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

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

Our 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.

For

  • Great optics
  • Small and lightweight

Against

  • Steep price point

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

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. 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

NIKKOR Z 24-70mm f/4 S – lab tests

Sharpness

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

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

Image 1 of 2

Image 2 of 2

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


Feature:
Nikon Z7 and Z6 – what was Nikon's thinking

Rod Lawton

Rod is the Group Reviews editor for Digital Camera World and across Future's entire photography portfolio. Previously he has been Head of Testing for the photography division and Camera Channel editor on TechRadar. He has been writing about digital cameras since they first appeared, and before that began his career writing about film photography. 


Rod's near-encyclopedic knowledge of cameras both old and new makes him an invaluable resource, whether we need to ask a question about transparencies or the latest X-Trans sensor. He owns all manner of cameras, from Nikon DSLRs through Olympus, Sony and Fujifilm bodies, and on any given day you'll see him using kit from just about every manufacturer.