Nikon 24-70mm f2.8G
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The following images were taken with the Nikon 24-70/2.8 on a D800. Each image was recorded in RAW and converted with Lightroom 4.1 at Adobe or Camera Standard settings. Noise-reduction is set to 0, sharpening to 70/0.5/36/10, no extra tone, color, or saturation-adjustment was used. You can click on each image to access the large original. Please respect our copyright and only use those images for personal use.

The first shot should give you an impression of the bokeh that this lens can produce wide open. The 50% crops are from the background, the sharpest point, and the foreground in the overall image and demonstrates the rendering of out-of-focus elements.

An aperture of f2.8 is not really optimal for good bokeh, but it is a better starting-point to throw background and/or foreground subjects out-of-focus than with many kit-lenses that offer only f4.5 or worse at 70mm. What little bokeh the Nikon shows exhibits some signs of outlining and nervousness especially in the foreground – which is normally not as critical as the background rendering.

Flowers: bokeh shot with Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G at 70mm f2.8 on a D800
Main image and all 50% crops: 70mm, f2.8, 100 ISO


The second image shows an architecture-shot at 70mm. Contrast against the bright sky is very good and the details of the church are crisp and well defined.

Church: architecture shot with Nikon 24-70/2.8G at 70mm f2.8 on a D800
Main image and all 100% crops: 70mm, f2.8, 1/1250 sec, 100 ISO


The next image shows the wedding-bouquet on a car captured at 70mm and f5.6.The lens managed to reproduce the flowers in sharp detail and renders the reflections in the car’s body and the gleaming chrome without ringing and only little color-aberrations.

Bouquet: street shot with Nikon AF-S 24-70/2.8G VR at 70mm f5.6 on a D800
Main image and all 100% crops: 70mm, f5.6, 1/80 sec, 110 ISO



Zooming back to 29mm you can see that you can capture city-scapes in excellent detail:

Tower Millenium Pier: city scape shot with Nikon 24-70/2.8G at 29mm f5.6 on a D800
Main image and all 100% crops: 29mm, f5.6, 1/250 sec, 100 ISO
left border, f5.6, 100 ISO
center, f5.6, 100 ISO
right border, f5.6, 100 ISO


Shot of a market square at 35mm f2.8. The crops are from the left border, the center and the right border. As you can see the lens performs pretty sharp at these points even wide open.

Market place: architecture shot with Nikon 24-70/2.8 at 35mm f2.8 on a D800
Main image and all 100% crops: 35mm, f2.8, 1/2000 sec, 100 ISO
left border, f2.8, 100 ISO
center, f2.8, 100 ISO
right border, f2.8, 100 ISO

But there are limits to what this lens can do that you can clearly see in the FX corner. The following crops are from the same image and go progressively closer to the upper right corner:

upper ri. corner, f2.8, 100 ISO
upper ri. corner, f2.8, 100 ISO
upper ri. corner, f2.8, 100 ISO

Here you can see what the test-shot from the Siemens-star at 35mm already showed: Corner-performance at 35mm is disappointing. But remember: this is a zoom lens wide open at its worst focal length. The interesting observation from this image is that the lens produces good performance up to the FX-border and even a little further (i. e. 18-19mm from the optical axis). Just the last 2mm of the FX image-circle suffer at large apertures.

Next shot is a close-up at 70mm f5.0 with a magnification of around 1:4. It shows that you can capture quite some detail of small subjects at a decent quality. Stopping down further helps improve definition of small details.

Flowers: close-up shot with Nikon 24-70/2.8G at 70mm f5.0 on a D800
Main image and all 100% crops: 70mm, f5.0, 1/640 sec, 100 ISO
f5.0, 100 ISO
f5.0, 100 ISO
f5.0, 100 ISO


And finally a close portrait of a cat at about 1.5m distance, shot at 70mm, f5.6. The fur is finely rendered and the background-blur quite pleasing:

Cat of the Day: portrait shot with Nikon 24-70/2.8G at 70mm f5.6 on a D800
Main image and all 100% crops: 70mm, f5.6, 1/250 sec, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO
f5.6, 100 ISO

For more examples check out all my high-resolution Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G sample images.

Focus and build quality

Focus accuracy and repeatability is critical to consistently produce sharp shots. Repeatability (the accuracy of focus on the same subject after repeated focus-acquisition) of this lens is excellent with no outliers over a series of 40 shots. And there is no performance variation whether the lens focuses coming from infinity or from minimum focus distance. The lens focuses very fast: around 0.4 sec from infinity to 0.38m, which is very good.

The focus ring has no slack/play between its movement and the focus-action and a throw of around 80 degrees, which makes accurate focus wide open at the long end easy. The focus ring is easy to grip and movement is very smooth. AF-operation is pretty quiet on the outside, but if you record video with the built-in microphone every focus-movement produces an audible “clack”. Zoom-action is smooth, still the lens does not suffer from zoom-creep. It does not wobble in the fully extended position but shaking the lens does produce some noise. In general the impression of build quality is that of a pro-level lens: A high quality metal/plastic construction combined with a weather sealed metal lens-mount, and nine rounded aperture blades.

Now, let me wrap things up in my Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G verdict.


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