Canon and the Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED N

When I first heard about the new Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED N, I was blown away at what a nice lens it must be. I have yet to see it or handle it in person, but from what I’ve seen in pictures, it’s one bad ass looking glass that I would love to have in my arsenal; especially more so after seeing the test results. The 14-24mm performs phenomenally in the lab and in the field. From what I’ve seen this Nikkor lens has to be the sharpest wide angle of this focal length even compared to similar focal range primes! The Nikkor 14-24mm blows away the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM Mark II, the Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L USM Mark II, and let’s not even talk about Tamron, Sigma, or other third party manufactures. Between this lens and the Nikon D3, I would switch back to Nikon if I had cash to burn. Actually it doesn’t make sense to switch brands just because the competitor has put out a better product. I’m confident in knowing that Canon will accept the challenge and give us Canon users a 1D that can actually auto focus with amazing low light capabilities that the D3 currently has. I’m not so concerned about the cameras, because to me, it’s the lens that makes the bigger difference. I rather invest my money in great quality glass than drop a wad on a camera that will be replaced a year later with something better for the same cost.

Then I read on 16-9.net‘s website:

The other big news is that development is nearing completion of the Nikon G-Canon EF adaptor which allows this and any other Nikon G lens to be mounted on Canon DSLR bodies –with full aperture control.

I also came across this site from the DPReview.com forums where this one guy mounted the Nikkor 14-24mm on a Canon EOS 5D and did tests. Fortunately that means I don’t need to switch brands because by the beauty of technology, a converter, and heresy, I can use this lens on my Canon EOS 1D Mark II! Now why would I want to use a Nikon lens on a Canon body? Well for starters, it doesn’t really bother me that it is a Nikon lens. And Canon doesn’t offer a lens of this focal length. The closes is the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM Mark II, which is no where near as tack sharp as this lens. Plus the 16-35mm is almost too much of an overlap for me. I already have the Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8L USM, I would be paying ~$1600 to use 8mm more of wideness. The Nikkor 14-24mm offers me 10mm more and having 14mm versus 16mm on the wide end can make a big difference in many cases. An easier way to analyze all this is to list the pros and cons:

Pros

  • 14mm and not a fisheye lens
  • f/2.8 aperture lens means it will perform very well in low light situations
  • Magnesium alloy body construction
  • Sharpest lens to date for the 14-24mm focal lengths even versus prime lens

Cons

  • Very expensive at ~$1700 and probably hard to acquire
  • Front element design is unable to take a screw on filter for additional protection
  • Lens hood offers nothing in the way of front element protection
  • Decent focal length
  • Need to spend additional money if trying to use this lens on a Canon body

Conclusion

Is this lens worth it? I say yes, very much so. Canon does not offer a zoom lens as wide as this, it does however have a prime lens, the 14mm f/2.8L USM I & II, that is the same focal length, BUT not the same sharpness. For Canon shooters, the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L had long been the photojournalist/wedding photojournalist lens, but I predict that as more and more Canon shooters see how great the Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED N lens is; this will be the new preferred lens leading to all sorts of shortages and back orders. Remember how long it took Nikon to meet production demands for the other hugely popular Nikkor lens, the 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G?

I’m going to definitely start saving today and for awhile.

[April 28, 2008 EDIT] In my haste of not reading very carefully, apparently using the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 with the 16-9 adapter mounted to a Canon SLR results in MANUAL FOCUS only. While this isn’t generally a big deal for people who photograph landscapes, having manual focus when you are trying to capture fast paced action makes it very difficult. So now I’m back to focusing on the Canon EF 16-35mm f/2.8L USM.

[January 05, 2008 EDIT] Check out photographer David Clapp’s results on his blog here.

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Comments

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  1. Not being able to protect this lens with a filter or hood is a deal-breaker for me. Seems nonsensical and selfish on the part of Nikon, and really is the only reason why I wouldn’t buy it.

  2. @Tom Carter – I don’t think Nikon could design it any differently. If you look at Canon’s EF 14mm f/2.8L II, you’ll see it has the same exposed bulbous front end.

    I think once you start getting to super wide angles such as 14mm, it gets physically impossible to get the wide angle of view without a protrusion as such.

  3. Jonathan,

    I placed an order at 16:9 and never heard from them again. They do not return e-mails. Its been well over a month since I paid for the converter. Has anyone actually gotten one of these?

  4. @Jonathan – From what I heard, they are quite bad with responding, but people eventually get them. Read here.

  5. Richard is right on the money with his reply to Tom. Physics make the rules not Nikon, although I must say Nikon seems to break the rules of physics with this equipment. This is the finest ultra wide I’ve ever had, zoom or prime. Discounting it because you can’t install a filter on it is kind of weird. I also have the 200/2 AF-S and you can’t protect it with a filter either (rear mounted). No problems in four years, however. In fact, I don’t use filters on any of my lenses. Even with a high-end uv filter I notice a decrease in sharpness, especially on the 85/1.4 prime.

    Fantastic review here, Richard. Just great!

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