Nikon 24mm f/1.4G ED AF-S NIKKOR Review
When the Nikon 24 f1.4 was first announced I was faced with that age old question, am I going to buy this lens when it comes out? I got really excited at the notion that a new lens would soon grace my D3S allowing me to capture things I never could have imagined.
Than I started to try and figure out where am I going to find $2,200 US to get this lens. What lenses will I need to sell in order to free up some space? If I already own two lenses that cover that 24mm range do I really need this 24 f1.4? This is what happens in my mind as soon as something new comes out, I go from I have to have it, to do I really need it, is it really going to be that good? Well I have not purchased it up to this point (as of 9/10) but I did get to play with one for a few days and run it through my brand of testing.
Before I get into the full review I want to give you a little insight into my style of reviewing equipment. My belief is that lenses are meant to be used and not overanalyzed. That means I will not shoot test charts or break down a file zoomed in at 1000% to nit pick every little nuance. I will use the lens in a real world shooting situation process the files the same way I always do and determine if it is worth buying. I will also break down where this lens could be best used and who would benefit the most from purchasing it. With that out of the way lets get into the review.
Allen at Allen’s camera (215.547.2841) was kind enough to allow me to borrow a demo 24 f1.4 for this review. As soon as I got this lens home I could not wait to gently un-box and give it a nice little sniff test (you can hear what it smells like in the intro to this review video)
Now on to the review. What better way to test a pice of glass than to take it out and actually shoot it. I started off with my go to subject, Mr. Miougee who graciously posed for me. This is where the 24 shines, it shines when you can get close to your subject and blow the background way out. As you can see from these two samples the one taken at F/2.5 blows out the background but not as well as when you shoot at F/1.4.
Take a look at the painting on the wall in the background. At F/2.5 you can make it out but at F/1.4 it pretty much is blown away and your subject is fully isolated.
to see all the full res test images please click any photo
I wanted to do a test of the Nikon lenses that I have that are 24mm. I took the Nikon 14-24, Nikon 24-70 and Nikon 24 F/1.4 to a great little art town named New Hope PA to test. I started off walking around taking images of random signs and subjects at different F stops. The lens handled very well, the focus was quick and very accurate as you can see in the American Flag image.
Now you may be asking yourself how does this 24 F/1.4 stack up against the new Nikon 14-24 and 24-70 all shot at F8. Looking at sample images of each lens you can see that the 14-24’s lines are not super straight but the colors and clarity are very nice. The 24-70’s lines straighten up very well and the contrast and color really stand out and look great. Finally the 24 F/1.4 has the straightest lines of all the lenses and the contrast and color look really nice. After reviewing the three images side by side I would rank then 24 F/1.4, 24-70 2.8 followed but the 14-24 in over all color and clarity.
When it comes down to it you have to ask yourself where would you use a 24 F/1.4 and can you afford the over 2k price tag? I see this as a lens you purchase after you have filled your bag with the “Hebrew Trinity” (14-24,24-70,70-200) but only if you have a need for a very fast wide angle. If you shoot landscapes or rarely shoot in low light situations it may be better to just pass on this lens and invest in something else.
all the full res images can be seen by clicking any photo
This lens is meant to be shot wide open at F/1.4, in my opinion you do not buy this lens to shoot it any other way. With this lens you want to get close to your subject and fully blow out the background. I would personally use this lens if I were shooting “day in the life” style images where I wanted to fully isolate my subject from their surroundings. I would use it shooting concerts as well as bands backstage and on their bus. I would fully take advantage of the F/1.4 and isolate my subjects as much as possible. (See sample images)
In conclusion this is a lens you pick up if you already own everything and can afford it. It is a well rounded lens that will be at the top of its class for many year to come. It will one day be added to my personal collection and that’s why it will receive 4 1/2 Fro Picks out of 5, It looses a 1/2 pick solely on the price.
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