Nikon 24mm F/1.4
This time it's the Nikon 24mm AF-S F/1.4G ED!
Primes. They're the stuff of dreams to most photographers. They force you to get into the action for good composition, but they pay off in spades when it comes to going wide, and boy does this lens go wide. As wide as this lens gets, is it worth how wide it opens your wallet? Let's find out!
Single Sentence Summary
A damn great lens at a damn high price, super sharp, nice and wide, it's just too bad most of us already have at least two others that cover the same focal length.
Why I Bought It
24mm is admittedly the widest focal length I almost ever go. I can honestly say I've only had maybe 10 shots published that have been wider than 24mm, so in effect I've come to see that 24mm seems to be my cut-off. You all may have noticed by now that I haven't done any reviews of zooms as yet, and that's because of how much going wide (F/1.4) means to me. I shoot a lot of low-light environments during weddings, and particularly in the military, and as such I need as much light as I can get through my lens to avoid bumping my ISO too high. This lens goes as wide as I need to shoot 99% of the time, and offers me the benefit of that sweet super-wide aperture.
What I Like
The lens is wide. It's perfect for getting the whole wedding into a single shot, and great for giving perspective in photojournalism shots with my work in the military. When it hits focus it REALLY nails it, sharp as a razor. It also is faster at focusing than the 85mm. It has a pretty low profile, not too heavy, not too cumbersome, and it's just narrow enough that distortion isn't a major factor.
What I Don't
Calibration is brutal on this one at F/1.4. I use the Spyder Lenscal to calibrate all of my lenses to my bodies, and this lens is VERY fickle. I've learned to operate a specific distance from my subject when I'm using autofocus on this one because if I calibrate it on a subject 6 feet away at F/1.4 then it has problems nailing focus at 30 feet, and vice versa. This isn't the only lens I've had an issue with this in, but it's the only one where it's REALLY pronounced. To that end I've had to adapt by calibrating it at 20 feet and manually focusing it when the subject is more than 8 feet closer/further away.
The cost goes without saying. To be honest though, almost all of these lenses cost about the same amount, so it shouldn't really surprise you. They do retain value though, almost all of these lenses do. Just be sure you don't try to trade it in, Henry's will completely bend you over - just sell it on Kijiji if you need to.
It's 100% a "Nice to have," lens, not a need. So many lenses I already have cover the 24mm focal length in their range. Most professionals like myself have the 14-24mm F/2.8, and the 24-70mm F/2.8, admittedly a third 24mm is a bit redundant. That being said, none of those are as sharp, nor as fast (aperture width) as this one. It literally opens up a lot more opportunities in low-light, and sometimes that's exactly what you need because raising up ISO and slowing down your shutter aren't always options available to you - every little bit counts.
I love having a job where I get paid to play with such cool stuff.