Bigger, better, faster, more. The Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR is anything but a standard zoom, and we put it through its paces to see how it performs.
Price: £1850, $2400
Nikon’s classic 24-70mm f/2.8 standard zoom has been replaced by a new model. It’s bigger and heavier, with a better feature set, including the addition of an electromagnetically controlled diaphragm that gives more consistent control in continuous drive mode, plus four-stop VR.
Build quality is everything you’d expect from a top-flight Nikon lens. Along with weather seals, the front and rear elements have fluorine coatings to repel moisture and muck.
Despite weighing over a kilogram, handling is refined and reasonably well balanced on big bodies like the D810. The lens extends to as much as 178mm when zooming out to 24mm, or 205mm with the hood attached. However, the hood doesn’t rotate when the inner barrel moves back and forth.
The revamped AF system snaps to attention with amazing speed. Centre sharpness is spectacular, even at f/2.8, although corner sharpness lags behind. Colour fringing is also evident towards the corners of the frame, but this is automatically corrected in recent cameras, or when using Nikon’s RAW processing software.
Barrel distortion is noticeable at 24mm, but of more concern is the fact that vignetting is pronounced at f/2.8 throughout the zoom range. Ghosting and flare can be problematic as well.
Full-frame compatible Yes
Focal length 24-70mm (36-105mm equivalent on DX)
Image stabiliser Yes
Minimum focus distance 0.38-0.41m
Max magnification factor 0.28x
Manual focus override Full-time
Focus limit switch No
Internal zoom No
Internal focus Yes
Filter size 82mm
Diaphragm blades Nine
Weather seals Yes
Supplied accessories Hood, soft case, caps
Dimensions (diameter x length) 88x155mm
We say… Image quality is very pleasing overall, but this lens is not as flawless as we’d have hoped Nikon’s new flagship standard zoom would be, especially at the price.
Value for money: 4/5