Nikon AF-S DX 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED Lens Preview

Back in 2004, Nikon pioneered the DX lens concept; that is, lenses specially designed for the smaller DX-format sensor (16×24mm), popular for digital SLRs. Since their image circles do not need to cover the entire traditional 35mm film area (24×36mm), these DX lenses are less expensive to produce and can be smaller. Sometimes they can also cover a wider zoom range.

The first DX lens Nikon introduced was the AF-S 12-24mm f/4G, which helps DX DSLR users regain the super-wide angle of view. It has been very popular among landscape, building interior, and wedding photographers as well as anyone who needs a wide lens. Since then, several third-party lens manufacturers such as Sigma, Tamron and Tokina have produced various 12-24, 11-16, and 10-20mm DX-type lenses. In such super-wide range, each extra 1mm will make a noticeable difference. The new AF-S 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 G DX zoom from Nikon helps them push further on the wide end as some of their competition have.

While a very good lens overall, the original 12-24mm f/4 DX is excellent on the long (24mm) end but somewhat mediocre around 12mm. Well known Norwegian Nikon expert Bjorn Rorslett once called it the best 24mm he had tested. However, on the 12mm end, there is noticeable distortion and loss in quality. A few years later in 2007, Nikon introduced the 14-24mm f/2.8 AF-S, which can cover the entire FX (24×36mm) frame and is excellent all the way down to 14mm.

It will be interesting to see whether Nikon manages to improve the overall quality in the 10-24mm to match the 14-24. One welcome news is that while the 14-24mm f/2.8 has a bulging front element so that no filter is possible, the new 10-24mm will continue to accept 77mm filters. Compared to the original 12-24mm f/4, the constant aperture has become slightly variable from f/3.5 to 4.5, but the welcome news is that the price has gone down a bit to an estimated retail price around $900.

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The Official Nikon Press Release

MELVILLE, N.Y. (APRIL 14, 2009)—Nikon Inc. today announced the next addition to the expansive NIKKOR lineup with the new AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens, giving photographers the opportunity to capture a unique perspective in a variety of shooting environments. Compact and lightweight, the new 2.4x zoom DX Nikkor lens offers a focal length of 10 to 24mm, creating a picture angle ranging from 109-degrees to 61-degrees
(FX-format equivalent of 15-36mm) making it ideal for a variety of applications including restrictive interiors, architecture and sweeping landscapes.

“The development and release of the 10-24mm f/ 3.5-4.5 DX Nikkor lens continues Nikon’s tradition of providing expertly engineered tools for photographers to realize their unique creative vision,” said Edward Fasano, General Manager for marketing, SLR Systems Products at Nikon Inc. “The ultra wide-angle 10-24mm lens offers DX-format digital SLR shooters the outstanding performance for which Nikkor optics are well-known and the opportunity to capture dramatic perspectives that only wide-angle lenses can achieve.”

The AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens offers an array of versatile Nikon technologies, including Nikon’s compact Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology for quiet, fast and accurate autofocus performance. An advanced optical formula, featuring two extra-low dispersion (ED) glass and three aspherical lens elements renders stunning images while minimizing distortion, a common problem with ultra wide-angle lenses.

A rounded diaphragm opening, combined with the seven-blade aperture, contributes to the 10-24mm lens’ ability to capture images with soft background effects, referred to by experienced photographers as the “bokeh.” Additionally, the new DX-NIKKOR lens offers the user two focus modes; manual and automatic and features an M/A mode that allows the photographer to quickly switch between the two modes. Both use an internal focusing (IF) design that enhances AF speed and eliminates lens barrel rotation and changes to lens barrel length during focusing.
Fully compatible with Nikon’s complete line of DX-format digital SLR cameras—including the D300, D90, D60, D40 and the newly announced D5000—the AF-S DX Nikkor 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens enables photographers to broaden their view in new and interesting ways. FX-format shooters can also benefit from the AF-S DX-NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED, as Nikon’s FX-format cameras—the D3X, D3, and D700—will automatically apply the DX-Crop Mode when shooting.

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Original text ©2009 Shun Cheung.

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    • Looking at the spec; I find the price of the new 10-20 far too high when compared with Sigma's excellent 10-20 DX for 2/3rds the price.
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    • Today, I saw this lens for the first time and took a few quick test shots inside a camera store. Corner sharpness seems reasonable even at 10mm and seems to be a bit better than the 12-24mm/f4 AF-S DX at 12mm. Chekc out this thread in the Nikon Forum for more information and test images: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00TUnj
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