The Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S has been probably the most extremely anticipated Nikon mirrorless lenses but – however it nearly didn’t exist. In early variations of the Nikon Z roadmap, a 24-105mm was proven as an alternative. Fortunately, Nikon scrapped that plan and finally went with the 24-120mm design we’ve got at this time.
Why fortunately? As a result of with the Z 24-120mm f/4 S, Nikon has made among the finest all-around midrange zooms that I’ve ever examined. It doesn’t fairly attain the lofty heights of the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, which nonetheless units the optical commonplace for midrange zooms. It’s additionally a bit heavier and dearer than some options. But the 24-120mm f/4 S balances these tradeoffs, and extra, extraordinarily nicely. It has superb efficiency, spectacular attain, and an affordable value and weight. It’s near the goal for what a contemporary midrange zoom needs to be.
I’m getting forward of myself, although. In case you’re primarily within the optical efficiency of the Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S, you’ll be able to bounce forward to pages 2 and three of this assessment. There, I’ve accomplished detailed lab and subject checks of the lens’s sharpness and different optical qualities, plus head-to-head comparisons in opposition to its main opponents.
Earlier than that, let’s dive into the function set and specs of the Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S. As anticipated of an S-Line lens, the 24-120mm f/4 S has loads of spectacular options. Nevertheless, it’s not good.
Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S Specs
- Mount Kind: Nikon Z Mount
- Focal Size: 24mm to 120mm zoom (5.0× zoom)
- Angle of View (DX): 61° to 13.3°
- Angle of View (FX): 84° to twenty.3°
- Most Aperture: f/4 in any respect focal lengths
- Minimal Aperture: f/22 in any respect focal lengths
- Aperture Blades: 9, rounded
- Filter Dimension: 77mm
- Lens Components: 16
- Lens Teams: 13
- Particular Components: 7 complete – 3 ED glass, 3 aspherical, 1 ED/aspherical
- ARNEO Coating: Sure
- Nano Crystal Coating: Sure
- Fluorine Coated Entrance Aspect: Sure
- Digital Diaphragm: Sure
- Vibration Discount: No
- Inner Focusing: Sure
- Management Rings: One
- Perform Button: Sure, L-Fn1
- Inner Zooming: No
- Focus Motor: Two stepping motors
- Minimal Focus Distance: 35 cm (1.15 ft) from focal aircraft (in any respect focal lengths)
- Most Magnification: 0.39× at 120mm (1:2.6)
- Mount Materials: Metallic
- Climate/Mud Sealing: Sure
- Dimensions (Size × Diameter): 118 x 84 mm (4.7 x 3.4)
- Weight: 630 g (1.39 lbs)
- MSRP: $1100
- Lowest Value Seen: $1100 by itself; $900 if purchased with a full-frame Z camera (check current price)
For probably the most half, these are some very high-end specs. The coatings and particular lens parts particularly are a signature of Nikon’s high optics. It has a whopping 7 particular parts out of 16 complete, that means that just about half the weather are aspherical, ED glass, or each.
The filter ring is 77mm, which is similar as discovered on the Nikon Z 20mm f/1.8, Z 70-200mm f/2.8 VR S, and Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S lenses. Any of those would pair nicely with the 24-120mm f/4 S, permitting you to share filters throughout lenses if you would like. On some other Nikon Z lenses, nonetheless, you’ll want separate filters for every lens. (Or you’ll be able to put step-up rings on the lens with smaller filter threads.)
One other noteworthy specification of the 24-120mm f/4 S is the utmost magnification of 0.39x. That’s very excessive for something aside from a devoted macro lens; it means you’ll be able to fill the body with a topic that’s simply 3.6 inches / 92 mm throughout (assuming a full-frame camera).
Though true macro images is 1x magnification or higher, much less demanding manufactures generally name their lenses “macro” in the event that they attain simply 0.5x magnification. Nikon (accurately) doesn’t label the 24-120mm f/4 S as a macro lens, however it nonetheless has nice potential for close-up images.
The largest concern with the Z 24-120mm f/4 S’s specs is that it lacks vibration discount. That’s not a problem as long as your camera physique has IBIS. However virtually talking, it makes the 24-120mm f/4 S a questionable selection for any Nikon Z cameras with out IBIS, such because the Z30, Z50, and Zfc.
That’s a disgrace, as a result of I may see Nikon DX customers choosing this lens as a part of an eventual FX improve path, most likely paired with the 14-30mm f/4 S. As a substitute, I’m left recommending the Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR to such photographers, because it not less than has vibration discount. (The 24-200mm VR isn’t a nasty lens, as you’ll be able to see in our assessment, however narrow-aperture superzooms aren’t for everybody.)
Nikon stored down the Z 24-120mm f/4 S’s weight fairly nicely, despite the fact that it’s not the lightest zoom of their lineup. What issues is usability, although, and I don’t thoughts retaining this lens glued to my camera all day. Particularly, it’s not an excessive amount of heavier than the Z 24-70mm f/4 S or the Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR. (That mentioned, it’s noticeably wider and extra bulbous than each.)
From lightest to heaviest, listed here are numerous midrange zooms for Nikon Z and different techniques, to see the 24-120mm f/4 S in context:
- Nikon Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3: 195 g
- Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S: 500 g
- Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8: 565 g
- Nikon Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR: 570 g
- Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S: 630 g
- Sony 24-105mm f/4 G OSS: 663 g
- Canon RF 24-105mm f/4 L IS: 700 g
- Nikon F 24-120mm f/4G VR: 710 g
- Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8: 805 g
Regardless of some lighter choices within the Nikon Z lineup, it is a good exhibiting for the 24-120mm f/4 S. Importantly, this lens weighs lower than its F-mount predecessor. A photographer switching from, say, a Nikon D750 + 24-120mm f/4G to a mix just like the Z6 II + Z 24-120mm f/4 S can count on to avoid wasting about half a pound / 215 grams, whereas getting higher efficiency total. (Extra on the lens’s efficiency on the subsequent web page of this assessment.)
Most likely much less related to real-world images – though extra related to on-line flame wars – is that the 24-120mm f/4 S is lighter than Sony’s and Canon’s related lenses. Nikon managed this regardless of zooming to 120mm the place the Sony and Canon cease at 105mm. Nevertheless, the Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S doesn’t have picture stabilization, whereas the opposite two lenses do, which accounts for a number of the distinction.
Construct High quality
As a way to preserve the burden down considerably, Nikon designed the Z 24-120mm f/4 S with primarily plastic externals, apart from the management ring and the closest portion of the barrel to the camera. That is commonplace fare for Nikon Z lenses. In case you’re averse to plastic development, you don’t have many choices on at this time’s market anyway; plastic has clearly overtaken steel as the fabric of selection for lens firms, even on high-end optics like Nikon’s S line.
That mentioned, I’m a fan of plastic development anyway. It saves weight in comparison with steel, doesn’t get as chilly in chilly situations, and (relying on the lens) could be extra sturdy/immune to dents and dings over time. The Z 24-120mm f/4 S’s plastic feels reassuring in-hand and didn’t scratch simply throughout my months with the lens.
As for the remainder of the lens’s construct high quality, the most important concern is that the Z 24-120mm f/4 S has a twin telescoping lens barrel. As you zoom in, the lens extends considerably:
It’s not a shocking design for such a lens, besides, a twin telescoping barrel (versus only one extending barrel, or an inner zoom) could be weaker in the long term. If it suffers a tough bump or a small drop when the barrel is prolonged, the 24-120mm f/4 S stands the next danger of decentering in comparison with some lenses. I all the time ensure to zoom it again to 24mm when touring.
The excellent news is that the twin telescoping barrel on the Z 24-120mm f/4 S appears constructed to tight tolerances. I don’t discover any wobble at 120mm, even when I attempt to wiggle it round. That’s removed from a given on lenses like this.
Nikon says the Z 24-120mm f/4 S is sealed in opposition to mud and moisture, besides, I’m all the time cautious to wipe down the telescoping barrel once I use this lens in harsh situations, earlier than zooming again to 24mm. I used it in a few rainstorms with out concern, so the climate sealing clearly works – however there’s nonetheless some danger in comparison with an inner zoom or prime lens.
The Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S handles as anticipated, with the same old button structure and options for a comparatively high-end Nikon S-series zoom. Whereas there isn’t an illuminated show or focus limiter swap, there’s a single “L-Fn” operate button on the left-hand facet. There are additionally three separate rings on this lens – focus, zoom, and management – which is greater than on some Nikon Z zooms, just like the 24-70mm f/4 S.
To me, the most important dealing with concern with the 24-120mm f/4 S is Nikon’s inconsistency with the place of the rings on their mirrorless lenses basically. Within the DSLR days, nearly each Nikon lens had the zoom ring close to the camera physique and the main focus ring close to the tip of the lens. Now, it’s a free-for-all. In case you pair this lens with the 14-30mm f/4 S and 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 S lenses (absolutely a preferred three-lens package), you’ll discover that every one of many lenses has a distinct association of their zoom/focus/management rings. That makes for a irritating consumer expertise.
Past that, the management ring on the Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S can solely be set to regulate aperture, ISO, or publicity compensation. I discover that it’s straightforward to hit the management ring by chance because it’s positioned so near the camera physique. I simply go away it disabled.
Subsequent up, I’ll cowl the optical traits of the Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S, together with focusing efficiency and sharpness checks within the lab. So, click on the menu beneath to go to the next web page of this assessment, “Optical Options.”
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