I shot for a long time with the 15f3.5, nearly a decade. Then I moved up to the 14f2.8 and when it came out with the Nikon D3, the 14-24AFS. I love wide angles so much, a pro looking at my images way back when said, “I can see images in your images!” You might wonder why then I waited so long to add the Z14-24f2.8 to my kit. Now that I own one, I’m wondering the same thing! It was in part because I wanted one and didn’t need one. I have the Z14-30 which is a delightful lens doing a really good job with still and video (and easily accepts filters!). Then I had this trip to Bryce coming up where, looking through past images from Bryce I saw I had shot a lot with the 14-24AFS and that got me to thinking. Luckily, I have a great friend who has the Z14-24f2.8 who was kind enough to loan his to me for my trip. Well, I now own the Z14-24f2.8 and here’s why.
I was told by another Z14-24f2.8 owner that the lens didn’t flare. I’ve shot wide angles forever and know every trick to minimize flare but never had one that didn’t want to flare. Dang if my friend was right, the Z14-24f2.8 does not flare! There are no little green goblins floating around in this image even those the sun is right there. So not only does the Z14-24f2.8 not want to flare, it creates a gorgeous star burst at f/22!
I had to ask Harry if I could get this close to take his portrait with Z14-24f2.8 but I needed to see if being less than ten inches away at 14f/2.8 what the Z14-24f2.8 would do. Besides being really sharp, it didn’t make the nose grow or chin extend. I can’t say it’s distortion free but compared to any ultra wide I’ve shot, it doesn’t distort the face when up close and personal! Since that’s how I like to use 14mm, it was important to me. Just look at all the rest of the story that’s there but softly out of focus … gorgeous!
Above is a two image pano shot handheld with the Z14-24f2.8 at 14mm. While the lens is not reported as rectilinear, it’s straight line rendition is bloody impressive. Look at the lines at the right and left edge of the image as well as those dead center. There is no lean to them!
Most importantly though is the Z14-24f2.8 is bloody sharp! Yeah, it’s smaller and lighters than the 14-24AFS (one reason I stopped carrying it) and it can accept filters (Nikon Polarizer and Breakthrough 10x ND via shade adapter for example) but the image quality, it rocked my photography. That was it for me, just after 24hrs of shooting with my friends lens, I ordered my own and I love it. I highly recommend you do like I did and borrow / rent one prior to buying as it’s more than the delightful Z14-30. But I’ve gotta warn ya you’ll love the Z14-24f2.8 as it’s not your fathers 14-24AFS!