Dive into the fascinating world of photography lenses with us as we unpack the qualities of two remarkable pieces of gear: the versatile Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 and the dependable Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4.
As fellow photography enthusiasts, we understand the myriad of considerations that come with selecting the right lens. Whether you’re a landscape photographer seeking wide-angle perspectives, a sports photographer demanding quick, accurate focus, or a portrait artist yearning for beautiful bokeh, each lens has distinct strengths that cater to your unique needs.
In this article, we’re putting these two lenses head-to-head, offering you an in-depth comparison that goes beyond the spec sheet. We will delve into their real-world performance, handling, and image quality across various photography genres. By exploring the nuances of these lenses, we aim to empower you with the knowledge to make an informed choice that best fits your style and requirements.
So, are you ready to explore the strengths and potential of the 24-200mm and 24-70mm lenses? Not only will you gain insights into these two fantastic lenses, but you’ll also learn more about what to look for in lenses for different types of photography. Join us on this enlightening journey and elevate your photography skills to new heights!
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 VR||Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F4 S|
|Focal Range (mm)||24-200||24-70|
|Mount Type||Nikon Z||Nikon Z|
|Max Format||35mm FF||35mm FF|
|Zoom Ratio (X)||8.3||2.9|
The Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 and Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 are both designed for Nikon Z mount cameras and are capable of capturing full-frame (35mm FF) images. However, these lenses differ in several key aspects, including their maximum aperture, aperture type, and focal range.
Starting with the 24-200mm lens, it has a variable maximum aperture of f/4-6.3, which means the maximum aperture decreases as you zoom in. While this lens provides a broad focal range, offering significant flexibility from wide-angle to telephoto perspectives, the varying maximum aperture can limit its performance in low light conditions, especially at longer focal lengths.
At a 200mm focal length, the maximum aperture is f/6.3, which might require slower shutter speeds or higher ISO settings leading to potential motion blur or image noise. However, the extended focal range of this lens makes it an excellent choice for versatile shooting scenarios, including travel, events, or wildlife photography where you need the flexibility to capture both wide landscapes and close-up details without changing lenses.
On the other hand, the 24-70mm lens has a fixed maximum aperture of f/4. This means it maintains the same maximum aperture throughout the entire zoom range, offering consistent performance in varying light conditions. It performs better in low light situations than the 24-200mm lens at longer focal lengths, allowing for faster shutter speeds or lower ISO settings for cleaner, sharper images. However, its focal range is more limited, focusing primarily on the wide to medium telephoto range, which might be ideal for landscapes, portraits, or wedding photography but less versatile compared to the 24-200mm lens.
In terms of image quality, the 24-70mm lens, being a fixed aperture lens, is likely to offer better overall image quality across the entire zoom range, including sharper images, less distortion, and reduced chromatic aberration. The 24-200mm lens, while still capable of delivering good image quality, may not be as consistent due to its variable aperture design.
In conclusion, the 24-200mm lens offers a versatile focal range and is likely more affordable and portable, making it ideal for all-around photography and travel. The 24-70mm lens, however, provides consistent performance across its zoom range, potentially better image quality, and superior low light performance, making it an excellent choice for professional photographers or those prioritizing image quality over versatility.
Design and Ease of Use
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 VR||Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F4 S|
|Diameter x Length (mm)||⌀76.5×114mm||⌀77.5×88.5mm|
|Filter Thread (mm)||67||72|
|Zoom Method||Rotary (extending)||Rotary (extending)|
The Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 and Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 differ in their physical dimensions and weight, which are key considerations when choosing a lens for photography.
The 24-200mm lens, with a diameter of 76.5mm and a length of 114mm, is larger than the 24-70mm lens, which has a diameter of 77.5mm and a shorter length of 88.5mm. The 24-200mm lens is also heavier, weighing 570 grams, compared to the 24-70mm lens, which weighs 500 grams.
The larger size and heavier weight of the 24-200mm lens can have both advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, the larger size might suggest a more complex lens construction, perhaps indicating a broader zoom range or more lens elements for better image quality. On the other hand, the increased weight could make this lens more tiring to carry for extended periods. This could be particularly noticeable during long shooting sessions or when travelling. Furthermore, the larger size and weight could make the camera setup feel front-heavy, potentially affecting the balance and handling of the camera.
On the contrary, the 24-70mm lens, being smaller and lighter, would be easier to carry around, making it a more appealing choice for photographers who value portability and convenience. Its smaller size and weight would also contribute to a more balanced camera setup, potentially providing a more comfortable shooting experience over longer periods. In addition, the smaller size can be beneficial in situations where discretion is important, like in street photography.
In terms of storage, the smaller 24-70mm lens would take up less space in your camera bag, leaving room for other gear or simply making your bag lighter and easier to carry. Similarly, the lighter weight of the 24-70mm lens would make it easier to handle when swapping lenses in fast-paced shooting environments.
In conclusion, while both lenses have their merits, the 24-70mm lens has a clear advantage in terms of portability and handling, due to its smaller size and lighter weight. This could make it a superior choice for photographers who frequently shoot on the go, or who value a more balanced and comfortable shooting experience.
Lens Mount and Barrel
Starting with the Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3, its lens mount is made from aluminum. Aluminum is a lightweight yet sturdy material, ideal for maintaining a solid and durable connection with the camera body without adding excessive weight. Like the 24-70mm lens, it also features a rubber gasket for weather sealing, safeguarding the lens and camera from dust and moisture. This adds an extra layer of protection, particularly beneficial for photographers working in challenging weather conditions.
In contrast, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 boasts a high-quality metal lens mount. The presence of the rubber gasket for weather sealing is a shared feature between the two lenses, enhancing their resilience against harsh environments.
Moving on to the lens barrel, the 24-200mm lens primarily employs plastic in its construction. While this makes it lighter and potentially more convenient for photographers who frequently travel or move around, it might not be as resilient to long-term wear and tear as its metal counterpart. As you adjust the focal length from 24mm to 200mm, the barrel extends significantly, nearly doubling in length. This could affect the handling and balance of the lens, particularly at maximum zoom.
On the other hand, the 24-70mm lens features a mix of metal and polycarbonate in its barrel construction, potentially offering a better balance between durability and weight. The minimalist design, including a well-sized zoom ring and a smooth, electronic manual focus ring, enhances usability. Like the 24-200mm lens, this lens also utilizes a two-stage telescoping barrel design, changing size as you zoom, but it remains well-balanced.
In conclusion, while both lenses have their strengths, the 24-70mm lens, with its metal lens mount and combined metal and polycarbonate barrel, offers a superior balance of durability and handling. Its construction suggests a more premium feel and resilience against wear and tear, making it an appealing choice for professional photographers or those prioritizing build quality.
The Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 and 24-70mm lenses both incorporate substantial weather sealing in their design, a key attribute that ensures their durability and performance in different environmental conditions.
The 24-200mm lens offers a commendable level of weather sealing. A gasket at the lens mount shields against dust and moisture intrusion, while internal seals at the rings and switches enhance its ability to resist harsh weather conditions. A standout feature is the fluorine coating on the front element, which repels dust, water, and grease. This not only simplifies cleaning but also ensures water droplets roll off the lens more efficiently than on standard glass. This characteristic is particularly beneficial when shooting in rain or damp environments, although it’s advisable to use a lens hood and regularly wipe the lens front in such circumstances.
Comparatively, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 displays an even more extensive level of weather sealing. It features a rubber grommet at the lens mount and six separate rubber rings, safeguarding the front element, rear mount, telescoping barrel, zoom ring, and focus ring. An additional seal is present beneath the A/M switch, and, akin to the 24-200mm lens, it also boasts a fluorine coating on the front element. This thorough sealing provides a robust barrier against various environmental elements, making it an ideal choice for challenging weather conditions.
In conclusion, both lenses demonstrate high standards of weather sealing, offering protection and peace of mind when shooting in diverse conditions. However, with its more extensive sealing, including additional rubber rings and seals, the 24-70mm lens edges out the 24-200mm in terms of superior weather sealing. This feature, along with its robust construction, assures photographers of its durability and reliable performance, making it a worthy investment for those frequently operating in harsh or unpredictable environments.
The Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 and the 24-70mm lens both feature two rings, a zoom ring and a control or focus ring, which serve as pivotal components in lens operation.
The 24-200mm lens presents a large, comfortable zoom ring at the front of the outer barrel. Its rubbery grooves offer a solid grip for smooth zooming operations, facilitating precise adjustments. An extension lock switch on this ring prevents unwanted extension while carrying the lens, a thoughtful design feature enhancing usability. Behind the zoom ring is a narrower control ring, which can be used for manual focus or adjustments like aperture or exposure compensation. This ring, too, is rubberized with a raised ridge pattern for a comfortable and tactile grip, even when wearing gloves. The control ring’s response is proportional to the speed of rotation, allowing for fine-tuned adjustments or significant shifts in focus. However, manual focus requires accessing the camera’s quick menu due to the lens’s minimalist design.
In contrast, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 positions its zoom ring towards the lens front. It’s wide, covering approximately two inches, and marked at various focal lengths. The ring offers a comfortable, tactile experience when rotating. The focus ring, which also serves as a control ring, is narrower, located closer to the camera body. It has rubber ridges and delivers a smooth, fly-by-wire operation. On Nikon Z bodies, this ring can be repurposed for functions like aperture or exposure compensation. Both rings on this lens offer a smooth rotation and have a good ergonomic bevel. However, unlike the 24-200mm lens, there’s minimal zoom creep, enhancing user experience.
In conclusion, both lenses provide well-designed rings that offer a high degree of control and comfort. While the 24-200mm lens has the advantage of an extension lock and a control ring that adjusts response based on rotation speed, the 24-70mm lens offers a wider zoom ring with marked focal lengths and minimal zoom creep. Therefore, in terms of ring design and functionality, the 24-70mm lens edges out the 24-200mm lens, offering an enhanced user experience with its attention to ergonomics and practical design features.
The Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 embodies a minimalist design, with a reduced number of switches or buttons. Its most prominent feature is a small lock switch located between the control and zoom rings. This switch prevents the lens from unintentional extension while being stored or transported, enhancing its compactness and portability. However, this lens does not include a direct AF/MF switch or a Vibration Reduction (VR) switch, unlike some of its counterparts. As a result, users need to access these features via the camera’s menu system, which could be less convenient when needing to adjust settings quickly.
Conversely, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 houses a single, easily accessible A/M switch. This switch allows for a swift transition between autofocus (AF) and manual focus (MF) operation. This direct control switch enhances the lens’s user-friendliness and ease of operation. However, it lacks additional features such as a focus limiter or an Image Stabilization (IS) switch, potentially limiting its versatility in different shooting scenarios.
In conclusion, both lenses adopt a simplified design in terms of switches and buttons. The 24-200mm lens emphasizes compactness and minimalism with a lock switch, while the 24-70mm lens prioritizes operational ease with a direct A/M switch. If quick access to focus control is a priority, the 24-70mm lens, with its easily accessible A/M switch, offers superior control compared to the 24-200mm lens, which requires users to navigate the camera’s menu system for similar settings.
The Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 and 24-70mm lenses have distinct specifications regarding their filter threads, which can influence their compatibility, usability, and overall cost of ownership.
The 24-200mm lens features a 67mm filter thread, made from plastic. This size has the advantage of generally being more cost-effective, as filters of this diameter tend to be more affordable compared to larger ones. The non-rotating front element and filter thread enable easy usage with various filter types, such as polarizers or graduated neutral density filters, preserving the orientation of these filters during focusing. However, the plastic composition might be a concern in terms of durability, especially with frequent filter changes.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 is equipped with a 72mm filter thread. This larger size is common, facilitating the search for compatible filters. The thread material, likely metal or high-grade plastic, provides a secure fit and potentially enhanced durability. Like the 24-200mm lens, the front element and filter thread of the 24-70mm lens do not rotate during focusing, allowing seamless usage of polarizing or graduated filters.
In conclusion, both lenses offer advantages related to their filter threads. The 24-200mm lens scores points for cost-effectiveness due to its smaller and more affordable filter size, while the 24-70mm lens stands out for the potential durability and secure fit of its filter thread, alongside the ease of finding filters due to its common size. If frequent filter changes are expected and long-term durability is a concern, the 24-70mm lens may hold a slight edge due to the likely superior material of its filter thread.
The Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 and 24-70mm lenses both offer lens hoods, which are crucial in improving image quality by preventing unwanted light from causing lens flare and ghosting. However, their respective lens hoods, the HB-93 and HB-85, possess different characteristics worth considering.
Starting with the 24-200mm lens, it comes with the HB-93 lens hood, designed for durability and effectiveness in reducing lens flare and ghosting. This hood boasts an ergonomic bevel, which means it offers a comfortable grip when attaching or detaching it. Its smooth rotation further simplifies this process. An added convenience is that this hood is reversible, simplifying storage and transportation when it’s not in use.
In contrast, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 includes the HB-85 petal lens hood. Its petal design accommodates the lens’s wide 24mm position. The hood’s material is primarily plastic, and it bayonets securely into place without the need for a locking catch. Its ergonomic bevel and smooth rotation contribute to easy and secure attachment and detachment. However, it might require a firm twist to lock when reversed, though this could vary between individual pieces.
To sum up, both lens hoods provide protection against lens flare and ghosting, enhancing the overall image quality. While the 24-200mm lens’s HB-93 hood stands out for its reversible design, offering more convenience in transport, the 24-70mm lens’s HB-85 hood shines in its petal design, providing optimized protection for wide-angle shooting. Therefore, the superior lens hood depends on your specific needs: if convenience in transportation is your priority, the 24-200mm lens’s hood might be a better choice; however, if your shooting often involves wide angles, the 24-70mm lens’s hood could provide more tailored protection.
Focusing and Optical Stabilization
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 VR||Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F4 S|
|AF Motor||Stepper motor||Stepper motor|
|Rotating Front Element||Does not rotate on focusing||Does not rotate on focusing|
|Min Focus Distance||0.5m(24mm);0.7m(200mm)||0.3m|
|Max Magnification (X)||0.28||0.3|
|Full-Time Manual Focus||Yes||Yes|
The Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 and 24-70mm lenses both offer reliable focusing performance, but there are some differences in speed, accuracy, and operation.
The 24-200mm lens is equipped with a quiet autofocus operation that ensures a peaceful shooting environment. Its focusing speed is moderate, taking approximately 0.5 seconds to shift focus from infinity to 2.04m at a 200mm focal length. While not the fastest, especially when compared to certain professional zoom lenses, it still provides reliable and accurate focus on static subjects in AF-S mode. In low-light scenarios, its speed may slightly decrease, but it maintains its reliability.
The lens allows manual focus override, facilitated by a smoothly operating focus ring. The design of the lens is internally focusing, meaning the length remains the same regardless of focus or zoom adjustments. Minimal focus breathing is another advantage, making it suitable for video work where consistent image size during focus changes is important.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 demonstrates an impressive autofocus performance. Its focusing mechanism, driven by a stepping motor, is virtually silent and fast. This lens takes approximately 0.35 seconds to focus from infinity to 0.8m at a 70mm focal length, demonstrating a higher focusing speed than the 24-200mm lens. It also provides high accuracy in a variety of lighting conditions, including low-light situations.
Like the 24-200mm lens, it allows for manual focus override with a smooth, responsive, electronically controlled focus ring. The lens maintains a constant length irrespective of focus or zoom settings due to its internally focusing design. The front element remains stationary during focusing. The lens also exhibits minimal focus breathing, making it suitable for videographers.
In conclusion, both lenses provide reliable focusing performance, but the 24-70mm lens outshines the 24-200mm lens in terms of focusing speed and accuracy, particularly in low-light conditions. Therefore, if you are involved in fast-paced photography or often shoot in diverse lighting situations, the 24-70mm lens would provide superior focusing performance.
Both the Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 and the 24-70mm lenses demonstrate effective optical stabilization, but they differ in their stabilization range and collaboration with in-body image stabilization (IBIS).
The 24-200mm lens boasts an optical stabilization system (VR) that provides a substantial reduction in camera shake. When teamed up with the Nikon Z7 camera’s IBIS, this lens can deliver an impressive 4.5 to 5 stops of stabilization, with the exact value contingent on the focal length and shooting conditions. This system operates quietly, maintaining a peaceful shooting environment.
The optical stabilization performs particularly well at 200mm, providing sharp images even at slower shutter speeds down to 1/6 sec (5 stops) – though it should be noted that at this speed, around one-third of images may not achieve optimal sharpness. The stabilization results generally vary depending on the focal length and shutter speed, but overall, it enhances handheld shot quality, especially at the telephoto end and in low-light situations.
Contrarily, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 provides robust optical stabilization with up to 5 stops of improvement, making it a strong contender against the standard handheld rule of 1 / focal length. This silent system is apt for both photography and videography.
The lens synergizes with Nikon Z camera’s IBIS to provide superior stabilization results. This pairing leverages all 5 axes of stabilization: pitch, yaw, roll, X, and Y movements. Shutter speeds can fluctuate depending on the focal length and stabilization settings, but sharp results are achievable even at slower speeds like 1/5 sec or 0.4 sec.
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-200mm F4-6.3 VR||Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F4 S|
|Special Elements||ED and aspherical elements + ARNEO and Super Integrated coatings||1 aspherical ED + 1 ED + 3 aspherical elements, Nano Crystal and fluorine coatings|
The Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 and the 24-70mm lenses exhibit different degrees of aberration control, with each lens showcasing strengths in handling chromatic aberration, coma, and spherical aberration.
Starting with the 24-200mm lens, it reveals low to moderate chromatic aberration, the unwanted effect where colors do not converge at the same point in an image. This aberration is most prominent at the extreme ends of the zoom range, at 24mm and 200mm. However, these aberrations can be conveniently corrected in post-processing, with no residual obvious artifacts.
When it comes to coma, an optical phenomenon that can distort point light sources like stars, the lens performs admirably, making it a good fit for night-time photography. Lastly, the lens displays minimal spherical aberration, a type of image degradation that can cause light rays to focus at different points, resulting in a blurry or soft image. There are no noticeable signs of spherochromatism, a complex form of spherical and chromatic aberration, implying a strong aberration control.
Contrastingly, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 demonstrates outstanding control over chromatic aberration, with both lateral and longitudinal chromatic aberrations being barely noticeable, if not nonexistent. These can also be corrected easily during post-processing.
Coma is well-handled, especially in the corners of images, enhancing this lens’s suitability for astrophotography or capturing nighttime cityscapes. Spherical aberration is also minimal, with only the faintest signs of spherochromatism observable under certain conditions. The lens’s performance in controlling chromatic aberration, coma, and spherical aberration is commendable, particularly given its focal range and aperture.
In conclusion, both lenses perform impressively in managing aberrations. However, the 24-70mm lens provides superior aberration control, making it an excellent choice for photographers demanding optimal image quality across a variety of conditions. Its superior handling of chromatic aberration, coma, and spherical aberration ensures sharp, high-contrast images with minimal color fringing and distortion. However, the 24-200mm lens, with its commendable performance, particularly in controlling coma, also deserves consideration for its versatility in different lighting conditions and at various focal lengths.
Both the Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 and the 24-70mm lenses showcase commendable sharpness across their respective focal lengths, with variations in center and corner sharpness that depend on aperture and specific focal length.
Starting with the 24-200mm superzoom lens, it yields notable sharpness, especially within the 35mm to 70mm focal length range. At this range, the center of the image is particularly sharp. As for corner sharpness, it is generally good but does show slight softness at 24mm, 105mm, and notably between 135mm and 200mm.
When using wide open apertures, the lens maintains good central sharpness at both 24mm and 200mm, although the edges of the image might appear a bit softer. The sharpness of these corners improves upon stopping down the aperture, with optimal sharpness at about f/5.6 on the wide end and f/8 on the telephoto end. The sharpest aperture varies depending on the focal length, but it generally falls between f/5.6 and f/8.
Conversely, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 provides excellent sharpness throughout its zoom range. Its center sharpness is especially strong, ensuring that the main subject of your images will be crisply defined. Corner sharpness is also very good, although it can be marginally softer at wider apertures. At wide open aperture, the sharpness remains excellent, but you can enhance it further by stopping down to f/5.6 or f/8. The lens delivers peak sharpness between f/5.6 and f/8, depending on the specific focal length.
In conclusion, both lenses deliver remarkable sharpness in their images, but the 24-70mm lens edges ahead with its impressive center sharpness across its entire focal length and strong corner sharpness. This makes it an excellent choice for photographers who need consistently sharp images, whether they’re capturing landscapes, architecture, or portraits. However, the 24-200mm lens is a worthy contender, particularly for its versatility across a broad focal range and its commendable performance in the 35mm to 70mm range.
Examining the bokeh quality of the Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 and 24-70mm lenses reveals that both lenses are competent at delivering satisfying out-of-focus areas, with some slight differences in performance.
Starting with the 24-200mm lens, it’s capable of creating a bokeh that is generally smooth and visually pleasing. You’ll notice that this lens generates most of its bokeh at the telephoto end or when you’re in close proximity to your subject. The bokeh balls produced by this lens tend to be soft, devoid of onion ringing, and often circular, although at times, they may take on a slightly octagonal shape. The out-of-focus areas exude a neutral feel, with blur circles maintaining their round shape.
The lens transitions naturally from the focus plane to the out-of-focus areas, and it is proficient at separating subjects from the background, especially at the 200mm end. However, it’s important to be aware of minor issues like bright edges on highlights, slight distortions of blur circles, and cat-eye clipping towards the corners. Despite these minor quirks, the bokeh quality can be considered pleasing for a superzoom lens.
Switching our attention to the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4, it creates a pleasing and attractive bokeh, although it might not reach the level of creaminess that some photographers desire. The bokeh quality is generally smooth and pleasant, without significant issues. While this lens might not be your first choice for creating out-of-focus backgrounds, using the 70mm focal length at f/4 can yield delightful results. It’s worth remembering that bokeh assessment is subjective, and what might be considered beautiful or smooth bokeh can vary from person to person based on their individual preferences.
In conclusion, both lenses demonstrate a commendable ability to create quality bokeh, but the 24-200mm lens has a slight edge, particularly at its telephoto end. Its ability to generate pleasing bokeh even with its extended focal length range makes it a versatile choice for photographers who need that flexibility. However, the 24-70mm lens still offers a satisfying bokeh quality that can meet the needs of many photographers.
Looking at the Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 first, we see that this lens demonstrates a good resistance to flare and ghosting, especially at shorter focal lengths. Its ARNEO coating plays an instrumental role in suppressing these optical phenomena, thereby maintaining contrast and image quality. However, the lens hood becomes less effective as you zoom beyond 24mm. This can result in flare or ghosting, especially when the sun is within or near the frame.
Although the lens performs admirably in most circumstances, its flare resistance falls short when compared to lenses like the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 or Z prime lenses. Consequently, when shooting at longer focal lengths, it’s critical to be conscious of light sources to prevent unwanted flare or ghosting from creeping into your images.
Turning our attention to the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4, it’s noteworthy for its excellent control of flare and ghosting. Even when capturing images against bright light sources, the lens maintains strong contrast. Its performance in suppressing flare and ghosting is impressive when compared to other lenses in its category. The lens benefits from the inclusion of a nano crystal coating, which further mitigates ghosting and flaring, ensuring optimal image quality even under challenging lighting conditions.
In conclusion, while both lenses are capable of managing flare and ghosting, the 24-70mm lens appears to outshine the 24-200mm in this aspect. The superior flare and ghosting control of the 24-70mm lens, along with its nano crystal coating, make it a more reliable choice for maintaining image quality in a wider range of lighting scenarios. That being said, the 24-200mm lens still puts up a commendable performance, particularly at shorter focal lengths.
Beginning with the Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3, it exhibits visible vignetting at its widest focal length, 24mm, when used wide open. However, this issue markedly diminishes as you increase the focal length from 35mm onwards. Notably, the effect becomes negligible when the aperture is stopped down by at least one stop at these focal lengths. When the lens is fully extended to 200mm and used wide open, vignetting is minimal and usually doesn’t necessitate correction.
The built-in lens profile for vignette and distortion control, coupled with chromatic aberration compensation, further mitigates the effect of vignetting. Nevertheless, be aware that using certain types of filters, like a thick rotating mount for a grad filter or polarizers at 24mm, might introduce some additional vignetting.
Conversely, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 exhibits more prominent vignetting, particularly when used at wider apertures and focal lengths such as 24mm and 70mm. This phenomenon can lead to a light falloff of over two stops in the extreme corners when shooting at maximum aperture. Although stopping down to f/5.6 or f/8 can help minimize vignetting, it doesn’t completely eliminate it.
Application of lens profiles can further decrease the effect, yet some residual light falloff remains. In practical terms, the vignetting may appear more pronounced towards the left and right borders and corners of the frame. Despite this, the lens delivers good overall performance, and any residual vignetting can be corrected in post-processing if needed.
In summary, both lenses exhibit vignetting to a certain degree, which is a common trait in wide-angle and telephoto lenses due to the optics involved. However, the 24-200mm lens manages vignetting more effectively, especially when focal lengths are increased or the aperture is stopped down. Therefore, in terms of vignetting control, the 24-200mm lens would likely be the superior choice. It’s worth noting that the perceived impact of vignetting can depend on the specific shooting conditions and the photographer’s stylistic preferences, and in some cases, it might even be desired for artistic reasons.
In terms of distortion, the Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 manages to keep it impressively in check, a notable achievement for a superzoom lens. This lens automatically corrects distortions in-camera across all focal lengths, rendering it nearly inconsequential. A slight barrel distortion is present at the 24mm end, yet no significant distortion is observed when the lens is extended to 200mm. It’s interesting to note that this lens shows better performance regarding distortion at longer shooting distances compared to close focus points.
On the contrary, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 experiences pronounced distortion. At the wide end, noticeable barrel distortion is observed, while at 70mm, a strong pincushion distortion is present. However, around the 28mm mark, the lens achieves near-perfect linearity before falling back into pincushion distortion. Although these distortions are significant, their impact can be mitigated with automatic lens profile corrections available in post-processing software like Lightroom and Nikon Capture NX, making them less noticeable for the majority of users.
In comparing both lenses, the 24-200mm lens has an upper hand in handling distortion. The built-in automatic in-camera corrections perform effectively across all focal lengths, making it a superior choice over the 24-70mm lens in this aspect. Nevertheless, the final decision should take into account other factors such as the intended use, shooting conditions, and personal preferences.
Taking into account the distinctive attributes and performance of each lens, here’s the final verdict:
The Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 shines with its versatility and broader focal range, making it a prime choice for travel photographers seeking flexibility in their shooting. Its superior handling of vignetting and distortion also makes it ideal for landscape and architecture photography, where these factors can significantly affect the final image. Moreover, its strength in producing quality bokeh, particularly at its telephoto end, makes it a strong contender for portrait photography as well.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 delivers consistent performance across its zoom range, boasting excellent image quality and superior low-light performance. Its faster and more accurate focusing speed makes it ideal for fast-paced photography genres such as event and wedding photography. Additionally, its superior control over aberrations and flare/ghosting ensures high-quality, sharp images in various conditions, making it a preferred choice for professional photographers or those prioritizing image quality.
In terms of portability, the 24-70mm lens, with its smaller size and lighter weight, might be favored by photographers who frequently shoot on the go or appreciate a balanced and comfortable shooting experience. The lens also possesses superior weather sealing and build quality, which would be a valuable asset for outdoor photographers and those who frequently shoot in harsh or unpredictable environments.
In summary, if versatility, broad focal range, and better control over vignetting and distortion are your priorities, the 24-200mm lens would be your go-to. However, if consistent performance, superior image quality, and better low-light, aberration, and flare/ghosting control are what you seek, then the 24-70mm lens would be the better investment.