Is Nikon’s first professional zoom for the Z-series a success? Michael Topham pairs it with the Nikon Z 7 to find out
Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S review: Features
The lens we’re looking at is the second standard zoom Nikon has made for its Z-series cameras. While there are a number of differences between it and the Z 24-70mm f/4 S, not least the fact it’s £1120 more expensive, the maximum aperture is most significant. With a maximum aperture of f/2.8 across the zoom range it’s a stop faster and as you’d expect from a lens with a pro-spec status, it employs advanced optics and extensive weather sealing.
The optical construction of the lens is made up of 17 elements in 15 groups – a more complex arrangement than the 14 elements in 11 groups as found inside the Z 24-70mm f/4 S. Two ED (extra-low dispersion) elements are included, as are four aspherical elements. While Nikon’s Nano Crystal coatings suppress ghosting and flare coming from backlight at diagonal angles, an all-new multi-layer ARNEO coating is also applied to compensate for light entering the lens from vertical angles. Nikon says it helps maximise contrast and sharpness when the light source is visible in the frame.
To help ensure fast, accurate and silent autofocus, a powerful stepping motor (STM) combines with Nikon’s Multi-Focus System. This system uses two actuators to move two focus groups at once, enabling the lens to achieve critical focus rapidly, even at close focusing distances. On the subject of close focusing, the lens has a minimum focus distance of 0.38m (1.25ft) at all positions throughout the zoom range. With the internal type of focusing system there’s no fret of front element rotating when using screw-in filters or those that attach via an adaptor ring and holder, but it’s worth noting the 82mm thread size is larger than the 72mm and 77mm threads on the Z 24-70mm f/4 S and F-mount Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 E ED VR.
Unlike Nikon’s popular Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 E ED VR, optical image stabilisation isn’t built-in to the lens. This contributes to it being 265g lighter and 28.5mm shorter in length at its widest focal length setting. To stabilize handheld images, users will want to take advantage of the 5-axis in-body image stabilisation built into Nikon’s Z 7/Z 6 cameras, allowing you to shoot up to five stops slower than otherwise possible.
In the box you get all the usual accessories, including lens caps for front and back as well as a CL-C2 lens case. The plastic HB-87 lens hood that’s lined with felt on the inside locks with a 90-degree turn and needs a release button to be pressed before it can be removed.