Review Nikon AF-S 24 mm f/1.8G ED @ D810
Those who want to make the switch to a camera with a 36-megapixel (or more), full-frame sensor soon learn that his or her old lenses are not as good as they thought. Perhaps that’s why so many new lenses are being released by all manufacturers for cameras with a full-frame sensor. Since mid-September, Nikon has expanded its assortment of versatile and affordable f/1.8 lenses with a fixed focal point with a brand-new Nikon AF-S 24 mm f/1.8G ED. This bright FX-format lens is lighter and more compact than its brighter (f/1.4) “professional” brother. A 24-mm focal length is (not without reason) a very popular focal length for creative photographers with an FX-sensor camera (D800E, D750, D810) and a high brightness offers extra options for playing with focal depth and bokeh. Even so, a Nikon 24 mm f/1.4 with a list price of more than 2,000 euros is not for everyone. For less than half of that, you can now buy a Nikon AF-S 24 mm f/1.8G!
Nikon AF-S 24 mm f/1.8G for sale since mid-September 2015 for 849 euros (list price)
Choice stress: Nikon 20 mm f/1.8G, Nikon 24 mm f/1.8G, Nikon 28 mm f/1.8G or a 24 mm f/1.4 from Nikon or Sigma?
The Nikon 24 mm f/1.4G is from 2010, and since there has been a great deal of progress made in the design of lenses. Optically see, the Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 Art in our tests aims the highest, and the build quality of this lens is also flawless. In comparison with the Nikon 24 mm f/1.8G, the Sigma is much larger and heavier, while the Nikon 24 mm f/1.8G also performs fantastically. What to choose? I can imagine that you simply follow your personal preference on this point: ultimate image quality, but relatively big and heavy, versus relatively small and light, still with outstanding image quality (Nikon 24 mm f/1.8G). If you find the focal length/what you get in frame (“field of view”) less important than, for example, the price, then the less expensive Nikon 28 mm f/1.8G is an attractive alternative. If you prefer getting as much as possible in frame, then the Nikon 20 mm f/1.8G is an obvious choice.
|Nikon 24 mm f/1.4G @ 100 ISO, f/5.6 Backlit shot made directly into the sun. Due to the dynamic range, this is an edited NEF shot, so that there is also rendering in the shadows.|
Build and auto focus
|The Nikon 24 mm f/1.8G is extremely solidly built. It might not be extra well-sealed against dust and splashwater, like the Nikon 24 mm f/1.4G is, and has a plastic housing in order to save as much weight as possible. Even so, I would describe the build quality as super-solid. The zoom ring is very well dampened and nicely broad, which makes manual focusing a pleasure. The lens has a distance scale (a rarity these days, but ideal for fast street photography) and a switch for manual focusing vs auto focus. A shortest focal distance of just 23 cm offers extra versatility and creative freedom. A 72-mm filter size is modest for a bright wide-angle lens, but in comparison with many other lenses, it is still impressive. The Nikon AF-S 24 mm f/1.8G ED is delivered with a lens hood and a soft lens bag.|
At full aperture, 2 stops of vignetting is clearly visible. This is not an unusual value for a compact lens for a camera with an FX sensor, but it does mean that when you compensate for vignetting, the signal-to-noise ratio in the corners of the image will not benefit from the low signal-to-noise ratio of the large FX sensor. By compensating with software for vignetting, such as with a lens correction profile in Photoshop or Lightroom, the noise in the corners increases. After 1 stop stopping down, vignetting of 1 stop is still visible. At f/4, the vignetting has decreased to a bit more than half a stop.
Flare, distortion and chromatic aberration
You do not have to worry about lateral chromatic aberration (colored edges at sharp contrast transitions in the corners). On this point, the fixed focal lengths from Nikon clearly distinguish themselves from the less expensive zoom lenses: with the Nikon 24 mm f/1.8G, you do not have to make any corrections for chromatic aberration. By applying more expensive glass types, that is already eliminated in the lens design.
As far as sharpness is concerned, this is one of the best wide-angle primes that we have reviewed.
The reproducibility of the AF is very good, with a bit more than 5%. As far as sharpness is concerned, the Nikon 24 mm f/1.8G aims higher in our test than the Nikon 24 mm f/1.4G. For practice shots made at f/1.8 with the Nikon 24 mm f/1.4G and the f/1.8G, the more modern f/1.8G version beats its professional brother. With 2000 lines per image height (MTF 50 for unsharpened RAW files), the center sharpness is already high at full aperture. At f/2.8, the center sharpness is maximum and visibly higher than at full aperture. The highest sharpness in the corners was reached in our measurement at f/5.6.Click here for image excerpts from the corners of shots made at f/5.6 and f/1.8. Not only the difference in vignetting, but also the difference in sharpness is clearly visible.
Conclusion Nikon AF-S 24 mm f/1.8G ED review with Nikon D810
|Look in our list of reviewed lenses to compare this lens with other lenses. |
WYSIWYG score: This table shows the performance of this lens if you save the files in the camera as jpg, where you have applied all available in-camera lens corrections. This score gives you for this lens/test camera combination: "What you see is what you get".
|Pure RAW score: This table shows the performance of this lens if the file is stored in the camera in a RAW format. This score approaches the intrinsic quality of the combination of lens and test camera. If you make use of lens correction profiles in Photoshop or Lightroom for the conversion of RAW files, then the RAW scores for distortion and vignetting are the same as the jpg scores. |
For imposing architecture, impressive landscapes or spectacular interior shots, a not-too-heavy or –big, bright 24-mm lens, like the Nikon 24 mm f/1.8G, comes in very handy. The Nikon AF-S 24 mm f/1.8G lens performs outstandingly in low light and produces a beautiful blur. If you want to make a photo even more impressive, then you can also consider the Nikon 20 mm f/1.8G. With Nikon, the switch to a camera with a full-frame sensor with extremely high resolution does not go along with big investments in the new lenses that you need. Certainly the Nikon 28 mm f/1.8G is a less expensive alternative, which also appeared recently. The Nikon AF-S 24 mm f/1.8G lens is ideal for mood shots (photo and video) with a high sharpness and a wide view. The list price of 849 euro—just a bit less expensive than the equally outstanding Sigma 24 mm f/1.4 ART—is certainly not expensive, given the high build and image quality in combination with the nicely compact dimensions and the light weight of this lens.