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Nikon Z 24-70mm F/4 S Lens Review

John Riley has been putting the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens to the test on the Nikon Z7 II to find out how it handles.

| Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S in Interchangeable Lenses
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Nikon Z 24-70mm F/4 S Lens Review: Nikkor Z 24 70mm F4S Front Oblique View | 1/4 sec | f/16.0 | 115.0 mm | ISO 100

Most full-frame ranges include a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, but these do tend to be large, heavy and expensive. Nikon also has such a lens in their Z series mirrorless range, but now also include a smaller, lighter and less expensive f/4 version. There does not need to be any compromise in quality, the smaller maximum aperture in itself reducing the cost. In fact, the very opposite can be true, that is the smaller aperture versions can actually outperform their larger siblings. The Nikon Z lenses have been pretty extraordinary so far, so can the standard be maintained? Let's see how the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S lens handles and performs, using the 45.7MP Nikon Z 7 II camera body. 



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Nikon Z 24-70mm F/4 S Handling and Features

Nikon Z 24-70mm F/4 S Lens Review: Nikkor Z 24 70mm F4S With Hood On Z7II | 1/4 sec | f/16.0 | 60.0 mm | ISO 100

First impressions is of a well-made lens, of relatively compact size at 77.5mm diameter and 88.5mm length. However, this is in the locked position and to use the lens it needs to be extended to its operating position, which immediately adds 20mm to the length. When zoomed to 70mm, another 30mm of extension occurs. However, at 500g, the lens is light enough for the balance not to be unduly disturbed.

There is a provided petal lens hood that bayonets cleanly into place. It shows no tendency to become dislodged and no locking catch is needed, nor is one provided. Within the bayonet fit for the hood is a conventional 72mm filter thread.

There is a generously sized zoom ring with clearly marked positions at 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 70mm. As mentioned, the lens does extend as we zoom in to 70mm.

Moving closer to the camera body we find a slim, electronic manual focus ring, and this is as smooth as silk, which is what we expect. It is active in AF as well as MF and allows tweaks to be made to the focusing position after AF has locked. AF and MF are selected via the A/M switch, and this is the only control switch on the lens. Focusing is down to 0.3m, or 0.99 feet, for a maximum magnification of 0.3x. This is commendably close and adds to the versatility of the lens. AF is virtually silent, fast and locks on accurately. It is driven by a stepping motor.


Nikon Z 24-70mm F/4 S Lens Review: Nikkor Z 24 70mm F4S Front Element View | 0.5 sec | f/16.0 | 53.0 mm | ISO 100

Optical construction is 14 elements in 11 groups, including 1 ED (Extra Low Dispersion), 1 Aspherical ED and 3 Aspherical. Floating elements help to maintain sharpness as we focus closer. Focus breathing is also minimised, of particular value to videographers. The diaphragm comprises 7 blades, with a rounded aperture. Nikon uses Nano Crystal coatings to reduce flare, plus a Fluorine coat on the front element to repel dirt, grease and moisture. The whole lens is protected from dust and water droplets.

VR is not incorporated into the lens and the inbuilt IBIS of the camera body is relied upon, offering up to 5 stops advantage. The bayonet mount is constructed of high-quality metal and the lens bayonets securely and smoothly into place, with no sign of any play whatsoever.

The performance of current camera bodies in terms of ISO and low noise is so impressive that in many ways faster lenses are less essential when shooting in dark conditions. Of course, there are many reasons for choosing faster lenses than this f/4 model, but for general shooting, there will be few instances when that f/4 is not fast enough. Lower weight, less bulk and indeed lower price all make the slower lens attractive. Is there any compromise on quality? Let's find out as we look at the performance results.


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