Nikon Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8 S Review
Review Manufacturer: Nikon
Price when reviewed
$997 Check current price
Nikon’s lens designers seem to be revelling in the new capabilities afforded by the Z mount and have produced some superb optics over the last couple of years. The Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8 S doesn’t disappoint. It complements Nikon’s mirrorless cameras, feeling appropriately sized and well balanced as well as delivering excellent images with plenty of sharp detail.
Great image quality Broad customisable focus ring Competitively priced
No focus scale Single control ring
The Nikon Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8 S’s spectacular image quality makes it a great choice for landscape photographers
What is the Nikon Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8 S?
The Nikon Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8 S is a prime wide-angle lens that nestles between the Nikon Nikkor Z 20mm f/1.8 S and Nikkor Z 35mm f/1.8 S in Nikon’s line up of full-frame lenses for its Z-series mirrorless cameras like the Nikon Z7 II and Nikon Z6 II.
While it has the same focal length as the widest point of the Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S and Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, its maximum aperture is 1.3EV faster than the fastest of those two lenses, which could prove useful for separating a subject from its background and in low-light conditions. It’s also 50g lighter than the lighter of the two zoom lenses and 355g lighter than the heavier (f/2.8) zoom. That weight saving adds to its appeal for landscape photographers looking to cover several miles on foot.
You can find the Nikon Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8 S at Amazon UK and Amazon US.
Product type: Wide-angle prime lens Mount: Nikon Z Format: Full-frame (FX) Focal length: 24mm Maximum aperture: f/1.8 Minimum aperture: f/16 Construction: 12 elements in 10 groups (including 1 ED element, 4 aspherical elements, and elements with Nano Crystal Coat) Coatings: Nano Crystal Coat Focusing system: Rear autofocusing Minimum focus distance: 25cm Maximum reproduction ratio: 0.15x Stabilisation: No (in-camera only) Number of diaphragm blades: 9 Filter size: 72mm Weight: 450g / 15.9oz Diameter x length (extension from lens mount): 78 x 96.5mm / 3.1 x 3.8-inches
Nikon has used a 12-element, 10 group construction for the Z 24mm f/1.8 S and included one ED (Extra-low Dispersion) element and four aspherical elements. There are also elements with Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat, a low refractive coating that reduces flare and ghosting to enable sharper images.
Like the other f/1.8 lenses in the Nikon’s Z-mount line-up, the Nikkor Z 24mm f/1.8 S is weatherproof. It also features an internal focusing mechanism so it doesn’t change in length nor does the front element rotate during focusing. That latter point is helpful if you’re using a polarising or graduated filter.
Thanks to its minimum focusing distance of 25cm, the Z 24mm f/1.8 S lets you get pretty close to foreground subjects while still enabling plenty of background to be captured for context.
Build and handling
Externally, the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 S is uncomplicated, there’s a broad focus ring and a switch for swapping between manual and automatic focusing. That’s it for controls, there’ are no additional buttons, screens and rings.
However, the manual focus ring can be customised via the camera’s menu to enable it to be used to adjust the aperture, exposure compensation or sensitivity (ISO) setting when it’s set the autofocusing. I find that especially useful for tweaking the exposure compensation, but it also handy for adjusting the aperture. Ideally, it would be nice to be able to hold a button down while rotating the ring to enable two settings to be adjusted with the one ring.
Once again, the focusing is by wire and there are no physical end points to the focus rings rotation when it’s in use. However, as soon as the ring is rotated in manual focus mode, a scale appears on the screen or in the viewfinder and it quickly becomes apparent if you’re rotating the ring in the wrong direction.
The ring rotates smoothly and only requires a fairly light touch.
If you shoot with the Z 24mm f/1.8 S at its widest aperture you’re likely to notice some vignetting, even with the in-camera Vignette control set to ‘Normal’, but it’s not especially problematic – though I speak as someone who often adds a touch of vignetting post-capture. Close down to f/2.0 and the corners brighten noticeably. By f/2.8 the corner shading is negligible, but if you shoot the same scene at f/4 and flick between the two images you may notice that the corners are very slightly darker in the f/2.8 version.
Where the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 S really impresses is with the level of detail visible when it’s wide-open. There is some slight fall-off towards the corners but it’s controlled well. Again, closing to f/2 improves the situation and by f/4 the corner sharpness is very good indeed.
Nikon has limited the lens minimum aperture to a modest f/16 and although there’s a hint of the impact of diffraction, the results are very good.
Without the in-camera corrections, there’s noticeable curvilinear distortion if you photograph a subject with straight lines – such as a building – but turn the corrections on and the lines become straight. The corrections are applied to raw and Jpeg files and for most photographers, the default setting would be to have them on.
Chromatic aberration isn’t a problem and even if you angle the lens so that sunlight skids across its front element, it does a good job of keeping flare under control.
Further good news is that the lens’s autofocus system is nearly silent, which adds to its attraction for video.
Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 S sample images
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Nikon Nikkor Z 24mm F/1.8 S Image Gallery
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With the Z 24mm f/1.8 S, Nikon chalks up another win for the Z mount and its f/1.8 range of prime lenses. It’s nicely balanced on cameras like the Nikon Z7 II and Nikon Z6 II, and its weather-sealing makes it suitable for use in all conditions. Further good news for landscape photographers is that the front element doesn’t rotate during focusing, and it’s accurate.
To get the best results from the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 S, turn on the in-camera corrections and if you’re particularly sensitive to corner shading, consider turning up the Vignetting control to ‘High’. Overall, however, it’s a cracking lens.