Nikon's latest pro-spec standard zoom promises to be its best yet – on paper, at least. Phil Hall finds out whether it lives up to expectations
Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR – Features
Whereas the outgoing G version of the lens had an optical construction of 15 elements in 11 groups, the new lens sports a completely new design, with 20 elements in 16 groups. More telling, though, is the appearance for the first time on a Nikkor lens of a new Aspherical Extra-Low Dispersion (ASP/ED) element. This has been paired with Nikon’s aspherical, ED and High-Refractive Index (HRI) elements, not forgetting the Nano Crystal Coat that is also employed to reduce ghosting and flare. When combined, it all promises to deliver new levels of optical precision. In addition, on the front and rear elements there is a fluorine coating that’s designed to repel water, dust and dirt, as well as making it easier to clean without damaging the exposed element.
As we’ve seen on most recent Nikkors, the new 24-70mm features an electromagnetic diaphragm (denoted by the ‘E’ designation) that’s designed to provide highly accurate control of the lens’s rounded diaphragm blades to ensure more consistent exposures during continuous shooting. Sticking with diaphragm blades for a moment – as you’d expect for a lens of this calibre, the design incorporates nine aperture blades.
Perhaps one of the standout updates to the previous lens is the arrival of the company’s Vibration Reduction (VR) anti-shake system. With the likes of the fabulous 36.3-million-pixel D810 putting more demands on the photographer to ensure pin-sharp shots as they come under ever-closer scrutiny, it’s something a lot of existing users had been hoping to see. Promising up to four stops of compensation, there’s the option of Normal or Active modes, with the latter suited to shooting from a moving vehicle or an unstable position.
If you’ve got a number of pro-spec Nikon lenses, you’ll be accustomed to a 77mm filter thread and no doubt have some compatible filters or adapter rings in your bag. However, rather inconveniently, the new lens sports an 82mm thread. Internal focusing, though, means filters will remain in position and not spin round as the lens focuses; when you consider the additional internal elements over the older model, it’s hardly a surprise that the size of the filter thread had to be increased.