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Nikon Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR Review

John Riley reviews the Nikon Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR super zoom lens for full-frame Z-Mount cameras from Nikon. Could this be the all-in-one zoom lens you've been looking for?


|  Nikon Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR in Interchangeable Lenses
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Nikkor Z 24 200mm F4 6,3 VR Front Oblique View
So far, the Nikon Z system has consisted of a line of superb optics where no compromise on quality has been made. This inevitably means costs have been relatively high, but the price has been justified by the performance. Now we have the first lower-cost option, one that seems to be aimed squarely at the concept of the ideal general-purpose travel lens. It is relatively light, well priced and covers a very useful full-frame range of 24-200mm. All that remains is to see if the lens can perform well enough to justify using it on the incredibly good Nikon Z bodies. Using the 45.4MP Nikon Z7 II body, let's find out.

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Nikon Nikkor Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR Handling and Features

Nikkor Z 24 200mm F4 6,3 VR On Nikon Z7 II
 

Relatively compact and relatively light, the lens weighs in at around 570g. It appears to be well made, relying on the use of high-quality plastics to keep the weight down. It is weather-sealed, confirming its usefulness as a travel lens. The provided petal lens hood bayonets smoothly and firmly into position and shows no sign that it could be accidentally dislodged. Within the bayonet fit is a standard 67mm filter thread. Of course, the lens hood needs to be wide enough not to cause vignetting at 24mm, so at 200mm will offer very little if any shielding. Nikon's ARNEO coating will have to be relied on to suppress flare. The front element is usefully given a fluorine coating to repel water, grease and dirt.

The zoom ring is firm and smooth in operation, needing to physically move the lens barrel as we zoom in and the barrel itself extends. There are clear markings at 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 70mm, 105mm, 135mm and 200mm. Behind this is a slim control ring that can be used for manual focus, silent aperture adjustment, ISO or exposure compensation. This ring is electronic in operation and hence as smooth as silk.

Minimum focusing distance varies with focal length. Correctly measured from the focal plane:

Focal length m ft
24mm 0.5 1.64
35mm 0.54 1.81
70mm 0.58 1.91
105mm 0.65 2.14
135mm 0.68 2.24
200mm 0.7 2.3

 

The maximum magnification is a usefully close 0.28x. There is no distance scale provided, and therefore of course no depth of field scale.
Nikkor Z 24 200mm F4 6,3 VR With Hood On Nikon Z7 II

The only switch on the lens is a lock that secures the lens at 24mm for transport.

Optical construction is 19 elements in 15 groups. There are 2 ED (Extra Low Dispersion), 1 Aspherical ED and 2 Aspherical elements. The diaphragm comprises just 7 blades.

Nikkor Z 24 200mm F4 6,3 VR Side View At 200mm
 

Finally, the lens has VR (Vibration Reduction), always a bonus with long telephoto lengths where the maximum aperture is quite restricted. I was happy that the advantage amounted to around 5 stops, which is just so useful in so many circumstances. This makes up for the very modest maximum aperture and would enable images to be shot in lower light conditions such as museums and art galleries. Otherwise, we might ask what use, say, a 50mm f/5.6 lens would be when we expect at least f/2 and probably f/1.4. This is where various factors have to be weighed up against each other, as an f/1.4 lens is all very well, but has very little depth of field at that aperture. With this Nikon zoom we have much more DOF as the apertures are so restricted.

In terms of general-purpose, carry anywhere lenses though, this 24-200mm lens has a lot going for it and it could just be the only lens we need when travelling, perhaps coupled with a fast prime for when that is more appropriate. It is also worth noting that when used on an APS-C format crop sensor, the 35mm-equivalent field of view would be 36-300mm, giving an advantageous boost to the telephoto reach.


Nikkor Z 24 200mm F4 6,3 VR Rear Oblique View
 


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Comments


Excellent review, thank you. Great to see that the technical tests confirm what I noticed on field while using this lens. Back in August last year I made a field review of this lens. I was lucky to be among the first to be able to purchase it. Since then, it has completely replaced both my Z 24-70 f4 S lens and the f-mount 70-200 f4. Even the smaller aperture is not an issue most of the time. I like to complement it with Nikon 1.8 S prime lenses (35, 50, 85). When doing portraits or when shallow DOF is desired.

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