When Nikon announced the Z-mount its representatives explained that the large internal diameter had been selected to enable the lens designers to produce better. Judging by all the Z-series lenses I have used to date, this is bearing fruit. And as the Nikon Z 58mm f/0.95 S Noct proves, it also enables faster than usual optics to be created.
The Nikon Nikkor Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S continues the high-quality theme, delivering superb images throughout its zoom and aperture ranges. Even wide-open at the widest point, the corners of the frame have a more than respectable level of detail.
If you close down from f/2.8, you’ll see a slight improvement in sharpness at the edges of the frame, but the results are very good. By f/22, the effect of diffraction becomes apparent if you’re scrutinising details with images at 100% on screen. You’re unlikely to notice at normal viewing sizes.
Also, if the camera is level and straight-on to a subject with a linear pattern, such as a brick wall, it’s clear that curvilinear distortion is very well controlled. There’s just a hint of barrel distortion at the 14mm end, but it’s nothing worth complaining about.
If you’re shooting a subject with a uniform tone, you’ll also notice that the corners get a touch lighter as you continue to close down the aperture to about f/8. Zoom in to 15mm and the corner shading is gone by f/5.6 and bu 18mm it’s negligible at f/4. But even at 14mm and at f/2.8, the vignetting isn’t dramatic.