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Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED

I had an opportunity to borrow this lens, courtesy of Ken Tamayo, and was able to experience what a professional quality ultra-wide angle can produce.

Initial impressions

This is a true ultra-wide lens with constant f/2.8 aperture across the focal range. As an FX lens, it is designed for FX bodies such as the D3, D3x, and D700. It also works for crop sensor bodies such as my D40.

As an AF-S lens, it will auto focus even with motor-less bodies, such as D40, D40x, and D60. It does not VR which is not a problem for this focal range.

Build quality

This is a pro-level lens and has a superb quality build. At this price range, it better be. It is big and heavy, at around 1kg. It features the Nano coating in one of the elements that has been introduced by Nikon on their recent professional lenses. It also feature  ED glass element for what I've read to be, sharper images.

It is claimed to be dust and moisture resistant, and it should be for what you're paying for. While most of the body is some sort of alloy (magnesium?) the built-in lens hood and provided cap are plastic. The rear cap is the usual bayonet style plastic.

It has a 9-bladed diaphragm that are rounded. This lens can be stopped down to as small as f/22.

It came with a CL-M3 soft case which is the same thing I got from my AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens.

Handling and use

One obvious feature of this lens is the fact that its front element is bulging. I jokingly call this the "Cyclops" because of that. On a serious note, if you knock this accidentally and break it, you'd probably cry. One needs to be really careful in handling this lens. Even with the built-in, fixed lens hood, it is still scary with just the thought some glass element protrudes out.

It does not have a pinch type lens cover, but you get a big "cup" as a cover. You can actually pour water, noodles, or rice with toppings on that lens cap.

It features the usual clutch-mechanism, focus override via the M/A-M switch. Zooming is excellent and seems to be well spaced out.

The focal length markers are 14, 15, 16, 18, 20, and 24mm.

You cannot fit a filter on this lens, front or rear. Other Nikkor lenses such as the super zooms have a slot to fit in a rear 52mm filter. This lens does not have a provision for that.

Performance

Focusing performance even with the D40 is superb. The AF-S really does wonders for lenses at this level.

Image quality is excellent, it is very sharp even wide open, with very little distortion. I don't have professional test equipment to prove you that, so take what I said with a bucket of salt.

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