24–70mm f/2.8G ED zoom lens is slimmer than many f/2.8 lenses, including its predecessor, the AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 28–70mm f/2.8; in fact, 0.2" (6mm) narrower, to be exact. This older lens certainly felt fat in your hands and the AFS motor was so big that the rear of the lens and the zoom ring had to be equally enormous. The newer, all-metal 24–70mm f/2.8 feels substantial, but yet very manageable. You can shoot and zoom all day with one hand and easily select manual focus with the lightest of touches. Other improvements of note over the older 28–70mm is that the 24–70mm focuses closer (1.2’ instead of 1.5’) and zooms wider (24mm instead of 28mm).
- Optical construction: 15 elements in 11 groups inc. 3x ED elements, 3x aspherical elements and 1x Nano Crystal Coat.
- Number of aperture blades: 9 (rounded).
- Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 1:3.7
- Dimensions: 3.26” x 5.23” (83mm x 133mm)
- Weight: 2 lbs. (900g)
- Filter size: 77mm (non-rotating).
- Hood: Nikon HB-40 (supplied), petal-shaped.
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Maybe, more importantly, the newer 24–70mm is nearly perfect lens for both landscape and portrait photography. The center-to-peripheral resolution is amazing for those panoramic landscapes, while, at 50–70mm, the portrait details are sharp. It’s the ED glass elements that provide the extraordinary resolution and contrast in all your digital photos. As with many of the high-end Nikkor lenses, the 24–70mm f/2.8 also features Nikon’s nano-crystal coating to reduce ghost and flare. You’ll also experience faster and quieter auto-focus with Nikon’s silent wave motor. All these features and others, plus Nikon craftsmanship, makes this lens the sharpest normal zoom that the company has ever brought to market. An f/2.8 zoom lens that can stop the corners from going soft and dark is a remarkable achievement.
Since, for many digital photographers, the Nikon 24–70mm f/2.8G ED zoom lens will probably be a separate purchase, it’s important to match it with the right camera body. It’s certainly compatible with every DX and FX DSLR, including the D40. Even though that is true, it doesn’t make much sense to partner this large, weighty and costly lens on smaller DX cameras, since they’re made to be lightweight and inexpensive. The 24–70mm f/2.8 is the kind of lens made for a big camera, such as an FX (F4, F5 and F6), or even a film camera. You can forget about matching it with any manual-focus cameras, however. Because Nikon made the lens as a G (gelded) version, it has no aperture ring; so it’s not compatible with the F, F2, FM, FE, FA, F3HP and FM3a pro-level film cameras.
A Few Negatives
You can expect to see strong barrel distortion at 24mm; and although this is a big negative for this lens, the distortion disappears at approximately 30mm. Other focal lengths will also produce some marginal pincushion distortion, but it is not a strange wavy pattern seen on so many complex aspherical lenses. It’s a single, simple constant-radius curve.
Unlike its brother, the Nikkor 70–200mm F/2.8 VR II zoom lens, the 24–70mm does not include Nikon’s VR, or vibration reduction, feature.
Various tests have demonstrated that you must be conscious of what kind of filters you use on the 24–70mm f/2.8. A typical Hoya circular polarizer (7.2mm) creates some minor vignetting at 24mm when used with an FX D3 camera. The vignetting becomes more prominent at the very closest focus distance. On FX cameras, vignetting occurs if you place a 77mm circular grad over a polarizing filter at 24mm; however, it disappears at 28mm.
Nikon 24–70mm f/2.8 Zoom Lens Specifications
It’s safe to say that the Nikkor 24–70mm f/2.8 is the world’s sharpest mid-range zoom lens; and, even at its price tag of just less than $2,000, it will likely be your most reliable lens.
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