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AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 G ED

Professional zoom lens

What the heck am I going to do with a pro lens like this fine Nikkor? We'll, I wouldn't be able to gain the experience if didn't get one, would I?

I finally got my hands on this lens and learned that it was initially released sometime 2007 as mentioned in the manual. I've heard a lot that one can't go wrong with a Nikkor glass. So I hope the money spent on this lens will pay off for my satisfaction and curiosity, since I'm not going to recoup any of the expense because I'm not using photography to make money.

Again, this focal range may be somewhat "off" for a DX camera such as my D40, but as I have a plan to go full frame should I win the lotto, so be it.

Packaging

The lens came with a carrying case (CL-M3) and lens hood (HB-40) in addition to the usual stuff like manual and international warranty certificate.

CL-M3 carrying case Compared to Tamron SP AF28-75 f/2.8 Di XR LD [IF]

Specifications

I'm not going to repeat what the manufacturer said here.

Initial impressions

Big and heavy. Coming in at nearly 1kg (900 gm), it seems that the lens mount of my D40 is going to break with this lens attached. I'm just kidding... the D40 isn't that flimsy.

It does look odd mounted on a small DSLR body like the D40. But what the heck, I want to know how good a professional Nikkor glass really is.

The build is, without a doubt, leaps better than Tamron lenses, and nothing that resembles the non-professional, entry level AF-S Nikkor 18-55mm kit lens. The only thing that is plastic in the construction isn't in the lens itself, but the lens hood and lens caps.

The zoom ring has a nice, smooth and well damped operation. The same can be said about the focus ring. There is no exhibit of play or looseness that I experienced with the Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 I tested before.

There is no aperture ring on this model, so changing the aperture must be made from the camera body.

The only switch (hey, this is plastic) is the M/A-M slider between the focus and zoom rings.

Basic features

I wanted this lens because it offers consistent f/2.8 aperture throughout its focal range. While the maximum aperture is f/2.8, I can vary it to as small as f/22 by setting it in the camera body.

I find the minimum focusing distance to be a nice feature at just over a foot (15"), from the image plane.

As a professional quality glass, I expect to have some form of protection from the environment, and it does. It features dust and moisture resistance, which is good. I was hoping it has shock resistance up to 5G but I must be dreaming.

The filter size is big at 77mm. This means that every filter I can think of, including but not limited to ND, GND, UV, IR, are going to be expensive. And speaking of filters, since this glass features IF, I will be able to use CPL filters without too much bother, as the lens front element does not rotate.

The hood is BIG. Just look at the picture above once more to see how big the hood is. The latch is also made of metal. Most likely one more reason why this lens is expensive.

It does not have VR. Who cares for VR in this focal range anyway. Nah, I'm just sour griping and would probably cry when a VR version of this lens comes out.

Handling and use

Did I say it's heavy? Yes, it is heavy. However, I still feel comfortable lugging the D40 around with this big lens attached to it. There's just something about the D40 body design that makes it really easy (and feeling safe) to handle.

With the lens hood attached to it and lens fully extended at 24mm, it is asking for attention - "hey look at me, I'm big!"

There are marks for focal distances 24, 28, 35, 50 and 70mm and also has a window to show the focus distance in meters and feet.

Performance

I'm a sucker for sharpness. With the autofocus speed out of the way, I'd like to know how sharp this lens really is.

My initial, hand held shots, revealed that I'm adjusting to the weight. I was able to get more sharp photos with my Tamron SP AF28-75mm hand held! That's kind of scary because I can't bring a tripod everywhere I go. Besides, a tripod is a great way to become noticed and poses a potential safety issue at most places. Anyway, I'm shooting at home, so I can use a tripod just to see how sharp this glass is.

My initial tests revealed that it is sharp, when used properly. Center and corner sharpness is very good.

I have no instruments to measure sharpness so you better look elsewhere if that is your concern.

So there, I know that I like this lens a lot and is something that I will keep for a really, really long time. Maybe I'll take it with me when I die.

Focusing is very fast even if the lens is relatively heavy. The SWM is doing a superb job here. When the camera is set to AF-C, the focusing tracks really fast as I focus on different objects. I can't wait to try this with action and sports.

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