Nikon Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED review: A very impressive ultra-wide performer on the Nikon D800?

By Kevin Carter - Wednesday April 10 2013

Lens Review
Introduction | Nikon Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED lens performance | Nikon Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED versus competition | Conclusion

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED VS Tokina AT-X 16-28 F2.8 PRO FX Nikon VS Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR mounted on a Nikon D800

With an overall DxOMark Score of 24, the rival Tokina AT-X 16-28mm f/2.8 Pro FX is still some way behind the wider, more extreme AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm. The Nikkor’s higher sharpness levels can be put into context here. Even the firm’s newer 16-35mm f/4G ED model can only match the Tokina.

At f/2.8 the Nikkor 14-24mm is superior to the Tokina at f2.8, and is the only ‘fast’ zoom that compares favorably with a prime. Although the Tokina is a fine lens, wide-open it’s some way behind the 14-24mm.  The loss of sharpness from the centre, a problem with most wide-angle lenses at maximum aperture, is well controlled on the Nikkor 14-24mm, better even than the firm’s newer 16-35mm VR model. 

courbe

As for Transmission, the Nikkor 14-24mm is very consistent, with the exception of some light loss towards the longer end of the zoom range, where it was measured as T3.2 at 24mm. Nevertheless, the Tokina is close and at 16mm the theoretical f/2.8 aperture was measured at T2.8.

Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 14-24mm f/2.8G ED VS Nikon AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED

Although the older AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED is highly regarded, it can’t compete with the newer lens in terms of Sharpness, Transmission or lateral Chromatic Aberration. The older lens performs quite consistently over the focal range, though sharpness across the image field isn’t particularly good. The low homogenity isn’t just noticable at maximum aperture, edge-to-edge sharpness is only achieved at f/8 and that applies to all focal lengths, not just at one end as you might think.

While the older lens is a well-liked by landscape photographers for the ability to accept filters, the lower edge sharpness is rather disapointing but shows just how good the AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED really is.

Nikon 14-24mm f2.8_sharpness2

The AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED has high acutance across the image field, and that’s not just at full aperture, whereas the older AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED is beginning to show its age.

chrom-ab

The AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED (left) has relatively low levels of lateral chromatic aberration compared to the AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D ED (right).