Photography News issue 28

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Photography News Issue 28 absolutephoto.com

First tests

Nikon AF-S 24mm f/1.8G ED £629

Specs

Format 35mm and APS-C Mount Nikon F Construction

Nikon’s family of f/1.8 prime lenses continues to grow with the arrival of this fast aperture wide-angle that joins a line-up of 20mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm optics. All we need is a 100mm or 135mm of the same aperture and this very appealing set would be complete. Priced at £629, this wide-angle is surprisingly the most expensive in the collection, even more pricey than the 20mm at £539. Cosmetically, it looks the part and it feels and handles like its close relations too. It’s a light lens weighing in at just 355g and balances very nicely on our test cameras, the Df and D800. Only one control features on the lens and that is an A/M and M focusing control. On the more recent Nikon bodies, you get full-time manual focus override in the A/M setting so the control is redundant. The focus ring itself is smooth with enough resistance to stop any creep and one quarter turn takes you from infinity to the minimum setting during manual focus. Autofocus is swift and effectively silent with nothing audible apart from to the person with their eye pressed up to the viewfinder eyepiece. It is precise too, with focus being achieved with minimal hesitation and without any searching. Filter size is 72mm which is a popular size. However it is a pity that the lenses in this f/1.8 prime family don’t manage to share a common filter thread size. If you are a filter user

12 elements in 9 groups Special lens elements 2 ED and 2 aspherical elements Coatings Nano Crystal Coat Filter size 72mm Aperture range f/1.8-16 Diaphragm 7 blades Internal focus Yes Manual focus Yes, full-time override Minimum focus 23cm Focus limiter No Maximummagnification 0.20x Distance scale Yes, feet and meters Depth-of-field scale No Image stabiliser No Tripod collar No Lens hood Supplied Weather-sealed No Dimensions (lxd) 77.5x83mm Weight 355g Contact nikon.co.uk

At f/8 and f/11, centre and edge quality is very impressive

then you will need filters, adapter rings or step-up rings in order to deal with the 58mm, 67mm and 77mm as well as the 72mm fittings, which isn’t especially convenient. Optical quality is generally of a high order once you stop down from f/1.8. Images wide open lack the bite and contrast you get from f/2.5 onwards. From f/4 and f/5.6 the lens is really into its stride and turning in first-rate images. This doesn’t mean that maximum aperture is not worth using but don’t expect to see the lens at its best. Of course, relatively weak wide aperture performance isn’t unusual and here, stopping the lens down one stop has a serious benefit. At f/8 and f/11, centre and edge quality is very impressive so if you want great all-round sharpness in your landscapes this is lens delivers. Flare is well controlled, but the slightly bulbous front element does mean it can be struck by light from an oblique angle even with the lens hood in place. Even shooting towards the light with the sun just out of the frame was not a problem, though, with no ghosting or contrast loss evident. WC

Above Overall performance of the Nikon 24mm f/1.8G ED is of a high standard. Its showing at its maximum aperture is comparatively less impressive and stopping down does pay dividends.

F/1.8

F/4

F/5.6

F/8

F/11

F/16

Verdict

24mm is a really useful focal length and having the option of a fast aperture version is very welcome. It is slightly disappointing that the optical quality at f/1.8 is modest and it needs stopping down by one f/ stop in order to produce critical image sharpness.

Features The fast aperture is the big sell

23/25

21/25

Performance Impressive when stopped down but less good wide open Handling No complaints here – a smooth- operating lens Value for money Competitive if you need a fast maximum aperture Overall It’s a decent, capable lens Pros Excellent quality from f/4, good handling, lightweight Cons Maximum aperture performance, price could be better

23/25

23/25

90/100

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