One lens I was very excited about trying out in Patagonia last month was the new Z 24mm 1.8 S. We are already shooting both the F4 and F2.8 24-70mm, and the results are stunning. But why get a prime at 24mm? Simply put, this lens is faster by more than a stop, and that makes a difference in my shooting. Is it sharp? Let’s just say initial reviews are mentioning this is a benchmark lens in terms of acuity, and my results confirm this aspect.
I’ve shot this scene above with numerous lenses through my visits to Lago Pehoe over the years, and this is simply the sharpest image I have ever produced from this spot. I shot this image with the Z7 on a tripod at F16. When I opened the image up on my 5K monitor, I simply couldn’t believe the resolution at 100 percent. From the fine plant details in the foreground to the Cuernos Del Paine in the background, this image is tack sharp. No focus stacking, just one frame focused on the back of the green plants at f16. What continues to blow me away is how sharp the corners and edges are using all the Z lenses. Another reason I really wanted this lens is for star and northern lights photography. F1.8 allows me to shoot at faster shutter speeds and lower ISOs, and this lens has minimal coma so point sources of light (i.e. stars) will look round and not saucer shaped. 1 1/3 stops faster makes a huge difference here with shutter speeds, and also creates softer bokeh, something very important to me.
I still shoot my Z 24-70mm F2.8 S lens as my primary walk around lens, but the 24mm F1.8 will be in my bag as well. And if rumors are true, next week Nikon will announce the Z 70-200mm F2.8 S, filling the gap for a longer telephoto in the Z system. I can’t wait.