The Nikon 14-24mm lens isn’t your every day workhorse lens. It’s definitely a specialty item you pull out for circumstances that other lenses just can’t handle. It’s something to separate the men from the boys (or women from the girls) and shows that you can handle a curveball and still score.
I may not use this lens every day, but I love it. Think of it like a field goal kicker in football. He doesn’t go out on any play, but he can win the game or turn the tide with one kick. That’s why I use the Nikon 14-24mm lens.
Here’s What You Get From The Nikon 14-24mm Lens
- Ultra-wide angle zoom with incredible field of view
- It’s fast glass and short focal length make it excellent for handheld shooting in low light situations
- Auto-focus is fast, silent and accurate
- f/2.8 aperture consistent through focal range
- Built tough to work in poor weather
- Excellent image quality – no vignetting, chromatic aberration or waveform distortion
The Nikon 14-24mm lens, along with the Nikon 24-70mm and the Nikon 70-200mm lenses, makes up part of the Nikon Triumvirate, or the Holy Trinity According to Nikon – as some people like to call this collection. There’s a good reason for such hyperbole, though. Each of these lenses is awesome in its own right, but they make up a collection of optical super heroes for any Nikon photographer.
Spectacular Ultra-Wide Angle Field of View
It’s one thing to tell you this is an ultra-wide angle lens, but what does that even mean? Consider that 24mm is wide-angle on a full frame (FX) camera. Does a focal range of 10mm even matter? Yes, but let me show you why.
You get everything and the rest of the universe, too. Sometimes you just need to tilt it in a different direction, though.
The images above show how you can use it to demonstrate the scope of a scene, but it works the other way around, too. Sometimes your only shot means you have to stand too close to your subject for other focal lengths. That’s when you can use that ultra wide-angle field of view to get the shot.
A Low Light Walkabout Lens
Sometimes you need to get your shots hand held. There’s just no ability to use a tripod. The Nikon 14-24mm lens excels in this scenario for two reasons. First, it’s fast glass with a consistent f/2.8 aperture through the entire focal range. Second, short focal lengths are less susceptible to camera shake.
The rule of thumb is that you need a shutter speed equal to your focal length to prevent blurry shots due to camera shake. At a 14mm length, that means you can get clean shots as low as 1/14th (or more likely, 1/15th) of a second!
When I received a private tour of the U.S. Capitol, this is the only lens I took with me. They wouldn’t permit a tripod and I didn’t want lug a bag of lenses around with me. Turns out that the Nikon 14-24mm lens was perfect! I could shoot hand-held brackets from one location to the next with total confidence in the image quality.
Wide Angle Distortion
Let’s start with the obvious. All lenses have some form of distortion. Ultra-wide angle lenses tend to show distortion as curvature. Consider a fisheye lens like this image below from Nikon’s 16mm Fisheye.
You can definitely see the curvature on the building to the right. Ignore the two yellow towers, because those things actually do lean in opposite directions (odd, I know).
Now here’s the same seen shot at 14mm with the Nikon 14-24mm lens.
It still leans inward, but the building itself doesn’t curve like the fisheye. However, that doesn’t mean all of your shots are going to have this kind of distortion. There’s a sweet spot in the center of the frame, so you can get relatively distortion-free images like these.
With a little practice, you can choose how you want to use the Nikon 14-24mm lens. As the two images above show, you can achieve images that are relatively free of distortion. On the other hand, you can use the distortion creatively, almost as if you were shooting with a fisheye.
Then there are the shots where nothing else will capture the expanse before you. Distortion or not, you’ll be glad to have the Nikon 14-24mm lens when you get access to a place were few folks were able to enter – like NASA’s Vehicle Assembly Building.
See what I mean about referring to this lens as the field goal kicker? When it’s time for the special teams to play, you want the same consistent and reliable results as you get from your workhorse lenses, like the Nikon 24-70mm and Nikon 70-200mm lenses. That’s really where the Nikon 14-24mm lens shines – it provides creative possibilities unmatched by any other lens. For me, it allows my camera to capture the grandeur of a scene when space is limited.
Sample Images from the Nikon 14-24 Lens
Here’s a sample of photos I’ve taken using my Nikon 14-24mm lens.
What If I Want To Use Filters?
The front element of this lens looks like a big bubble and the lens hood is permanently mounted. If you like to use filters on your lenses, that’s going to be a bit of a problem. You can find filter solutions from vendors like Lee Filters that adapt or mount to the Nikon 14-24mm, but you’re not going to just screw on another 77mm threaded filter to this lens.
Landscape photographers who frequently use filters may be better served by the Nikon 16-35mm lens, but I don’t have any experience with that lens to share.
What If I Have A DX Format Camera?
Like the other Nikon lenses in the trinity, the Nikon 14-24mm lens was designed for full frame (FX) camera bodies. That’s actually good news, since it means it will work just fine on Nikon DX and mirror less camera bodies. The only time you have to be concerned is when you try to use a DX lens on your full frame camera. This lens is a good investment for the future, as Nikon stated it will stop making new DX camera bodies now.
What if I have a Canon Camera?
Then you’re in luck! You can use this adapter to mount a Nikon lens to your Canon body, allowing you to shoot with the Nikon 14-24mm lens.
Where to Find the Nikon 14-24 Lens
If you’re planning on buying the Nikon 14-24mm lens and this review helped you make your decision, I would appreciate it if you used one of the affiliate links below from either Amazon or B&H. Both are reputable companies that will deliver your product quickly and in fine condition.
By using one of these links, I earn a small commission. It won’t increase your price at all, but it will help me offset the cost of running my web site.