Are you a photography enthusiast searching for the perfect wide-angle lens to elevate your landscape, architectural, or astrophotography game? If so, you’re in the right place!
In this article, we’ll explore the strengths and weaknesses of these two popular lenses across various factors essential to wide-angle photography.
Dive in with us as we unveil the secrets of capturing stunning images and discover the lens that will best suit your unique creative vision!
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 20mm F1.8 S||Nikon NIKKOR Z 24mm F1.8 S|
|Focal Range (mm)||20||24|
|Mount Type||Nikon Z||Nikon Z|
|Max Format||35mm FF||35mm FF|
|Zoom Ratio (X)||1||1|
Comparing the Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 and Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 wide angle lenses, both share the same maximum aperture of f/1.8, which enables better low light performance, a shallower depth of field, and improved image quality. They also have a fixed aperture type, maintaining the same maximum aperture throughout the entire focal range, ensuring consistent performance. Both lenses are designed for the Nikon Z mount type.
The primary difference between these lenses is their focal range. The 20mm lens offers a wider field of view compared to the 24mm lens, making it better suited for capturing expansive scenes, such as landscapes or large interiors. However, the 24mm lens can still provide a wide field of view while exhibiting slightly less distortion or vignetting, particularly at the edges of the frame.
Design and Ease of Use
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 20mm F1.8 S||Nikon NIKKOR Z 24mm F1.8 S|
|Diameter x Length (mm)||⌀84.5×108.5mm||⌀78×96.5mm|
|Filter Thread (mm)||77||72|
|Zoom Method||No Zoom||No Zoom|
The Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 has a diameter of 84.5mm and a length of 108.5mm, while the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 is slightly smaller with a diameter of 78mm and a length of 96.5mm. In terms of weight, the 20mm lens weighs 505 grams, making it heavier than the 24mm lens, which weighs 450 grams.
The smaller size and lighter weight of the 24mm lens can contribute to increased portability, making it easier to carry around for extended periods without causing discomfort. Additionally, the 24mm lens may provide better balance with your camera setup, reducing the chances of feeling front-heavy and ensuring a more comfortable shooting experience. Its compact size also allows for more discreet photography, making it ideal for situations such as street photography where blending in is crucial. Furthermore, the 24mm lens takes up less space in your camera bag and can be more convenient to swap in fast-paced environments.
On the other hand, the size and weight of the 20mm lens can result in reduced portability and balance when compared to the 24mm lens.
Lens Mount and Barrel
The lens mount of Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 is made of metal with four locking ears, providing a secure and tight attachment to the camera body. It also features a rubber gasket to prevent dust and debris from entering the lens and camera.
The lens mount of Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 shares a similar design, with a metal construction, four locking ears, and a rubber gasket for protection against dust and debris. Both lens mounts prioritize stability and protection for the camera system.
The lens barrels, however, differ in their design and materials. The 20mm lens barrel sports a minimalist and functional design, using a black polycarbonate material that is sturdy and weather-sealed. It has textured areas for a better grip and subtle chamfered edges for added contrast between segments.
The 24mm lens barrel combines metal and plastic components, with the rear section made of metal and the central and front sections made of plastic. The metal parts have a smooth finish, while the plastic components are solid but not as high-quality as the metal parts. The 24mm lens also benefits from an internal focusing mechanism driven by a stepping motor, maintaining a consistent size when focusing.
While plastic lens barrels are generally lighter and more affordable, they may not be as durable as metal barrels, which offer greater strength and a more professional feel. The 20mm lens, with its polycarbonate barrel, is more suitable for those who prioritize portability, while the 24mm lens, with its combination of metal and plastic, offers a balance between durability and weight.
Weather sealing protects the lens from dust, moisture, and light water splashes, ensuring durability and performance in various conditions.
The Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 offers good weather sealing, with protection against dust and moisture, including a rubber gasket at the lens mount and sealing throughout the lens construction. However, it lacks a fluorine coating on the front element for extra protection against smudges and easier cleaning. Despite this, the lens has been tested in different environments and performed well without any issues related to weather sealing.
The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 also features extensive weather sealing, with rubber rings for each part of the lens and internal seals at the rings, switches, and front of the barrel. Like the 20mm lens, it lacks a fluorine coating on the front element.
Both lenses provide reliable protection against dust and moisture, making them suitable for outdoor photography in various conditions. While neither lens has a fluorine coating on the front element, their overall weather sealing ensures durability and performance in challenging environments.
In conclusion, both the 20mm and 24mm lenses offer robust weather sealing, providing protection and durability for photographers who often shoot in harsh conditions.
Comparing the rings of the 20mm and 24mm lenses, we can see that both lenses prioritize ergonomics, precision, and control while offering some customization options.
The Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 has a single prominent control ring with a knurled metal surface, providing a good grip and a smooth turning experience. This multi-purpose ring serves as a focus ring by default, but can also be customized to control aperture, ISO, or exposure compensation. One downside is the lack of a windowed distance scale and depth-of-field indicator, and the wider ring design may lead to accidental adjustments. However, the lens still offers comfortable handling and a good balance on the camera body.
The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 features a single large manual focus ring with fine ribbing for a secure grip. It operates smoothly and provides precise manual focusing. Like the 20mm lens, it lacks hard stops, windowed distance scale, and depth-of-field indicators. A focus scale is displayed in the viewfinder or on the camera screen when in manual focus mode. The “focus-by-wire” stepping construction allows customization via the camera menu to control functions like aperture or exposure compensation. Despite not having a dedicated control ring, the manual focus ring offers a pleasant tactile experience and ergonomic bevel for easy use and adjustment.
In conclusion, both the 20mm and 24mm lenses have well-designed rings, with the 20mm lens offering a dedicated control ring and the 24mm lens providing a versatile focus-by-wire system.
If you prioritize a dedicated control ring and a knurled metal surface, the 20mm lens may be more suitable. However, if you prefer a focus-by-wire system with customizable options via the camera menu, the 24mm lens could be the better choice.
When comparing the switches/buttons of the 20mm and 24mm lenses, both lenses follow a minimalistic design approach, focusing on user-friendly operation.
The Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 features a single AF/MF switch, allowing users to toggle between manual and autofocus modes. The absence of other switches or buttons, such as focus limiter or image stabilization, contributes to a simplistic design, making it easy for beginners to mount and use the lens without confusion.
Similarly, the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 also offers a minimalistic design with only one switch, the AF/MF switch, to control the focus mode. The switch is conveniently located on the side of the lens for easy access during shooting, ensuring straightforward operation for photographers of all levels.
In conclusion, both the 20mm and 24mm lenses prioritize simplicity and user-friendliness in their design, with each featuring a single AF/MF switch for focus mode control.
The Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 has a filter thread size of 77mm, which is made of plastic. Its front element and filter thread do not rotate during focusing, making it convenient to use with filters such as screw-on polarizers. The lack of a dramatic curve at the front allows standard filters to be easily attached without any issues.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 features a 72mm filter thread, also made of plastic. Its non-rotating front element ensures consistent filter adjustments during focusing, which is particularly beneficial when using polarizers and graduated filters.
Both lenses offer the advantage of non-rotating front elements, allowing for hassle-free use of filters. The primary difference between them is the filter thread size: 77mm for the 20mm lens and 72mm for the 24mm lens. Choosing the superior option depends on your personal preferences, existing gear, and filter needs.
If you already own lenses with a 77mm filter thread, it might be more cost-effective to choose the 20mm lens to share filters among your lenses. Conversely, if you have lenses with a 72mm filter thread, the 24mm lens would be a better option. Additionally, consider the availability and cost of filters for each size, as well as the potential impact on lens size and weight.
The Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 comes with a lens hood made of plastic, featuring a standard tulip shape that effectively blocks stray light from entering the lens. Its ergonomic bevel design ensures a comfortable grip, making it easy to attach and detach. The hood can be smoothly rotated and securely locked into position, guaranteeing proper alignment and functionality during shooting.
The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 also includes a lens hood made of plastic, sporting a petal-type design. The bayonet mount allows for easy attachment and detachment, as well as smooth rotation when needed. This hood can be reversed to save space during transportation or storage. Its ergonomic bevel contributes to a comfortable grip, and the plastic material keeps the lens lightweight.
Both lens hoods offer protection and stray light blocking, with the main differences being their shapes and mounting mechanisms. The 20mm lens hood has a tulip shape, while the 24mm lens hood has a petal-type design. The 20mm lens hood relies on a secure locking mechanism for attachment, whereas the 24mm lens hood utilizes a bayonet mount.
In terms of superiority, it depends on your preferences and priorities. The 20mm lens hood provides a secure lock, ensuring it stays in place during shooting. The 24mm lens hood, on the other hand, offers a bayonet mount, making it easier to attach and remove, and the ability to reverse it for compact storage.
In conclusion, both lens hoods serve their purpose effectively. Your choice should depend on whether you prioritize secure locking (20mm lens hood) or the convenience of easy attachment and storage (24mm lens hood).
Focusing and Optical Stabilization
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 20mm F1.8 S||Nikon NIKKOR Z 24mm F1.8 S|
|AF Motor||Stepper motor||Stepper motor|
|Rotating Front Element||Does not rotate on focusing||Does not rotate on focusing|
|Min Focus Distance||0.2m||0.25m|
|Max Magnification (X)||0.19||0.15|
|Full-Time Manual Focus||Yes||Yes|
The Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 boasts quick and quiet dual motors for autofocus, providing reliable and efficient performance. Its focusing speed is impressive, taking only about 0.3 seconds to focus from infinity to 0.29m (1:10 magnification).
This lens excels in low-light situations due to its wide aperture, and it offers accurate initial autofocus acquisition. Additionally, the lens provides a manual focus override, allowing users to fine-tune the focus at any time. With smooth manual focus action and minimal focus breathing, the 20mm lens is well-suited for videography.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 delivers impressive autofocus performance with minimal noise. Its focusing speed is relatively fast, taking around 0.5 seconds to focus from infinity to 0.32m (1:10 magnification).
This lens performs well in well-lit conditions without hunting, and it features a 99.0% repeatability in focus accuracy. Manual focus override is available, offering very smooth focus action. Like the 20mm lens, the 24mm lens also has minimal focus breathing, making it a strong contender for video applications.
While both lenses offer excellent focusing performance, the 20mm lens stands out due to its faster focusing speed and superior low-light performance. The 24mm lens is still a great choice, particularly under well-lit conditions, but the 20mm lens’s focusing capabilities make it more versatile in a wider range of situations.
In conclusion, the 20mm lens offers superior focusing performance, thanks to its quick autofocus, low-light capabilities, and smooth manual focus action. However, the 24mm lens remains a strong option, especially for well-lit situations and when focus repeatability is crucial.
The Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 does not have built-in optical stabilization, but when used with Nikon Z series cameras like the Z6 and Z7, it can benefit from the camera’s in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system. This system provides up to 5 stops of image stabilization, effectively minimizing camera shake when shooting at slower shutter speeds. The IBIS system is quiet, ensuring that noise is not an issue while shooting.
Similarly, the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 also lacks built-in optical stabilization, but when paired with Nikon Z cameras, it can take advantage of the camera’s IBIS system. This allows for up to 5 stops of stabilization, covering all five axes: pitch, yaw, roll, X, and Y movements. Careful technique can achieve 4-6 stops of improvement compared to the standard 1 / focal length reciprocal rule. The lens operates quietly, and shutter speeds can be pushed up to a full second when used with Nikon Z cameras, which is quite impressive for hand-held shots.
Since both lenses rely on the camera’s IBIS system for stabilization, their performance is comparable in terms of optical stabilization. However, it is worth noting that optical stabilization is less critical for wide-angle lenses, as they are less prone to camera shake due to their shorter focal lengths and wider fields of view.
In conclusion, both the 20mm and 24mm lenses offer similar optical stabilization performance when used with Nikon Z cameras. While optical stabilization is not as essential for wide-angle lenses, it can be beneficial in specific situations such as low-light conditions, slower shutter speeds, or video recording. In these cases, the camera’s IBIS system effectively compensates for the lack of built-in optical stabilization in both lenses.
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 20mm F1.8 S||Nikon NIKKOR Z 24mm F1.8 S|
|Special Elements||ED and aspherical elements + Nano Crystal and Super Integrated coatings||1 ED + 4 aspherical elements, Nano Crystal and Super Integrated coatings|
The Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 demonstrates well-controlled lateral chromatic aberration, measuring between 0.73 to 0.85 pixels. Longitudinal chromatic aberration is present at larger apertures from f/1.8 to f/4 but vanishes at smaller apertures.
Coma performance is excellent, making stars appear almost like perfect dots, which surpasses many ultra-wide angle lenses available. Spherochromatism is present, especially when shooting contrasty items at full aperture, but it’s not a significant concern for most situations, given the wide lens’s limited out-of-focus areas. Proper focusing techniques can further improve coma performance, particularly when shooting at night.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 exhibits some chromatic aberration, particularly longitudinal chromatic aberration, which is noticeable at maximum aperture and persists when stopped down by 1 EV. Lateral chromatic aberration is well controlled, and the lens performs relatively well in this aspect.
As for coma, the lens shows some smearing in bright points of light, particularly when shooting wide open, but stopping down to f/2.8 and f/4 helps reduce this issue. Spherical aberration is not perfectly corrected, resulting in visible rims in out-of-focus circles of light and potentially impacting bokeh. Despite these imperfections, the lens still delivers good overall performance in various shooting situations.
In conclusion, the 20mm lens has superior aberration control compared to the 24mm lens, particularly in terms of coma performance and longitudinal chromatic aberration. The 20mm lens’s ability to produce almost perfect dots in the presence of stars and its impressive coma performance make it a more appealing choice for those concerned about aberrations. While both lenses perform well in general, the 20mm lens offers better aberration control, making it the preferable choice in this aspect.
The Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 boasts outstanding sharpness across the frame, with remarkable center sharpness even at wide open aperture. Although corner sharpness is slightly weaker when the lens is wide open, it improves considerably when stopped down. The lens reaches its optimal sharpness at f/4, which is also ideal for achieving sharp corners. Stopping down beyond f/4 doesn’t yield any additional sharpness benefits due to diffraction.
In contrast, the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 displays strong center sharpness, reaching its peak performance at f/4, where it exhibits exceptional or superb sharpness. Corner sharpness is somewhat weaker than the center, but it improves when stopping down past f/2.8, achieving very good to excellent levels. At its wide open aperture of f/1.8, the lens is still quite sharp, with slight improvements observed at f/2 and f/2.8. Stopping down to smaller apertures, such as f/11 or f/16, may result in softening due to diffraction. The sharpest aperture range for this lens is between f/4 and f/8.
In conclusion, the 20mm lens demonstrates superior sharpness compared to the 24mm lens, delivering impressive performance across the frame, especially at its sweet spot of f/4. This makes it a more appealing choice for photographers who prioritize sharpness in wide-angle photography, such as landscape, architecture, and street photography. While both lenses perform well in general, the 20mm lens outshines the 24mm lens in terms of sharpness, making it the preferable option in this regard.
The Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 delivers fairly good bokeh performance for a wide-angle lens, particularly when photographing subjects at extremely close distances. Although the bokeh may not be as smooth or pleasing as that produced by a lens with a longer focal length and larger aperture, it still manages to create a soft background with decent subject isolation. Highlights are transformed into gentle, round bokeh balls, and the blur circles are neutral. It’s important to remember that bokeh quality is subjective and depends on personal preference.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 presents a generally pleasing bokeh quality, with smooth out-of-focus areas and well-rendered light circles. Some users may notice minor issues with the bokeh, such as faint onion rings, green outlining due to longitudinal chromatic aberration, and pronounced edges on specular highlights caused by aspherical lens elements. Additionally, the lens displays a moderate cat’s eye effect towards the corners when shot wide open.
In conclusion, while bokeh quality is not typically a primary concern for wide-angle lenses, both the 20mm and 24mm lenses offer acceptable performance in this aspect. However, the 20mm lens appears to provide a more neutral and consistent bokeh quality, making it the superior choice in terms of bokeh performance. This can be advantageous in certain wide-angle photography scenarios, such as environmental portraits or close-up photography, where a pleasing bokeh can add a creative touch and help separate the subject from the background.
The Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 showcases impressive flare and ghosting control in various shooting scenarios, including those with strong light sources shining directly into the lens. The Nano and Super Integrated coatings on the lens elements play a significant role in reducing flare and ghosting, resulting in improved contrast and clarity.
Although slight flare can still be observed under certain circumstances, it is generally well managed and not overly distracting. Using the lens hood is recommended when shooting in challenging light conditions, as it further enhances contrast and reduces flare.
In comparison, the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 demonstrates minimal flare and ghosting, even in challenging lighting situations. This can be attributed to Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat, which effectively reduces internal reflections across a wide range of wavelengths, significantly minimizing flare and ghosting.
Field tests reveal that the lens performs exceptionally well with the sun in the frame, and no serious issues were observed that would negatively impact image quality. While the angle of light and the position of the sun can influence flare and ghosting, the lens handles these potential issues with finesse, thanks to the high-quality lens coatings.
In conclusion, both lenses exhibit excellent flare and ghosting control. However, the 24mm lens provides a slight edge in performance, effectively minimizing flare and ghosting across a broader range of wavelengths.
The Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 exhibits noticeable vignetting, particularly when shot at its widest aperture of f/1.8. It has about a third of a stop worse vignetting compared to its predecessor, amounting to roughly 2.3 stops. However, when the lens is stopped down, vignetting is reduced significantly. Although it is more pronounced in the new lens, vignetting can be easily corrected during post-processing, so it should not be a major concern for most photographers.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 exhibits noticeable vignetting at wider apertures, particularly at f/1.8. Stopping down the aperture to f/2.8 greatly reduces the vignetting, and by f/4, it is mostly gone. When shooting at or near infinity focus, stopping down to f/4 or smaller apertures is recommended to minimize vignetting. The vignetting is generally well-controlled for most photography types, but landscape and architectural photographers might find it more problematic, especially when shooting at wider apertures. In-camera corrections can be applied to address the issue further.
In conclusion, both lenses display some level of vignetting, particularly at wider apertures. However, the 24mm lens demonstrates better vignetting control when stopped down to smaller apertures, making it the superior choice in terms of handling vignetting. Keep in mind that vignetting can often be corrected during post-processing or by utilizing in-camera corrections, so it should not be a deal-breaker for either lens.
The Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 exhibits barrel distortion of approximately 1.94%, which is higher than its counterpart Nikon 20mm f/1.8G with around 1.06% distortion. This may cause straight lines to appear slightly curved, especially towards the edges of the frame.
However, this distortion can be easily corrected in post-processing software such as Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, which apply automatic corrections. For those using non-Adobe software, manual correction may be necessary but is still quite simple to accomplish.
In contrast, the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 exhibits moderate barrel distortion, measuring around -1.34% to 2.33% depending on the specific context. This is not particularly pronounced in most images. However, in some cases, such as architectural photography, you may need to correct for this distortion, especially if you notice any wavy lines or mustache distortion.
Most post-processing software like Lightroom and Photoshop can automatically apply distortion correction to your images, so you may not need to worry about fixing it manually. Overall, the lens performs quite well in terms of distortion for most photography situations, but you may need to make minor corrections for certain applications like architectural photography.
In conclusion, both lenses exhibit some degree of distortion, but the 24mm lens shows less distortion in most contexts and performs better for a wider range of photography situations. Therefore, the 24mm lens is the superior choice in terms of managing distortion. Keep in mind that most distortion issues can be easily corrected during post-processing, so it should not be a deal-breaker for either lens.
Considering the various factors important for different wide-angle photography genres, the following verdict can be drawn:
For landscape photography, the 20mm lens offers a wider field of view and superior sharpness, making it a more suitable choice.
In architectural photography, the 20mm lens also has the advantage of a wider field of view and better sharpness, but the 24mm lens demonstrates better distortion control, which is important in this genre.
For astrophotography, the 20mm lens, with its superior coma performance and sharpness, is the preferable option.
In environmental portrait photography, both lenses offer acceptable bokeh performance, but the 20mm lens provides a more neutral and consistent bokeh quality, making it a better choice.
In conclusion, while both lenses have their merits, the Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8 appears to be the superior choice for most wide-angle photography genres, such as landscape, astrophotography, and environmental portrait photography. The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 still performs well and may be preferable for architectural photography, where distortion control is crucial.