D700 and 14-24 f/2.8, my impressions

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by hawkman, Dec 23, 2008.

  1. I received my D700 and 14-24 f/2.8G today, I just came back from a quick field test. I have been an exclusive Canon shooter for the past 5 years and all I can say is that I am truly stunned by the quality of the images this body/lens combo can produce. There is no color noise or artifact in the images and photos are razor sharp across the frame from 14mm to 24mm at all apertures, it is a superior optical design with no compromises that puts even some of my telephotos into shame. I am also pleased by the handling and performance of the body, focus is silent and snap on I shot more than 100 photos in dim conditions and did not get even one out of focus frame. here is one example at 14mm.
  2. and 100% crop from masked areas above to demonstrate pixel sharpness
  3. The clarity of the main photo and both crops is rather good to put it mildly. This is a beautifully lit night scene, I'd also like to see the same frame shot in broad daylight with same test crops. It appears this lens is worth every penny from your quick tests here. Happy shooting!
  4. Yep. They are keepers.
  5. Thanks Matt, daylight tests due tomorrow.
    The zoom ring is a bit less "stiff" than the 17-35 and my Canons, there is no play but it is not as tight as I am used to either, but I guess this is just the design, especially now that I have confirmed sharpness. The price is very attractive at less than $1500 when you compare to the competition, or therefore lack of.
  6. Arash: "The zoom ring is a bit less "stiff"...."
    My 14-24 is exactly the same. Should be the design, which is perfectly fine with me.​
  7. Impressive. The crop from the upper corner is really crisp for being so far into the corner.
  8. If only I had that much money to burn...
  9. What is more impressive is sharpness at wide open setting across the whole frame, in the past I was always hesitant to use maximum aperture for a wide angle zoom lens, but this one is an exception, here is one example at 14mm f/2.8
  10. and 100% crop
  11. Wow.
  12. Thank you for your comments, I made a small folder of the more interesting snap shots from today, Unfortunately photo.net doesn't allow uploading full size images so I had to downsample to 1500 pixels but all the originals look amazing. I will do a more serious shooting tomorrow and add samples to this gallery, please stop by and have a look if you are interested.
  13. Arash.... I don't like you! :) Why CAN'T I have a combo like that!
    That seems really good! Have fun with it! Happy shooting!
  14. I suppose this slight stiffness is due to the resistance of the big heavy front element. Nothing to be worried about, thought.
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    I just tried my 14-24mm/f2.8 again. At least the zoom ring on mine is not at all stiff at any point.
    Optically, there is no question at all that this is a wonderful lens. My reservation has always been whether its zoom range is that useful or not. I'll have a short trip to photograph coastal California again after Christmas, and most likely I'll bring the 17-35 on my D700 and leave the 14-24 home.
  16. Thanks Shun, mine is similar to yours, I am getting used to it. BTW, what do you use for cleaning the front element?
    I believe this lens is superior to the 17-35 in terms of sharpness and contrast (maybe this is why 17-35 has been officially discontinued) but of course it is a super wideangle which misses the 24-35mm range, it will make a nice combo with the 24-70 f/2.8, or you can just use 24-70 if you use 24-35 range a lot?
  17. What do you guys think about pairing the 14-24 with the 35/2 to get the full range?
  18. Hi Arash
    I just got mine yesterday. D700, 14-24, 44-70, 70-200VR - 2.8s. This was a big leap of faith because it's completely crazy expenditure at this time, but...
    Very little time to test yet and it's 100% grey cloud cover out there, a big disincentive. My first impressions are as yours for the 14-24 - amazing. The relative lack of geometric distortion is almost unbelievable - likewise everything else, ca, vignetting etc even at 2.8. I shoot spherical VR panos with a 10.5 FE on a D200 so the fov is familiar: nothing else is. I hope to shoot some VRs with this lens/camera combination, although my NN3 panhead isn't up to the task. More expense.
    The front element makes me nervous too. I'd be interested to hear how anyone else is cleaning it. Breath plus regular lens tissues doesn't seem sufficiently respectful.
  19. Actually have the 14-24/2.8, 35/3 and 70-200/2.8VR. I find this combo to be excellent. However, may still supplement further with a 1.4 fast prime, either a 50 or 85. However, it is a large combo, and the 70-200 is very bulky. However, having said that, the 14-24 is truly awesome! No complaints, except for the large and delicate front element.
    I believe that it shouldn't be considered or used with the 17-35. Rather, consider it a ultra-wide angle only, and not a ultra-wide to kind-of-normal zoom lens. It replaces, for me a fixed 18mm lens. It doesn't replace the 17-35.
  20. Well, 35mm prime should be a nice lens but I find it more difficult to work with primes than zooms, especially if the zoom that is optically perfect ;)
    Roy, I was shooting for 5 hours today in San Francisco with mild rain and wind as usual so at the end of the day I had some small stains on the lens. I used Promaster Optic Clean liquid cleaner Microclean to wipe the lens and it worked fine. I think any lens cleaner is suitable but you have to make sure that the cleaning cloth is made from microfiber and that it is extremely smooth with no rough texture. Also dedicate at least two separate pieces of cleaning cloth for this lens only and do not use them for the rest of your equipment to avoid transferring dust/residue from another lens/filter to this one. Use the first one to initially wipe off any large particles or stains and use the 2nd cleaner one to absorb any trace of the liquid cleaner, finally blow dry and you're done. I suggest cleaning the lens at the end of each day that it is being used, sometimes dust contains micro particles that may contain residue of chemicals so if you don't clean the lens for a long time they might leave some small but permanent marks on the front element.
    Here is one shot from this evening.
  21. and a 100% crop from center
  22. Opps this is the full frame
  23. In response to the comments about the front element being very "delicate" I ran into this cross section photo on Ken Rockwell website:
    the bulbous front condenser element is immensely thick and the ellipsoidal shape actually improves stability and robustness compared to a flatter surface, so I think while it is prone to getting scratched or picking marks upon impact, it actually takes a lot of momentum to get cracked or knocked off. Of course I am not willing to test this ;)
  24. Arash, regarding the front element, I am always cautious of a front element. I have a Hasselblad SWC which has a minor marking on the front and it was a real pain to replace, it cost around US$800 to replace, it had to go back to Sweden (took 3 months), and had to use the exact same glass as the model I had (not the current one). That front element wasn't too bad. But with the 14-24, my primary concern is scratching and marks. Not it breaking or falling off. Perhaps someone out there can invent a protective glass for it that fits over the petal hood. Rather replace a kind of expensive filter then to send the lens out and not have the ability to use it, and pay more.
    Who knows, perhaps a cover like the ones used for underwater camera could be adapted or refined to fit the 14-24 for use on land, without it looking too dopy.

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