Lens review

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4 S

16 June 2020
Maciej Latałło

3. Build quality

Even though there are a lot of 24-70 mm class lenses, available on the market in different versions, 24-70 mm f/4 models are few and far between. It is a bit surprising and it stems from the fact that, when it comes to the class of cheaper kit lenses, the producers are allowed different modifications. There have been zoom instruments or these featuring a slightly different focal range e.g. 24-85 mm. As a result our comparison chart is quite modest; still it enables you to draw several interesting conclusions.

When it comes to its weight, dimensions, filter diameter and complexity of the optics the Nikkor Z 24–70 mm f/4 S might be positioned right in the middle of the entire group. It should be emphasized, though, that in its case producers had it easier because, unlike the Canon or the Sony device, it doesn't feature any optical image stabilization. Of course it should also be remembered that the Z6 and Z7 bodies feature stabilized sensors. The Nikkor sticks out in a positive way with its shortest minimum focusing distance for a change.

In the photo below the Nikkor Z 24–70 mm f/4 S is positioned between two other reflex camera Nikkor lenses: the AF-S 24–70 mm f/2.8G ED and the AF-S 85 mm f/1.8G.

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Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4 S - Build quality

The tested lens starts with a metal mount surrounding a contact plate and a rear element, 30 mm in diameter. In the folded position and at 24 mm that element is situated on the same level as the contacts and when you pass to 70 mm it hides about 2 cm deep inside the barrel. The interior of the tube is properly blackened but, unfortunately, we noticed many slits and electronic parts peeking from the inside. That's why we think you can't speak about a fully sealed barrel in this case.

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4 S - Build quality

The first part of the proper casing is a metal, black ring which doesn't move. On that ring you can find a white dot, making an alignment with a camera easier, an inscription with parameters of the lens, the producer's logo, an AF/MF switch, allowing you to choose the focusing mechanism mode, a plate with the 'Nikkor S' series mark, the focusing mechanism range (∞–0.3m/0.99ft), and information that the lens was produced in Thailand.

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4 S - Build quality

A manual focus ring, as wide as 1 cm and covered by fine ribbing, is the next part of the lens. On it you can't find any distance or depth of field scale. It is a focus-by-wire mechanism which moves smoothly and is well damped. When you turn it quickly the focus throw amounts to about 100 degrees and when you move it slowly it can reach even 180 degrees. With such parameters of the lens it is a very sensible value, allowing you very precise settings.

Further on you find another immobile ring, this time made of plastic, devoid of any inscriptions. Then you see a zoom ring, as wide as 35 mm so quite big. The majority of its surface occupies rubber ribbing and below you can find focal length markings at 24, 28, 35, and 70 mm along with a dot marking a rest position.

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4 S - Build quality

When the lens is put in the rest position one part of it, sticking out from the barrel (so without the mount), is 88 mm long. Passing from that to a working position at 24 mm focal length the lens increases its length to 110 mm. When you change the focal length to 70 mm it gets longer again, this time to 138 mm.

The front element system is extended on a telescopic tube made of plastics. The front element is slightly convex, 54 mm in diameter, surrounded by an inscription with the name and parameters of the lens, a non-rotating filter thread, 72 mm in diameter, and a hood mount.

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4 S - Build quality

When it comes to optical construction you deal here with as many as 14 elements positioned in 11 groups. Producers weren't skimpy when it comes to special elements too – you get as many as three aspherical elements inside, along with one made of low dispersion ED glass, and one which is aspherical and made of ED glass at the same time. Apart from that there is a round aperture with seven diaphragm blades which can be closed down to a value of f/22 at the maximum. The producers also boast of efficient Nano Crystal Coat anti-reflection coatings and hydrophobic fluorine coatings which cover the outer optical elements.

Buyers get in the box with the lens: two caps, a soft pouch and a petal-type hood.

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4 S - Build quality