Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Lens Review for Mirrorless Cameras
The Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is a workhorse lens – especially in the realm of wedding photography, where I use it the most.
Of course, it can be used for landscapes and as a general-purpose lens as well, although the f/4 S version is lighter and smaller and probably a better fit for most uses.
However, for weddings and events, the beautiful and bright f/2.8 aperture is a necessity, and worth the added bulk and weight.
I have used this same focal length lens in various mounts throughout the years and have found the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S to be the sharpest of the bunch.
Considering this focal range will probably be used in the majority of your images, this high-end Nikon lens had better be great.
Table of Contents
Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Specs
- Incredibly sharp
- Decent close-up focusing ability
- Excellent weather sealing
- No chromatic aberration
- Excellent for video
- Heavy and bulky
- Focal Length: 24 to 70mm
- Maximum Aperture: f/2.8
- Minimum Aperture: f/22
- Lens Mount: Nikon Z
- Lens Format Coverage: Full-Frame
- Angle of View: 84° to 34° 20′
- Minimum Focus Distance: 1.25′ / 38 cm
- Maximum Magnification: 0.22x
- Optical Design: 17 Elements in 15 Groups
- Diaphragm Blades: 9
- Focus Type: Autofocus
- Image Stabilization: No
- Filter Size: 82 mm (Front)
- Dimensions (ø x L): 3.5 x 4.96″ / 89 x 126 mm
- Length at Maximum Extension: 6.15″ / 156.3 mm
- Weight: 28.4 oz / 805 g
Build & Ergonomics
All of the Nikon Z lenses I own and have used have been built incredibly well, and the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is no different. I have been knocking it around at weddings for over a year now and it performs and acts like new.
The lens is weather-sealed and I’ve used it in many a rainstorm and snowstorm with no ill effects.
While it is lighter and smaller than previous F mount versions, I still find the lens to be a bit heavy and bulky. However, a fast aperture workhorse lens like this probably needs to be, and if it’s an issue for you, consider the Nikon Z 24mm f/1.8 prime instead.
In the image above, I had the bride and groom do a dance together on a deck overlooking a lake during blue hour. I used the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S along with a constant light and tracked them.
The two AF motors built into this lens make it easy for me to obtain a variety of sharp images in the series.
Focus was fast and accurate on all of my shots despite the fairly low light. I use this lens for dance floor reception photos as well with no issues.
The Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens has some unique features you may find useful.
In addition to the focus and zoom rings, you will see another control ring closer to the mount. This can be customized for a variety of functions, like changing ISO, f-stop or shutter speed, and a host of other options via the camera’s menu.
The L-fn buttons around the lens can also be programmed to do similar functions for you.
The screen on the lens can show you focus distance, f-stop value, and depth of field indicators.
When it comes to image quality, the Nikon Z 24-70mm lens gives me nothing to complain about.
The modern Z lenses (especially the S line) are very sharp, even wide open, and the the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is no exception.
I often use this lens for my “landscape” wedding images, where I shoot wide taking in the entire scene and place my bride and groom within the frame.
These images are meant to be displayed as wall art and hence I need the sharpness of the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens.
The bokeh is pleasing, although I prefer the Nikon Z 50mm f/1.2 for the ultimate in blurred backgrounds.
I have not seen any chromatic aberration when using the lens and distortion in mirrorless cameras is rarely seen due to software corrections.
While this is not a macro lens, I have used it for detail shots at weddings since it can focus at a fairly close distance.
Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Sample Images
Here are some sample images taken with the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, using a Nikon Z 6 II.
Alternatives to the Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8
Nikon has recently released a slew of lenses in this very similar focal range, along with their original release, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/4 S.
Also in the S range (Nikon considers these to be their top performers) for longer reach is the Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S that’s sure to be a hit with travel photographers.
If you’re in need of that fast f/2.8 aperture, try the Nikon Z 28-75mm f/2.8 lens. It is not branded with the S line badge but is smaller, lighter and less expensive than this S version. However, you will lose out on the wide end by 4mm.
What Nikon is lacking in this range is an exotic lens such as the Canon 28-70mm f/2 RF lens. I’d definitely be interested in a Z version of that lens.
Value for Money
At around US$2,000, the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S is not inexpensive – but it is in line with its rivals such as the Sony FE 24-70mm f/2.8 GM.
You could use your Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Lens with a Nikon FTZ2 adapter, but the quality of the new mirrorless lenses across all brands rivals that of their DSLR counterparts.
If you want the best quality in this focal range, then this lens is good value as it will last you for years.
Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S Review | Conclusion
If I were to hire a second photographer to shoot alongside me at weddings and all they had was the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S in their bag, I’d be fine with that. It’s such a valuable focal length that shooting an entire event with it as your sole lens is not out of the question.
I do love to shoot even faster prime lenses at weddings, but I will always have a workhorse lens like this available to me. It helps me do my job more efficiently and the quality is incredibly high.
For landscape or general photography users who want the highest image quality they can get in this focal range, then the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S should definitely be in their gear bag.
Disclaimer: All recommendations are impartial and based on user experience, with no bias to the products or the brand. The products in this post may contain affiliate links.