Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S review

A modest maximum aperture means the Nikon Z7’s kit lens is small and light

Digital Camera World Verdict

On paper, the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 looks unambitious, but its small size, light weight and great optical performance make it an exceptional companion for the Nikon Z7.

Pros

  • +

    Great optics

  • +

    Small and lightweight

Cons

  • -

    Steep price point

Why you can trust Digital Camera World Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

The Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S is one of two lenses to be released for the new Nikon Z7 (opens in new tab) full-frame mirrorless camera, and for the upcoming Nikon Z6 (opens in new tab) – and is the first zoom  on the Nikon Z lens roadmap (opens in new tab).

This new Z-mount  lens is a million miles from the giant 24-70mm f/2.8 F-mount lenses for Nikon’s DSLR cameras. The Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 S has the same zoom range as these monsters, but is much smaller and lighter.

Update: We've just posted our Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S review (opens in new tab). This is the 'pro' version of Nikon's standard zoom for its Z-mount cameras, and it brings much more than just a faster maximum aperture.

It is one f/stop slower at f/4 compared to f/2.8, but it’s a superb match for the Nikon Z7’s size and shape, and the new camera’s in-body image stabilisation (IBIS) makes wide apertures less vital for low-light shooting. 

This lens’s small size is due in part to a retracting mechanism, which activates when you turn the zoom ring firmly past its 24mm minimum position. The focus ring is customisable: in AF mode, it can be set to control the ISO or EV compensation.

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70 f/4 S • 1/1000s, f/4, ISO 100

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70 f/4 S • 1/1000s, f/4, ISO 100
(opens in new tab)

NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S – lab tests

Sharpness

(opens in new tab)

Centre sharpness is terrific and edge sharpness is unusually good for a standard zoom lens, beating the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 DSLR lens and matching Sony’s legendary 24-70mm f/2.8 G Master.

Fringing: 0.19

(nearer 0 is better)
Colour fringing is well controlled, even right at the edges of the frame. It’s an uncommonly good performance from an all-purpose standard zoom lens.

Distortion: 0.18

(nearer 0 is better)
Compared to other lenses of this type, the distortion levels are so low as to be practically non-existent. The specs may be modest, but this lens is a stellar performer.

Verdict

On paper, the Nikkor Z 24-70mm f/4 looks unambitious, but its small size, light weight and great optical performance make it an exceptional companion for the Nikon Z7.

Shot on the Nikon Z7 with Nikkor Z 24-70 f/4 S • 1/160sec at f/6.3, ISO 100
(opens in new tab)

NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S – specifications

Full-frame compatible: Yes
Elements/groups: 14/11
Minimum focus distance: 0.3m
Max magnification factor: 0.3x
Manual focus override: Yes
Focus limit switches: No
Internal focus: Yes
Filter size: 72mm
Iris blades: 7
Weather seals: Yes
Supplied accessories: Hood, soft case
Dimensions: 77.5 x 88.5mm
Weight: 500g

Read more: 99 things you need to know about Nikon's full-frame mirrorless system (opens in new tab)


Feature:
Nikon Z7 and Z6 – what was Nikon's thinking (opens in new tab)

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Rod Lawton
Contributor

Rod is an independent photography journalist and editor, and a long-standing Digital Camera World contributor, having previously worked as DCW's Group Reviews editor. Before that he has been technique editor on N-Photo, Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar, as well as contributing to many other publications. He has been writing about photography technique, photo editing and digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. He has used and reviewed practically every interchangeable lens camera launched in the past 20 years, from entry-level DSLRs to medium format cameras, together with lenses, tripods, gimbals, light meters, camera bags and more. Rod has his own camera gear blog at fotovolo.com (opens in new tab) but also writes about photo-editing applications and techniques at lifeafterphotoshop.com (opens in new tab)