I have had the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 for over a month now and I have been able to take it all around the world from South Africa to Singapore and Norway to give it a real test with a range of jobs I have had. I have been so impressed with the quality of the lens and what I have been able to produce with it that I decided I needed to do a review of the lens.
Introduction Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 Review
The Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 is an ultra wide zoom lens designed for FX cameras. It is not a fisheye lens so it does not distort straight lines, and with the help of some profile corrections in Adobe Lightroom everything gets made to look perfect. The first thing I have noticed about this lens is just how sharp it is, nothing has come close to how sharp the images are that are produced. I have previously used a fixed Samyang 14mm Cine Lens for filming work and I know there is a big difference between Samyang and Nikon, but the Samyang 14mm was not a bad lens at all for the price of only £300 compared to the £1400 price tag of the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8.
Design and Build
The Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 is a solid lens, being an FX lens it is not light weighing about 1000 grams and when you are combining that with a Nikon D4 you have some weight to carry however it is worth it! As you would expect from Nikon everything is solidly built, the zoom ring runs smoothly as does the focusing ring. It fits comfortably in your hand and it is easy to quickly adjust the zoom to what you require. There is only one switch on the lens itself, the autofocus on and off or as Nikon display it M/A and M. There is no vibration reduction in this lens but it is not needed because it is so wide. If you are looking for a wide angle lens that has built in VR then look at the Nikon 16-35mm f4 VR. This lens looks the same as most other Nikon lenses, the classic gold writing and black lens with a large lens cap to protect the lens when packing it away.
The lens itself is made up of 14 elements in 11 groups. There are 2 ED glass element (Nikon explain what this is on their website very well just follow the link), 3 aspherical lenses and one Nano Crystal Coat. There are 9 rounded diaphragm blades and Nikon’s fantastic SWM (Silent Wave Motor) to keep your autofocus fast and quiet.
The lens dimensions are as follows:
98 x 1131.5mm
As you would expect with a lens of this level the autofocus is super fast. I have not experienced any issues with focus hunting or the lens being slow, pick your focus pint and your image will be sharp with no issues whatsoever. The SWM is becoming a standard in all of Nikon’s new lenses and comes in the 14-24mm f2.8 as well. The SWM helps to keep the focusing motor extremely quiet and I can say that I have never heard the motor, I would not put this down as a huge selling point as most focusing motors today are pretty quiet anyway but it is nice to know that Nikon are continuing to put the same tech in all of their lenses.
Moving onto the main part of the review, the image quality of the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8. As I said in the introduction the thing that has impressed me most about this lens is the sharpness it produces, with a lens this wide you are always going to loose some sharpness at the very far edges however when compared to other lenses in the field this outdoes them by a mile; and wit hate Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 it holds that sharpness incredibly well. The other thing that has impressed me is how sharp an image is even stopped down to f2.8. There is very little vignetting on the images when zoomed out at 14mm which is uncommon with an ultra wide angle lens, normally lenses this wide have quiet a lot of falloff around the edges creating a dark vignette. The little vignette that can be seen is easily corrected in Lightroom with the Adobe 14-24mm f2.8 lens profile correction.
Below are some images to show just how good this lens is. Click o the images to view them full size.
I know a common use for lens of this nature is for shooting real estate and architectural images so below area few interior images captured on a job to show the capabilities of such a wide angle lens. Again I have uploaded the largest size I could that the web servers allow to allow you to click on zoom in and look around the images.
Before I came to purchases my Nikon 14-24 f2.8 I had read a few things which said that this lens was so good for shooting star time lapses and night time scenes that a lot of Canon users were buying adapters so that they could us the Nikon 14-24 f2.8 on their Canon bodies. So I knew that shooting some starry sky scene was something I wanted to do and I had the perfect opportunity to do this in South Africa when I was on a shoot for Gameface Media. So below are a few images which I used to create the time-lapse video below.
No, the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8bcan’t have a filter as standard, you cannot just buy a filter and screw it on like other lenses. However there are work arounds such as Fotodiox Wonderpana System and Lee Filters have wide angle filter systems as well. I have not had a chance to purchase one of these options yet but it is something I am looking to do as I need to have a way of protecting my front element when shooting in the mud which I do a lot!
So to round up should you invest in the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8, in short yes! It is an incredible lens and worth the big price tag, this lens has become an extension of my arm, I have been using it for everything on my recent shoots. It has helped to create a really unique perspective that I was not able to generate before. The quality and sharpness of the images when I get back the office and look at them on my 4K monitor is just incredible and I haven’t had a lens this wide be this good! There are cheaper alternatives out there however after having bought cheaper versions of things before I am now resigned to the fact that 9/10 times Nikon make the best lenses in the world and not only are they good for image quality etc, but they are durable and designed to take a beating which my kit does. It travels all around the world getting knocked, dropped, wet and muddy and no matter what I put my kit through it just keeps on going. The same can’t be said for other alternatives I have had that have broken with a few knocks or just simply not been up to the high quality standard I expect and need from a lens. So this lens might be expensive but it is certainly worth the money and it is a great addition to your kit especially if you are looking to complete the Nikon “Holy Grail” of lenses – the 14-24mm f2.8, 24-70mm f2.8 and the 70-200mm f2.8.