AF-S NIKKOR 24mm f/1.4G ED
Finest Modern Nikkor yet tried
Along with a normal lens ( currently 50mm F/1.4 AF-D & AIS choices ) I live in wide angle country. I preferred a 35mm but went to a 24mm when doing an article, then some spreads in NYC. I felt freed using a 24mm in tight city streets. That was almost 30 years ago. Having been shooting various 24mms ever since. Mostly Nikkors, then some Leitz’s & Zeiss, but also on set using Canon, Pentax
And this one is good. Which is direct opposition to what I have found with most modern Nikkor lenses. They seem to be dummied down to the quality of digital sensors, compromising on saturation, depth, richness and just plain biting contrast that rocks you out of your seat. Nikon should have improved the sensors to match the glass, rather than compromised the glass to match the sensors. Alas, modern society.
This 24mm G lens also shares this characteristic, but to a surprisingly low degree. It is truly sharp, edge to edge from 2.8 down, and close wide open. I see no practical distortion, which of late has been rampant amongst modern Nikkors and my biggest customer complaint. They will no longer buy images with noticeable distortion. So on this account I would buy this lens alone.
In fact, it appears so sharp, I can see the hairs on the inner eye lids on a half length portrait shot at F /4.0, hand held under incandescent light at 1/15 of a second.on an old D90.
It’s color is also extraordinary. It is actually both it’s greatest feature and noticeable flaw. It is so pure - refined and delicate are better words. Elegant in fact. Separating different tones distinctly and continuously. On Velvia film this attribute is so awesome it will make you weep. Hypnotic.
Yea, the auto focus blows. As it does on every G lens I have used, in comparison of course to older D Nikkors. But it’s manual focusing is extraordinary. It almost ( but doesn’t and perhaps cannot ) matches a manual focus Nikkor in response, control and usability.
Now for the dark side. The strangest thing is that whilst it is so sharp it’s image for want of a better word looks papery. Almost like it was “painted on”. Again, I have noticed this in all modern Nikkors. Less so here than elsewhere, but still noticeable. And as superb as the color is, and it is superb, the shadows go that blue gray/cyan color. Seen this too on most modern Nikkors. Probably the Nano coat ( if it does anything other than help marking propaganda ). I actually don’t mind this characteristic as much as other things. But if shoot fashion or other high end stuff where people demand ( and deserve ) perfection you may have a problem.
And of course, despite it’s Nano coat rave rave reviews, whether real or planted/paid off, the lens flares more than most older Nikkors. Clearly more than any of my old Nikkor 24mms – F/2.0, F2.8 wither AF-D or AIS. Not like the new 50mm F/1.4G which is basically useless to me for a variety of it’s many serious shortcomings, including it’s tremendous propensity to flare. But still problematic. So care needs to be exerted in cross or close light.
But it’s big issues that regulate this lens to lesser use than the older AIS & AF-D 24s is it’s lack of bite and three dimensionality. It just doesn’t have that killer bite. That depth. Of color and overall weight. And that magic “glow”. The Leica Look if you will. Not that a lot of Nikkors do. But many of the older “pro” targeted lenses did. You would think modern technology could give us that. Or perhaps manufactures just don’t care? Unknown. But in comparison to my older Nikkor 24mm F/2.0 AIS the images suffers in this area. The old 24mm F/2.0 AIS image looks like you are there. It jumps. It’s so real, you think you can reach out an touch it. I think this may be a function of the G lenses lack of biting contrast. In comparison it is quite shocking. Because looking at the G lens image in isolation it is great. But not side by side. And the Nikkor 24mm F/2.0 AIS’s reputation is actually horrible, despite it’s extreme popularity ( and subsequent extreme used selling price ) in some quarters. And it is at least partially justified in some samples. It usually had very low contrast and limited sharpness. But I have 3 good ones ( out of 30 trys ). And they still are very suspect lenses. Still whilst the 24mm F/2.0 AIS relatively low in contrast, it is significantly snappier and more biting than the G lens. And the sharpness of the old lens also has a terrible rep. But I have good ones and would say that perhaps they remain sharper than the G lens. Hard to tell and the older lense just jumps and hits harder. And the G lens color - despite it's greatness does not suprass the old lens. Despite the AIS F/2.0's somewhat less ( noticably but slight # refinement in color, it the AIS is more accurate and more realistic. And the Nikkor 24mm F/2.8 AF-D or AIS is even better than the F/2.0 AIS # If you get a good one - good luck! #.
The flaws should be taken into context. As they are strictly in comparison to older “golden age of western manufacturing” products. Compared to newer Nikkors or other Japanese manufacture’s modern lenses I would say this is the best I have used. If you have owned a new 85mm F/1.4G or 35mm F/1.8 and have seen it’s image as wanting # after 3 tries each dumped mine a while back ) you will understand the problem. That is not the case here.
I would say this is the finest modern Nikkor available. A great piece of glass. Highly recommended and should be the high speed auto focus wide angle of choice in anybody;'s bag. It is in mine. I hope the 35mm G F/1.4 is as good, will get one too love the length. Good shooting.
January 26, 2012
Sharp Fast Low Light
Love it ! Great crisp fast wide angle. Did not pick up my 70-24 the whole day of shooting. I have put my zooms aside and only use my 200 F2G VRII, 85 1.4 G, 50 1.4 G, and this amazing lens as my shooting lenses.
September 26, 2011
This is my favorite lens. 24mm is just the focal length that seems to suit me.
Sometimes I want it slightly wider, but then I use the 14-24. For most things though, this smaller, lighter prime is just the ticket. Most of the time it simply amazes me... it's my workhorse lens!
I'm very keen on getting close to my subjects--this lens lets me get right in there when I want to!
May 12, 2011
Great lens for theater
This lens is very sharp and has great bokeh. For low light theater photography, it is unsurpassed with the ability to hand hold at a decent shutter speed and low ISO for best quality. Even on the smaller sensor, it gives a good wide angle so it is useful for all Nikon DSLR cameras. Best for full frame ones though.
April 19, 2011
I use it for indoor ambient light shooting. Most of the time it is wide open. Super sharp pics, good color. Very well constructed. Auto focus is spot on.
April 16, 2011
This is definitely my most favorite lens! I love the wide angle, with minimal distortions. The extreme speeds on the 1.4 make this incredibly versatile in low light needs. Wonderful lens!
April 14, 2011
Right lens for many jobs
My favorite lens when shooting conditions are low lighting. Sharp, fast, and lower ISO setting. A great all purpose wide angle lens that stays on my D3 unless another lens is required.
April 14, 2011
It handles low light quite well.
This lens is definitely for low light environment. It has some problem with AF in wide open aperture. On some test shots, it causes the camera sporadically pickup wrong focus, beyond the intended focus spot in well lit area.
I have to turn to manual focus and it works well.
The image I took over the New Year Festival night shooting at 1/15s - F/1.4 ISO 500. It was a completely dark surrounding.
February 25, 2011
Amazing in low light!
This lens has taken my low light photography to a new level. From the first night I used it to every night after that I've gotten great images. its also one of the sexiest things you can put on your camera.
December 3, 2010
My favorite lens!
My lust for this lens began last spring, when I tested it at Nikon's Ginza showroom in Japan. I promised myself I would own this beauty in the not too distant future. Fast forward five months and I finally got the lens in hand. Honestly, I did run into some focus issues. After determining it was not my technique, I fine tuned the autofocus on my D3 body, and the focus problem was gone completely. Its image quality is unbelievable! At f/1.4 it matches what I usually get from my 17-35 at f/5.6, it's that sharp! And its bokeh is incredible. People don't usually associate a wide angle with beautiful bokeh, but this 24mm possesses this virtue. The Nano Coat helps this lens retain contrast against back lit subjects, and greatly minimizes flare. The autofocus is quieter than a whisper, but it's not as fast as my f/2.8 zooms'. That's not to say it's slow, just that the f/2.8 zooms are lighting fast already. What the AF may lack in speed, it makes up in accuracy. The lens is nice and light, but well built to tight tolerances.
October 6, 2010
Nikon serves notice, pro primes are back!
In the past ten years, Nikon has re-invented itself...they make the best cameras, both in low light (D3s) and Hi res (D3x). Some of their new zoom lens designs were so good Canon users were buying adapters just to use them manually (14-24mm f/2.8)...BUT... the Nikon primes were generally long in the tooth, and while good...they were not as good as these new Nikon zooms.
Now the laws of physics have not changed over this time, a prime made with similar and contemporary design considerations as a zoom will be superior optically simply because the design does not have to compromise for changing focal length. Problem was, Nikon had not made any new technology seriously pro primes UNTIL NOW.
This 24mm f/1.4 is the best Nikon lens made to date, probably the best lens I have ever seen or owned in 35+ years, and that includes Leica, Zeiss units costing triple or more the price of this beast...also including the Nikon 28mm 1.4 discontinued a few years back.
It is super sharp at all apertures, has color saturation and micro contrast you have to see to believe. The bokeh is amazing from a 24mm lens, very smooth...but the most impressive part is how the design of this lens allows you to separate your subject from the background with authority...it just pops like 3D.
I am convinced that clients will observe this dramatic difference, basically because this allows you to produce results that they have not seen before. It looks like Nikon is on a march to update its primes to the new standard it set with its pro zooms. Personally, I have always preferred to zoom with my feet and have the best glass on the camera.
As of this writing it looks like Nikon is releasing a new 85mm 1.4 next week, with a similar price point, and I assume similar stunning results...place my order now, and keep those pro primes coming, Nikon!
August 16, 2010
Expensive But Worth It!
Great Boken. Sharp corner to corner. Fast auto focus. Beautiful color rendering. Perfect weight. You would be nuts, not to add this masterpiece to your collection.
The 24 like the 85 1.4 will be a Classic!
July 30, 2010
A True Nikkor Pro Lens
This lens is simply put outstanding. It is sharp edge to edge even wide open at 1.4. The auto focus is very very accurate and relatively fast given the amount of glass being moved around and the accuracy it needs to be positioned at to achieve the tack sharp images it makes. It is built like a true pro lens, heavily overbuilt and rugged and weather sealed to match the likes of the D3s, D700 and D300s. If you need to do any lowlight hand held photography this lens should be your first consideration, you will make photographs in places you never though possible.
July 30, 2010
A very special specialty lens
You have to use this lens to really appreciate what it can do. Shooting wide open allows for effects that are just stunning. It is actually an excellent performer across the board in that I would not hesitate to use it at higher focal lengths. Add to that an excellent build, balanced feel, quiet and fast AF, and it all adds up to a lens that, if you have a use for it, you will not be disappointed with.
July 30, 2010
Great lens. Heavy.
Look, everyone needs to evaluate what their kit will consist of. Are you carrying zooms or primes? If you're a prime shooter, the 24, 50, 85 are great lenses. Maybe even the 105 micro. However, this lens is as good as it gets for a wide angle prime lens. Sure, there are wider choices, but @ f1.4 you get a pretty darn fast lens. More importantly, on a DX sensor, you're getting a 35mm...one of the best focal lengths available for every day shooting. Sure, you could get a slower 24 and muck with your ISO settings, but I hate doing that. This is a great lens. Sharp to the edges. Wish it had VR, but no standard or wide angle Nikkors have VR. Not the 24, 35, 50, 60, or 85. So, you get what you can get and with f1.4, you have lots of choices to freeze the action and get some great bokeh.
May 19, 2011
Great lens for a special purpose
I have a love hate relationship with this lens and it mostly comes down to my skill as a photographer, however make sure that you get a copy of this lens that auto-focuses correctly with your camera bodies. I had to return my first copy because I couldn't get consistent focus with my D700 or d300s even while using the focus adjust in camera. The shallow depth of field and relatively larger area that the af points cover with this lens makes it a challenge to nail focus at f1.4 but when you do it is worth it. This lens will challenge you as a photographer and provide fantastically sharp and creative images (when they are in focus). This is truly an excellent lens that is incredibly difficult to auto focus or manual focus, I give it a good rating because of this. In comparison my 85 1.4d and 50 1.4g are incredibly easy and accurate to focus.
April 14, 2011
The lens produces beautiful, sharp photos when the autofocus hits. The problem seems correctable by stopping down the lens, but then what is the point, just use your 14-24 or 24-70.
November 12, 2010
Edge soft and corner distortion at 17mm
I have used this lens for more than two years. At 17mm, edge is soft and corner is distorted. I would recommend the 17 to 35 F2.8D or 24 mm F1.4G.
July 31, 2011
There are many rave review of this lens out there, and when it does hit its target, the image is beautiful. However, the focus mechanism is somewhat faulty. I'm getting a success rate of about 30-40%. The rest of the images are all out of focus. I tried my copy on 3 D700's and still had the focusing problem. I even locked down my camera on a tripod, thinking that maybe it was user error or shaky hands, but no...the focusing does have problem, images come out of focus. Somehow it feels like the little motor inside the lens isn't reaching it destination. I tried adjusting the AF fine tuning, but it doesn't seem to help much. Make sure you check out a copy at a brick & mortar store before you purchase this lens.
February 19, 2011
This lens was greatly awaited.
When it arrived, I got about 50% focus reliability.
The silent wave motor on this and the new 50mm 1.4 lens does not meet professional standards.
Very slow, and VERY inaccurate. It seems it runs out of power to drive it to complete focus.
July 30, 2010
WON'T AUTOFOCUS BEYOND 30 ft.
This lens WON'T AUTOFOCUS BEYOND 30 feet--This DISASTROUS AUTOFOCUS FAILURE happens in all types of lighting and with all types of targets.
Whenever I try to autofocus on targets over 30 feet away, my D700 focuses the 24mm f/1.4 at 15(!) feet and gives a solid "focus-locked-on" green light indication.
There are many reliable internet reports of similar autofocus-failures with this lens on many different Nikon bodies.
There is an especially thorough 24mmm f/1.4 autofocus evaluation in the DigLloyd blog of May 8, 2010
Some samples are reported to autofocus well on one body, but to fail on another body.
Buy this lens ONLY from a seller who guarantees a 100% refund in case of autofocus failure.
If you can get it to focus, the optical quality is absolutely superb--BEST OF CLASS.
July 30, 2010