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Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S Lens Review

John Riley reviews the Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S lens, Nikon's premium f/2.8 ultra-wide-angle zoom lens for full-frame Z-mount cameras.

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Nikkor Z 14 24mm F2,8S Front Oblique View | 1/4 sec | f/16.0 | 78.0 mm | ISO 100

So far, we have seen some incredibly good Nikkor Z lenses, and once again we reach for the 45.4MP Nikon Z7 mirrorless camera body to try out the latest in the S series high-performance range. Of course, with every lens reaching such a high standard, expectations for any new optic will accordingly be very high indeed. To match the previous lenses, designing a 14-24mm constant aperture f/2.8 zoom lens is a challenge in itself, so let's see how the new lens behaves and whether or not it reaches the same levels that we have begun to expect.


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Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S Handling and Features

Nikkor Z 14 24mm F2,8S On Nikon Z7 | 1/4 sec | f/16.0 | 48.0 mm | ISO 100

The lens is robustly made to a very high standard of finish. It is fairly bulky and weighs in at 650g, which although by no means light does balance well with the Nikon Z7 body. In use, general handling is highly effective.

Without the provided hood, the lens has a fixed shallow hood of its own. The lens zooms in and out within the confines of this fixed hood, thus the overall length of the lens does not change. A bayonet fit petal lens hood is also provided, which probably does more to offer some protection to the front of the lens than it does to flare reduction, as it is not particularly deep. It is possible to use one 112mm filter within the hood. There is a locking catch provided on the hood, which bayonets very smoothly onto the lens.

Immediately behind the hood is an electronically operated manual focus ring. This can also be used in AF mode to make final tweaks to the focus position. Internal focusing is employed, so the length of the lens and hence its balance does not change. Focusing is down to 0.28m (0.92 feet) at all focal lengths, giving a maximum magnification of 0.13x at 24mm. This is usefully close.

The zoom ring is also smooth and is clearly marked with focal lengths of 14mm, 15mm, 16mm, 18mm, 20mm and 24mm. Just behind this is a small OLED display, which shows aperture, focal length or distance, depending on how many times the display button next to it is pressed. This does enable some precise adjustment of focal length, a useful reminder of the aperture set and in the case of the distance a bar indicator of depth of field. Unfortunately, the depth of field indicator is not really of much use as there are not enough distances marked to make it meaningful. Pressing the Disp. button for longer also enables the units used to be changed. Focus distance can therefore be in feet or metres as desired.

Slightly further round the lens barrel from the Disp. button is the L-Fn button that enables use of various parameters that can be set from the camera body. Behind this is a control ring that can be set to change aperture or ISO. Finally, closest to the camera body is the A/M switch controlling the focusing system.

Nikkor Z 14 24mm F2,8S With Hood On Nikon Z7 | 1/5 sec | f/16.0 | 48.0 mm | ISO 100

Should the camera body be set to manual focus, the setting on the lens becomes irrelevant and only manual focus will be available.

The well made metal mount is firm in action and smooth but not silky smooth. There is a slot at the back of the lens to take rear gelatin filters.

Lens construction is 16 elements in 11 groups. There are 4 ED (Extra Low Dispersion) and 3 Aspherical elements. Nikon uses Nano Crystal and ARNEO coatings, plus the front element has a Fluorine coating to repel dust, grease and moisture. The electronic diaphragm comprises 9 blades for improved bokeh.

In use, the lens operates flawlessly and handles beautifully. It becomes an extension of the photographer, an excellent tool for a wide variety of wide-angle photography. The focal length range is a very versatile one and could appeal to those shooting interiors and general architectural shots as well as the landscape photographers.

Nikkor Z 14 24mm F2,8S Rear Oblique View | 0.3 sec | f/16.0 | 78.0 mm | ISO 100

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9 Dec 2020 1:56PM
Good review overall, but your "verdict" needs help in the "Features" and "Value" judgements. Since you only rated the lens 4.5 in "Features," perhaps you can tell us which other 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens has as many features as this one?

* Two control buttons on the lens, one for function, one display?
* A custom-control ring?
* LED Readout?
* Two separate lens hoods, one of which allows for a filter insertion?
* Another filter point on the rear, for gel filter? (In other words, the user has filter control *both* fore and aft.)

The answer is NONE. And yet you only rate this lens 4.5 in "features"??? Your "conclusion" requires explanation, actually, all things considered. It seems erroneous, especially when all of these features are found on, literally, "the sharpest tool in the shed" among its competitors, to boot.

I repeat, your review is good overall, but you again reach a weird conclusion as to "Value," giving the lens only 4/5.

This lens has no peer as a value, because it achieves PRIME-LIKE sharpness, from 14-24 mm. To compare it to Sigma's laughable option is even a fair comparison, because all you're looking at is "price." A better comparison to determine "Value" is to compare how sharp and good it is to Zeiss Distagon T* 2.8 PRIMES in performance (from 15mm, 21mm, and 25mm), yet the Nikkor Z costs far less than these three primes do, together, and it weighs only far less than three primes, it also out-performs them. In fact the Nikkor Z 14-24 f/2.8 lens weighs less than any other 14-24, while out-performing them, offering more features, and actually outperforming comparable primes within its zoom range ... while nailing AF .

You've undervalued both its "features" and its "value," IMO. I have it, I know. I'm getting rid of three Zeiss Distagon T* primes for this one compact, lens ... that out-performs all three of them ... saving me space and weight in my bag in the process. For someone who actually owns and uses it, it's the best ultra-wide value possible. FWIW
9 Dec 2020 2:30PM
You take me to task indeed, and that's fine, let's have a look at the issues. One thing I like about the internet as opposed to a printed magazine is that I can't give a dismissive reply and then fail to follow up with any further response! As regards the features, the things I had in mind were thinking about lens features in general, and maybe not specifically about only 14-24mm lenses. Of course, some things would be dubious to argue as, for example, the lack of inbuilt vibration reduction is not needed as the feature is included in the camera body. So I shall give you the point and agree that I was a little harsh at 4.5 out of 5.
VFM is much more difficult, it always is with high priced lenses. However, I assure you that I am not thinking only about price. All lenses have an overall value that includes its applications, its quality, its price yes but not exclusively. My VFM was trimmed back because it is so highly priced that the photographer needs to be very sure and specific as to why they need this lens. You are quite clearly so, and for well laid out reasons, so the VFM equation becomes irrelevant. It's the right lens for you, so if you can afford it you buy it.
For many that equation may be different. Perhaps paying half the price and using the DSLR Nikon lens would be very satisfactory in itself. Nikon don't make bad DSLR lenses. Perhaps a lower priced third party lens will do everything needed. It will still be sharp and cover the field of view required. So VFM is a more generalised summary rather than the specialised one that you have put forward.
In this case, there's no doubt anyway that it's a splendid lens. I would summarise VFM by saying that if you need/want it and can meet the cost, there's no further debate needed.
9 Dec 2020 3:05PM
Thanks for your response, John.

I agree, in order to provide accuracy, one has to compare any lens to its peers. The VR isn't needed in this one, as the mirrorless bodies have IBIS, and most lenses in this category don't bother with VR either. For the reasons already stated in my opener, the lens deserves a 5/5 in the Features it offers ... as no other lens in its class actually has the full complement of features the Nikkor Z 14-24 f/2.8 S lens has.

This brings us to the subject of "Value for the Money": I understand what you're saying in this category, but ultimately the same situation in the proper peer group applies: Nikon is clearly not competing with "budget lenses" with this one, but against the best in the world. (In other words, the Z Nikkor 14-30 f/4 is Nikon's budget zoom, while this one is clearly intended to be elite.)

Therefore, the Z Nikkor 14-28 f/2.8 S needs to be compared against the finest in the world—where it delivers. As I mentioned, it's performance is so good, it can actually be compared to three of Zeiss' primes, the 15mm, 21mm, and 25mm Distagon/Milvus offerings. Especially at the wide-end, the Z Nikkor 14-28 f/2.8 holds its own against Zeiss's finest primes, so when you're comparing "price," this needs to be against the best category, not the budget category.

I say this is somebody who is actually getting rid of three of my Zeiss prime lenses to make room for this one Nikkor zoom ... which, to me, makes the Nikkor a peerless value, and both price and weight Smile

You couldn't actually do that with another zoom, because they don't measure up to the size primes like the Nikkor does. By the time I sell my three Zeiss prime lenses on eBay, this Nikkor zoom will be free (or close to free) Grin

Anyway, cheers, and thanks again for the interaction. I've enjoyed your reviews over the years.
Lance_B 9 3 Australia
9 Dec 2020 11:30PM
Another great review, John. However, I do think JKoerner does have some valid points regarding Features and VFM.
LenShepherd 14 4.6k United Kingdom
6 Feb 2021 8:41AM
First a minor typo. In the description beneath the 14-24 it is described as a 12-24.

Second - a great summary of some outstanding optics Tongue

I only own 3 of the ones in the list - so far.

I minor comment on the 14-24 - in the early release notes Nikon mentioned a price of £2,399 - and 2-3 weeks later increased it to £2,499.

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