Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Another Totally Unbiased Review - AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED

I know, I know... I need to blog more often. But jeez louise, between Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, Flickr and lord only knows what else, it's hard to keep up! Let alone actually getting out to go shoot once in a while...

BUT - I digress. I want to post yet another totally unbiased review on a recently acquired piece of Nikon Gear. The AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED.

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

Needless to say the Samy's Camera rep's eyes lit up when I walked in asking for a D700 and this lens. It was short-lived, however, because I'm a tough customer and a good negotiator. I left smiling, and the poor rep probably got in trouble with his boss....

OK, about the lens. Bottom line, this is by far the most expensive lens I've ever owned. But it is by far the best. When I was shopping and reading reviews, I almost went for the less expensive AF-S DX Zoom-NIKKOR 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED. However, after reading lengthy reviews on Ken Rockwell suggesting it might not be worth the $900 pricetag, I had only one choice left. Go big or go home.

This lens is amazingly sharp at any focal length and any aperture. Color is exceptional, especially coupled with the D700. It produces a beautiful creamy bokeh when shooting wide open at f/2.8, and it also has a nice medium aperture at 5.6-8. It stops all the way down to f/22. The construction is extremely rugged - large and weighty. Impresses your friends, but also lets you know you can count on it for the long haul. At the same time, it's small and light enough to carry around the city or on a hike. (I don't recommend bringing it to a party however, unless you really want to feel like papparazzi the whole time).

Technically speaking, this lens is best in class of what Nikon has on the market now. The large "N" symbol on the outside of the lens refers to Nikon's Nano Crystal Coat process, on an internal glass element, which helps cut down on lens flare and ghosting. Two Extra-low Dispersion (ED) elements and PGM aspherical lenses control chromatic aberrations while enhancing sharpness and contrast. And this has to be the quietest SWM auto-focus motor I've ever seen.

Any gripes? Yes. A couple minor ones. 1) The hood for this lens is SO big that I never use it. But, pretty minimal lens flare so far, shooting without the hood. 2) You do get a small amount of vignetting at 24mm, using a screw-on filter. So I just keep it in mind when composing, and crop it off after. Easy.

Overall, 9 thumbs up for this lens. Between this lens and the D700 body, my confidence in the field has dramatically increased. Well worth the price.

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