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: Resolution, shading and curvilinear distortion
The Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S delivers some of the best results we’ve ever recorded from a standard zoom. The red line indicates that it puts in a fine performance at the wide end of the zoom range, with corner sharpness improving as the aperture is closed down to f/4 and f/5.6. Though it is sharper in the centre and at edge at 50mm than it is at 70mm, excellent centre and corner sharpness is upheld throughout the zoom range between f/5.6 and f/8. The influence of diffraction sees sharpness drop off quite clearly beyond f//11. For the very best results from edge-to-edge users will find themselves using the lens between f/5.6 and f/8.
Use the lens at f/2.8 and you will notice that the corners of images appear darker than the centre of the frame, even with the embedded lens correction profile automatically applied to raw files. Vignetting occurs at all focal lengths when the aperture is set wide open, but is most obvious at the 24mm position. Stopping the lens down a stop or two from f/2.8 to f/4 or f/5.6 helps alleviate the fall-off of light towards the edge.
Distortion is often an area where zoom lenses struggle, however with the embedded lens correction profile that’s automatically applied to raw files produced by the Nikon Z 7 and Z 6, users are provided with distortion-free results straight out of the camera that require no additional work. Users who shoot JPEGs will want to take advantage of the Auto distortion control option from their cameras menu system.