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Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Lens Review

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Lens Review - Gary Wolstenholme gives us his verdict on the Nikon AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens.

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Category : Interchangeable Lenses
Product : Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
Price : £639
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Handling and features
Performance
Verdict
Specification
Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED

This ultra-wide angle zoom lens for Nikon DX format SLRs costs around £670 and sports fast silent internal focusing with full time manual override. At only 460g, it is a quite a lightweight lens too and it balances perfectly on the Nikon D300 body used for testing.

Alternatives include Nikon's 12-24mm f/4G lens, which sports professional build quality and a constant f/4 aperture, but with a widest angle of 12mm, doesn't capture as wide a view as the 10-24mm.

Sigma also manufacture two different lenses covering a focal range of 10-20mm. Both sport fast, silent internal focusing and full time manual focus override. The cheaper of the two has a slower maximum aperture of f/4-5.6 and costs around £430. The more expensive model has a constant maximum aperture of f/3.5 and costs around £490. Those who wish to go really wide may also consider Sigma's 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6, which costs around £550.

Tamron also offer a 10-24mm lens with a maximum aperture of f/3.5-4.5, which costs around £370, however this lens does have a silent focusing motor.

Finally, Tokina offer two ultra-wide zooms for DX format cameras. Their 12-24mm f/4 AT-X PRO II costs around £630, sports a constant f/4 maximum aperture, rugged build quality and although it doesn't support full time manual focus override, it does have a quick clutch mechanism for engaging manual focus. The other lens in this range from Tokina is the 11-16mm AT-X PRO f/2.8, which has a fast constant maximum aperture of f/2.8, costs around £545 and has the same rugged build quality as Tokina's 12-24mm.

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Handling and features

Similar to Nikon's other mid-range lenses, the lens barrel is constructed from high quality plastics with a metal lens mount. It has a slighty textured finish, which doesn’t show marks easily and a large rubberised zoom ring, which stays put when set as desired. At only 460g, it is a quite a lightweight lens too.

As focusing is performed internally the 77mm filter thread does not rotate during use, making this lens ideal for use with graduated and polarising filters. Due to the wide angle of the lens, thin filters may need be used to avoid vignetting. Focus speeds are quick and the thin manual focus ring offers just the right amount of resistance to make fine adjustments easy.

The minimum focus distance of 24cm makes this lens suitable for shooting in claustrophobic environments, which wide angle lenses are particularly suited for. Care may need to be taken to avoid the distorted perspective you get when close in on your subject though, unless it is desired.

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Performance

At 10mm, sharpness in the centre of the frame is already excellent at maximum aperture and this clarity holds up well towards the edges of the frame. In the far corners a little softness can be seen at maximum aperture, but this disappears as the lens is stopped down beyond f/5.6 where sharpness across the frame is outstanding.

At 15mm overall sharpness drops a little, but it still remains excellent in the central portion of the frame. Clarity towards the edges is still very good, but just the same as at 10mm, the far corners are visibly softer. Again this phenomenon disappears as the lens is stopped down and peak quality across the frame is achieved at f/8.

Finally at 24mm, the excellent centre sharpness is mantained, but the quality towards the edges of the frame drops off noticeably. Stopping down improves matters considerably towards the edges, with peak performance being achieved between f/5.6 and f/8.

Resolution @ 10mm
Resolution @ 10mm
  Resolution @ 15mm
Resolution @ 15mm
Resolution @ 24mm
Resolution @ 24mm
 

How to read our charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges. Averaging them out gives the red weighted column.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution. The taller the column, the better the lens performance. Simple.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Nikon D300 using Imatest.

Chromatic aberrations can be visible on close inspection in high contrast areas towards the edges of the frame at 10mm. Here Imatest recorded levels exceeding 0.75 pixel widths, which is just acceptable. This level of CA is fairly constant throughout the zoom range, only dropping off slightly at 24mm.

Chromatic aberration @ 10mm
Chromatic aberration @ 10mm
  Chromatic aberration @ 15mm
Chromatic aberration @ 15mm
Chromatic aberration @ 24mm
Chromatic aberration @ 24mm
 

How to read our charts

Chromatic aberration is the lens' inability to focus on the sensor or film all colours of visible light at the same point. Severe chromatic aberration gives a noticeable fringing or a halo effect around sharp edges within the picture. It can be cured in software.

Apochromatic lenses have special lens elements (aspheric, extra-low dispersion etc) to minimize the problem, hence they usually cost more.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Nikon D300 using Imatest.

Falloff of illumination towards the corners of the frame is incredibly low for an ultra-wide angle lens. Maximum aperture throughout the zoom range the corners are only 0.4stops darker than the image centre and stopping down 2/3 of a stp results in visually uniform illumination.

Most ultra-wides suffer to a certain degree with distortion, and the Nikon 10-24 is no exception. Even so, compared to lenses of a similar focal length the amount of barrel distortion at 10mm, which is 5.87% as recorded by Imatest, is relatively low. At 24mm 0.547% pincushion distortion is present, which will rarely be an issue. The distortion pattern is consistent across the frame, which should make it relatively easy to straighten in image editing software afterwards.

As is the case with many ultra-wide lenses, this 10-24mm optic can be prone to flare, especially with strong light sources in the frame, such as the sun. With a little care this can be avoided quite easily and contrast remains high. A shallow petal shaped hood is provided with the lens, which is of limited use shadeing the front element due to the extreme wide angle of view.

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Sample Photos


Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Verdict

Overall the 10-24mm Nikkor puts in a respectable performance, producing images of excellent sharpness, especially when used at optimum apertures. The issue with softness towards the corners at maximum aperture is worth being aware of, but this shouldn't pose too may issues for most users. Optically it isn't as good as Nikon's 12-24mm, but then it is wider and cheaper, so should still win over many fans.

The lightweight of the lens and reasonably good build all stack in favour of this lens. If the price were a little closer to that of the third party opposition, then it would be difficult to separate them in terms of value.

The Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm produces images of excellent sharpness, especially when used at optimum apertures.

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Pros

Excellent sharpness in the centre
Very low vignetting for an ultra-wide
Good build
Handles well
Lightweight

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Cons

Softness in far corner regions at maximum aperture
Flare when shooting into the light

FEATURES
HANDLING
PERFORMANCE
VALUE FOR MONEY
OVERALL

Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Specifications

ManufacturerNikon
General
Lens Mounts
  • Nikon AF DX G
Lens
Focal Length10mm - 24mm
Angle of View61 - 109
Max Aperturef/3.5 - f/4.5
Min Aperturef/22 - f/29
Filter Size77mm
35mm equivalent15mm - 36mm
Internal focusingYes
Focusing
Min Focus24cm
StabilisedNo
Construction
Blades7
Elements14
Groups9
Box Contents
Box ContentsLens hood, Lens Caps, Soft Case
Dimensions
Weight460g
Height87mm

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Comments


20 Jan 2012 2:47AM
I bought my Nikon 10-24 in August '11.
Previously, I owned a Sigma EX 15-30 that was a much larger lens.
At it's widest, the 10mm focal length on my APS-C sensor D7000 is the equivalent of a 15 mm lens and the 24 mm is the equivalent of 36 mm.
As such this lens has become the standard lens that I leave on my camera!
It has replaced the 18-105vr kit lens and I find it much more useful and smaller, too!
When needed, I switch to my 50/1.8 or my 70-300vr or the 18-105vr but most times this wonderful 10-24 fills my needs!
One side effect of it being soooo wide is that the front filter thread flares out to take gigantic filters!
For the APS-C sensor, this is an amazing truly wide angle lens.

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