Fast and light: Nikkor 24mm F1.8G ED lens review

By | June 5, 2018

The AF-S Nikkor 24mm F1.8G ED was first announced back in August 2015. It joins Nikon’s growing family of modern full frame primes alongside the 20mm F1.8G, 28mm F1.8G, 35mm F1.8G, 85mm F1.8G and the 50mm F1.8G. It’s priced at just under $750 making it a well matched option to be paired with cameras like the Nikon D610 and the Nikon D750. The Nikkor can also be used on DX format cameras with an equivalent focal length of 36mm.

This fast wide-angle prime will most likely appeal to architecture, landscape and portrait or wedding photographers. Additionally, the F1.8 max aperture may come in handy for those looking to utilize the lens for astrophotography work as well.

At 24mm the lens is Nikon’s second widest modern prime option to date, coming in just behind the Nikkor 20mm lens. It’s worth noting that there are a few other options at 24mm that potential buyers should definitely be aware of. One of those options is the slightly faster Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM Art that comes in at just under $850.

The Sigma 24mm can be seen mounted on a Nikon D810 on the left and the Nikkor 24mm can be seen mounted on a D810 on the right.

Although the Sigma is a bit pricier, it is a sensible alternate option for folks looking for a lens at this focal length. By comparison the Nikkor 24mm F1.4G ED is is priced at just under $2000 which makes the Sigma version that much more attractive to potential buyers. We will be taking a closer look at the Nikkor 24mm F1.8G and the Sigma 24mm F1.4 as an alternative lens option in this review.

APS-C

If you’re an APS-C shooter the 36mm equivalent focal length with an equivalent aperture of F2.7 will be a nice addition to your lens kit, being flexible enough to allow environmental and photojournalistic portraits while still being wide enough to accommodate for some landscape and architectural photography as well. It is worth noting however that if you’re looking to purchase this lens for an APS-C camera, then other options, such as Sigma’s 18-35mm F1.8 lens, might be a better alternative for the money. For this reason, we’re not going to consider this lens for use on APS-C in this review.

Nikkor 24mm F1.8G ED Headline Features

  • 24mm Focal Length
  • F1.8 Maximum Aperture
  • ‘Silent wave’ focus motor with full-time manual override
  • F-mount FX format lens, works on both DX and FX format Nikon SLRs
  • Accepts standard screw-type 72mm Filters

Lens Specifications

Glass elements used in high-end professional lenses are hand-pressed, shaped and managed by seasoned engineers, who run both automatic and visual inspections to discover any potential issues. Additionally, there are big differences in physical assembly of lenses and other elements used within lenses. Consumer-grade lenses are largely assembled by machines and are made up of cheaper/lower-end, plastic and aluminum parts. Professional lenses, on the other hand, are hand-assembled and only the best parts (mostly brass/metal) end up within lenses. Hence, the production prices of specialist lenses are always much higher compared. Additionally, professional photographers expect a lot more R&D to design top actors in the business, which also adds to the cost.I want to start out with a lens I have a love and hate relationship with. On the side, the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G is one of the sharpest lenses ever made by Nikon. It’s phenomenal optics (center to corner, through the framework and aperture array ), beautiful colors, super fast autofocus and a very useful focal range for wide-angle photography. On the flip side, it’s a heavy, bulky and expensive lens that cannot accommodate filters. Regrettably, not just circular filters and filter holders but pretty much any type of hand-holdable filter.

  AF-S Nikkor 24mm F1.8G ED Sigma 24mm F1.4 DG HSM A (Nikon Mount)
Price (MSRP) $745 $849
Announced 2015 2015
Lens Type Wide Angle Prime Wide Angle Prime
Lens Mount Nikon F Nikon F
Max Format Size 35mm FF 35mm FF
Focal Length 24mm 24mm
Image Stabilization No No
Max Aperture F1.8 F1.4
Minimum Aperture  F16 F16
Aperture Ring  No No 
Diaphragm Blades 7 (rounded)  9 (rounded)
Elements 12  15
Groups  9 11
Special Elements/Coatings  2 extra-LD glass elements and 2 aspherical elements, Nano Crystal Coat and Super Integrated Coating 2 aspherical elements, 3 FLD and 4 SLD glass elements coupled with Multi Layer Coatings
Minimum Focus 23cm (9.1″) 25cm (9.9″)
Maximum Magnification 0.2x  0.19x
Autofocus Yes  Yes
Motor Type Silent Wave Motor autofocus mechanism HSM (Hyper Sonic Motor)
Full Time Manual  Yes Yes
Focus Method  Internal Internal
Distance Scale Yes Yes
DoF Scale Yes Yes 
Weight  355g (12.5 oz) 665g (23.1 oz)
Dimensions (DxL) Approx. 78 x 83mm (3.1 x 3.3″) 85 x 90mm (3.4 x 3.6″)
Materials Metal Mount/Plastic and composite material Metal Mount/Thermally Stable Composite (TSC) material
Sealing  None  None
Color Black Black
Filter Thread 72mm 77mm
Hood Supplied  Yes Yes
Hood Product Code HB-76 Bayonet Hood  
Tripod Collar No No

The Nikkor 24mm has a metal lens mount and a mostly plastic/composite material body. It feels surprisingly light for being such a fast prime lens; especially when compared to the Sigma 24mm lens which weighs nearly twice the amount and is slightly larger in size (this is broadly to be expected with the Sigma’s 2/3 stop extra light gathering ability). The build quality of the Sigma lens definitely feels more robust with the majority of its components constructed of metal and a composite material that can be found on most of Sigma’s Art series lenses.

It’s worth mentioning that both the Nikkor and the Sigma 24mm lenses lack comprehensive weather sealing, but the Nikkor does offer some protection with rubber gasket around the lens mount, so that’s definitely something to keep in mind if you plan to use these lenses in adverse weather conditions.

With these specifications in mind, how do these lenses stack up against one another in terms of performance? In this review we will be looking at the performance of the Nikkor 24mm and how it compares to the heavier and faster Sigma 24mm.