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

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Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S Performance

Looking at sharpness first, at 14mm the centre is outstanding from f/2.8 to f/8, excellent at f/11 and f/16 and still very good at f/22. The edges are good at f/2.8, becoming excellent at f/4 and then outstanding from f/5.6 to f/8, Edge sharpness is then excellent at f/11, very good at f/16 and softens at f/22.

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At 16mm, the centre is outstanding from f/2.8 to f/8, excellent at f/11 and f/16 and very good at f/22. The edges are very good at f/2.8, excellent at f/4, outstanding at f/5.6, excellent at f/8 and f/11, very good at f/16 and softening at f/22.

Performance is very similar at 20mm, with the centre being outstanding from f/2.8 to f/8, excellent at f/11 and f/16 and very good at f/22. The edges are very good at f/2.8, excellent from f/4 to f/11, very good at f/16 and softening at f/22.

At 24mm, the centre is outstanding from f/2.8 to f/8, excellent at f/11 and f/16 and very good at f/22. The edges are excellent from f/2.8 to f/11, very good at f/16 and softening at f/22.

 

Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S MTF Charts

How to read our MTF charts

The blue column represents readings from the centre of the picture frame at the various apertures and the green is from the edges.

The scale on the left side is an indication of actual image resolution and sharpness as LW/PH and is described in detail above. The taller the column, the better the lens performance.

For this review, the lens was tested on a Nikon Z7 using Imatest. Want to know more about how we review lenses?

 

CA (Chromatic Aberration) is very well controlled throughout, even with in-camera corrections switched off, and colour fringing is not readily seen, even with the most demanding subjects.

 

Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S Chromatic Aberration Charts

How to read our CA charts

Chromatic aberration (CA) 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 Z7 using Imatest.

 

Distortion measures at -3.59% barrel at 14mm, -1.86% barrel at 16mm, +0.35% pincushion at 20mm and +1.11% pincushion at 24mm. At 14mm the distortion is plain enough to see, the almost perfect rendering at 16mm is impressive, but then, oddly for a wide-angle lens, we move into pincushion. We are used to seeing barrel distortion in wide-angle lenses, so seeing the straight lines curving the “wrong” way could potentially look a little strange. Fortunately, the figures are not high and it does not affect most subject matter. If it should be an issue, then correction in-camera or in software is the obvious answer.

Bokeh is the smoothness, the quality of the out of focus areas in an image. This lens has reasonably pleasant bokeh, but it is not ultra-smooth and some fine lines can have a slightly harsh look. It is a subtle point however and for most subjects not intrusive.

Flare resistance is exceptional, there being no sign of flare at all in the images shot during the review, even when challenging situations were sought.

Vignetting is very reasonable for such a wide-angle lens, and the option is there to switch on the in-camera corrections or apply some other software solution.

Aperture 14mm 16mm 20mm 24mm
f/2.8 -2.56 stops -2.2 -1.9 -1.7
f/4 -1.6 -1.6 -1.5 -1
f/5.6 -1.3 -1.4 -1.4 -0.8
f/8 -1.2 -1.4 -1.3 -0.8
f/11 -1.2 -1.4 -1.3 -0.8
f/16 -1.2 -1.4 -1.3 -0.8
f/22 -1.2 -1.3 -1.3 -0.8


Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S Sample Photos

 

Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S Aperture range

You can view additional images in the Equipment Database, where you can add your own review, photos and product ratings.


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Nikon JMA711DA NIKKOR Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S
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Comments


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.
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 7 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 12 4.3k 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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