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Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED NIKKOR AF-S

224-70
Review Date: Apr 7, 2008 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $2,400.00 | Rating: 5 

Pros: Build quality is great. It balances well on the D200 with battery-grip.
Cons:
Severe chromatic aberration and very soft corners at the wide angle.

The new super cool 24-70 with Nano-coating is a difficult lens to review. The reviews are very great. If you belief all reviews, itís 'The ONE lens', made by dwarves using mystical ingredients in the blue fire of mount heaven.

My expectations were high. When I finally got my sample after a long time wait, I was shocked. The first images were very bad. I made some new images the next day and my results were the same at the wide end. I also got very good results at close range without border detail.

My observations:
# Chromatic aberration at the wide-end at f2.8 and f5.6
# Very soft edges at f2.8 and f5.6
# Soft edges between 35-70? Could not confirm it, but suspect it.

The soft edges are partly or completely caused by field curvature. This is by design. Unfortunately this lens has such an extreme field curvature, that itís not usable for landscape photographers, because they need edge sharpness. Iím not talking about wide open, but even all up to f8.

I returned the lens and at the moment Iím on the waiting list of a new sample. I hope itís only bad quality control at the Nikon factory.

Iím not the only one, do a Google search and you will see more complaints. Some suggested most of the problems are on the D200

See full resolutions images at Photozone: http://photozone.fotki.com/nikkor_2470_28/fieldcurvature.html and a f8 version of a castle (look at the borders): http://photozone.fotki.com/nikkor_2470_28/dsc423801.html

My own images:
All shot with a D200 and converted with LR to PS. Capture Sharpening with Photokit Sharpener at High-res and Narrow Edge. Save as JPG at quality 10. (They are still large).
24 = 24mm
28 = f2.8
56 = f5.6

_http://www.xs4all.nl/~honey/fotografie/downloads/lenstest_24_28_1.jpg
_http://www.xs4all.nl/~honey/fotografie/downloads/lenstest_24_56_1.jpg

_http://www.xs4all.nl/~honey/fotografie/downloads/lenstest_24_28_2.jpg
_http://www.xs4all.nl/~honey/fotografie/downloads/lenstest_24_56_2.jpg

This is another picture (100% crops).

I expected the same quality at 24mm @ 5.6 as the 35mm can achieve @ 2.8

_http://www.xs4all.nl/~honey/fotografie/downloads/crops.jpg

Iím emphasizing the 24mm focal length, because the problems are easily visible, but my experience is that at 2.8 the whole range suffers from field curvature or softness at the sides. At 5.6 the 35-70mm range is good.
This is an example at 50mm and f2.8. I didnít showed it initially because I donít know if itís a good test method or not, but judge for yourself.
_http://www.xs4all.nl/~honey/fotografie/downloads/focustest_50_28.jpg

More images at dpreview (D300 review).

Should you buy this lens? I think you should. Most people are happy, but beware of problems and especially if you shoot landscapes at the wide end.


 
Nikon 50mm f/1.8 AF Nikkor

1906NCP_180
Review Date: May 18, 2003 Recommend? yes | Price paid: Not Indicated | Rating: 10 

Pros: Perfect. Small, light and sharp. It's the lens I use the most on my D1X. I use the D version
Cons:
none.