Nikon AF NIKKOR 24mm f/2.8 Lens – Urban Exploration Review

Author sophos9 - Last updated: 13.10.2010


Nikon AF NIKKOR 24mm f/2 – Overview
The 24mm f/2.8 AF-D lens is a lightweight wide-angle lens for all Nikon digital and film DSLR/Slr cameras.

It sells for about £330 brand-new. It has excellent optical performance for FX.

This 24mm f/2.8 is sharper than the £1300 14-24mm AF-S at 24mm, it’s also as sharp as the £1200 24-70mm AF-S at 24mm

The only thing either of these two zooms do better is allow instant manual-focus override by grabbing the focus ring. With this traditional AF lens you must always move the switch on your camera to go between auto and manual focus.

Focus aside, this little lens makes a lot more sense to me than carrying either of those giant zooms out on a mission.If you’re counting pixels, this professional 24mm f/2.8 D is far better then the similar-looking and priced 28mm f/2.8 D. The latest release from Nikon the 24mm f1.4 is receiving some awesome reviews but at £2000 it should do, its also out of alot of peoples price range.

History

1967-1977: F-Mount

Nikon’s first 24mm f/2.8 optical design was sold as an F-mount (non-AI) manual-focus lens. Many of these lenses were later upgraded to AI for use with all modern Nikons.

It has 9 elements in 7 groups and came in three different cosmetic variations. All of these variations focus to 1 foot (0.3m), take the same HN-1 hood and 52mm filters.
Early versions were single-coated, and were multicoated starting with the NIKKOR-N•C Auto version of 1972.

Nikon made a combined total of about 225,000 of these F-mount 24mm f/2.8 lenses.

1977-1981: AI and New Optics

Nikon updated the optics to 9 groups with 9 elements, and added close-range-correction.This is the same optical design used today.
Nikon made about 150,000 of this version.

1981-today: AI-s

Nikon slightly updated the mechanics and diaphragm controls to AI-s.This manual-focus lens is still sold today.
The AI-s version is Nikon Product Number 1416.
Nikon has made over 150,000 of these, and still makes them today.

1986-1991: AF

Nikon’s first autofocus (AF) 24mm mounted the same optics in a plastic-covered, metal-based mount.
Photographers hated them because they looked so cheap and trashy compared to the superb manual focus lens which is still sold today.
This nasty first version works great, but has a vestigial thin, hard manual ring. It has a spring-loaded rotating minimum aperture lock.Nikon made about 50,000 of these.

1991-1994: Rubber Focus Ring AF

Nikon updated the nasty thin focus ring to rubber-covered plastic.
Nikon also made about 50,000 of these.

1994-today: AF-D

Nikon added distance encoding, and sells this lens today.
Nikon has made about 125,000 of these AF-D so far.

Nikon 24mm f/2.8 – Images

Nikon 24mm f/2.8 – Performance

The Nikon 24mm f/2.8 AF-D is inexpensive,compact and excellent.Its has been a favorite of Nikon photographers for years.There is no better or sharper 24mm lens or zoom in Nikon’s current lens line up.

Focus – Auto/Manual Switching

You have to move the switch on the camera to get Auto or Manual focus.In AF, the manual focus ring moves. Keep your fingers off of it, because if you don’t, the lens won’t focus.

AF Speed – One full turn (two half-turns) of the AF screw pulls focus from infinity down to 2 feet, which is fast!

AF Accuracy – AF is always spot on

Manual Focus – Manual focus is easy, once you’ve moved the switch on your camera.

This lens works great on all Nikon Dslr’s and manual focus and film cameras.

Recent Test Images

Nikon 24mm f/2.8 – Specifications

  • Optics – 9 elements in 9 groups.
  • It’s multicoated, which Nikon calls Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC).
  • CRC Close-Range Correction (floating elements) is used for optimum performance at every distance.
  • Diaphragm – 7 straight blades – Stops down to f/22.
  • Close Focus – 1 foot (0.3m).
  • Maximum Reproduction Ratio – 1:8.9.
  • Hard Infinity Focus Stop – Yes.
  • Focus Scale – Yes.
  • Depth-of-Field Scale – Yes.
  • Infra-Red Focus Index – Yes,
  • Aperture Ring – Yes.
  • Filter Thread – 52mm, plastic – Does not rotate.
  • Size – 46 mm extension from flange (55.5 mm overall) by 65.4 mm diameter.
  • Weight – 9.545 oz.
  • Hood – HN-1 metal screw-in, not included.
  • Case – Optional CL-30S, No.61, CL-34A, or CL-S1.

Costs

Approx £330 new from Warehouseexpress.com or £220 ish on Ebay

Overview and Thoughts

From having played with this lens for over a week now i’m realising its probably one of the best primes for sharpness,it wipes the floor with my friends 14-24mm f2.8 when that lens is set to 24mm…Fact
It simply laughs at my Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 sharpness when that lens is set to the 24mm setting..Fact

Now please dont get me wrong i was looking to buy the Nikon 14-24mm f2.8 it is a beast of a lens truely a masterpiece,it must be for canon owners to buy adapters so they can use it on their camera bodies.Nikon’s recent release the 16-35mm f4 vr is making professional photographers purchase it and leave the 14-24mm at home,the 16-35mm f4 is sharper than the 14-24mm by a long way,but it will set you back £850

However in my eyes if this £330 lens is sharper than the £1300-£1400 Nikon 14-24mm,then i will save the extra pounds because that extra £800-£900 is alot to pay for a few nano crystals..Sure it cant zoom but hey i’ve got a pair of legs to do that and to be honest whilst i have been using the 24mm f2.8 i’ve found it challenging,making me think of the composition/angles which at the end of the day has made me appreciate this little beauty.

I have enjoyed using it immensely and will continue to use it,to me it was the correct purchase.

References

Nikon.com
Kenrockwell.com

2 comments

#1AndréJanuary 8, 2012, 4:26 pm

Hi,

interesting to read you like this one a lot. If only the 14/2.8 would be as good as this one. Then i’d go for a all primes set of lenses ;-)
Primes are so much more useful, stellar optics, small size and low weight.

Regards,
André

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