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Nikon simultaneously released the Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S with the Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S, which came as a welcome surprise to photographers and videographers who want a fast and highly capable standard width prime. This post takes a more in-depth look at these two high quality S-Line lenses as well as providing sample images to view directly from Nikon.
Any photographer working in landscape, architecture or night photography will immediately find the new Z 14-24mm extremely compelling. Not only does this lens complete the trinity of lenses, but it does so will world leading compact quality. It is considerably smaller and lighter than the equivalent DSLR F-mount 14-24mm. In fact, at the time of writing Nikon has managed to create the shortest full-frame zoom lens of this type in the world for any system. No small feat when we are still achieving a constant f/2.8 aperture and compact size was the original concept behind mirrorless cameras after all.
Not only does the lens come in at a low weight of just 650 grams but it also sports a near flat front element. This presents another strong benefit to photographers and videographers as they will be able to use screw-in filters rather than an entire filter system. Nikon obligingly released a 112mm CPL as well as a 112mm clear glass lens protector to accompany this lens. The polariser in particular is considered essential for outdoor photography, being apt at reducing glare from water or reflective surfaces.
Results achieved by the Z 14-24mm are a joy to see. Crystal clear images with beautifully natural colour are captured, with superb rendering of detail across the entire frame. It’s hard to fathom how Nikon managed to keep the size and weight down when optics include 16 elements. Speaking of elements, no less than seven special glass ED and aspherical elements help to deliver the quality results which are seen. S-Line optics always impress and the 14-24mm continues with this expectation. Nikon’s special coatings are utilised to control ghosting and flare, which will be particularly important to anyone shooting into light sources. The sample image with sunstar demonstrates how well controlled this lens is under those conditions.
Anyone shooting video or using the autofocus system will be impressed by the near silent motor, and the lens captures beautiful scenes with quick AF. As this lens is definitely intended for outdoor use, Nikon has gone to considerable lengths to ensure the weather sealing is second to none. This ensures landscape photographers in particular can remain out in the field when rain or snow provide the type of changeable light which wet conditions often present.
The release of the mirrorless Nikkor Z 50mm f/1.2 S came as a welcome surprise. It contrasts with the Z 14-24mm considerably, firstly as it is a standard width prime and also in that it is considerably heavier. Weighing in at just a hair over 1kg sounds relatively weighty, but the lens sits well on full-frame Z-mount cameras. The reason for the weight is the ultra bright f/1.2 aperture of course, together with no less than 17 elements in 15 groups. These are combined with five special optics; two ED glass elements and three aspherical.
This lens is definitely intended for working professionals and demanding enthusiasts who love the shallow depth of field afforded by a bright optic. Razor thin focal planes and cinematic videos are well within reach of the Z 50mm and results wide open delight viewers. Videographers will love the fact this lens demonstrates virtually zero focus breathing and the AF motor is as near silent as possible, also ideal for video capture.
Resolving power is excellent, ideal for the demanding nature of the Z-mount system sensors. Detail is also extraordinary, providing lots to look at when pixel peeping, with sharpness being exceptional right across the frame. Subjects which the 50mm will excel at include portraits of course, particularly under natural lighting conditions as the lens gathers light from near darkness at f/1.2. Street photographers will also benefit from the fast aperture, as will most genres where a natural human eye focal width is of importance to tell the story.
Accompanying the release of the Z 14-24mm lens are two new screw-in filters from Nikon. These are most welcome, firstly with the circular polariser and secondly with a lens protector. 112mm is a large thread size and options are limited at this time so it is a good call by Nikon to provide these options. Both filters perform extremely well as expected, with minimal light loss and excellent performance. The CPL reduced glare effectively and the protector shows little signs of light loss.
The release of these two S-Line mirrorless lenses is most welcome for Nikon users. The trinity is complete and these models now make up around 20 lens options for the system. Having a complete workhorse zoom set is seen as essential for many photographers and there is now every reason to join the mirrorless foray. The S-Line in particular delivers Nikon’s ultimate optical performance and makes use of the extra wide light gathering Z-mount opening. I cannot imagine anyone could be more thrilled with the release of these, regardless of whether they shoot stills, movies or both.
Viist our website here for the latest most competitive prices on these new Z lenses and filters
Other blog posts which discuss the Nikon mirrorless system include the APS-C Z5 Camera And Z 24-50mm Lens Rundown as well as the complete Z mount lens roadmap here.
By Nick Dautlich on 16/09/2020
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