- Blisteringly quick and precise AF. MTF is consistently high.
- Lens shadow cast by pop-up flashgun at wide-angle settings.
- Review Price: £1499
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED
Nikon’s brand new 24-70mm zoom is one of those lenses that has a ridiculously long list of credits in its specifications. The official name indicates only a professional G-series design and the use of extra-low dispersion glass but its subtitle (written on the underside of the lens barrel) adds mention of internal focusing, aspherical profiles, a Silent-Wave Motor and Nano-Crystal coating technology.
To be fair, internal focusing coupled with low-dispersion glasses and aspherical profiles are de rigueur in pro-spec 24-70mm zooms so perhaps it is wise for Nikon to play them down. The Silent-Wave Motor, however, is a raging success: as well as being very quiet it is also amazingly quick and accurate.
The new Nikkor is equally impressive when it comes to image quality. Its MTF curves are above the critical 0.25 cycles per pixel at every aperture and every focal length tested. Peak performance, at 0.3 cycles per pixel and upwards, is obtained between f/5.6 and f/16.
Chromatic aberration, which is undesirable but forgivable in small amounts at the wideangle setting of a zoom such as this, exists only at very low levels indeed and is totally absent at focal lengths above 50mm.
Handling is very good but the considerable length of the lens can result in a slightly unbalanced feel with a more rearward grip, as is required for confident use of the zoom ring. The forward-mounted focusing ring is silky smooth and offers just the right amount of resistance.
The fly in the ointment is the fact that the same considerable length also risks casting a shadow when pictures are taken using a camera’s pop-up flashgun. It is true that this is not a professional’s modus operandi (and this is most certainly a professional’s lens) but in case of emergency it will be frustrating to see an unsightly semi-circle at the bottom of the picture. Perhaps in the future Nikon will design a lens that is every bit as good as this one but also significantly shorter. In the meantime other manufacturers may feel slightly on the back foot when they see what Nikon has already managed to achieve.
Score in detail
Image Quality 10