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Lens review

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/2.8 S

23 September 2020
Maciej Lata││o

4. Image resolution

It's just 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. We have been able to check thoroughly optical properties of several fixed-focal instruments of this system so far, so we think we are able to determine proper reference levels. Lenses reaching record revels should be able to exceed 85 lpmm; maximum results of other 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 Zá24–70ámm f/2.8áS compares; its results, reached in the frame centre and at 24, 45, andá70ámm, presents a graph shown below.

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/2.8 S - Image resolution


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The performance in the frame centre is exactly what you would expect from a top-of-the-range zoom lens. Firstly, all focal lengths are similar, with very slight differences between them. Secondly, already from the maximum relative aperture you get not only useful but also good images. Thirdly, on stopping down the aperture, by f/4.0 and f/5.6, the lens exceeds a very high level of 70 lpmm. Now it becomes clear what is the difference between this lens and the cheaper 24-70 mm f/4.0 model as the latter didn't manage to exceed 70 lpmm at any combination of aperture and focal length.

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/2.8 S - Image resolution


The edge of the APS-C/DX sensor also didn't give us any reasons to complain. It's true you can notice greater differences between particular focal lengths but, what's significant, the 24 mm focal lenght fares the best here. It's a wise choice because in the case of that focal length the edges are more important than in the case of, say, 70 mm as they often hide among blurry out-of-focus areas.

Overall even at the weakest focal length the performance is very good and images – fully useful. What's important, it also concerns the maximum relative aperture. Now let's check how the tested lens fares on the edge of full frame.

Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/2.8 S - Image resolution


It would be difficult to point out the best focal length - in the area close to the maximum relative aperture you get the highest results at 24 mm but on stopping down prevails the 70 mm focal length. Still, it is important that the results are pretty similar and you are able to get completely useful images already from the maximum relative aperture. In other words so far we haven't found any slip-ups and once again the advantage over the Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/4 S is pretty obvious – the slower lens wasn't able to achieve the decency level at its maximum relative aperture and on the edge of full frame no matter what focal length you employed.

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.

NikonáZ7, JPEG, 24ámm, f/4.0
Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/2.8 S - Image resolution
NikonáZ7, JPEG, 70ámm, f/4.0
Nikon Nikkor Z 24-70 mm f/2.8 S - Image resolution