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 – Build & Handling
Whichever way you cut it, this is a big lens. As we’ve touched upon when discussing the size of the filter thread, the redesigned lens architecture and the addition of VR, as well as other technologies, has meant there’s more to squeeze in. This has resulted in a beefy lens that now tips the scales at 1070g and is 154.5 x 88mm, compared to the 24-70mm f/2.8G that now looks quite compact by comparison, at 133 x 83mm and weighing 900g.
So, it’s big. However, when I paired it with a D810, I have to say I found the combination balanced extremely well and was comfortable to use. The larger size has allowed Nikon to include a bigger rubberised zoom ring at the rear of the lens that falls to the hand nicely, providing a silky transition through the zoom range. Moving forward, there’s a modest focus-distance-scale window, marked in both feet and metres, before we reach the finely ribbed contour of the manual focus ring. Identical in size to that used on the outgoing 24-70mm, it rotates anti-clockwise from infinity to closest focus (0.38m) with a smooth if slightly light to the touch transition.
On the side of the lens are two switches grouped together. The top switch allows manual override of autofocus to manual operation with virtually no time lag, regardless of the AF mode you’re shooting with. Below that is the VR switch, with setting for Off, Normal or Active VR modes. As we’ve mentioned before, the switches are clearly labelled, but because they’re identical to the touch, if you have the camera raised to your eye, it’s not immediately clear which switch you’re selecting if you’re working quickly and relying solely on feel.
As you’d expect to find with one of Nikon’s top-flight lenses, the build quality is first rate. Nikon claims the lens has undergone a series of shock tests and inspections have been repeatedly applied to movable parts of the lens barrel to ensure it can meet the demands of daily professional use. That’s not forgetting the previously mentioned fluorine coating and the presence of an O-ring seal around the mount to limit dust and water entering the camera. The exterior construction is a mix of metal and high-quality plastic, with the now familiar dappled texture finish providing a quality touch, leaving you with an overall impression of a quality piece of kit that can will stand up to the various environments in which it will undoubtedly find itself.