Nikon 28-75mm f/2.8 vs. Nikon 24-70mm f/4: Unleashing the True Power of Photography

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As a photography enthusiast or a seasoned professional, you’re always on the hunt for that perfect lens—one that captures life’s moments just as vividly as your eyes see them. Welcome to an insightful journey as we delve into a comprehensive comparison between two acclaimed lenses in the photography world—the Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 and the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4. These two lenses, with their distinct attributes and performance capabilities, have been vying for the top spot in photographers’ kits worldwide.

Imagine being able to discern which of these lenses would better suit your specific photography style, whether it’s breathtaking landscapes, soulful portraits, dynamic street photography, or awe-inspiring astrophotography. Picturize unlocking the potential to elevate your visual storytelling prowess, understanding the nuanced differences, and embracing the uniqueness of these lenses.

This comparison will help you navigate the world of lens specifications, feature sets, and real-world performance so that you can make an informed decision that best suits your needs. By the end of this article, you’ll have a clear understanding of these lenses’ capabilities and how they might cater to your photography genre of choice.

So, buckle up and prepare for a photographic odyssey that will help bring your visions to life. Let’s turn the spotlight on these lenses and reveal what they can do for you. After all, in photography, as in life, it’s all about the right perspective!


Nikon NIKKOR Z 28-75mm F2.8Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F4 S
Max ApertureF2.8F4
Aperture TypeFixedFixed
Focal Range (mm)28-7524-70
Mount TypeNikon ZNikon Z
Max Format35mm FF35mm FF
Zoom Ratio (X)2.72.9

Both Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 and Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 are designed for the Nikon Z mount and can be used on full-frame (35mm) format cameras. They also share the benefit of a fixed aperture, which generally contributes to better overall image quality across the zoom range, and consistent performance in various lighting conditions.

The 28-75mm lens comes with a maximum aperture of f/2.8, offering benefits for those shooting in low light conditions as it allows more light to enter the camera. This could result in cleaner, sharper images, even without using a tripod. It would also offer a shallower depth of field which is beneficial when isolating subjects for a pleasing background blur. Regarding image quality, lenses with larger apertures often have better overall performance, including sharpness, contrast, and reduced chromatic aberration. Nevertheless, wide apertures can introduce more distortion or vignetting, especially at the widest focal lengths, which can be corrected in post-processing. This lens covers a focal range from 28mm to 75mm, with a zoom ratio of 2.7X, and has a fixed aperture throughout the zoom range, which means it maintains consistent performance.

The 24-70mm lens, on the other hand, has a maximum aperture of f/4, a stop less than the 28-75mm lens. This means it will let in less light, making it less optimal for low light conditions, but it still can be used effectively with adequate lighting or a tripod. As for the focal range, this lens covers from 24mm to 70mm with a zoom ratio of 2.9X, slightly higher than the 28-75mm lens. This range offers a slightly wider angle at the short end, which could be beneficial for capturing wider scenes. It’s also a fixed aperture lens, maintaining consistent performance throughout its zoom range.

The 28-75mm lens, with its larger aperture, is better suited for low light photography, portraits, or other situations where a shallower depth of field is desired. The 24-70mm lens, although having a smaller maximum aperture, provides a slightly wider field of view at the short end, which could be an advantage for certain types of photography, such as landscapes or interiors.

Design and Ease of Use

Nikon NIKKOR Z 28-75mm F2.8Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F4 S
Diameter x Length (mm)⌀75×120.5mm⌀77.5×88.5mm
Weight (gr)565500
Filter Thread (mm)6772
Weather SealingYesYes
Zoom MethodRotary (extending)Rotary (extending)
Distance ScaleNoNo
DoF ScaleNoNo
Hood SuppliedYesYes
Hood CodeHB-93AHB-85

The Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 is slightly larger, with a diameter of 75mm and a length of 120.5mm. It’s also heavier, weighing in at 565 grams. The larger size and increased weight of this lens could potentially make it more cumbersome to carry around, especially for extended periods. However, it might offer more substantial handling, which some photographers prefer.

On the other hand, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 is smaller and lighter, with a diameter of 77.5mm, a length of 88.5mm, and a weight of 500 grams. This lens is more compact and easier to carry around, making it ideal for travel or long shooting sessions. Its lighter weight could make swapping lenses quicker and more manageable in fast-paced environments. Moreover, this lens might offer a better balance with certain camera bodies, ensuring a more comfortable shooting experience.

Both the size and weight of a lens significantly influence its usability. A compact and lightweight lens like the 24-70mm can be more comfortable for longer shoots and less obtrusive for candid photography, such as street or event shoots. Its smaller size also takes up less room in your bag, making it a more travel-friendly option.

The larger 28-75mm lens might be a bit more challenging to carry around due to its bigger size and weight. However, the handling of larger lenses often appeals to some photographers as they feel more substantial and robust.

In conclusion, if portability, balance, and discreetness are paramount to your shooting style and comfort, the 24-70mm lens has an advantage with its smaller dimensions and lighter weight. However, each lens will have its strengths depending on the context they are used in, and what might be a disadvantage in one scenario could be beneficial in another.

Lens Mount and Barrel

The Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 has a lens mount constructed from durable metal, ensuring a robust linkage between the camera body and the lens. Additionally, the lens is safeguarded from harsh weather conditions and potential dust or moisture infiltration due to the protective rubber gasket, a feature that proves beneficial for photographers venturing into diverse environments.

The lens barrel, built predominantly from high-quality black plastic, offers a wider zoom control ring and a smaller control ring near the base. This thoughtful ergonomic design facilitates convenient operation and handling. Although the lens extends during zoom adjustments, it remains stable during focus modifications, providing an edge when working with polarizers or graduated filters, where unwanted rotation can compromise image quality.

In comparison, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 features a metal lens mount designed with a focus on achieving a secure and seamless connection with the camera body. The mount is also protected by a rubber gasket, enhancing its resilience against weather, dust, and moisture, similarly assuring reliable performance under various shooting conditions.

The lens barrel, a fusion of metal and polycarbonate, flaunts a minimalist black finish with white text, alongside an amply sized zoom ring and a slim, electronic manual focus ring, both of which enable smooth operation. The lens does exhibit size changes when zooming with its two-stage telescoping barrel but remains well-balanced.

Weighing the plastic and metal construction of the barrels, plastic barrels, as seen in the 28-75mm lens, offer enhanced portability and affordability. Conversely, the 24-70mm lens, with its metal-polycarbonate blend, ensures superior endurance and a professional feel. Lens mounts, irrespective of the lens, benefit from the strength and durability of metal alloys, providing sustained performance despite repeated use.

Given the comparison, it becomes evident that both lenses bring unique strengths to the table. If portability and cost-effectiveness are crucial, the 28-75mm lens with its plastic barrel emerges as a compelling choice. If durability, a professional feel, and a well-balanced telescopic zoom mechanism are primary considerations, the 24-70mm lens offers distinct advantages.

Weather Sealing

The Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 offers a robust level of weather sealing, with its lens mount fortified by a rubber gasket that inhibits water and dust from penetrating the camera body. Moreover, internal seals, which shield the moving components, such as the zoom and focus rings, from environmental exposure, further amplify this defense. The lens’s external casing is designed to resist dust and moisture, thus enhancing its resilience against adverse conditions. Furthermore, the front element of the lens is treated with a fluorine coating, enabling it to resist water, dust, and dirt, while also making cleaning easier. However, it’s worth noting that while this lens can endure light rain or mist, it isn’t designed for heavy rain exposure or submersion. Therefore, when encountering such conditions, employing extra protection, like a rain cover, is recommended.

In contrast, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 boasts an extensive weather sealing system, comprising a rubber grommet at the lens mount and additional sealing spread across its construction. It encompasses six distinct rubber rings, covering the front element, rear mount, telescoping barrel, zoom ring, and focus ring, enhancing its durability against various environmental conditions. A separate weather seal is present underneath the A/M switch, and the front element of the lens is fluorine-coated to repel water, dust, and dirt, making the lens highly resilient and well-suited for challenging weather.

In this comparison, although both lenses exhibit commendable weather sealing features, the 24-70mm lens appears to offer a more comprehensive sealing system, potentially providing a higher level of protection against various weather conditions. Therefore, if weather sealing is a significant consideration for you, the 24-70mm lens might prove to be the superior choice.


The Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 features two distinct rings – a zoom ring and a control ring. The zoom ring, positioned around the central part of the lens barrel, takes up nearly half its length. This larger ring, accented with a ridged texture, allows for a solid grip. It’s marked at four focal lengths (28, 35, 50, and 75mm), and its smooth action facilitates quick zoom adjustments, even though it has a bit of zoom creep.

The control ring, smaller in size and located closer to the lens mount, can be programmed to manage multiple functions like manual focus, exposure compensation, ISO, or aperture. When switched to manual focus mode, this ring effectively serves as a manual focus ring. Its knurled texture provides an effective grip, but its sensitivity can be somewhat tricky, often reacting to inadvertent nudges. Both rings lack hard stops, making it harder to discern the adjustment limits. A distance scale is shown on the camera’s screen or viewfinder when manual focus is engaged using the control ring.

On the other hand, the Z Nikon 24-70mm f/4 hosts a zoom ring and a focus ring that doubles as a control ring. Positioned near the lens’s front, the zoom ring, marked at 24, 28, 35, 50, and 70mm, spans about two inches and provides a tactile, comfortable grip when rotating.

The focus ring, slender, unmarked, and located closer to the camera body, is covered with rubber ridges and offers a smooth fly-by-wire operation. When used with Nikon Z bodies, this ring can be allocated to other functions such as aperture or exposure compensation. Both rings have a smooth rotation and provide a good ergonomic bevel. There’s no windowed distance scale or depth-of-field indicator on the lens, and the zoom creep is minimal.

In comparison, the 24-70mm lens offers a slight edge due to its comfortable and tactile grip, and the minimal zoom creep, enhancing the user experience and operational ease.


The Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 adopts a minimalist approach when it comes to switches and buttons. Indeed, it has no physical buttons or switches on the lens body. Instead, it incorporates a control ring on the lens barrel, with functional adjustments being made through the camera’s menu system. Although this might initially seem less intuitive to some photographers, it contributes to the lens’s overall compactness and lightweight nature, which can enhance user comfort during prolonged use.

On the contrary, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 sports a single A/M switch that enables a quick shift between autofocus (AF) and manual focus (MF) modes. The A/M switch is the sole control switch on the lens, which makes it simple to locate and operate. However, it lacks additional controls like a focus limiter or an Image Stabilization (IS) switch.

To compare, both lenses take divergent design philosophies. The 24-70mm lens provides a more traditional and intuitive approach with a dedicated AF/MF switch. The 28-75mm lens, on the other hand, promotes a more streamlined design, favoring menu-based controls and a multi-function control ring, which can be more convenient for photographers seeking a lightweight and compact lens design.

From a simplicity and ease-of-use standpoint, the 24-70mm lens has a slight advantage with its A/M switch offering quick manual and autofocus toggling. But, if you value compactness and weight reduction, and you don’t mind relying on the camera’s menu for control adjustments, the 28-75mm lens’s minimalist design is preferable.

Filter Thread

Starting with the Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8, it features a 67mm filter thread size, which is relatively smaller compared to lenses like the 24-70mm that boasts a 72mm filter thread. Constructed of plastic, the thread is not as durable as metal variants, but its lighter weight and flexibility can be advantages, especially in the event of accidental drops. The lens employs internal focusing, which keeps the front element and filter thread stationary during focusing. This design is particularly beneficial when using polarizing or graduated filters, as it ensures the filter orientation remains consistent during focus adjustments, resulting in uniform image outcomes. Moreover, 67mm filters are fairly common and often cheaper than larger sizes, enhancing availability and affordability.

In contrast, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 possesses a larger 72mm filter thread size, implying a wider range of compatible filters. This lens probably employs either metal or high-quality plastic for the thread, suggesting better durability and a secure fit for filters. Similar to the 28-75mm lens, its front element and filter thread remain stationary during focusing, which is a significant benefit when using filters that depend on specific orientations. Given its size, it offers a wide filter compatibility, though larger filters can be more expensive.

Both lenses in this comparison maintain the orientation of filters during focusing, which is advantageous for consistent results.

From a convenience and cost standpoint, the 28-75mm lens has a slight edge due to the commonness and affordability of its 67mm filters. However, if durability and a wider filter compatibility are of utmost importance to you, the 24-70mm lens and its likely more robust 72mm filter thread proves superior.

Lens Hood

The Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 comes with a petal-shaped HB-93A lens hood in the package, made from plastic material. Despite not reaching the durability level of the hood provided with the 24-70mm lens, it effectively serves its purpose. It employs a straightforward finish with no extraordinary aesthetic elements, but its functionality is not diminished. The hood locks securely on the lens’s 67mm filter thread, preventing unintentional detachment, and it can be easily rotated for attachment and removal. Importantly, it features a reversible design, allowing it to be flipped and reattached to the lens for compact transportation, a crucial aspect when storage or space is limited. Some may find the plastic construction less premium, but it ably reduces lens flare and safeguards the lens element.

On the other hand, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 is supplied with an HB-85 petal lens hood. It is a bayonet type, sculpted to accommodate the lens’s wide 24mm position. Like the 28-75mm’s hood, it seems to be mostly plastic, but the texture may feel somewhat coarse to touch. The hood bayonets securely in place, demonstrating no likelihood of accidental dislodgment, even without a locking catch. It benefits from an ergonomic bevel and smooth rotation, enabling effortless attachment and detachment. When reversed, it may require a firm twist to lock it into position, although this might vary between individual samples.

Both lens hoods here offer secure attachment and effective light reflection prevention. The 28-75mm lens hood’s reversibility for compact storage provides a noteworthy convenience, while the 24-70mm lens hood’s ergonomic bevel could make handling easier.

Focusing and Optical Stabilization

Nikon NIKKOR Z 28-75mm F2.8Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F4 S
AF MotorStepper motorStepper motor
Rotating Front ElementDoes not rotate on focusingDoes not rotate on focusing
Min Focus Distance0.19m(28mm);0.39m(75mm)0.3m
Max Magnification (X)0.340.3
Full-Time Manual FocusYesYes
Focus MethodInternalInternal

Focusing Performance

The Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 delivers commendable autofocus performance, effectively adjusting focus quietly, quickly, and accurately. This functionality is key for scenarios that require stealth, such as wildlife or event photography. The autofocus speed is reasonably fast and suitable for most general applications. The lens swiftly moves from infinity to a close range of 0.85m, contributing to its utility in a variety of photographic situations. In low-light environments, its f/2.8 maximum aperture enhances performance by allowing more light to enter the lens, providing an edge over lenses with smaller apertures, such as an f/4 zoom lens. The lens can accurately track and maintain focus on moving subjects, showcasing its proficiency in capturing dynamic moments. However, it is not entirely immune to slight focus hunting near its minimum focusing distance.

Manual focus override is available, but its manual focusing experience can be slightly challenging due to the absence of hard stops on the control ring, which could make precision adjustments more difficult. However, this would mainly be an issue for photographers who frequently switch to manual focus. The lens maintains a constant length regardless of focus and zoom changes due to its internal focusing design, which can be beneficial for handling and preventing dust intrusion. As for focus breathing, the lens exhibits minimal shift in apparent focal length during focus changes, making it suitable for video applications.

Conversely, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 showcases impressive autofocus performance, achieving virtually silent and quick focusing. With an impressive swiftness in focusing, it can rapidly shift its attention, requiring only 0.35 seconds to transition from infinity to 0.8m while utilizing a 70mm focal length. This lens also excels in varying light conditions, quickly acquiring autofocus in low-light situations. Like the 28-75mm lens, it permits manual focus override. The focus ring on the 24-70mm lens is smooth and responsive, making manual adjustments more intuitive.

The lens exhibits an internally focusing design, ensuring the length of the lens remains constant irrespective of focus and zoom changes. Additionally, the front element does not rotate during focusing, a significant advantage when using polarizing filters. For video applications, the minimal focus breathing of this lens allows for consistent image size during focus adjustments, which is crucial for professional-grade video work.

Overall, both lenses offer commendable autofocus performance, each with their own strengths. The 24-70mm lens demonstrates faster autofocus speed and superior handling of manual focus adjustments. However, the 28-75mm lens’s performance in low-light conditions due to its larger maximum aperture should not be overlooked. If quick autofocus and superior manual focus override experience are paramount, the 24-70mm lens is a better choice. However, if you frequently shoot in low-light conditions and require a lens with versatile focusing capabilities, the 28-75mm lens could be more suitable.

Optical Stabilization

The Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8, though devoid of an inbuilt Optical Image Stabilization (OIS), harmonizes effectively with in-camera stabilization systems available in select Nikon models. With the Nikon Z9, for instance, this lens can utilize the camera’s internal stabilization, leading to an observed 3 to 4 stops of improvement. The resultant stabilization allows for slower shutter speeds, consequently mitigating potential image blur due to minor camera movements.

On the other hand, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 comes equipped with a robust optical stabilization system, delivering up to 5 stops of improvement, which outperforms the standard 1 / focal length handheld rule. The in-built stabilization operates quietly, making it an excellent fit for both photography and videography. In combination with the in-body image stabilization (IBIS) of Nikon Z cameras, this lens provides enhanced results. The full utilization of all 5 axes of stabilization by Z-mount lenses, encompassing pitch, yaw, roll, X, and Y movements, allows for more precise stabilization. Despite the shutter speed being dependent on the focal length and stabilization settings, this lens can still produce sharp images at slower speeds such as 1/5 sec or even 0.4 sec.

In summary, both lenses are capable of interacting with in-camera stabilization systems, but only the 24-70mm lens has its own in-built optical stabilization. Consequently, in scenarios where image stability is paramount, such as handheld shooting in low light conditions or video recording, the 24-70mm lens, with its advanced stabilization features, would have the upper hand. However, it’s important to note that for scenarios where a tripod can be used, such as landscape or interior photography, the need for optical stabilization becomes less significant. Considering the 28-75mm lens’ compatibility with in-camera stabilization, it still serves as a commendable choice for photographers who primarily use a tripod or shoot in environments with sufficient lighting.

Image Quality

Nikon NIKKOR Z 28-75mm F2.8Nikon NIKKOR Z 24-70mm F4 S
Special Elements3 aspherical elements, 1 ED element, 1 Super ED element1 aspherical ED + 1 ED + 3 aspherical elements, Nano Crystal and fluorine coatings
Diaphragm Blades97


When it comes to aberration control, the Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 delivers commendable results. Chromatic aberration, exhibited as colorful halos around high-contrast boundaries in images, remains impressively minimal across various focal lengths and apertures, averaging about 1.5 pixels. While relatively negligible in day-to-day photography, this could become noticeable in scenarios demanding the utmost image precision.

As for coma, a distortion that can twist light points in image corners, the 28-75mm lens is not typically the primary choice for contexts such as astrophotography where coma could be highly conspicuous. In the sphere of spherical aberration, the lens shows signs of spherochromatism—an advanced form of chromatic aberration—which may lead to green and magenta fringes in out-of-focus highlights at larger apertures. Although evident, it’s worth noting that spherochromatism is not an indicator of substandard lens quality; it’s quite typical in fast, moderately focal length lenses.

On the flip side, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 displays an extraordinary capacity to manage aberrations. Chromatic aberration, both lateral and longitudinal, is almost imperceptible and can be easily corrected during post-processing.

Coma distortion, too, is handled adeptly, particularly at the edges, marking this lens as suitable for astrophotography or capturing nighttime urban landscapes. Spherical aberration barely leaves a trace in this lens, with only minor evidence of spherochromatism visible under particular circumstances. The ability of this lens to control chromatic aberration, coma, and spherical aberration is indeed exceptional, given its focal range and aperture.

In conclusion, while both lenses manage chromatic aberration effectively, the 24-70mm lens’s outstanding control over multiple forms of aberration—including chromatic, coma, and spherical—sets it apart. It’s a superb choice for photographers aiming for perfection, especially in situations like astrophotography where aberration control is paramount. That said, the 28-75mm lens still holds its ground as a quality choice for general photography, where minor aberrations are less likely to impact the final image.


In terms of sharpness, the Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 showcases robust performance. Its center sharpness remains stellar across an array of focal lengths and apertures, providing crisp images consistently. When examining this lens at 28mm, 35mm, and 50mm, it retains impressive center sharpness from a wide-open aperture of f/2.8 up to f/11. However, the sharpness begins to lessen at f/16 and f/22 due to diffraction effects. Corner sharpness reveals a more varied story: at 28mm, corners are at their sharpest at f/5.6, while at f/2.8, especially at 50mm, the corners manifest less impressive sharpness.

Nonetheless, stepping down to f/4 brings noticeable improvements in corner sharpness. Similarly, at wider angles, reducing aperture to f/4 or f/5.6 enhances contrast and sharpness. But beyond f/16, diffraction-induced softness becomes evident. The lens performs better at 75mm in terms of corner sharpness compared to 50mm but shows some central fuzziness at f/2.8. Still, reducing aperture to f/4 results in overall center sharpness enhancement. The optimal sharpness for this lens is achieved at f/4 for center sharpness and at f/5.6 for midframe and corner sharpness.

Contrarily, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 displays incredible sharpness across its focal range, with central sharpness being particularly notable. Corner sharpness is generally excellent, albeit it may be marginally softer at broader apertures. Even at a fully open aperture, the lens maintains exceptional sharpness, which can be enhanced further by reducing aperture to f/5.6 or f/8. The optimal sharpness for this lens is typically achieved between f/5.6 and f/8, contingent on the exact focal length.

Summarizing, the 24-70mm lens shines in terms of overall sharpness, owing to its exceptional performance across the focal range and varying apertures. Meanwhile, the 28-75mm lens performs commendably in central sharpness but struggles with maintaining consistent sharpness in the corners, particularly at wider apertures and focal lengths. Therefore, for photographers seeking superior edge-to-edge sharpness, the 24-70mm lens would be the superior choice. However, the 28-75mm lens still offers a solid option for those prioritizing central sharpness, especially at shorter focal lengths.

Bokeh Quality

The Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 delivers a rather appealing bokeh, courtesy of its nine-blade rounded aperture diaphragm and quick maximum aperture. This configuration aids in achieving a desirable softness in the out-of-focus zones, thereby granting photographers the flexibility to craft images exhibiting a pleasing shallow depth of field effect.

However, the bokeh may occasionally exhibit strongly outlined edges in the out-of-focus specular highlights, which could potentially yield a slightly busier look, depending on the background. This effect is more apparent when photographing at close-focus distances, where out-of-focus elements are gently depicted. However, it is worth noting that the bokeh’s appeal can fluctuate with the backdrop—certain contexts may present it as more visually satisfying than others. When compared with the Z 24-70mm F2.8 S lens, the bokeh doesn’t exhibit the same level of softness and cleanliness but nonetheless does an admirable job in rendering out-of-focus areas.

Conversely, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 creates a generally pleasing and attractive bokeh, although it may not attain the level of creaminess sought by some photographers. The quality of the bokeh is predominantly smooth, with no prominent issues to highlight. Although it might not be the top pick for out-of-focus backdrops, zooming in to 70mm and employing f/4 can yield pleasing results. Nevertheless, the assessment of bokeh quality is somewhat subjective, with personal preferences holding considerable sway over what is regarded as beautiful or smooth.

In summary, both lenses produce an appealing bokeh, with the 28-75mm lens having the edge when it comes to creating a softer background due to its fast maximum aperture. However, the 24-70mm lens’s bokeh, while not as creamy, offers consistency and smoothness. Thus, if a photographer seeks a smoother overall bokeh, the 24-70mm lens would be preferable. But for those who value a softer out-of-focus area and the flexibility of a fast maximum aperture, the 28-75mm lens might be the superior choice.


The Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 demonstrates effective control of flare and ghosting, particularly at shorter focal lengths. Essential to managing these artifacts is the judicious positioning of intense light sources and the utilization of the lens hood. For instance, it’s recommended to sidestep placing the light source directly in the center when using the lens’s long end to avoid creating a pronounced halo with a noticeable rainbow border. Sunstars form at smaller apertures such as f/11 or f/16, particularly at the broadest focal length of 28mm, which is considered acceptable for a lens in its category. However, its double-pronged spikes might not exude the same aesthetic appeal as sharper spikes from other lenses.

This lens, akin to many zoom lenses with multiple elements, may exhibit increased ghosting and reflections when the sun is incorporated into the frame. However, it handles this phenomenon better than average when compared to Nikon’s mirrorless lenses. The lens does show some red dot flare, a commonality among mirrorless lenses, but it retains high contrast even with the sun included in the frame. Shooting at wide angles minimizes concerns related to flaring. Moreover, utilizing appropriate shooting techniques, such as a smaller aperture and a strategic angle relative to the light source, yields commendable performance against bright light. All things considered, Nikon has done an admirable job managing flare and ghosting with this lens.

In contrast, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 excels in controlling flare and ghosting, maintaining a strong contrast even when shooting against intense light sources. Incidences of flare and ghosting are minimal, particularly when compared to other lenses in its class. The implementation of a nano crystal coating furthers the lens’s ability to mitigate ghosting and flaring, assuring optimal image quality even under challenging lighting conditions.

In summary, both lenses perform admirably in controlling flare and ghosting. However, the 24-70mm lens has a slight edge to handle such light artifacts and maintains better contrast under harsh lighting conditions.


Starting with the Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8, this lens presents discernible vignetting, particularly when used wide open at an aperture of f/2.8. This effect is most evident at both extremes of the focal length spectrum – at 28mm and 75mm. Despite the application of the inbuilt lens profile meant to counteract vignetting, the extreme corners witness only a 0.5 EV lift. However, the lens does provide a vignetting control setting that can be modulated between normal and high, based on the user’s preference. Notably, while shooting uniformly lit surfaces like plain walls, the vignetting may become quite conspicuous.

However, in a majority of cases, where the scene comprises multiple elements, the effect is not overly intrusive or undesirable. Some photographers may even welcome this effect as it can potentially guide the viewer’s attention towards the center of the image. Post-processing applications such as Adobe Lightroom or Capture One Pro, with their lens profiles, can help alleviate this optical distortion. If JPEG capture mode is used, automatic in-camera corrections will assist in resolving these issues, but for raw shooting, post-processing corrections would be beneficial. The vignetting effect does lessen as the lens is stopped down.

Switching to the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4, it exhibits substantial vignetting, particularly at wider apertures and focal lengths such as 24mm and 70mm. The result is over two stops of light falloff in the extreme corners when shooting wide open. Reducing the aperture to f/5.6 or f/8 can help curb vignetting, but it won’t be completely eradicated. Using lens profiles can further mitigate this effect, yet some residual light falloff may persist. The lens maintains commendable overall performance despite this, and any residual vignetting can be addressed in post-processing if deemed necessary.

In summary, both lenses display noticeable vignetting, particularly at their extremes of focal lengths. However, the 28-75mm lens offers an advantage with its vignetting control setting, allowing photographers more direct control over the vignetting effect. Also, the vignetting is less pronounced in busier scenes, potentially adding an artistic touch. Although vignetting in the 24-70mm lens can be mitigated to some extent by using smaller apertures and applying lens profiles, it still remains more significant compared to the 28-75mm lens. Therefore, when it comes to managing vignetting, the 28-75mm lens presents a slight edge.


Beginning with the Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8, this lens showcases two types of distortions – barrel and pincushion – across different focal lengths. At the wider end, at 28mm, visible barrel distortion imparts a slightly ‘bulging’ characteristic to the image, a trait common to wide-angle lenses. This distortion becomes most apparent when photographing straight-lined objects located towards the edges of the frame. As you zoom in, this lens distortion gradually shifts to pincushion, especially conspicuous at the maximum 75mm focal length. Pincushion distortion tends to give the impression of the image sides bowing inward, an effect typically noticeable in telephoto lenses.

Despite these distortions, in-camera distortion compensation and post-processing tools such as Adobe Lightroom can significantly minimize these effects when using the lens’s specific profiles. If shooting in RAW, remember that Adobe’s RAW converter always treats the camera’s distortion compensation setting as switched ON. While the lens exhibits some degree of distortion, it also offers admirable sharpness and contrast across a range of apertures and focal lengths. The lens distortion is most pronounced at the extremes of the zoom range and almost disappears towards the middle of the zoom spectrum. However, it’s worth noting that unless the scene contains straight lines, lens distortion generally doesn’t significantly influence most types of photography, such as portraiture or nature photography.

Moving on to the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4, it presents considerable distortion, with pronounced pincushion distortion at 70mm and apparent barrel distortion at the wider end. At around 28mm, the lens achieves near-perfect linearity before descending into pincushion distortion. However, these distortions can effectively be nullified with automatic lens profile corrections in post-processing tools like Lightroom and Nikon Capture NX, rendering them less noticeable for most users.

In summary, both lenses display some level of distortion at different focal lengths, with barrel distortion at wider ends and pincushion distortion at longer focal lengths. However, these effects can be minimized using in-camera corrections and post-processing tools. Between the two, the 24-70mm lens has the advantage of maintaining near-perfect linearity around the 28mm mark, before the pincushion distortion sets in. Therefore, in terms of managing distortion, the 24-70mm lens appears to hold a slight advantage over the 28-75mm lens.

Final Verdict

After taking into account all the elements discussed, we arrive at a comprehensive and well-considered verdict.

The Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8, with its larger maximum aperture, is a sterling choice for low-light photography, portraiture, and scenarios where a shallower depth of field can add to the creative vision. This lens, due to its commendable sharpness in the central areas, compatibility with in-camera stabilization, and manageable distortion, is an attractive proposition for general photography where central sharpness is a priority. Furthermore, it offers superior control over vignetting, making it an apt choice for photographers seeking direct control over this effect or wishing to add an artistic touch to their images. Its slightly softer bokeh and more affordable price point make it a compelling option for those prioritizing a dreamy out-of-focus area and cost-effectiveness.

In contrast, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 presents a compelling case for landscape, interiors, and astrophotography, due to its slightly wider angle at the short end, superior edge-to-edge sharpness, and stellar control over multiple forms of aberration. This lens also excels in handling manual focus adjustments, controlling flare and ghosting, and offers its own in-built optical stabilization, making it a superior choice for handheld shooting in low-light conditions or video recording. Its stronger weather sealing system ensures higher resilience against adverse weather conditions. Although it has a smaller maximum aperture, its consistency across the focal range and its superior management of distortion make it suitable for professional use where versatility and durability are required. Its slightly smoother bokeh lends an elegant touch to the images.

To wrap it up, each lens has its unique strengths tailored to specific genres and scenarios. The 28-75mm lens is a strong contender for those seeking a softer bokeh, stronger central sharpness, and a cost-effective lens with robust vignetting control. On the other hand, the 24-70mm lens, with its impressive edge-to-edge sharpness, in-built optical stabilization, and superior aberration control, presents a clear edge for photographers requiring a versatile and resilient lens for diverse shooting conditions.

Meet the Author

Wei Mao

Wei was a cruise photographer who worked at Disney Cruise Line. He is a lucky traveler who has been to more than 20 countries with his camera while working on an around-the-world cruise. Photography has changed his view of the world forever. Now he wants more people to benefit from photography through his blog.

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