Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lens that was released back in August of 2007 together with the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens. I have been planning to write a review of this lens for quite some time now and I wanted to make the review as thorough as possible, comparing it to other Nikon FX wide angle lenses that are out in the market today. My plan finally came to reality, when I got a hold of Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G, Nikon 16-35mm f/4.0 VR, Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D, Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G and finally Nikon 24mm f/1.4G lenses all at the same time!

Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G

1) Lens Overview

Let me start by saying that the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G is a work of art. Marketed as Nikon’s flagship ultra wide-angle lens, the Nikon 14-24mm is a beautiful craftsmanship that one can only appreciate after holding it in hands and trying it out. When Nikon introduced it to the world of photography back in 2007 as a full-frame lens to be used with the back-then newly released, Nikon’s first-ever full-frame DSLR D3, the lens set a new standard in zoom lens performance in terms of sharpness and contrast. It was the world’s first 14mm ultra wide-angle zoom lens with a constant f/2.8 aperture and Nikon was proud to state that it rivals prime lenses when it comes to optical design and performance. As you will see from image samples that I posted in this review, the lens is truly very sharp, easily outperforming any other Nikon ultra wide-angle zoom lenses at all focal lengths, coming very close to the exceptional performance of the Nikon 24mm f/1.4G lens.

The Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G lens was designed for a variety of wide-angle photography needs – from landscape and architectural photography to fashion and press photography. It incorporates Nikon’s latest optical technology and works well both on full-frame (FX) and cropped (DX) sensors, although it was specifically engineered to work best on full-frame cameras. On a cropped sensor, the 14-24mm is equivalent to 21-36mm, which is still wide enough for most situations, but not quite what it was designed to be…the 7mm field of view loss is quite significant on a cropped sensor. For ultra wide-angle photography needs on DX sensors, a better choice would be Nikon 12-24mm f/4.0G DX or Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G DX.

The two letters “ED” in the lens name stand for “extra-low dispersion”, as explained in my Nikon lens naming convention article, which means that the lens delivers superior sharpness and reduced “chromatic aberration” or color fringing in photographs. In addition to the Silent Wave Motor (SWM/AF-S) that provides fast and quiet auto focus, the Nikon 14-24mm also features the Nano Crystal Coating technology, which reduces ghosting and flare. When it comes to weather sealing, the Nikon 14-24mm is well-protected against dust, moisture and tough weather conditions.

Being such a great lens, I would almost call it “perfect in every way”, except it also has two major weaknesses – heavy weight and inability to use filters. While weight is not a problem for most photographers, inability to use lens filters is its Achilles’ heel. Just like many other landscape photographers, I use various filters (such as polarizing and neutral density) quite a bit and not being able to mount filters on the 14-24mm is a big problem in challenging light conditions.

Windows

Windows, captured with Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G

2) Lens Specifications

Main Features:

  1. Fast, ultra wide-angle AF-S zoom lens optimized for edge-to-edge sharpness on both the Nikon FX- (23.9 x 36mm) and DX-format image sensors.
  2. Enhanced optical formulas engineered to produce exceptional sharpness, contrast and color, rendering outstanding image integrity.
  3. Two Extra-low Dispersion (ED) elements and PGM aspherical lenses control chromatic aberrations while enhancing sharpness and contrast even at the widest aperture settings.
  4. Exclusive Nano Crystal Coat further reduces ghosting and flare for even greater image clarity.
  5. Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM) enables ultra-high-speed autofocusing with exceptional accuracy and powerful, super-quiet operation.
  6. Internal Focus (IF) provides fast and quiet autofocusing without changing the length of the lens, retaining subject-working distance through the focus range.
  7. Focus as close as 10.8 inches at the 24mm setting.
  8. Rugged construction with professional-grade dust and moisture resistance.
  9. M/A focus mode switch enables quick response to changing situations between auto and manual focus operation.

Technical Specifications:

  1. Mount Type: Nikon F-Bayonet
  2. Focal Length Range: 14-24mm
  3. Zoom Ratio: 1.7x
  4. Maximum Aperture: 2.8
  5. Minimum Aperture: 22
  6. Maximum Angle of View (DX-format): 90°
  7. Minimum Angle of View (DX-format): 61°
  8. Maximum Angle of View (FX-format): 114°
  9. Minimum Angle of View (FX-format): 84°
  10. Maximum Reproduction Ratio: 0.15x
  11. Lens (Elements): 14
  12. Lens (Groups): 11
  13. Compatible Format(s): FX, DX, FX in DX Crop Mode, 35mm Film
  14. Diaphragm Blades: 9
  15. Distance Information: Yes
  16. Nano Crystal Coat: Yes
  17. ED Glass (Elements): 2
  18. Aspherical (Elements): 3
  19. Super Integrated Coating: Yes
  20. Autofocus: Yes
  21. AF-S (Silent Wave Motor): Yes
  22. Internal Focusing: Yes
  23. Minimum Focus Distance: 0.9ft.(0.28m)
  24. Focus Mode: Auto, Manual, Manual/Auto
  25. Dimensions: (Approx.) 3.8×5.2 in. (Diameter x Length), 98×131.5mm (Diameter x Length)
  26. Weight: (Approx.) 34.2 oz. (969g)
  27. Lens Case: CL-M3
  28. Lens Hood: Built-in
  29. Supplied Accessories: CL-M3 semi-soft case, Lens cover, Rear lens cap

Detailed specifications for the lens, along with MTF charts and other useful data can be found in our lens database.

Watchtower

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