Lets get this out of the way right at the start – this lens is the best 24-70 f/2.8 lens I have every used and fully justifies the move from F-mount to Z-mount to improve lens quality.
The increase in mount diameter from 47mm to 55mm and the reduction flange distance from 46/5mm to just 16mm has allowed the Nikon designers to eliminate compromises forced on them by the F-mount.
The lens is beautifully constructed and looks designed to take the sort of day to day punishment so Pro photographers put their gear through. The lens features a 77mm filter thread, OLED display on the lens which can be changed from aperture or focussed distance. Also provided are a programmable lens function button, A/M focus selector, a DISP button for changing the OLED display information (Aperture, focal length, depth of field, Focus distance) , a large and perfectly weighted zoom ring, a manual focus ring and a control ring which can be programmed for 21 different actions such as Aperture or exposure compensation for instance. Supplied with the lens are front and rear caps, locking petal type lens hood (HB-87) and a soft pouch (unpadded).
In use the 24-70 snaps into focus extremely quickly and totally silently thanks to it’s twin drive focus system. The zoom action is very well damped with no play and exceptional smoothness. manual focus is a pleasure and can override the AF system at any time by just moving the MF ring. Focus range is from 0.38m to infinity at all focal lengths. The control ring is very useful and can be programmed for 21 different uses.
Optical performance is exemplary with pin-sharp images possible at f/2.8 thought the zoom range across the whole width of the frame. The only reason to stop down from maximum aperture if to gain depth of field. Bokeh is wonderful thanks to the 9 curved blade diaphragm providing a creamy background blur and focus gently falling away from the focus point. There is no significant focus ‘breathing’ (change of image size as focus is changed) so this lens is great for video too.
The Nikon ARNEO and Nano-Crystal coatings do a great job in suppressing flare too and Fluorine coating protects the front and rear element too.
In terms of size and weight the 24-70 f/2.8 S is substantially smaller and lighter than both the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8 and the newer VR version weighing just 805g and measuring 89mm x 126mm – and as you can probably guess comes highly recommended.