Embarking on a quest to find the perfect lens for your photography needs can feel like navigating a labyrinth of technical jargon, with terms like ‘field of view,’ ‘distortion,’ and ‘aberration’ often leaving one dazed and confused. But fret not, dear reader, because we’re here to illuminate the path for you. Welcome to our comprehensive comparison between two stellar performers in the realm of wide-angle lenses – the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 and the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8.
Whether you’re a landscape enthusiast seeking to capture the majesty of sprawling terrains, an architect captivated by the symmetry and aesthetics of edifices, or an astro-photographer reaching for the stars, these lenses hold the potential to elevate your craft. Perhaps you’re an environmental portraitist, striving to tell compelling stories through your subjects while encapsulating the essence of their surroundings. Well, these lenses have got you covered, too!
The 24mm lens, with its wider field of view and superior handling of vignetting and aberrations, can add a new dimension to your landscape and architectural shots. On the flip side, the 28mm lens, with its impressive center sharpness and quiet autofocus, could be the secret ingredient to bring your environmental portraits to life.
The aim of this article is not to declare an outright victor, but to help you decide which lens better aligns with your unique creative vision and practical demands. We’ll delve into the nitty-gritty of their performance, construction, and features, offering a balanced perspective to help you make an informed choice.
So, are you ready to uncover the potential of these two photographic powerhouses? Let’s dive in!
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 24mm F1.8 S
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 28mm F2.8
|Focal Range (mm)
The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 has a maximum aperture of f/1.8, which is wider than the f/2.8 of the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8. This wider aperture will allow more light to enter the camera, potentially improving performance in low light conditions. If you’re a photographer who often shoots in darker environments or at night, the 24mm lens may be a better fit for you. The wider aperture also means that this lens can create a shallower depth of field, which can be useful for isolating subjects and achieving a pleasing background blur. However, if you’re primarily interested in landscape or architectural photography, which often require a deeper depth of field to keep the entire scene in focus, the difference in maximum aperture may not be as crucial.
Both lenses have a fixed aperture type, meaning that their maximum aperture remains constant throughout their entire focal range. This could result in a more consistent performance in varying lighting conditions and potentially better image quality overall. Fixed aperture lenses are generally considered superior in terms of low light performance and image quality, but they tend to be more expensive and heavier than variable aperture lenses.
In terms of focal range, the 24mm lens is a bit wider than the 28mm lens. This wider field of view could make it more suitable for capturing expansive landscapes, large group photos, or tight interior shots. However, the 28mm lens, while still considered a wide-angle lens, offers a slightly narrower field of view, which may be more versatile for a wider range of subjects and situations, including street and documentary photography.
Both lenses are designed for the Nikon Z mount and have a maximum format of 35mm full-frame, indicating that they should be compatible with Nikon’s full-frame mirrorless cameras.
In summary, the 24mm lens, with its wider aperture and wider field of view, is better suited for low light conditions and wide-angle applications. The 28mm lens, on the other hand, while having a smaller aperture, offers more versatility in a wider range of situations due to its slightly narrower field of view.
Design and Ease of Use
The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 and Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 present notable differences when it comes to physical dimensions and weight, factors that can significantly impact a photographer’s experience.
The 24mm lens has a diameter and length of ⌀78×96.5mm and weighs 450 grams. This makes it larger and significantly heavier than the 28mm lens, which measures ⌀70×43mm and weighs only 155 grams.
The larger size and weight of the 24mm lens might make it feel more robust and durable, which could be an advantage for professional photographers who use their gear heavily. However, its larger size could also make it more cumbersome to carry around, especially for extended periods. The heavier weight could contribute to fatigue over long shooting sessions and might make the camera setup feel front-heavy and unbalanced, which could be uncomfortable for some photographers.
In contrast, the 28mm lens, with its smaller dimensions and significantly lighter weight, offers greater portability. This could be a significant advantage for photographers who travel a lot or enjoy shooting while on the move, such as street or travel photographers. The lighter weight would also make this lens easier to handle when swapping lenses quickly, which could be beneficial in fast-paced shooting environments. Its smaller size could make it less conspicuous, allowing photographers to blend in more easily when capturing candid shots in street or wildlife photography.
In terms of storage, the more compact size of the 28mm lens means it would take up less space in a camera bag, leaving room for additional gear or simply making the bag lighter and easier to carry.
In conclusion, both lenses have their merits. If robustness and potentially better handling are of utmost importance and you don’t mind carrying a bit of extra weight, the 24mm lens is the superior choice. However, if portability, ease of lens swapping, and discretion are high on your priority list, the 28mm lens, with its significantly smaller size and lighter weight, edges out as the superior lens.
Lens Mount and Barrel
The lens mount of Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 is composed of metal and sports four locking ears, adding to the secure and stable attachment to the camera body. This design mitigates lens tilting and fortifies the modern camera system’s overall stability. Nikon has enhanced the lens with a rubber gasket around the mount, providing an additional barrier against dust and debris.
The lens barrel of the 24mm lens integrates both metal and plastic elements, resulting in a robust yet somewhat weighty feel. The rear section is crafted from metal, while the central and front sections are made from plastic. The lens employs an internal focusing mechanism, maintaining a consistent size, which is advantageous when using polarizing and graduated filters.
On the other hand, the lens mount of Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 is formed from polycarbonate, a sturdy variety of plastic. Despite its strength and wear resistance, the lens should not be carried by the camera as the plastic mount could yield under stress. Unlike the 24mm lens, this lens does not feature a rubber gasket for additional sealing against dust or moisture, instead using a hard plastic lip to establish a seal. It’s worth noting that this lens is not explicitly weather-sealed.
The lens barrel is predominantly plastic, contributing to its lightness. The lens barrel’s surface is smooth, with a rubber-coated plastic focus ring, enhancing grip and smoothness when adjusting the focus.
Comparatively, the 24mm lens’s metal elements contribute to its durability and professional feel, but it may be more cumbersome for on-the-go photographers due to its weight. Conversely, the 28mm lens, with its dominant use of plastic, is more lightweight and portable, but it may not withstand wear and tear as well as the 24mm lens.
In terms of lens mounts, the metal mount of the 24mm lens offers superior durability and longevity compared to the 28mm lens’s polycarbonate mount. Additionally, the rubber gasket on the 24mm lens provides additional dust and debris protection, a feature absent in the 28mm lens.
Design and Ease of Use
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 24mm F1.8 S
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 28mm F2.8
|Diameter x Length (mm)
|Filter Thread (mm)
The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 presents a thorough approach to weather sealing, incorporating multiple protective features. This includes individual rubber rings across various parts of the lens, safeguarding it against dust and moisture infiltration. Additional seals are strategically placed at the lens mount, rings, switches, and the front of the barrel, boosting the lens’s resilience in varying weather conditions. However, it lacks a fluorine coating on the front element, a feature that could have enhanced its resistance to grease and certain environmental conditions.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 has not been explicitly designed with weather sealing as a central feature. It lacks a dust gasket at the lens mount and seems to have a minimal approach towards water and dust ingress prevention. The construction primarily involves plastic elements, with a plastic focus ring and a hard plastic lip at the lens mount, providing some degree of protection against dust. Despite its lack of specific weather sealing features, it has demonstrated practical durability, withstanding light exposure to elements such as rain. However, its resilience against harsh weather conditions remains questionable without additional protection.
Weather sealing in lenses is a provision aimed at mitigating the entry of dust, moisture, and light water splashes, which safeguards the lens’s durability and performance in various conditions. A lens that is fully weather-sealed, like the 24mm one, affords superior protection, robustness, and consistent performance even in adverse conditions. They are especially suitable for outdoor photography and in environments prone to dust, moisture, or splashes. However, these features come at a higher cost due to the added engineering and materials involved.
Conversely, lenses not explicitly designed with weather sealing, like the 28mm lens, may require supplementary protection in harsh weather. While they can withstand typical usage, potential challenges may arise in adverse conditions, such as fogging or mechanical issues, which might impact the lens’s durability and performance over time.
In conclusion, when it comes to weather sealing, the 24mm lens is superior due to its comprehensive protective measures against environmental elements. Despite this, the 28mm lens’s practical durability should not be discounted, and it could serve well for photographers working in less challenging environments or who can supplement the lens with additional protection as needed.
The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 incorporates a single, substantial manual focus ring, situated around the middle of the barrel. This metal ring sports fine ribbing, enhancing grip and handling, crucial factors in a photographer’s shooting experience. Its operation is praised for being smooth, offering just the right amount of resistance for precise manual focusing. However, it does not have hard stops at either end of the focus range, nor does it possess a windowed distance scale or depth-of-field indicators.
Instead, a focus scale appears in the viewfinder or on the camera screen when the ring is adjusted in manual focus mode. The ring is created as a “focus-by-wire” stepping design, allowing customization through the camera menu to control other functions such as aperture or exposure compensation. Despite the lack of a dedicated control ring, the manual focus ring provides a satisfying tactile experience and ergonomic bevel, enhancing usability and adjustment.
In contrast, the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 is equipped with a single focus ring located near the front of the lens. This ring, coated in rubber, ensures a comfortable grip and augments the user experience. The fly-by-wire system offers a smooth rotation, enabling accurate adjustments during manual focusing. It lacks added features such as a windowed distance scale or a depth-of-field indicator.
The ring’s versatility, particularly on Nikon Z series cameras, stands out as it can be customized to control other settings, such as ISO or aperture, allowing photographers to adapt the lens to their personal shooting style. This customizability boosts the lens’s ergonomics, making it more adaptable and user-friendly in various shooting conditions. The tactile experience is satisfactory, with the ring providing a suitable level of resistance when turned.
In evaluating the design of the lens rings, the 24mm lens, with its metal ring and smooth operation, offers a high-quality build, precise control, and an ergonomic design, although it lacks some tactile feedback features such as hard stops. The 28mm lens, while featuring a rubberized ring that provides a comfortable grip, offers versatility and user-friendliness with its customization capabilities.
In conclusion, both lenses offer impressive features in their ring designs, catering to different user preferences. However, the 24mm lens, with its fine ribbing, ergonomic bevel, and high-quality build, offers a slightly superior tactile experience and control precision, making it the more commendable choice in terms of ring design.
The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 adopts a minimalistic design with only one switch, the AF/MF switch, for controlling the focus mode. This switch lets users effortlessly alternate between autofocus and manual focus, making it a user-friendly choice. The switch is thoughtfully placed on the lens’s side, allowing easy access for on-the-go adjustments while shooting. Its uncomplicated design ensures a smooth operation, particularly appreciated by photographers who prefer a straightforward control interface.
Contrastingly, the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 eschews any external switches or buttons. Adjustments to autofocus or manual focus settings are made within the camera’s menu system or assigned to a function button on the camera body. This design choice might lend the lens a cleaner physical appearance, but it might complicate certain operations. Users would need to navigate the camera’s menu system or remember their custom button assignments to adjust settings, which could be time-consuming or less intuitive. The lack of an AF/MF switch indicates that to shift between autofocus and manual focus, users would need to adjust the camera’s settings. This could pose an inconvenience for photographers who frequently toggle between these modes during a shoot.
The 24mm lens, with its conveniently located AF/MF switch, offers quick and easy access to change between autofocus and manual focus modes, ensuring a more straightforward and efficient operation. On the other hand, the 28mm lens, with its lack of external switches, could potentially complicate operations and slow down the shooting process, despite offering a cleaner design.
In conclusion, while both lenses have their unique attributes, the 24mm lens with its accessible and user-friendly AF/MF switch is the superior choice in terms of switch/button design. The 24mm lens’s design ensures that photographers can focus more on capturing the perfect shot and spend less time navigating through camera menus, thereby offering a more efficient and enjoyable shooting experience.
The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 features a filter thread of 72mm, constructed from plastic. Its front element remains stationary during focusing, facilitating the use of filters, such as polarizers and graduated filters. This static design ensures that any adjustments made to the filters remain consistent throughout the focusing process, enhancing the ease of use.
In contrast, the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 incorporates a 52mm filter thread, which is a common size that eases the task of finding compatible filters. Made of plastic, this thread may not be as resilient as metal threads, but it should suffice for regular usage. Like the 24mm lens, the 28mm lens’s front element and filter thread do not rotate during focusing, which benefits users employing polarizing or graduated neutral density filters, which would be misaligned should the lens elements rotate during focusing.
Both lenses discussed have non-rotating designs, offering an advantage when using certain types of filters. However, the 24mm lens’s 72mm thread size might be more expensive due to its larger diameter, yet it may minimize vignetting and potential image quality degradation, particularly when using stacked filters. Conversely, the 52mm thread size on the 28mm lens is a standard size, making it easier and potentially cheaper to find compatible filters.
In terms of material, both lenses employ plastic threads. Although lighter and less costly, plastic threads might not be as durable as their metal counterparts. Nevertheless, they are more forgiving if the lens is dropped, as they can bounce back without remaining bent.
While the 24mm lens may offer less vignetting and potential image quality degradation, the 28mm lens is a more cost-effective choice due to the wider availability and lower cost of 52mm filters. That being said, the 24mm lens, with its larger filter thread, might be more suitable for those prioritizing image quality, while the 28mm lens could be a better choice for photographers seeking affordability and ease of filter availability.
The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 is equipped with a lens hood included in the package, offering an added value. Constructed from plastic, it adopts a petal-type design and utilizes a bayonet mount system. This configuration ensures easy attachment and detachment, as well as the convenience of rotation when necessary. The hood can be reversed to minimize its size during transportation or storage. Its ergonomic bevel supports a comfortable grip, and the plastic material keeps the overall lens design lightweight.
Conversely, the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 does not come with a lens hood in the package, and there isn’t an official Nikon hood specifically designed for this model. However, compatible third-party alternatives are available in the market, such as the F-Foto HF-52 or the LingoFoto HN-2.
Lens hoods play a significant role in photography by preventing light reflections, enhancing grip and handling, improving aesthetics, and providing durability and stability. The 24mm lens’s included petal-type lens hood can potentially reduce flare and maintain image contrast, offering a degree of protection from impacts, dust, and moisture. Its bayonet mount system ensures secure attachment while being quick and easy to install and remove.
In comparison, the 28mm lens requires purchasing a separate hood, which could be an extra cost and potentially less effective, depending on the design and quality of the chosen third-party hood.
In conclusion, the 24mm lens offers a superior solution in terms of lens hood due to its inclusion in the package, ergonomic design, and the convenience of the bayonet mount system. However, the necessity for a lens hood may depend on your specific shooting conditions and personal preferences.
Focusing and Optical Stabilization
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 24mm F1.8 S
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 28mm F2.8
|Rotating Front Element
|Does not rotate on focusing
|Does not rotate on focusing
|Min Focus Distance
|Max Magnification (X)
|Full-Time Manual Focus
The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 boasts a commendable autofocus performance, characterized by minimal noise and a speedy focusing process, clocking in at about 0.5 seconds from infinity to 0.32m. It shines in well-lit conditions, demonstrating little to no hunting behavior. The lens is also remarkable for its high accuracy, with a repeatability of 99.0% as tested in Reikan FoCal.
A manual focus override is available, ensuring smooth transitions that can be easily achieved with a single finger. Its internal focusing design ensures a constant length irrespective of focus or zoom settings, and exhibits minimal focus breathing, making it an excellent choice for video applications.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 employs a dual motor focus system, a hallmark of Nikon Z-mount lenses. Its autofocus performance is robust and on par with similar lenses. Like the 24mm lens, it utilizes an internal focusing system, keeping the lens length constant irrespective of the focus and zoom settings. Its minimum focusing distance of 7.5″ (.19m) allows for close-up shots.
However, it does display a degree of focus breathing, although it wouldn’t be noticeable in most situations. Low light conditions may pose a challenge, especially in AF-C setting, and there could be issues focusing on faces in low light with the Nikon Z5. A unique feature of this lens is the instant manual-focus override, which provides a seamless transition from autofocus to manual focus, even in AF-C mode.
The manual focus ring operates smoothly and silently, enhancing the overall focus experience. The lens boasts silent autofocus, which is particularly useful for video shooting or situations requiring absolute silence. The dual motor system does not produce audible noise, although slight vibrations may be felt during focusing. The initial autofocus acquisition speed and accuracy are noteworthy.
When comparing the two lenses, it’s clear that each lens offers strong focusing performance in its own right. The 24mm lens stands out for its speed, accuracy, and minimal focus breathing, making it a prime choice for situations requiring quick and precise focusing, such as sports or event photography. The 28mm lens, with its silent autofocus and seamless manual-focus override, presents an excellent option for video applications or scenarios where quiet operation is crucial.
For general use, the 24mm lens’s quick and accurate autofocus is more advantageous. However, for video applications or situations demanding silence, the 28mm lens with its silent autofocus and smooth manual focus override could be a more suitable choice.
The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8, while devoid of built-in optical stabilization, can capitalize on Nikon Z cameras’ in-body image stabilization (IBIS) system. This system can provide up to 5 stops of stabilization across all five axes: pitch, yaw, roll, X, and Y movements. This level of stabilization allows for significant improvements, achieving 4-6 stops compared to the standard 1 / focal length reciprocal rule. Operationally, the lens is quiet, eliminating the concern of noise from the stabilization system. In combination with Nikon Z cameras, it is possible to have shutter speeds up to a full second for hand-held shots, which is a considerable feat.
Contrarily, the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 does not house any internal optical stabilization. Yet, it can utilize the internal sensor-shift Image Stabilization (IS or VR – Vibration Reduction) if such a feature exists in the camera. This compensates for minor movements that could blur the image and it integrates well with this lens, resulting in a two-stop real-world improvement. This means you can employ shutter speeds two stops slower than what would typically be possible without blur from camera shake. This capability proves especially beneficial in low-light conditions where slower shutter speeds are often required. Much like the 24mm lens, the 28mm lens operates silently during the stabilization process. It should be noted, however, that the effectiveness of the stabilization can be influenced by factors like your hand-holding technique and the shooting conditions.
In the realm of optical stabilization, both lenses offer unique benefits. The 24mm lens offers a more extensive stabilization capacity when paired with Nikon Z cameras, making it an excellent choice for handheld photography in varied lighting conditions. On the other hand, the 28mm lens offers a reliable two-stop improvement, which can be particularly beneficial in low-light scenarios.
In conclusion, if your camera has a robust IBIS system, the 24mm lens provides superior stabilization, particularly if you’re frequently shooting handheld. However, the 28mm lens can still offer a reasonable level of stabilization, especially if you need to regularly shoot in low-light environments.
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 24mm F1.8 S
|Nikon NIKKOR Z 28mm F2.8
|1 ED + 4 aspherical elements, Nano Crystal and Super Integrated coatings
|2 aspherical elements
The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 does demonstrate some chromatic aberration, especially longitudinal chromatic aberration, which is visible at maximum aperture and continues to a slightly lesser extent even when the aperture is decreased by 1 EV. However, it exhibits commendable control over lateral chromatic aberration.
Coma, the distortion of points of light, is present, particularly when shooting wide open, but can be lessened by narrowing the aperture to f/2.8 or f/4. Spherical aberration, manifested in visible rims in out-of-focus light circles, is not entirely rectified, which can impact the bokeh, rendering edges in out-of-focus areas more prominent. Despite these issues, the lens maintains a satisfactory performance across various shooting conditions.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 showcases noticeable chromatic aberration, particularly longitudinal chromatic aberration, at wide open aperture and less so at f/4. This aberration is more pronounced in the near field than the far field, which is somewhat atypical. Lateral chromatic aberration is well managed. However, spherochromatism, a form of chromatic aberration causing colored fringes on out-of-focus highlights, is noticeable, especially at larger apertures such as f/2.8.
Coma, coupled with field curvature that affects the FX corners, is higher than expected for f/1.8 optics, but improves at f/4 and disappears by f/5.6. The lens also exhibits spherical aberration, referred to as “color bokeh,” especially when used at full aperture. This aberration is associated with lower contrast in the far corners of full-frame due to sagittal coma flare at f/2.8, improving at f/4 and completely gone by f/5.6. Some of these issues can be mitigated with various camera settings and post-processing techniques, particularly when using Nikon’s Z cameras or processing raw data.
Comparatively, both lenses display some degree of chromatic and spherical aberration, along with coma. While the 24mm lens performs well in managing lateral chromatic aberration, the 28mm lens demonstrates a higher degree of spherochromatism and more severe coma, which might require adjustment in certain shooting conditions.
In conclusion, the 24mm lens handles aberrations better overall, despite some imperfections. It would likely provide more consistent performance in a wider range of conditions. However, if you’re equipped with the right camera settings, post-processing techniques, and an understanding of how to work around the aberrations, the 28mm lens could still be a viable option.
The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 exhibits pronounced sharpness at the center, with peak performance observed at f/4. This level of sharpness can be classified as exceptional, providing crisp and detailed images. The corner sharpness, while a bit softer compared to the center, improves considerably beyond f/2.8.
However, at a wide open aperture of f/1.8, the lens retains notable sharpness with slight enhancements at f/2 and f/2.8. Apertures such as f/11 or f/16 might result in a drop in sharpness due to diffraction. This lens performs optimally in the aperture range of f/4 to f/8, making it suitable for a variety of photography scenarios, especially those requiring a broader field of view.
In comparison, the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 consistently produces ultra-sharp images across all apertures, with remarkable sharpness at the center, even at its widest aperture of f/2.8. However, the corners exhibit some softness at wider apertures, specifically at f/2.8. Stopping down to around f/4 significantly improves corner sharpness, although it may not reach the same standard as the center. This discrepancy in sharpness can be attributed to factors such as field curvature and sagittal coma flare, which are more evident in night sky or astronomical photography.
The sharpest aperture for this lens is around f/4 to f/5.6. It’s worth noting that smaller apertures like f/11 may result in softness due to diffraction. The lens performs exceptionally well at different distances, with its distance performance being superior to close-up performance. When capturing wide-angle subjects, the lens delivers very sharp images when stopped down to around f/8.
While both lenses exhibit strong center sharpness, the 24mm lens reaches peak performance at f/4, while the 28mm lens maintains excellent sharpness even at its widest aperture of f/2.8. However, the 24mm lens exhibits better corner sharpness than the 28mm lens at wider apertures.
To conclude, both lenses provide substantial sharpness across different apertures, with the 24mm lens offering a more balanced sharpness across the frame. However, the 28mm lens stands out with its remarkable center sharpness even at wider apertures, which can be a significant advantage in certain shooting conditions. The final choice would depend on the specific requirements of your photography projects, whether it’s capturing detailed landscapes or producing crisp street photography.
When it comes to the bokeh quality, the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 provides a generally satisfying experience. The out-of-focus areas are smooth, and light circles are well-rendered, which contributes to a visually appealing background blur. However, there are a few areas that may cause a minor disturbance in the bokeh, such as slight onion rings, a green outline due to longitudinal chromatic aberration, and pronounced edges on specular highlights due to aspherical lens elements. Additionally, a moderate cat’s eye effect can be noticed towards the corners when the lens is wide open.
In contrast, the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 offers a pleasing bokeh quality despite its wide angle and slower aperture. The transition from in-focus to out-of-focus areas is smooth, which aligns with the common characteristic of recent Nikkor lenses. The bokeh tends to blend subtly with the overall image, not drawing unnecessary attention to itself. The onion-skinning in out-of-focus highlights is discernible but doesn’t significantly affect the overall image quality. However, as the aperture is stopped down, the circles of confusion do not maintain a perfect round shape and show some elongation and potential inconsistencies with the aperture blades. Despite these minor considerations, the bokeh performance is fairly adequate for a lens of this type.
Comparatively, both lenses offer a pleasing bokeh quality, although they have slight differences. The 24mm lens provides smoother out-of-focus areas and well-rendered light circles, but it has a few minor issues like onion rings and the cat’s eye effect. On the other hand, the 28mm lens manages to deliver a subtle and pleasing bokeh, although the circles of confusion do not maintain their round shape as the aperture is stopped down.
In conclusion, considering the inherent characteristics of wide-angle lenses, both lenses do a commendable job in delivering bokeh quality. However, if one has to make a choice, the 28mm lens, with its smooth transition between in-focus and out-of-focus areas and subtle blending of bokeh, is the preferred option for those looking to add a touch of creative blur to their wide-angle shots.
The Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 exhibits a commendable resistance to flare and ghosting, even when faced with challenging lighting situations. This impressive performance can be attributed to Nikon’s Nano Crystal Coat, which effectively curtails internal reflections across a vast spectrum of wavelengths, drastically minimizing the occurrence of flare and ghosting. Real-world testing affirms this lens’s ability to handle direct sunlight in the frame without significantly hampering image quality. While the angle of light and the sun’s position can influence the occurrence of these optical artifacts, the lens deftly manages these potential issues, courtesy of its high-quality lens coatings.
On the other hand, the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 also impressively tackles flare and ghosting. Despite being subjected to difficult lighting conditions, such as shooting directly into the sun or at the edge of the frame, the lens maintains a good control over these optical aberrations. There is only a slight hint of veiling flare at its widest aperture of f/2.8, indicative of a well-optimized optical design and efficient anti-reflective coatings. While it doesn’t completely eradicate flare, it’s controlled to an extent where it doesn’t significantly degrade the image quality. Ghosting, too, is effectively managed, ensuring that strong light sources within or near the edge of the frame do not give rise to noticeable ghosting artifacts. This affords photographers a greater degree of creative freedom when dealing with strong light sources in their compositions.
In a comparative light, both lenses display an excellent control over flare and ghosting, proving their worth in challenging lighting conditions. The 24mm lens, thanks to the advanced Nano Crystal Coat, exhibits minimal issues even with the sun in the frame. The 28mm lens, with its well-optimized optical design, subtly handles flare and effectively controls ghosting, adding to its favorable characteristics.
In conclusion, while both lenses perform admirably in terms of flare and ghosting control, the 24mm lens, with its Nano Crystal Coat and exceptional performance in field tests, holds a slight edge in managing these optical aberrations. Thus, for photographers frequently shooting in challenging light situations, the 24mm lens could be the superior choice.
When assessing vignetting, the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 does display some light fall-off at wider apertures, particularly at f/1.8. However, by merely stopping down the aperture to f/2.8, this lens significantly reduces this vignetting, and by f/4, it becomes almost negligible. When focusing at or near infinity, it is advised to stop down to f/4 or smaller to further minimize this effect.
Generally, vignetting is well-managed across various photography genres, but those who majorly engage in landscape or architectural photography might find it more intrusive, particularly when shooting at wider apertures. Thankfully, in-camera corrections can further mitigate this issue.
Switching focus to the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8, it exhibits noticeable vignetting at the corners, especially when paired with a full-frame sensor. At the maximum aperture of f/2.8, corner vignetting can exceed 1EV, which is quite significant. However, the zone within which vignetting is mostly negligible is large, comfortably including the DX corners. As you stop down the lens, the vignetting effect decreases and by f/4, it might be unnecessary to apply any correction for most types of photography. Nikon’s Vignette control can help reduce this effect, but it fails to completely remove the extreme corner vignetting at the default value.
Nevertheless, shooting in RAW format offers the flexibility to adjust the vignetting in post-production using editing software. Furthermore, in-camera settings for vignetting (HIGH, NORMAL, LOW, and OFF) can be tweaked according to specific image requirements. Additionally, the use of filters doesn’t intensify the vignetting problem; multiple regular screw-in 52mm filters can be stacked without causing any additional vignetting on full-frame.
In comparing the two, both lenses show some level of vignetting at wider apertures, which reduces as the aperture is stopped down. The 24mm lens appears to control vignetting slightly better, particularly when shooting at or near infinity. However, the 28mm lens offers more flexibility in terms of vignetting control with its in-camera settings and compatibility with filters without intensifying vignetting.
In conclusion, if vignetting is a crucial aspect for your photography, the 24mm lens would be a slightly better choice due to its capability to better control vignetting. However, the 28mm lens still performs admirably and provides additional flexibility, making it a close contender.
For the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8, we see a moderate level of barrel distortion, ranging from -1.34% to 2.33% depending on the context. While this distortion is not overly pronounced in most images, in certain scenarios, like architectural photography, you might need to rectify this distortion if wavy lines or mustache distortion become evident.
Fortunately, widely-used post-processing software such as Lightroom and Photoshop can automatically apply distortion correction, freeing you from manual adjustments. This lens, in general, handles distortion commendably across various photographic situations, although minor adjustments might be necessary for particular applications.
Transitioning to the Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8, it boasts an impressively managed distortion profile. When paired with Nikon’s Z cameras, distortion correction is consistently active and can’t be deactivated, contributing to a cleaner output. For critical scientific use, a slight adjustment with a factor of +0.5 could be added to camera-corrected images in Photoshop’s lens correction filter for optimal results.
However, if you opt for shooting in raw format instead of JPG, the distortion correction would depend on the software utilized to convert raw data into visible images, which might not necessarily apply the in-camera correction. It’s also important to note the presence of slight pin-cushion distortion even with corrections enabled. Regardless, the distortion control of this lens is largely effective for regular photography.
In comparing the two lenses, the 28mm lens performs better in terms of distortion control. The constant distortion correction feature when used with Nikon’s Z cameras, combined with only minor pin-cushion distortion, offers a cleaner image output. The 24mm lens does well but requires some post-processing correction, particularly for architectural photography.
In the wide-angle photography arena, which encapsulates landscape, architectural, astrophotography, and environmental portrait photography, both the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 and Nikon Z 28mm f/2.8 offer distinct advantages that cater to the unique demands of each genre.
For landscape and architectural photography, the wider field of view and superior distortion control of the 24mm lens make it an appealing choice. Its better handling of vignetting and aberrations further augments its suitability for these genres, where capturing intricate details and a broad view is paramount. The lens’s durable construction and weather sealing make it a reliable companion for outdoor shoots, and its robust autofocus ensures quick and accurate focusing on the subject.
Astrophotography, which often involves low-light conditions, could benefit more from the 24mm lens due to its wider aperture, allowing more light to hit the sensor. Additionally, the lens’s better stabilization could be particularly beneficial when shooting handheld at longer exposures.
Environmental portrait photography, on the other hand, may find the 28mm lens a more fitting choice. Its silent autofocus won’t disrupt the intimate connection between the photographer and the subject, and its remarkable center sharpness ensures the subject remains in crisp focus. The lightweight and portable nature of the 28mm lens makes it easier for photographers to maneuver around their subjects, and its superior bokeh quality helps isolate the subject from the background, adding an artistic touch to the portraits.
To sum it up, both lenses have their strengths and would serve well in wide-angle photography genres. The 24mm lens, with its wider field of view, superior distortion control, and better handling of vignetting and aberrations, is more suitable for landscape, architectural, and astrophotography. On the other hand, the 28mm lens, with its silent autofocus, remarkable center sharpness, and superior bokeh quality, could be the preferred option for environmental portrait photography.
Thus, your ultimate decision would depend on your specific photography needs and priorities. If your work involves a variety of these genres, it may be beneficial to have both lenses in your arsenal to maximize your creative flexibility.