mm/2.9 × 2.1 in.
Weight Approximately 195 g/6.9 oz (0.43 lbs)
Price $400 USD

Images

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lens construction legend

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