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Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Pro Lens Review - Performance

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Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Performance

So, handling has proved to be excellent, but of course the deciding factor will be performance. At 24mm, looking at central sharpness, this is simply outstanding from f/2.8 through to f/8, excellent at f/11 and, as diffraction takes hold, very good at f/16 and good at f/22. The edges are excellent from f/2.8 to f/11, dropping to good at f/16 and fair at f/22.


35mm centrally has outstanding sharpness from f/2.8 to f/8, excellent at f/11, very good at f/16 and good at f/22. The edges are excellent from f/2.8 to f/11, very good at f/16 and fair at f/22.

Sharpness at 50mm is outstanding centrally from f/2.8 to f/5.6, excellent at f/8 and f/11, very good at f/16 and good at f/22. The edges are outstanding from f/2.8 to f/5.6, excellent at f.8 and f/11, very good at f/16 and fair at f/22.

Sharpness centrally at 70mm is outstanding from f/2.8 to f/5.6, excellent at f/8 and f/11, very good at f/16 and good at f/22. The edges are excellent from f/2.8 to f/8, very good at f/11 and f/16 and fair at f/22.

 

Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 Pro 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 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.


CA (Chromatic Aberration) at 24mm is virtually zero at the centre, some figures being actually zero when taken to the two decimal places used. The edges show very slight CA, but the images are perfectly clean, the amount is so small. This continues at 35mm, with the centre being CA free and the edges being pretty much the same. At 50mm, there is a whisker increase in the figures centre and edge, but the images are still clean throughout. 70mm shows a slight increase in the measurements, but the value is still so low that it isn't a problem at all.

 

Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 Pro 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 is becoming a moot point with some mirrorless systems, as corrections are perhaps being made even in RAW captures and we cannot switch these off. This means we cannot be 100% sure that we are measuring the “real” distortion of any lens. However, with all camera corrections switched off, here we see -3.66% barrel distortion at 24mm, which is certainly visible in images where there are straight lines near the edge. Of course, this can be easily corrected in software and we can let the camera do that for us as well.

Distortion evens out at 35mm with a modest +0.55% pincushion, becoming +2.18% pincushion at 50mm and +2.88% pincushion at 70mm. All these figures indicate a lens that is rectilinear around 35mm, but showing wide angle barrel distortion and telephoto pincushion, as we would expect. It can all be corrected in software, but the base figures measured are not excessive for this design of lens.

Bokeh summarises the smoothness of the out of focus areas in an image, and lens designers have tended to include rounded diaphragm blades to help with this. This lens has lovely, smooth bokeh, despite its high resolution. It results in very pleasing images, razor sharp on the focus point and smoothly moving to blur as we exit the depth of field.

Flare was not evident anywhere and the lens lives up to its expectation.

Finally we look at vignetting, the natural darkening towards the corners of the field. At 24mm, this is -2.67 stops at f/2.8, reducing gradually to -2.02 stops at f/8 and -1.71 stops at f/22. At 35mm, this improves to -2.03 stops at f/2.8, reducing to -1 stop by f/8. There is a similar pattern throughout the rest of the range. This does, however, offer a choice – allowing the vignette to produce darkening at the corners that often would be added in at the Darkroom/Lightroom stage or use correction in software.

Whichever way we look at these figures, with or without further correction in software, this is an exceptional performance throughout. It bodes well for the Z series lens range if this is the standard we can expect throughout.


Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 Pro Sample Photos

 

Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 Pro 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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Comments


LenShepherd 12 4.1k United Kingdom
22 May 2019 12:20PM
A minor detail - Nikon has reduced the price of several bodies and lenses - including this one - over the last week.
The current price is very close to 2,000.

Join ePHOTOzine for free and remove these adverts.

mediaman 10 14 Scotland
22 May 2019 1:36PM
It would have been of interest to me knowing that if upgrading to a Z7, If my Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 G AF-S ED Lens is worth being replaced by the new Nikon Z 24-70mm f2.8 S Lens. A comparison using the FTZ adapter on the Z7. would,I feel, be of great interest to many Nikon users.
LenShepherd 12 4.1k United Kingdom
22 May 2019 5:40PM

Quote:If my Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 G AF-S ED Lens is worth being replaced by the new Nikon Z 24-70mm f2.8 S Lens. A comparison using the FTZ adapter on the Z7. would,I feel, be of great interest to many Nikon users.

While I agree, this is a matter for the ephotozine team
They have tested the AFS VR version https://www.ephotozine.com/article/nikon-af-s-nikkor-24-70mm-f-2-8e-ed-vr-review-28783
While the old test is on a lower resolving D810 it seems clear the S version on the Z7 is dramatically better in the corners and better overall.
Nikon said the new Z mount would lead to better optics. It seems clear from this test Nikon's promise is fulfilled.
Is it worth the upgrade?
Only you can decide if it is worthwhile for you.
I would prefer to wait for a pro grade Z body, very probably in time for next years Olympics to be held in Japan
22 May 2019 11:08PM

Quote:It would have been of interest to me knowing that if upgrading to a Z7, If my Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 G AF-S ED Lens is worth being replaced by the new Nikon Z 24-70mm f2.8 S Lens. A comparison using the FTZ adapter on the Z7. would,I feel, be of great interest to many Nikon users.


Well, that comes down to whether you can afford it or not. If you buy a Z7 and put the old F mount 24-70 f2.8G + the FTZ adapter on it, it will be a very large combo and negate any real benefit of the smaller body - if that is what you are after. Whilst I wouldn't call the new 24-70 f2.8S small, it is still much smaller and lighter than the old 24-70 f2.8G especially when you factor in the FTZ mount if you want to put it on a Z6/Z7. I own the 24-70 f2.8S and as for sharpness and resolution well, the new lens is much sharper, sharper edge to edge, sharper whether close or at distance, has beautiful overall IQ and excellent build quality. Whilst the old 24-70 f2.8G was an excellent lens for it's time, it was only reasonably sharp wide open (never great), but the new 24-70 f2.8S is as sharp side open as it is stopped down. You will be happy to shoot wide open all the time. Overall, this lens gives most primes a run for their money which can't be said of any 24-70 f2.8 type FF mounted DSLR zoom. This is a true pro spec lens and I agree completely with the Ephotozine's verdict - they pretty much always get it right. The 24-70 f2.8S lives on my Z7 now.
RonnieAG Plus
10 154 119 Scotland
27 May 2019 10:33AM
I have to agree with Lancs_B's final analysis. I have been using the Z6 with the 23 - 70 lens for about a month now and the results it delivers is exceptional.
24 Jul 2019 2:39PM
The MTF charts on this website are strange.
Z7 sensor has a resolution of 8256*5504. That is to say the maximum measurable value of sharpness is 8256/2 (=4128) LW/PH. How can you get the sharpness of 4750+ LW/PH, even higher than the theoretical value?
joshwa Plus
9 914 1 United Kingdom
25 Jul 2019 11:44AM
Hi Evan,

How we test our lenses can be found here, and goes in to detail on the process:
https://www.ephotozine.com/article/lens-reviews---find-out-how-we-review-lenses-33167

Thanks
Josh
LenShepherd 12 4.1k United Kingdom
26 Jul 2019 2:21PM

Quote:Hi Evan,

How we test our lenses can be found here, and goes in to detail on the process:
https://www.ephotozine.com/article/lens-reviews---find-out-how-we-review-lenses-33167

Thanks
Josh


Could you kindly to update the link, please?

The image in the link shows a target separating from the "backing board" in 2 places, and of dubious contrast as the detail in the centre of each slanted Imatest panel is not defined.

There is no explanation as to whether by edge you mean the "top" edge where the most Imatest target detail is at about 10mm from the image centre on 24x36 format, or near "outer" edge at about 16 mm.

The tripod and head has relevance to an amateur on a limited budget but to me seems somewhat below a top quality set up, and especially so when testing longer focal length lens.

As I see it the link currently demonstrates a test procedure raising questions and not giving a fully credible explanation.
26 Jul 2019 6:29PM
The full answer to the question is actually far more complicated that we should get into, but Imatest assure us that figures such as delivered by the test procedure are absolutely possible.

The picture of the test target is of course merely for representation purposes and depth of field is limited so it will appear unsharp. It's just demonstrating the general idea.

"Edge" is near the long edge and is consistent with all lenses. With very long lenses there are many challenges and these are addressed appropriately depending on the lens.

Anybody interested in the theory of lens testing can look at the Imatest website, but it is a lot of technical information and much of it is beyond the relatively simple things we need to know for a review. Consistency is a major requirement and it enables us to realistically compare one lens results to another.
LenShepherd 12 4.1k United Kingdom
28 Jul 2019 9:55AM

Quote:

"Edge" is near the long edge and is consistent with all lenses.


Have you made a typo?
The long edge of the frame at its centre is 12 mm from the centre of the image with 24x36 format, whereas the short edge centre is 18mm. The corner is 22mm.
I presume you do not mean to imply you measure "lines" about 10mm from centre (on 24x36) as this can be largely irrelevant to the edge lines near the shorter edge at about 16mm out or lines in the corners at about 20 mm out.


Quote:With very long lenses there are many challenges and these are addressed appropriately depending on the lens.


I agree.
Printing out a "double normal size target" makes getting the camera exactly at 90 degrees to the target with 24x36 format easier with lenses around 14mm and wider.
Filling the camera frame with an Imatest target with a 400mm requires a focus distance much too long to be practicable indoors.

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