Mirrorless mirrorless version is the latest version of the iconic ultra-wide 14-24mm F/2.8 lens. It lives up to its F mount predecessor. It delivers incredible performance, stylish and sturdy build, stunning image quality, and comes with a screw-in filter attachment lens cap.
According to testing results, the Nikon Z 14-24mm F/2.8 S lens for Nikon Z mirrorless system is a great lens. It is designed for photographers who require a wide viewing angle and a constant, fast f/2.8 aperture. Although it doesn’t have the same focal range as the 14-30mm F/4, it offers a full extra f-stop, which is a very important feature for many photographers. This is especially true when the lens is part of a trio of optics that includes the 24-70mm F/2.8 and 70 to 200mm F/2.8.
The new 14-24mm F/2.8 S lens is lighter than its predecessor and slightly smaller. It also has a faster autofocus performance. These and many other factors make the Z version well worth the extra $600.
Design and Build Quality
The Z-mount version 14-24mm F/2.8 lens weighs 350g (0.77 lbs) more than the F-mount version. This will make it an attractive choice for many. Our testing has shown that the build quality is very sturdy and durable. Nikon’s weather seals also allow for use in extreme weather conditions.
This 14-24mm version has something special. The lens hood can be removed completely unlike the F mount version which is fixed and non-removable. The lens also includes a variety of covers and hoods that permit the use of screw-in filters (112mm thread), which is something the F-mount version cannot offer. This adds an entirely new level of functionality to wide-angle photographers.
The 14-24mm lens has a programmable control circle near the lens’ base. This can be used for aperture adjustments, as well as other functions. The zoom and focus control rings have a tough rubber with ridged rubber. This allows for secure gripping and easy adjustments. While the zoom ring can focus in any direction, it is not able to focus in infinity. However, the amount of focus drift I experienced was negligible or nonexistent. To move from one end to the other, it takes only one pull in either direction. This means that most users won’t have to remove the lens from their hands to make quick adjustments.
You can customize the lens function button between the control and zoom rings with many functions, including autofocus (AF), modes, and some other options through the Custom Settings menu. The Display button allows you to cycle through different display options, including depth of field and distance information. This display does not turn off after a while, which is a bit odd and makes it less useful than I expected.
The optic is composed of 16 lenses elements in 11 groups, with three extra-low dispersion and four aspherical elements. It is impressively sharp and clear. However, there is still some distortion at the edges that was not fully corrected. You can read more about that below.
The internal focusing motor of the lens is an internal stepping-motor. It has a minimum focus distance (11 inches) of 28 centimeters. This allows for quiet, precise, and fast focusing. For added versatility, the rear of the lens has a slot to accept drop-in gel filters.
One small problem I found with weather sealing was that the front lens element moved a bit when the focal length was changed. At 14mm the lens is almost flush with its mount, but it recedes by about a centimeter at 24mm. This is not a problem in most cases. However, if the photographer finds themselves in wet or dusty environments it may be an issue. This can be avoided by using the supplied screw-in lens filter attachment. With that attachment there is virtually no way for dust or other elements to reach the lens’s barrel. You will need to spend a lot of money on 112mm filters.
Although the VR is not available on the lens, it would have increased the cost, size and weight of the lens. It might not be as important, but it can still be used to compensate for it in case you are in shakey conditions.
Image Quality and Performance
It is almost impossible to find an ultra-wide angle lens without distortion at the extreme edges. The Nikon Z 14-24mm F2.8 S lens is sharp but suffers from barrel and pincushion distortion at maximums.
Although it is less obvious than my 17-35mm F/2.8 F-mount lens, the distortion is still evident as you can see below. Depending on the subject and your personal preference, it is possible to correct the distortion using either automatic in-camera corrections or lens profiles within RAW processing engines such as Adobe Lightroom Classic, Photoshop and Capture One Pro.
It is possible to see some vignetting in wide-open shots, but this is not a major issue. This lens is extremely useful for street photography and astrophotography at night. The autofocus was extremely fast and precise, even in low light situations.
Bokeh-lovers will be happy with the lens’ performance at f/2.8. However, due to the large focal range of 14-24mm, it will not be easy to achieve a blurry background with a shallow focus. However, the bokeh you can achieve is still soft and pleasing.
A Legendary F-Mount Lens’ Superior Successor
The Nikon Z 14-24mm F/2.8 S lens is a top-quality Nikon mirrorless lens. It delivers high-quality ultra-wide angle image quality in a light body that offers a variety of customizations and additional functionality. The BH-97 Lens Hood, which comes with the lens, allows the 112mm circular filters can be adapted to it. Additionally, the rear slot permits for custom filters such as gels to give you even greater creative control.
Although it doesn’t offer the same range as the 14-30mm F/4 lens, it offers a full aperture stop for faster performance and lower light focusing, making it more appealing to cityscape and landscape photographers.
Creatives should ask themselves if the additional stop of light is worth the higher price compared to its 14-30mm F/4 sibling.
What are the Alternatives?
Nikon mirrorless users have several options for the 14-24mm f/2.8 S lenses. These include the Nikon Z 14-30mm f/4 and the Nikon F 17-35mm f/2.8. The Nikon F 14-24mm f/2.8 DG Art, $1,952 Nikon F 17-25mm f/2.8, $1.747 Nikon F 14-24mm f/2.8 and the Sigma F-mount 14-24mmm f/2.8 DG SM Art. These lenses offer their own advantages, but they don’t provide the same image quality or autofocus performance as Z 14-24mm F/2.8 S lens.
Should You Buy It
Yes. This lens is a must-have item for professional Nikon mirrorless photographers who regularly shoot landscapes, cityscapes, and astrophotography.