NIKON 14-24MM F2.8 S AND 50MM F1.2 S FOR Z-MOUNT UNVEILED
After the controversial news around Nikon closing its operations in Japan, we thought that it would be nice to talk about the 2 last lenses delivered by the brand. Same which might be the last ever to be manufactured in Japan. Of course, we are talking about the still very young 14-24mm ƒ/ 2.8 S and 50mm ƒ/1.2 S for Z-mount Nikon NIKKOR lenses.
On the Nikon NIKKOR 14-24mm ƒ/2.8 S
In short, this is an Ultra-Wide zoom full-frame lens with a maximum aperture of ƒ/2.8 continuously across the entire focal length array. So let's take an overview on this very well built new compact and light lens made by Nikon.
A couple of things are certain about this massive super-lens. First, it is not cheap, after VAT and others, that price-tag of $2,396.95 will skyrocket to at least $2,636.65, so take that into account. And after that, other things that are valid about this lens, are its amazing built quality, and embedded interesting innovations.
With an almost iconic design, the NIKKOR 14-24mm ƒ/2.8 S has definitely raised some brows, especially among landscape and architecture professional photographers. Its optical engineering makes it perfect for complex light situations when shooting both in handheld and when mounted in a tripod. The lens also offers a very much improved depth of field control, and a handy programmable control ring which can be set to adjust over a broad variety of key camera and exposure settings. Same which translates into a more intuitive and precise level of camera control on the field. And with a price so high, a weather sealed design is a must.
Something that deserves to be noted apart is the optical quality of the internals on this lens. Built with ARNEO and Nano Crystal Coats, the lens prevents nasty ghostings, odd reflections, and undesired flares. Therefore, we can expect superb contrast and crispy clear clarity when shooting under harsh lighting conditions. The Nano Crystal coat controls incidental light coming from diagonal directions, while the ARNEO coating controls incidental light hitting the lens from vertical directions. This produces a double level of chromatic and optical aberrations control that enhances the pure realist interpretation of the world. Also a Super Integrated Coating is featured on multiple elements to help ensure consistently accurate colors.
A nice complement to the overall lens design is the presence of a truly innovative stepping motor which helps the lens to focus both fast and silent with a superb precision. Same which blends along with full time manual focus override, perfect for both still images and video shots. On top of the lens, you'll find a handy OLED panel which displays pretty useful information about aperture and focal lengths with a decimal precision. This last part is a much appreciated feature when it comes to serious video recordings, but it can also make certain work flows more accurate and consistent, like time-lapses, stop-motions, and product photography. Also an customizable Fn button which allows making exposure and settings adjustments via the lens, now that's sweet!
Inside the box, you'll find not one but two lens hoods; and they both are tulip-petal shaped. That sounds very nice, but why two lens hoods? Well, they both are designed for specific shooting needs. First, the HB-96, which is a general purpose lens hood. Meaning that this will be the most used when shooting unless you need to adapt a filter to your lens. If so, then the HB-97 will be the
one for that matter. This lens hood comes with a particular design, same which allows screw filters to be mounted to it, just take into account that 112mm threaded filters are both scarce and very expensive. And speaking of filters, the rear element of the lens also incorporates a convenient slot for inserting cut gels and other filter sheets.
Interesting thing to note about the above information, some users and wishers of the Nikon AF NIKKOR 14mm ƒ/2.8D ED Lens, will find the brand new Nikon NIKKOR 14-24mm ƒ/2.8 S to be an excellent substitute of the earlier Ultra-wide prime lens. And thanks to its bigger body, the round frontal element won't longer signify a limitation for thread filers. One curious thing though is that the lens becomes insanely huge with the HB-97 lens hood attached, especially after attaching the even larger C-K104 front lens cap to it. Same which features a center-pinch design that protects the lens from scratches, dust, moisture, and fingerprints when not in use.
A sophisticated electromagnetic aperture mechanism provides great exposure control stability, same which is particularly beneficial when working with fast continuous shooting rates. Also a rounded nine-blade diaphragm delivers a pleasing out of focus blurring quality that indulges the use of shallow depth of field and selective focus techniques.
Who Should Invest in This Lens?
Said that, who should buy this insanely expensive lens? Obviously no one NEEDS to buy it, but when it first appeared on Nikon's NIKKOR lenses for Z Mount roadmap, it really made landscape and architecture shooters drool all over the place. Therefore, if your income relies on ultra-wide shots with extremely high quality and no optical distortion, then you should consider investing in this system.
Also, if you are willing to move from DSLR to a mirrorless camera system, and have previously benefited from the 14mm ƒ/2.8D ED lens, then you should also consider the 14-24mm ƒ/2.8 S. In case you currently own the 14mm ƒ/2.8D ED, you can also use an adapter, or you can continue renting if that's your imaging producing strategy.
Therefore, this lens isn't the wisest call for entry-level shooters nor those who are still trying to define their own style or niche. In our opinion, this lens is a professional tool, designed for a very particular segment of photographers and video content creators. Also photojournalists could benefit from the ultra-wide perspective on this lens, especially for its compact size (88.5x124.5mm / 3.5x4.9") and light weight (650 g / 1.4 lb).
On the Nikon NIKKOR 50mm ƒ/1.2 S
And if you thought that the Nikon NIKKOR 14-24mm ƒ/2.8 S received loads of attention when first spotted in the Z Mount lens roadmap released in 2018, the Nikon NIKKOR 50mm ƒ/1.2 S was the real spotting for almost every photographer that stumbled into that generous lenses listing.
Obviously built for sharp images, fast speed requirements and nice bokeh, the Nikon's NIKKOR Z 50mm f/1.2 S is a fast, normal optical length prime lens featuring state of the art optics and a bright design that suits everything, from portraiture relying only in naturally available light, to selective focusing documentary subjects.
And even though it is an exquisite lens, there is one thing that is still bothering us, and is the massive size of it. With an overall physical dimension of 89.5x150mm / 3.5x5.9" and a total weight of 1.09Kg / 2.4lb, we can't say it is a small fifty for sure.
Just for you to perceive how large this lens is, its length is just slightly shorter than the NIKKOR 70- 200mm ƒ/2.8 S lens when attaching the supplied HB-94 lens hood. But with a maximum ƒ/1.2 aperture that excels in difficult lighting situations while offering an impressive control over depth of field for precise subject isolations against blurred backgrounds, it compensates the massive size and weight. And if that still doesn't convince you, the image stabilization system built in the lens will definitely make you forget about the humongous weight. Literally, you can shoot hand held at shutter speeds of 1/5 with this thing and still get sharp photographs you can rely on. And when considering the $2,096.95 ($2,306.64 after VAT) price on this thing, some high quality professional results are definitely expected by everybody out there.
Also present in this lens, the ARNEO and Nano Crystal coats enhance the imaging results delivered by it; and thanks to a series of extra low dispersion and aspherical elements, it achieves high sharpness, notable clarity, and accurate rendering. And the also present super integrated coating takes care of suppressing unwanted artifacts and flares. And one of the main reasons why this lens is so big, is the 17 elements pounded in 15 groups array that enables it to achieve visual perfection.
Complementing it's insanely optical design, a multi focusing system powered by two stepping motors helps in creating incredibly fast photographs while being both accurate and stealth. And thanks to its full-time manual focus override, you won't have to worry about changing modes when the moment is needed, especially while shooting video. The Z 50mm ƒ/1.2 S lens also has a unique physical design, which incorporates a top OLED information panel that can be used to quickly confirm aperture and focus settings. And a customizable Fn button allows exposure and settings adjustments via the lens itself. And in addition to all those nice features, a programmable control ring can be set for intuitive adjustment over a variety of camera and exposure settings.
The Nikon NIKKOR 50mm ƒ/1.2 S is an extremely bright normal length lens designed for FX-format Z-mount mirrorless cameras, but it can also be used with DX models where it delivers a 75mm equivalent focal length, making it perfect for general portraiture uses. Built with three aspherical elements used for reducing spherical aberrations and distortion, creating sharp images with accurate renderings. And additionally, two extra low dispersion elements which impressively reduce color fringing and chromatic aberrations, producing great clarity and color interpretation.
And as expected with such a high price and after reviewing the mighty NIKKOR 14-24mm ƒ/2.8 S, it also comes with a specialized electromagnetic aperture mechanism for sleek exposure control stability, brilliantly beneficial when working with fast continuous shooting rates. And of course, it is built with smoothly rounded nine-blade diaphragm for a more pleasing out of focus quality, same which benefits the use of shallow depth of field and selective focus techniques. Last but not least, it is built though, with a dust and moisture resistant lens barrel enabling the lens to be used in harsh weather environmental conditions.
Who Should Invest in This Lens?
Of course, with such a high price and massive size, this is not your regular fifty lens. We truly believe that this should be bought by people feeling creatively limited by apertures that, despite being fast (ƒ/2.0, ƒ/1.8 and even ƒ/1/4), aren't able to give that extra something delivered only by an ƒ/1.2 lens.
Another skill we think is important for potential buyers of this lens is to actually understand the benefit of having a normal lens by your side. When mounted in a full frame camera, 50mm focal lengths unveil their true power; they present themselves as almost unbiased lenses for our eyes, they are literally like shooting frames with our eyes, and that is an unmatched photographic experience. Therefore, if you are a photographer whose profession relies on delivering truthful and almost unbiased and objective photographs, then this definitely is the lens for you.
Wrapping it up, Nikon has given us two beautiful lenses at the almost-very end of this mighty odd year. But as you might see, they both are quite expensive. Our final conclusion here is that, if possible, rent any of these (or both) and ask yourselves if it is really necessary for your imaging business to invest in any of them. These are not guilty pleasures that you buy to get more likes on Instagram, they are true optical engineering tools, and they must be understood as such.
And on the news around Nikon, we trust them that the manufacturing operations in Thailand will be as equal or better in terms of quality control.