Welcome, photography enthusiasts, to a decisive showdown between two popular Nikon Z-series lenses— the compact Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 and the versatile Nikon 24-70mm f/4. As a passionate photographer, you may find yourself on the crossroads of choosing between these two lenses, each flaunting their unique strengths. The big question is: which one suits your photography needs best?
Whether you’re capturing the urban sprawl, the enchanting wild, candid portraits, or the mesmerizing night sky, your lens choice can make a world of difference. With the 24-70mm lens, you embrace a wider focal range, superior optical performance, and robust construction—ideal for professionals or avid enthusiasts who demand the very best from their gear. But what if you’re a travel or street photographer, prioritizing portability and affordability without compromising too much on image quality? That’s where the lightweight 24-50mm lens steps in, offering a compelling balance of performance and convenience.
Join us as we delve into an in-depth comparison, dissecting each lens’s features, performance, and suitability for various photography genres. Not only will this guide help you make an informed decision, but it will also enlighten you on how different lens characteristics can influence your final images.
So, buckle up for an enlightening journey through the world of Nikon optics, where every detail matters.
Let’s unravel the mystery together and discover which lens will be your next perfect photography companion.
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm F4-6.3||Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F4 S|
|Focal Range (mm)||24-50||24-70|
|Mount Type||Nikon Z||Nikon Z|
|Max Format||35mm FF||35mm FF|
|Zoom Ratio (X)||2.1||2.9|
The Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 and the Nikon 24-70mm f/4 are both designed for Nikon Z mount cameras and can be used on full-frame (35mm FF) format. However, they differ significantly in terms of their aperture characteristics, focal range, and potential use scenarios.
The 24-50mm lens features a variable aperture of f/4-6.3, meaning that the maximum aperture changes as you zoom in or out. At 24mm, the maximum aperture is f/4, and it gradually decreases to f/6.3 as you zoom into 50mm. This lens covers a standard to short telephoto range, making it suitable for a variety of situations, including landscapes, street photography, and some portrait work.
However, the variable aperture can potentially limit this lens’s performance in low light situations, particularly at the telephoto end. For example, if you’re shooting in a dim environment at 50mm, the maximum available aperture will be F6.3, which might necessitate a higher ISO setting or slower shutter speed, potentially leading to increased noise or motion blur. In terms of image quality, while modern variable aperture lenses have improved significantly, they might still exhibit some compromises compared to fixed aperture lenses, such as slightly less sharpness or increased distortion at certain focal lengths or aperture settings.
On the other hand, the 24-70mm lens features a fixed aperture of f/4. This means the maximum aperture remains constant at f/4 throughout the entire zoom range, from wide-angle to medium telephoto. A fixed aperture lens tends to have better optical performance, offering consistent image quality across the zoom range. This lens will likely deliver sharper images with less distortion and chromatic aberration compared to the variable aperture lens.
In low light situations, the 24-70mm lens has an advantage. Even at 70mm, you’ll still be able to open the aperture to f/4, allowing more light to enter the camera compared to the 24-50mm lens at 50mm. This can result in cleaner, sharper images with less noise. Moreover, the extended reach to 70mm makes this lens more versatile, better suited for a wider range of photography styles, including portraiture, event photography, and even some wildlife and sports photography.
In conclusion, the 24-70mm f/4 lens, with its constant aperture and greater focal range, is generally superior in terms of versatility and performance, particularly in low light conditions and at longer focal lengths. It can deliver more consistent and potentially superior image quality across its zoom range. However, if you need a more compact and affordable lens and can compromise a bit on low-light performance and image quality at longer focal lengths, the 24-50mm f/4-6.3 lens is still a decent option.
esign and Ease of Use
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm F4-6.3||Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F4 S|
|Diameter x Length (mm)||⌀73.5×51mm||⌀77.5×88.5mm|
|Filter Thread (mm)||52||72|
|Zoom Method||Rotary (extending)||Rotary (extending)|
The Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 and the Nikon 24-70mm f/4 differ significantly in their physical dimensions and weight, which can impact their usability and suitability for different types of photography.
The 24-50mm lens, with a diameter of 73.5mm and a length of 51mm, is more compact than the 24-70mm lens. It also weighs significantly less, coming in at just 195 grams. These smaller dimensions and lighter weight make the 24-50mm lens easier to carry around, particularly beneficial for photographers who travel frequently or spend extended periods walking or moving around with their camera gear.
A lighter lens like the 24-50mm lens can also provide better balance on the camera, making it more comfortable to handle, especially during longer shoots. Its smaller size may also make it less conspicuous, an advantage in situations where discretion is important, such as in street photography. Furthermore, the compactness of this lens leaves more room in your camera bag for other gear, and its lightweight nature makes lens swapping quicker and easier in fast-paced shooting environments.
In contrast, the 24-70mm lens is larger in both diameter and length, measuring 77.5mm by 88.5mm. It also weighs more than twice as much as the 24-50mm lens, coming in at 500 grams. These larger dimensions and heavier weight can make the 24-70mm lens more cumbersome to carry and handle, potentially causing discomfort during long shoots. The size and weight of this lens might also make the camera setup feel front-heavy and unbalanced.
However, larger and heavier lenses often come with advantages in terms of optical performance and build quality. While these factors are not directly provided in the table, it’s worth noting that larger lenses often house more sophisticated optics and are built to endure professional use.
In conclusion, if portability and ease of handling are your top priorities, the 24-50mm lens is the superior choice due to its compact dimensions and lighter weight. However, if you’re willing to carry a heavier lens for the potential benefits in terms of optical performance and build quality, the 24-70mm lens could be the better option. The ultimate decision depends on your specific needs and shooting style.
Lens Mount and Barrel
The Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 and the Nikon 24-70mm f/4 have differing lens Mount and barrel characteristics, which could impact their usage and durability in various photography situations.
Starting with the 24-50mm lens, its lens mount is made primarily from polycarbonate, a type of plastic. This material contributes to its lightweight nature and is a cost-effective solution, making this lens a more budget-friendly option. Despite lacking a rubber gasket, this lens does contain internal seals designed to guard against dust and moisture to a certain extent. However, it is worth noting that plastic mounts, while lightweight and cost-effective, may not endure as well as metal mounts in rough handling or harsh shooting conditions.
The lens barrel of the 24-50mm lens follows a similar design philosophy. Predominantly crafted from polycarbonate, it favors lightweight and easy portability. Its ergonomics cater to comfortable handling, and the lens’s internal barrel extension mechanism allows it to remain compact when not in use, which is advantageous for storage and travel. The possible downside of this design is the susceptibility of the extending barrel to collect dust or grit, potentially leading to wear over time.
Contrastingly, the 24-70mm lens sports a high-quality metal mount. This robust construction ensures a solid, smooth connection to the camera body and is likely to fare better in terms of durability. The presence of a rubber gasket further enhances its resistance against dust and moisture, making it reliable for various shooting conditions.
The lens barrel of the 24-70mm lens combines metal and polycarbonate elements, lending it a balance of sturdiness and manageability. Its ergonomics include a generously sized zoom ring and a slim, smooth-to-operate manual focus ring. Despite having a telescoping barrel design that alters the physical size of the lens when zooming, it remains well-balanced, promising resilience and protection during use.
In summary, if you value a robust and resilient lens construction, the 24-70mm lens with its metal mount and mixed-material barrel is the superior choice, offering enhanced durability and weather resistance. On the other hand, if weight and affordability are significant factors, the 24-50mm lens with its polycarbonate mount and barrel offers a lightweight, budget-friendly option without compromising too much on durability and functionality.
When examining the weather sealing of the Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 and Nikon 24-70mm f/4, there are distinct differences in their construction that affect their resilience and adaptability in various environmental conditions.
Starting with the 24-50mm lens, it doesn’t feature an exhaustive weather sealing. The lack of visible gaskets or rubber seals around the lens mount typically associated with fully weather-sealed lenses is evident. However, the lens does incorporate internal seals designed to offer some level of protection against dust and moisture intrusions. These protections are potentially positioned around key points like the rings, switches, and possibly the front barrel.
Notably, the zooming mechanism involving the movement of the internal barrel could potentially let dust or sand accumulate over time, especially in dusty environments. Absence of a fluorine coating on the front element means frequent cleaning might be required in such conditions. Despite these protective measures, it’s important to remember that the lens doesn’t guarantee complete dustproof and waterproof performance under all circumstances, as indicated by the manufacturer.
Conversely, the 24-70mm lens boasts extensive weather sealing. It includes a rubber grommet at the lens mount and further seals across its construction, totaling six rubber rings situated at critical points such as the front element, rear mount, telescoping barrel, zoom ring, and focus ring. Additionally, an extra seal is present beneath the A/M switch. The lens’s front element benefits from a fluorine coating, providing enhanced resistance against water, dust, and dirt. This comprehensive weather sealing assures protection from a range of environmental conditions, rendering the lens suitable for use even in challenging weather scenarios.
In conclusion, if your shooting conditions often involve harsh weather or challenging environments, the 24-70mm lens with its extensive weather sealing is the superior choice. This lens ensures enhanced protection and durability, safeguarding your investment in the long run. However, if your shooting conditions are relatively controlled and benign, the 24-50mm lens could serve as a lighter, more affordable option, but with some level of protection against dust and moisture.
The Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 and the Nikon 24-70mm f/4 each feature two main rings: a zoom ring and a control (or focus) ring, which provide different user experiences due to their distinct design and functionality.
Starting with the 24-50mm lens, it’s equipped with a zoom ring at the front, marked at 24, 28, 35, and 50mm positions. This ring features rubberized ridges, allowing for a solid grip, and requires less than a quarter turn to shift between the widest and the telephoto end, with an additional minor turn to reach the retracted position. The control ring, often used for manual focus, is narrower and located towards the camera. It has a hard plastic finish with ribbing for a firm grip.
Both rings offer smooth operation, with the zoom ring moving easily, retracting or extending with slight resistance but not requiring a lock switch. The control ring also rotates smoothly and can be conveniently controlled with just your pinky finger. However, it may require a bit more force to retract the barrel from 24mm. The control ring offers instant override by moving the ring, regardless of the camera setting, and can be reprogrammed to control other functions like aperture, exposure compensation, or ISO. However, the lack of a windowed distance scale and depth-of-field indicator, as well as the sensitivity of the control ring, may be challenging for some users.
In contrast, the 24-70mm lens houses its zoom ring towards the front of the lens, marked at 24, 28, 35, 50, and 70mm. This ring is wide, taking up about two inches of space, and provides a comfortable, tactile experience when rotating. The focus ring, which doubles as a control ring, is narrower, unmarked, and located closer to the camera body. It has rubber ridges and offers a smooth fly-by-wire operation. Both rings on this lens rotate smoothly and have a good ergonomic bevel. When used with Nikon Z bodies, the focus ring can be reassigned to other functions like aperture or exposure compensation. However, the lens lacks a windowed distance scale or depth-of-field indicator.
In conclusion, both lenses have well-designed rings, but the 24-70mm lens has a slight edge. Its wide zoom ring provides a more tactile experience, and the ability to repurpose the focus ring for other controls adds versatility. However, the 24-50mm lens’s rings also perform well, with the control ring’s reprogrammable nature offering flexibility.
The Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 embraces a minimalist design, devoid of any switches, buttons, or custom controls. This streamlined design places a focus on simplicity, reducing potential distractions for the photographer. However, this bare-bones approach might be less appealing to photographers who prefer tactile controls or need to change lens settings frequently. The absence of traditional switches or buttons might require users to access the camera’s menu system more often, which could disrupt the shooting process, particularly in fast-paced or changing conditions.
In contrast, the Nikon 24-70mm f/4 comes with an A/M switch, which facilitates quick transitions between autofocus (AF) and manual focus (MF) modes. This is the only control switch on the lens, making it readily identifiable and easy to operate. Despite this, it lacks additional controls such as a focus limiter or image stabilization (IS) switch, which may be seen as a downside by photographers requiring more advanced controls.
In conclusion, if you value simplicity and a clean design, the 24-50mm lens might be more appealing. However, if quick access to manual focus is a priority, the 24-70mm lens, with its A/M switch, provides a notable advantage. Therefore, the 24-70mm lens appears to hold a slight edge due to its blend of simplicity and practicality.
The Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 features a 52mm front filter thread, a size that is quite common and offers a wide range of high-quality, reasonably priced filters from different manufacturers. The thread itself is made of plastic, which, while not as robust as metal, typically offers adequate durability for regular usage. Importantly, the front element and filter thread of this lens do not rotate during focusing, a crucial design feature for those using polarizing or graduated neutral density filters, where maintaining a specific filter orientation is key for achieving the desired photographic effect. The common 52mm thread size also suggests many photographers might already possess suitable filters, reducing the need for additional purchases.
Contrastingly, the Nikon 24-70mm f/4 comes with a 72mm filter thread, a conventional size that still ensures easy access to compatible filters. The thread material, presumably metal or high-quality plastic, guarantees a secure fit for filters. Like its counterpart, this lens also features a non-rotating front element and filter thread during focusing, facilitating the use of polarizing or graduated filters.
In conclusion, both lenses have advantageous filter thread characteristics, but the decision largely depends on a photographer’s existing gear and specific needs. The 24-50mm lens, with its smaller, more common 52mm filter thread, may be more cost-effective for photographers who already own filters of this size. On the other hand, the 24-70mm lens, with its larger 72mm filter thread, might appeal to those who value a secure fit and potentially higher durability.
The lens hood is an integral part of a camera lens as it offers protection and helps prevent unwanted light from entering the lens. The two lenses we’re comparing, the Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 and the 24-70mm, provide different lens hood options that cater to varying user needs.
Starting with the 24-50mm lens, it’s worth noting that this model does not come with a lens hood in the package. Instead, it requires a separate purchase. The compatible model is the HB-98, a petal-type hood with a bayonet mount design. This extra expense might not be appreciated by some users. However, the market offers third-party lens hoods compatible with this model, possibly offering a cost-effective alternative to Nikon’s own product.
In contrast, the Nikon 24-70mm f/4 comes bundled with an HB-85 petal lens hood. This bayonet-type hood has distinct petaling, designed to cater to the wide 24mm position. The hood’s material is predominantly plastic, which might feel a bit rough, but it secures neatly into place without the need for a locking catch. The ergonomic bevel and smooth rotation facilitate easy attachment or detachment. However, reversing it might require a firm twist to lock into position, but this may vary between individual pieces.
In conclusion, if lens hood inclusion is a deciding factor, the 24-70mm lens comes out superior as it includes the HB-85 lens hood in the package, offering immediate protection and light control benefits.
Focusing and Optical Stabilization
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm F4-6.3||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||0.35m||0.3m|
|Max Magnification (X)||0.17||0.3|
|Full-Time Manual Focus||No||Yes|
When it comes to focusing performance, both the Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 and the 24-70mm lenses exhibit commendable capabilities, each with distinct features catering to varying photographic needs.
The 24-50mm lens is lauded for its ultra-fast autofocus performance, enabling the capture of fleeting moments with ease. This lens operates with a slight buzz during focusing, barely noticeable in photo mode, but potentially audible during video recording if using the camera’s built-in microphone. The lens impresses with its rapid focusing speed, moving from infinity to 0.58m at the 50mm focal length in approximately 0.3 seconds. This is an impressive feat that rivals the Nikon Z 24-70mm f4 S. The autofocus acquisition is efficient, and the lens also boasts high accuracy. In terms of manual focus, it employs a focus-by-wire system, where the focus ring isn’t mechanically connected to the lens elements but to a digital encoder. This feature may pose a challenge for some users, as focusing depends on both the amount and speed of ring rotation.
However, the ring allows for instant manual focus override when set accordingly in the camera settings. With an internal focusing design, the lens length remains constant regardless of focus or zoom settings, and the front element does not rotate during focusing. This feature benefits users who utilize polarizing filters. Lastly, the lens shows minimal focus breathing, becoming only slightly more magnified when adjusting focus, making it suitable for video shooting.
In contrast, the Nikon 24-70mm f/4 also delivers impressive autofocus performance, characterized by a virtually silent and swift focusing mechanism driven by a stepping motor. This lens takes approximately 0.35 seconds to focus from infinity to 0.8m at the 70mm focal length, demonstrating high accuracy in various lighting conditions, including low light. The initial autofocus acquisition speed is swift, further elevating its performance.
It allows for manual focus override through a smooth, responsive, electronically controlled focus ring. Like the 24-50mm lens, it also features an internally focusing design, ensuring the lens length remains constant regardless of focus and zoom settings, and the front element does not rotate during focusing. Focus breathing is minimal, which is an advantageous trait for videographers requiring a consistent image size during focus adjustments.
In conclusion, while both lenses deliver high focusing performance, the 24-70mm lens edges ahead with its virtually silent operation and fast focusing mechanism. The ability to quickly and quietly adjust focus, combined with its precision in various lighting conditions, makes it a superior choice for photographers who frequently work in dynamic or challenging environments.
Examining the optical stabilization features of the Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 and 24-70mm lenses provides insightful contrast and comparison, highlighting their suitability for different photographic scenarios.
The 24-50mm lens does not incorporate built-in optical stabilization, instead relying on the in-body image stabilization (IBIS) provided by the camera. When employed in Nikon Z series cameras, such as Z5, Z6, or Z7, the IBIS system effectively compensates for camera shake. It provides approximately 3 to 3.5 stops of stabilization, varying from the wide to the longer end of the lens. This translates into an impressive ability to manage slower shutter speeds without inducing significant blur from camera shake.
In handheld still photography using a Z5 camera, for instance, users have achieved sharp results at shutter speeds as slow as 1/8-second, with consistently clear images at 1/15-second. As the stabilization is an internal mechanism of the camera, it operates silently.
In comparison, the Nikon 24-70mm f/4 boasts impressive optical stabilization, offering up to 5 stops of improvement compared to the standard handheld rule of 1 / focal length. This stabilization operates silently, making it well-suited for both photography and videography. When used with Nikon Z cameras, the lens works in conjunction with the camera’s IBIS to deliver even better results.
In fact, Z-mount lenses enable Nikon Z cameras to utilize all five axes of stabilization: pitch, yaw, roll, X, and Y movements. Shutter speeds can fluctuate based on the focal length and stabilization settings, but sharp results have been achieved at speeds as slow as 1/5 sec or even 0.4 sec.
In conclusion, while both lenses leverage stabilization to achieve sharp and stable results, the 24-70mm lens stands out due to its built-in optical stabilization. This feature, combined with the capacity to fully utilize the 5-axis stabilization of Nikon Z cameras, delivers enhanced stability, making it the superior choice for photographers seeking optimal stabilization performance.
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-50mm F4-6.3||Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F4 S|
|Special Elements||2 ED + 3 aspherical elements, Super Integrated Coating||1 aspherical ED + 1 ED + 3 aspherical elements, Nano Crystal and fluorine coatings|
A comparison of the aberration control characteristics of the Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 and 24-70mm lenses provides key insights into their performance in different shooting conditions.
Starting with the 24-50mm lens, it effectively manages chromatic aberration, both lateral and longitudinal. Lateral chromatic aberrations, which manifest as blue or purple fringes along contrasting edges, are nearly eradicated by in-camera corrections or post-processing. Longitudinal chromatic aberrations, also known as axial color or bokeh CA, can appear as magenta tones in the foreground and greenish hues in the background. While not easily correctable in post-processing, these are seldom noticeable in typical shooting scenarios.
The lens exhibits some minor coma at 24mm, particularly when capturing bright points of light against a dark backdrop. However, this effect is negligible at 50mm, indicating impressive performance for a lens at its price range. Spherical aberration is also present, especially at the wider end of the focal range, causing points of light to blur or spread, often resulting in a soft glow effect around them. Despite these aberrations, the lens’s overall performance is commendable, considering its positioning as a compact travel lens. Generally, these aberrations are unlikely to significantly impact everyday photography.
In contrast, the Nikon 24-70mm f/4 exhibits excellent control over chromatic aberration, with both lateral and longitudinal aberrations being almost negligible and easily correctable in post-processing. Coma is also well-managed, especially in the corners, making this lens an excellent choice for astrophotography or nighttime cityscape photography.
Spherical aberration is barely detectable, with only slight traces of spherochromatism visible under certain conditions. Given its focal range and aperture, the lens’s performance in handling chromatic aberration, coma, and spherical aberration is truly outstanding.
In conclusion, while both lenses manage aberrations effectively, the 24-70mm lens displays superior control, particularly in terms of coma and spherical aberration. This makes it the preferred choice for photographers who demand exceptional aberration control, especially in challenging light conditions or specific genres such as astrophotography.
Starting with the Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3, it delivers commendable sharpness across its focal range. Particularly, the central sharpness is impressive, especially for a standard zoom lens. The peak sharpness is achieved around f/5.6 to f/8, displaying detailed imagery. However, there’s a noticeable reduction in sharpness at f/16 due to diffraction effects. When it comes to corner sharpness, this lens surpasses the 24-70mm f/4 S lens, though this is more a reflection of the latter’s mediocre performance.
The lens also showcases a consistent performance across different apertures at the 50mm focal length, maintaining quality across f/6.3, f/8, and f/11. However, image softness due to diffraction begins to appear beyond f/8. Despite some variances in sharpness at different focal lengths, such as a temporary dip in corner performance at f/8 when at 35mm, the lens exhibits impressive sharpness at 50mm across all apertures.
On the other hand, the Nikon 24-70mm f/4 demonstrates robust sharpness throughout its focal range. The center sharpness is particularly strong, with corner sharpness being generally good, albeit slightly softer at wider apertures. Despite excellent sharpness at the widest aperture, stopping down to f/5.6 or f/8 can enhance sharpness further. The aperture range that typically produces the sharpest results varies based on the specific focal length, with f/5.6 to f/8 generally yielding optimal sharpness.
While both lenses have their strengths, the 24-70mm lens stands out for its consistent and strong performance across the entire focal range and at various apertures. The sharpness of this lens, especially at the center, makes it an excellent choice for a variety of photographic scenarios. However, the 24-50mm lens provides impressive performance, particularly considering its price point and compact size. Achieving the best results with either lens will also rely on the photographer’s skill and technique, as factors such as focusing accuracy and camera shake can impact the final image’s perceived sharpness.
When examining the bokeh quality of the Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 and Nikon 24-70mm f/4, a careful analysis of their performance in creating out-of-focus backgrounds is vital.
Starting with the 24-50mm lens, it presents a complex picture concerning bokeh quality. The lens can generate a pleasing and smooth bokeh under specific conditions, but achieving a significant blur can be a challenge in many normal situations. The bokeh effect often exhibits asymmetry with point source blurs and a pronounced cats eye effect as you zoom in. There are instances of onion skinning and slight color fringing as well.
When a substantial blur is attained, the bokeh appears more like a gentle misfocus rather than smudging or smearing, leading to a natural-looking blur that’s not overly distracting. However, due to the lens’s slower aperture, it may not be the best choice if you aim to capture images with substantial bokeh. You can create reasonably smooth out-of-focus areas when close to your subject, but achieving a significant blur can be challenging.
On the other hand, the 24-70mm lens produces a pleasing and attractive bokeh, although it might not be as creamy as some photographers might prefer. The bokeh quality is generally smooth and lovely, with no significant issues. While it might not be the first choice for creating out-of-focus backgrounds, you can achieve nice results by zooming in at 70mm and using f/4. It’s worth noting that bokeh assessment can be subjective, with personal preferences playing a significant role in determining what is perceived as beautiful or smooth.
In summary, the 24-70mm lens edges out the 24-50mm lens in terms of bokeh quality, offering a smoother and more pleasing effect. However, the 24-50mm lens does hold its own under certain conditions and can create a more natural-looking blur when the conditions are right.
Looking at the Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 first, it showcases an impressive performance when it comes to controlling flare and ghosting. Even in rigorous testing environments such as shooting directly at intense light sources without a lens hood, the lens handles these artifacts adeptly. There might be occasional instances of flare or ghosting when the lens is aimed directly at the sun or another bright light source, but these are relatively rare and not generally problematic. A significant highlight of this lens is its capability to resist flaring and ghosting effectively even when zooming in or out, which is crucial when dealing with bright lights.
Even with a strong light source just beyond the frame—a situation that often induces ghosting and flaring—the lens manages these issues remarkably well. Though there might be a visible streak across the image due to a strong light source outside the frame, this is not a frequent occurrence. The lens’s construction has been praised for its effectiveness in controlling these issues, adding to the overall image quality. Consequently, while the lens might exhibit minor flare or ghosting occasionally, these instances are not common, and the lens generally offers excellent control over these artifacts.
On the other hand, the Nikon 24-70mm f/4 demonstrates outstanding flare and ghosting control, maintaining robust contrast even when shooting against bright light sources. The instances of flare and ghosting are minimal, particularly when compared to other lenses within the same class. The lens employs a nano crystal coating, which further reduces ghosting and flaring, ensuring optimal image quality even in challenging lighting conditions.
Summing up, both lenses perform admirably in terms of flare and ghosting control. However, the 24-70mm lens takes a slight edge over the 24-50mm lens, thanks to the additional nano crystal coating that further mitigates these optical phenomena. Nevertheless, the 24-50mm lens still offers robust performance, making both lenses a strong choice depending on the photographer’s specific needs and conditions.
Starting with the Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3, it displays a significant amount of vignetting, particularly at wider angles like 24mm, where the corners of the image appear darker. This darkening effect remains prominent even when the aperture is decreased by one or two stops. However, as you shift towards longer focal lengths around 50mm, the vignetting decreases noticeably. A distinctive trait of this lens is its tendency to exhibit more vignetting on the bottom edge than the top, which could potentially be a design choice by Nikon to manage the appearance of sky corners in wide-angle shots. By adjusting the aperture to around f8, the corners of the image can be brightened somewhat.
Furthermore, the lens’s vignetting can be further minimized with the use of in-camera corrections or post-processing tools like Adobe Lightroom. Although vignetting can sometimes provide an artistic touch to images, by naturally framing and drawing attention to the subject in the center, the amount of vignetting this lens produces may or may not be problematic depending on your personal style and the type of images you aim to create.
In contrast, the Nikon 24-70mm f/4 shows noticeable vignetting, particularly at wider apertures and focal lengths such as 24mm and 70mm. When shooting at wide-open apertures, it is possible to experience light falloff of over two stops in the extreme corners. Even though reducing the aperture to f/5.6 or f/8 can help minimize vignetting, it is not completely eliminated. Using lens profiles can further decrease the effect, but some residual light falloff will still be present. In practical terms, the vignetting effect may be more noticeable towards the left and right borders as well as the corners of the frame. However, any remaining vignetting can be corrected in post-processing if required.
To sum it up, while both lenses exhibit notable vignetting, the 24-50mm lens appears to manage this effect better as you move towards longer focal lengths. However, the 24-70mm lens maintains good overall performance, and any residual vignetting can be effectively corrected in post-processing.
The Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 showcases a fluctuating degree of distortion throughout its focal range, exhibiting both barrel and pincushion distortion at varying focal lengths. Barrel distortion is visible at the shorter end, around 24mm, where lines towards the frame’s edges seem to bulge outward. This distortion diminishes at 28mm to a point where it’s usually negligible. However, as you shift towards longer focal lengths, the lens transitions from barrel to pincushion distortion, with this change occurring between 28mm and 35mm. Pincushion distortion, characterized by lines bending inwards towards the frame’s edges, is quite apparent by the time you reach 50mm. Nikon’s in-camera distortion corrections do help mitigate these distortions, but not entirely. Some minor barrel distortion at 24mm and slight pincushion distortion at 50mm remain even after applying in-camera corrections.
Nevertheless, the degree of distortion is less than what you might expect from a lens in this price range. It’s important to note that distortion becomes more evident in images with straight lines, like architectural shots, and less apparent in other types of photography. For those shooting in RAW and using non-Nikon processing software, keep in mind that these in-camera corrections may not be applied, potentially leaving noticeable distortion in the final images, necessitating additional post-processing for correction.
In contrast, the Nikon 24-70mm f/4 displays considerable distortion, with strong pincushion distortion at 70mm and noticeable barrel distortion at the wider end. The lens produces nearly perfect linearity around 28mm before transitioning into pincushion distortion. However, these distortions can be effectively minimized using automatic lens profile corrections in post-processing software such as Lightroom and Nikon Capture NX, making them less noticeable for most users.
In summary, both lenses exhibit varying levels of distortion throughout their focal range. The 24-50mm lens has a more pronounced distortion at the extreme ends of its range, even after in-camera corrections. However, the 24-70mm lens, despite its significant distortion, can effectively manage it through post-processing software corrections. Given these factors, the 24-70mm lens appears to have a slight edge when it comes to managing distortion, provided that post-processing software corrections are employed.
For novice photographers or those on a budget, the Nikon 24-50mm f/4-6.3 could be a great choice. Its compact design makes it easy to handle, and it’s a lightweight and affordable lens that still performs admirably under various conditions. It is particularly suitable for general photography, travel, and street photography, where portability and a wide field of view are crucial. However, it’s essential to consider that this lens may require additional in-camera and post-processing corrections for vignetting and distortion.
On the other hand, the Nikon 24-70mm f/4 emerges as a more versatile choice that covers a broader range of photographic situations. Its constant aperture and superior optical performance make it ideal for low-light conditions and for genres requiring a longer focal length such as portrait, event, or wedding photography. Furthermore, its robust construction, weather sealing, and enhanced aberration control make it a fantastic lens for professionals or enthusiasts working in challenging environments or shooting demanding subjects. While this lens is heavier and more expensive, its overall performance and build quality justify the additional cost.
In conclusion, while both lenses have their merits, the 24-70mm lens appears to be a more comprehensive option for a wider variety of photographic needs and skill levels, provided one is willing to invest more and carry a slightly heavier lens. The 24-50mm lens, however, should not be discounted as it provides impressive performance for its price and size, making it an excellent choice for beginners or those prioritizing portability and affordability.