Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Nikkor
Nikon Z 24-70MM F/2.8 S Nikkor Review -- First Impressions
by Mike Tomkins
Preview posted 02/13/2019
If you're a wedding, portrait, studio, street or event photographer, a landscape shooter or a videographer, Nikon is targeting you with its Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S zoom lens. A bright, standard zoom,the Z 24-70mm is the fifth optic to go on sale for the nascent Nikon Z-mount, which first debuted with the Nikon Z6 and Z7 camera bodies in late 2018. Interestingly, its focal range is identical to one of the preceding four models, the 24-70mm f/4 S, but with a brighter maximum aperture and a significantly higher pricetag.
At US$2,300 or thereabouts, the newer f/2.8 zoom lists for a little more than twice as much as does the less-bright f/4 optic. Of course, you're also getting a lot more lens for the money -- and we mean that both literally and figuratively-speaking. The Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is a significantly larger and heavier optic than is the existing f/4 lens, with a weight of 28.4 ounces (805g), a length of 5.0 inches (126mm) and a diameter of 3.5 inches (89mm).
By way of comparison, the f/4 lens weighs just 17.7 ounces (500g), is 3.5 inches (89mm) long and 3.1 inches (78mm) in diameter. But then, to make a comparison in the other direction, the SLR-oriented AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR lens is noticeably larger heavier than is this new mirrorless optic, despite the same maximum aperture. At 38.4 ounces (1,070g), the SLR lens is a full six inches (154.5mm) long and yet still almost as wide at 3.4 inches (88mm) in diameter.
And you certainly get a lot more than just a brighter f/2.8 maximum aperture across the zoom range to justify the extra heft and cost. For one thing, this is the first Z-series lens with a dedicated manual focus ring in addition to its customizable control ring. There's also a function button on the side of the lens barrel which can be configured to control one of 20 functions, and an organic electroluminescent info display atop the lens barrel through which several lens-related settings can be quickly confirmed.
The comprehensively weather-sealed barrel plays host to a complex optical formula with 17 lens elements in 15 groups, including two ED elements and four aspherics, plus a nine-bladed, rounded lens aperture for pleasing bokeh. As well as Nikon's Nano Crystal Coat and dust/smudge-resistant fluorine coat, the 24-70mm f/2.8 also debuts a brand-new coating dubbed "ARNEO", which better helps to suppress flare and ghosting from light sources within the image frame.
The result of all of this is, promises Nikon, a lens that is "virtually vignette-free" with minimal focus breathing and which "delivers stunning sharpness all the way to the corners of the frame, even when used at its maximum aperture".
Autofocus performance looks promising, too. Twin stepping motors are used to drive a pair of focus groups within the lens simultaneously while keeping ambient noise levels low enough for video capture. And while the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S zoom doesn't include stabilization in the lens itself, both the Nikon Z6 and Z7 camera bodies support the optic with their built-in vibration reduction systems, allowing up to a five-stop correction that will certainly help you avoid blur from camera shake.
Available from spring 2019, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S has a list price of around US$2,300 in the US market.