Today Nikon unveiled its first professional-grade lens for the Z mount, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, for $2299. After the release of 35mm f/1.8 S, 50mm f/1.8 S, and two f/4 zoom lenses, Nikon decided to add an f/2.8 lens to its arsenal of Z-series lenses to appeal to professional photographers. While some might wonder why Nikon needs two 24-70mm lenses so early in the game with many other gaps in the Z lens line, Nikon wants to assure its fan base that the new mirrorless system is going to target both enthusiasts and professional photographers. For that reason, Nikon will be releasing the Z 70-200mm f/2.8 S along with the Z 58mm f/0.95 Noct later this year. All these lenses (especially the Noct) will be “showcase” lenses to demonstrate the true potential of the Z mirrorless system.
While Canon started its mirrorless system with several pro-grade lenses, Nikon decided to move forward with more lightweight lens choices initially. And although Nikon was criticized for this move by some photographers and critics, we can see that with the launch of the Canon EOS RP (the cheapest full-frame camera on the market), Canon is facing the issue of not having any small, lightweight and budget-friendly options at the moment. Still, it is pretty clear that both companies will be targeting more higher-end lenses in the next few years, because this is their time to come up with truly appealing lens options that will interest not only their existing DSLR fan bases, but also possibly other mirrorless system owners.
So what does the new Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S bring to the table? Knowing how superb the existing 24-70mm f/4 S already is, what makes the f/2.8 version worthy of its $2,299 price tag? First of all, being a professional-grade lens, the 24-70mm f/2.8 S will feature a superior construction with potentially better weather-sealing.
Second, it will have a much more complex optical design comprising of a total of 17 elements in 15 groups (vs 14 elements in 11 groups on the 24-70mm f/4 S), 2 of which are extra-low dispersion (ED) elements and 4 of which are aspherical. Nikon says that this design will make the lens extremely sharp and virtually vignette-free, which is pretty impressive (more on sharpness below).
Third, thanks to the new optical design that is optimized for the Z mount, the lens will be 25% lighter and 18% smaller than the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E VR lens for the F mount, weighing a total of 805 grams.
Fourth, the Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S will be the first Nikon lens to feature the brand new ARNEO coat, which in conjunction with the Nano Crystal Coat is supposed to reduce ghosting and flare to minimum levels.
Fifth, the lens will feature a brand new “Multi-Focus” STM focusing motor that uses two actuators to move two focus groups at once, which is supposed to deliver extremely fast and precise focusing.
Sixth, the lens will also have a small OLED screen that will show such information as aperture, focal length, focus distance and depth of field. In addition, there will be a customizable function button on the lens, as well as an additional programmable ring.
Lastly, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is supposed to have very minimal focus breathing, which is important for videographers. As you can see, Nikon put quite a bit of new innovation into this lens…
What kind of optical performance can we expect out of this lens? Just take a look at the below MTF charts for reference:
Similar to the previous 24-70mm f/2.8 designs, it looks like the lens will be stunning on the wide end, with a very gradual drop of resolution towards the edges of the frame. There will be a noticeable drop of sharpness at 70mm, but not anywhere close to what we have seen on the 24-70mm f/2.8E VR. Contrast will remain extremely high and considering how close the sagittal and meridonial lines are, bokeh should look quite good, although it is hard to tell how the out of focus highlights will appear with those four aspherical elements.
Comparing this MTF with both 24-70mm f/2.8E VR and 24-70mm f/2.8G, this Z mount lens should be an absolute stunner. Keep in mind that the above MTF chart is for f/2.8! Once stopped down to f/4-f/5.6 range, I am expecting to see insane resolving power on the Nikon Z7. And already the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E VR is the best 24-70mm f/2.8 lens on the market (per our Imatest lab findings, based on overall performance from center to corner at every focal length), so to see the Z lens beat it would be exciting indeed.
Overall, this is a very important lens release for the Nikon Z mount. I can’t wait to take this lens out for some shooting – you can expect a full review of it later this year.
You can pre-order this lens from B&H at the link below:
Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Official Press Release
Below is the official press release of the lens:
MELVILLE, NY (February 13, 2019) – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S: a much-anticipated, fast-aperture zoom lens that’s ideal for professional and advanced photographers who capture portraits, landscapes, weddings and events, as well as content creators who shoot video using Nikon’s revolutionary new Z Mount System. Designed to take full advantage of the wider, brighter and faster Z Mount, this new S-Line lens delivers stunning sharpness all the way to the corners of the frame, even when used at its maximum aperture.
The NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is the first NIKKOR lens to use the all-new Nikon-designed ARNEO coat, which is used in conjunction with Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat to significantly minimize flare and ghosting. The lens also includes Nikon’s new Multi-Focus System to help ensure fast and accurate autofocus even when shooting close-up subjects. Additionally, the 24-70mm f/2.8 S is the first NIKKOR Z lens to feature a dedicated manual focus ring independent of the customizable control ring, a Function (L-Fn) button, and an Organic EL Lens Information Panel for quick reference of key settings such as focus distance, depth-of-field, aperture and focal length.
“The NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is the lens that Z Series users have been waiting for, a lens that many photographers and videographers would never leave home without,” said Jay Vannatter, Executive Vice President, Nikon Inc. “Lightweight and tack sharp, the 24-70mm f/2.8 S is a great example of the outstanding performance and portability that is possible with our next-generation Z Mount System.”
NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S – Performance, Precision and Optical Superiority
The NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S builds on a century of Nikon optical heritage by harnessing the technical advantages of the Z Mount. This type of lens is known as a photographer favorite due to its versatility, useful zoom range, fast aperture and sharpness. Nikon was able to redesign this all-around zoom lens to achieve a new standard of performance, while making it both smaller and lighter—approximately 24.7% lighter and 18.4% shorter than the popular AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR lens.
The NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S takes advantage of the latest optical technologies to ensure exceptional control of aberration, ghosting and flare. Featuring an optical construction of 17 elements in 15 groups—including two ED glass elements and four aspherical elements—the lens delivers sharp, virtually vignette-free performance from edge-to-edge across its entire zoom range, even at maximum aperture.
Additionally, the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is the first NIKKOR lens to feature Nikon’s all-new ARNEO coating: a multi-layer coating that is used in conjunction with Nano Crystal Coating for superior anti-reflective performance. While Nano Crystal Coat suppresses ghosting and flare coming from backlight at diagonal angles, the ARNEO coat compensates for light entering the lens from vertical angles. This expanded field enables the lens to capture exceptional contrast and sharpness even when the light source is visible inside the frame.
To help ensure fast, accurate and silent autofocus, the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S combines a powerful stepping motor (STM) with Nikon’s new Multi-Focus System. This system uses two actuators to move two focus groups at once, enabling the lens to achieve critical focus rapidly from nearly any distance, including close-up shooting.
The 24-70mm f/2.8 S is the most customizable NIKKOR Z lens yet. The lens features an Organic EL Lens Information Panel that allows for quick confirmation of aperture and focal length or focus distance and depth-of-field without looking at the viewfinder. For enhanced versatility, the addition of a L-Fn button allows you to set over 20 custom functions when shooting stills. The lens is also the first to feature an independent focus ring in addition to the customizable control ring found on all S-Line lenses, giving professional photographers and videographers more comfortable and convenient control over their shooting experience.
Finally, the NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S was designed to excel at video in addition to stills capture, taking full advantage of the industry-leading video features found in the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7. Its design minimizes focus breathing, preventing the angle of view from changing when the focus is adjusted; the stepping motor and Multi-Focus System ensure fast, accurate and quiet focusing; full compatibility with the built-in 5-axis VR of the Nikon Z System ensures users can capture super-smooth video hand-held; and the customizable control ring, independent focus ring and Organic EL panel give filmmakers even more control over this exceptional lens on-set.
The NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is destined to be an instant classic—a must-own lens for Nikon Z Series creators of all types.
- An indispensable standard zoom lens for professionals, advanced photographers and video creators—ideal for environmental portraits, landscapes, weddings, events, studio and street photography.
- Constant f/2.8 aperture throughout the zoom range delivers the subject separation, speed and gorgeous bokeh professionals demand.
- Exceptional optical performance achieves edge-to-edge sharpness and minimal aberration in an incredibly lightweight and portable package, thanks to the revolutionary new Z mount.
- All-new ARNEO coating works in conjunction with Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat to minimize ghosting and flare when the light source is within the frame.
- Fast, accurate and quiet autofocus throughout the zoom range, thanks to Nikon-designed Multi-Focus System and Stepping Motor.
- Built-in Function (L-Fn) button, Organic EL Lens Information Panel and independent focus ring give creators more control over their shooting experience.
- Fully compatible with in-camera 5-axis VR found in the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7, providing up to 5 stops1 of image stabilization without adding to the size or weight of the lens.
- Optimized for video, with reduced focus breathing, a quiet stepping motor, customizable control ring, and the ability to take advantage of the in-camera 5-axis VR + eVR of the Nikon Z 6 and Z 7.
- Designed with consideration to dust and drip resistance, and featuring a fluorine coat that effectively repels dust, water droplets, grease and dirt.
Price and Availability:
The NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S will be available in spring 2019 at a suggested retail price (SRP) of $2,299.95.
For more information about this lens, as well as the latest Nikon products including the full Nikon Z Mount System, please visit www.nikonusa.com.