Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70/4 S Lens (24-70mm f/4)

Review of the Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70/4 S Lens (24-70mm f/4).

Overall Rating:

Nikon

This lens is 4 years old and made in Thailand. It has four aspherical elements (one ED) and two ED elements (one aspherical). It's a very modern lens design made for today's high resolution sensors. This is an S line lens which means it gets Nikon's weather sealing to protect it against the elements, and it may also indicate superior optics. It features a stepper autofocus motor which is silent for video usage. It has a touch of resistance when moving out of the locked position. It is a varifocal zoom in that it changes focus as it is zoomed. There is much confusion regarding its performance. Lens review sites seem to think it is too expensive for its performance or that it has poor overall sharpness. Buy it as part of a kit, because at $1000 USD, this lens is indeed overpriced. The 24-50/4-6.3 may be a better kit lens because it is almost as good and much cheaper. This lens was introduced when 45MP cameras were modern.

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fall colors, f=50mm/4 (detail)
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fall colors, f=50mm/6.3 (detail)
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flowers, f=50mm/6.3 (detail)
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flowers, f=70mm/7.1, 1:3.3 reproduction ratio (detail)

Performance

Like the Fujifilm Fujinon 18-55mm/2.8-4, this is one of the best kit lenses on the market.

There is almost no color fringing. There is some vignetting to be found wide open, and is nearly gone by f/8. Barrel distortion (1.5%) is present at 24mm while it has pincushion distortion (1.25%) at 70mm.

Color fringing detail at 3-to-1.

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center at f=24mm/5.6
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corner at f=24mm/5.6
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center at f=35mm/5.6
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corner at f=35mm/5.6
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center at f=50mm/5.6
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corner at f=50mm/5.6
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center at f=70mm/5.6
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corner at f=70mm/5.6

The autofocus is zippy and dead silent. It is a good choice for video w/on-camera mic.

SHARPNESS: Lens is sharpest at 35mm and does not degrade much at 24mm and 50mm. Use f/5.6-f/6.3 for maximum sharpness. In fact, it is about as sharp as the Nikkor Z 50mm/1.8 S lens at f/6.3! This is especially true nearer to the center but not necessarily in the dead center. At f=70mm/4, there is noticable softening particularly in the corners. It is the 70mm focal length that drags down the sharpness scores of this lens. Otherwise, the lens performs well.

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f=50mm/6.3 (detail)
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detail from above (crop)

There is very little focus breathing making this a fine lens to use with a depth of field calculator. There is pretty much no coma to be concerned with.

This lens has a decent maximum reproduction ratio of 1:3.3.

Infrared

Infrared performance not tested.

Bokeh

The bokeh is good.

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f=24mm/4
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f=35mm/4
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f=35mm/5.6
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f=50mm/4
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f=50mm/5.6
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f=70mm/4
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f=70mm/5.6

Ghosting & Flaring

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

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very little ghosting
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detail from above
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very little ghosting f=24mm/4
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no flaring f=24mm/22
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very little ghosting f=50mm/4
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no flaring f=50mm/22

Compatibility

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

Construction

This lens is weather-sealed and has a metal mount and some metal internals.

The diaphragm has seven blades and is rounded.

It has a touch of resistance when moving out of the compressed, locked position.

Specifications

Focal length 24 to 70mm
Maximum aperture f/4
Minimum aperture f/22
Lens construction 14 elements in 11 groups
Angle of view 84° to 34° 20'
Maximum reproduction ratio 1:3.3 (0.3×)
No. of diaphragm blades 7 (rounded)
Filter-attachment size ø72mm
Accessories HB-85 hood
Diameter × length Approximately 77.5 × 88.5 mm/3.05 × 3.48 in.
Weight Approximately 500 g/1.1 lbs
Price $1000 USD

Images

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Nikon construction legend

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