Monday, 26 September 2011

Nikon's 24mm f/1.4mm impresses us!

A few months ago now, a box arrived via courier and in it was Nikon’s newish 24mm f/1.4 G ED N Aspherical lens. A prime wide at 1.4 I thought, Nikon you have done it again!
The Nikon 24mm  f/1.4

No seriously, this is not meant to be a catalyst for a great Nikon versus Canon debate – hold the emails! The team at CameraPro in Brisbane had sent it out on loan for me to have a play and there were a couple of things I was disappointed with by the time it left and a few I was happy with.

Onto the D3 it went and its 618g in weight didn’t make it feel uncomfortable in the hands. It was our Tamborine Mountain Bluedog Photography Weekend Retreat so I used it happily during the weekend ‘snapping’ off random images of the weekend’s activities. Some lucky person even won $100 voucher for any Bluedog Photography workshop, retreat or tour by guessing the lens I was trialling on the Bluedog Facebook Group.

 The retreat group 'snapped' with the 24mm f/1.4

Back to the lens.... it’s focusing on auto is silent and its super sharp. The 24mm lens has a huge depth-of-field! Even at f/1.4, there is not a lot out of focus. At every aperture I played with and especially 1.4, it was the same: sharp, sharp and sharp.

Sand Blow
Image by Danielle Lancaster

For those that like the low light and a bit of action then this is one I reckon could be worth making it into your kit. Think of it like this: the 24mm will show camera shake due to hand shake only half as much as the 50mm f1.4 so you can pick up a stop and shoot at a lower shutter speed. But since the 24mm lens has four times the depth-of-field as the 50mm lens, it means a whole heap more in focus at f/1.4 while shoot the same on the 50mm and there is a dramatic difference – there’s little in focus on the 50mm at f/1.4. So what that means is, it is exceptionally capable for low-light hand-held photography and especially if there’s some action. And it’s suitable for both film and FX digital SLRs (see below in ‘A few Specs’).

The Silent Wave Motor is responsible for its quieter autofocus operation, while the lens also features an anti-reflective Nano Crystal coating and both ED and aspherical lens elements to help minimize distortion and chromatic aberration. The sharpness from edge to edge appeared to have minimum distortion and coma, and no apparent ghosting. With a distortion rating listed of +1.5 there are many, many worse out there. As we often say it’s all about the glass. The f/1.4 aperture and nine blade rounded diaphragm contribute to render images with stunning NIKKOR trademark bokeh – yah!

Another feature I like in a lens is to be able to just turn the manual focus ring at any time to fine tune my focus without having to unlock a button or click in a lock and I could do that with this camera though in saying that the need to do was minimal with the astounding DOF.

It’s a lens that I feel Nikon has built to last and be tough for those that like the wilds. Extensive use of magnesium in the construction, weather and dust sealing, including around the mount are prime examples of this. It is has really been designed for those that like their landscapes, low light and photo journalists (though for some photo journalists it will still too big for street work).

Image by Danielle Lancaster

I did not get a chance (my fault) to try it in a night landscape scenario which I would love to do.

It does not now live in my kit!
This item was supplied for an independent review. The author receives no remuneration for trailing the product and therefore the review is independent.

For more information on the lens please contact CameraPro

Next lens review could be the 28-300mm so many are gloating about and is now in my kit - am I as happy as others? 

A Few Specs:
Compatibility:  Works perfectly on an all digital Nikon, both FX and DX, and even on Nikon's cheaper digitals like the D40, D40x, D60, D3000 and D5000.
Diagonal Angle of View: 84° (61° with Nikon DX format)
Minimum aperture: f/16
Lens Construction: 12 elements/10 groups; 2 ED glass elements; 2 aspherical elements
Minimum Focus: 0.25m
Filter Thread: 77mm

 Image courtesy Nikon

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