Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 24-70 mm f/2.8E ED VR

3 March 2016
Arkadiusz Olech

11. Summary

  • excellent image quality in the frame centre,
  • good image quality on the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor,
  • better performance on the edge of full frame than that of its rivals,
  • slight longitudinal chromatic aberration,
  • low coma,
  • slight astigmatism,
  • not very bothersome vignetting on the APS-C/DX sensor,
  • silent, quick and accurate autofocus,
  • efficient image stabilization.


  • too high lateral chromatic aberration in the 24-45 mm range,
  • work against bright light could have been better.

When the new Nikkor AF-S 24–70 mm f/2.8E ED VR was launched on the market with a price tag over 3000 PLN higher than the price of its predecessor I was sure that, apart from the image stabilization, you would also get better performance in practically all testing categories. It’s true, the new lens is better than the old one but only when it comes to the resolution on the edges of the frame and the coma. In other categories, namely the image quality in the frame centre, chromatic aberration, distortion, astigmatism or vignetting, the old lens prevails. What’s more, the predecessor is also smaller, physically lighter and its build quality seems to be better (more metal parts in the casing). You have to say it doesn’t sound like the best recommendation of the new lens. Personally if I had a choice between both Nikkors 24-70 mm I wouldn’t hesitate a minute: I would purchase the older model.

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To be honest I am disappointed by the Nikon policy concerning their lenses. I haven’t tested a model which would bowl me over for quite a long time. Often novelties like the lens presented here compare unfavourably to their predecessors. What’s more such slip-ups as the ones concerning professional AF-S 35 mm f/1.4G ED or AF-S 58 mm f/1.4G instruments happen too frequently. Additionally in many lenses there are too many mechanical flaws (like the unfortunate slack Nikkor’s manual focus rings). If the situation doesn’t change all owners of excellent Nikon reflex cameras will attach to them Sigmas, Tamrons and Tokinas; those who aren’t afraid of manual devices might also add Zeisses and Samyangs to that list… Still I am sure those are not words the Nikon company executives would like to see under reviews of their flagship optical instruments…