Lens review

Nikon Nikkor Z 24 mm f/1.8 S

15 April 2020
Maciej Latałło

4. Image resolution

It's a beginning of our tests of the Nikon Z system lenses based on the Nikon Z7 body; the RAW files, produced by that camera were developped by neutral software such as dcraw. As we have already been able to check thoroughly optical properties of several fixed-focal instruments of this system, we think we can determine proper reference levels. Lenses reaching record revels should be able to exceed 85 lpmm; maximum results of excellent system prime lenses might fit the range from 80 to 85 lpmm. The decency level we set at 42–44 lpmm. Of course, while adding more Z system tests, we might need to correct these values a bit.

Let's see how the Nikkor Z 24 mm f/1.8 S compares – its results in the frame centre, on the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor, and on the edge of full frame presents a graph below.

Nikon Nikkor Z 24 mm f/1.8 S - Image resolution

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In the frame centre the tested lens is simply brilliant. Already at the maximum relative aperture you get results exceeding 50 lpmm so you deal with fully useful images. Stopping down the aperture improves resolution very quickly so by f/4.0 our Nikkor is able to reach almost 80 lpmm. The reflex camera Nikkor AF-S 24 mm f/1.8G ED set the standards very high in this category but it seems both instruments perform here equally well. The fact that the Nikkor Z 24 mm f/1.8 S didn't manage to exceed 80 lpmm, something which its system 1.8/35, 1.8/50 and 1.8/85 brothers achieved, can be called a small fly in this otherwise excellent ointment.

When you examine the performance on the edge of the frame, unfortunately you have to complain even more. By f/1.8 and f/2.0 images are well below the decency level which is reached near f/2.5 for the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor and near f/2.8 for the edge of full frame. You can also notice a big discrepancy in performance you get in the frame centre and that on the edges – by f/4.0 it exceeds 20 lpmm!

The tested lens has to admit defeat in the duel with the Nikkor AF-S 24 mm f/1.8G ED because its differences between the centre and the frame edges were smaller and it was able to provide sharp images from f/1.8 on the edge of the APS-C/DX sensor. As you can see, so far we can't say that the lack of the mirror chamber contributes to a better wide angle lens construction.

At the end of this chapter, traditionally, we present crops taken from photos of our resolution testing chart which were saved as JPEG files along the RAW files, used for the analysis above.

Nikon Z7, JPEG, f/1.8
Nikon Nikkor Z 24 mm f/1.8 S - Image resolution
Nikon Z7, JPEG, f/4.0
Nikon Nikkor Z 24 mm f/1.8 S - Image resolution