Rounding up more Nikon Primes: Nikkor 24mm F1.4

redirectorredirector Posts: 9Member
edited March 2013 in Nikon Lenses
I've had my D800 for about a year now, and have paired it most often with the 135mm F2 DC (reviewed on the old forum), and the pro 24-70mm f2.8, for client work and special events. For the latter, there's no denying the versatility of the range, quality of optics and build strength of the mid-range pro zoom. But several client events during the long, dark winter raised a number of issues that, particularly at the wide end of the range, I believe are better addressed by another solution.

After renting and working with the superb 14-24mm f2.8, I decided against purchase (at this time hahaha) based on cost, weight, filters, and an rare need to apply 14mm on the job. I can rent again if that is needed.

So I bought a refurbished Nikkor 24mm f1.4 from Adorama at about $1,750. It is a lot of money, but I am sure it will pay off, based on the versatility and assets it brings to the job.

Here's what I am enjoying about the Nikkor 24mm F1.4 lens vs the Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8:

- Close focusing. The close-focusing capability of the 24mm Prime makes a significant difference to engage the subject and draw the user into the frame. It's a bigger difference than I expected. I don't know the exact numbers, but after using it, it became apparent that some shots and perspectives are simply unavailable with the big mid-zoom at 24mm vs the 24mm Prime. This is very useful in product shots and creative expressions.

- Low Light. The primary benefit. This lens focuses better in low light, and allows for more hand-held shots, more often without flash, because of the 6 stops beyond 2.8, all the way to wide open at 1.4. There were several events that stretched into evening, twilight, and intimate light where the big 2.8, while good, was not great. This lens is great and gives me more confidence that I will get the scene and the shot properly framed and allow the intimately lit moments to be rendered properly.

- Depth of Field qualities: The effortless way this lens captures the subject and throws the rest out with that shallow DOF plane at f1.4 - 2.8 is opening up many more creative applications. Basically, you use this lens almost exclusively at F1.4 (or, depending on whether a sliver is too thin of DOF, down a few clicks), and the results produce images you can pick out of a lineup, and become favorites. The bokeh is quite nice at the rear, with small blue and red LED's rendered as nice round christmas ornament impressions, for example.

- Video: for all the above reasons, the 24mm f1.4 is going to be very useful on video -- for simple interview work to special product/logo placement, to scene setting follow focus use.

And of course, it is smaller and lighter, and also has strong build quality & weather sealing. It is comfortable to use on the D800, and since my perspective is using the larger mid-zoom, I don't have any feeling of "gee this is a big lens for 24mm".

It remains to be seen under what circumstances the 24-70 will end up on the camera, because I do have a 50mm f1.8 prime and prefer the amazing 135mm f2.0 DC for normal and portrait use, and am enjoying the "commitment" you get when you put a Prime lens on your camera and can focus creatively on other decisions. Either of those on the d800, or even on a 2nd body D7000, give fine results in low light as well. Still, the versatility of the zoom is valuable on the job.

But now, I can say this. With the 24mm f1.4, I fear no darkness!

Where will this lead? Probably to 85mm f1.4!

Comments

  • AdeAde Posts: 1,071Member
    24/1.4 that is my dream lens!

    (but I have an 85/1.4G on backorder at B&H, so no more new lenses for a long while... :) )

    ps. from 2.8 to 1.4 is only two f-stops, not six.
  • redirectorredirector Posts: 9Member
    Yes, regarding stops... thought about that as 2 vs 6... to be more precise, the D800 makes 6 intermediate Aperture positions available within the range in question: 2.8-2.5-2.0-1.8-1.6-1.4.
  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    That depends how you set up the D800, you can also set it up to 1/2 f-stops instead of 1/3. Talking of f-stops, it really are only two.

    And it's 2.8-2.5-2.2-2.0... ;)

    Yes, the 24 is a great lens especially because it's close range. Only downsides are distortion and reflexes if you face front light (and price, of course). 85 is better against front light :) and although the closest range is 10 times the focus length, there's a huge difference because you get much more background. I like the bulkiness of both lenses.

  • JJ_SOJJ_SO Posts: 1,158Member
    Just did my personal statistics: the 24 is my "oldest" lens, average use 3 pictures per day of ownership. Next are 14-24 and 85 with 4 pics/day and the top at the moment is the Sigma 35 with 8 pics per day. These 4 lenses are doing nearly 50% of my pictures - and it still is great fun to use them :)
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited October 2014
    @redirector: I'm please to hear you are enjoying the 24 1.4. I truly enjoy using that lens as well. I have to say, should you get the 14-24, you will find many great usage for it...so by all means don't put it off your purchase list. As for the 24-70, don't ever leave home without it. It will serve you in ways the 24 1.4 cannot. No need to go into the details on what I mean by that at this moment...give that your usage of these lenses maybe different than mine and the type of photograph each of us does. But in the mean time enjoy your new lens and by all means share your photo's with us on PAD.
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 641Member
    I was fortunate enough to pick up a 24 1.4 for a job last year and love it. I, too, have the 50 1.8 and that range, from 24 to 50, is where I spend most of my time. Ah, but the 24-70 is a very sweet lens, and this is coming from a guy who hated zoom lenses for 30 years.
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    More kudos here for the 24mm f/1.4,,,,I shot my youngest son's entire wedding with this....as the "family photog"
    Msmoto, mod
  • cholsoncholson Posts: 17Member
    this is my favorite lens lately... it's hard to NOT take a good shot with it (assuming the photographer doesn't get in the way). this lens just drips with character
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    For those that want to read what we have said in the past on the old forum, please click here and see how I got sucked into this lens. Something that I'm have yet to regret. :P
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • mikepmikep Posts: 280Member
    i have taken a fair number of bad portraits with this lens to be honest, it can make certain people look strange from certain angles, beware of big noses from straight on.

    but its such an amazing lens, i love it
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited March 2013
    @mikep: I know what you mean. It would appear that we have both made that mistake...no? :P

    ARN_5610.jpg

    D4 24 1.4G 1/320 ISO 100 @ f/1.8
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    For sure, wide lenses have to managed carefully. And, not only the noses, but a head at an angle near the edge can be a rather shocking image. However, it can still be used fi done carefully. But, it will emphasize certain characteristics.....
    The Wedding
    Msmoto, mod
  • PhotobugPhotobug Posts: 4,605Member
    @PitchBlack - Don't buy that lens today. Wait until next week and then pull out the credit card. :-)) =))
    D750 & D7100 | 24-70 F2.8 G AF-S ED, 70-200 F2.8 AF VR, TC-14E III, TC-1.7EII, 35 F2 AF D, 50mm F1.8G, 105mm G AF-S VR | Backup & Wife's Gear: D5500 & Sony HX50V | 18-140 AF-S ED VR DX, 55-300 AF-S G VR DX |
    |SB-800, Amaran Halo LED Ring light | MB-D16 grip| Gitzo GT3541 + RRS BH-55LR, Gitzo GM2942 + Sirui L-10 | RRS gear | Lowepro, ThinkTank, & Hoodman gear | BosStrap | Vello Freewave Plus wireless Remote, Leica Lens Cleaning Cloth |
  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 641Member
    I had a client spring for this lens when I needed it for a product shoot. He had a tight space and couldn't move his equipment, so he and I headed over to Samy's Camera and picked one up. It paid for itself on the first session, and I was well in the black on the second. It's not expensive if it is the best tool for the job!

    I just wish I could find a client who really needs a job done with a 400 mm f/2.8E FL ED VR.
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    Go get it PitchBlack....it is an AWESOME lens. Here are some for your consideration.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • WestEndBoyWestEndBoy Posts: 1,456Member
    I've had my D800 for about a year now, and have paired it most often with the 135mm F2 DC (reviewed on the old forum), and the pro 24-70mm f2.8, for client work and special events. For the latter, there's no denying the versatility of the range, quality of optics and build strength of the mid-range pro zoom. But several client events during the long, dark winter raised a number of issues that, particularly at the wide end of the range, I believe are better addressed by another solution.

    After renting and working with the superb 14-24mm f2.8, I decided against purchase (at this time hahaha) based on cost, weight, filters, and an rare need to apply 14mm on the job. I can rent again if that is needed.

    So I bought a refurbished Nikkor 24mm f1.4 from Adorama at about $1,750. It is a lot of money, but I am sure it will pay off, based on the versatility and assets it brings to the job.

    Here's what I am enjoying about the Nikkor 24mm F1.4 lens vs the Nikkor 24-70mm F2.8:

    - Close focusing. The close-focusing capability of the 24mm Prime makes a significant difference to engage the subject and draw the user into the frame. It's a bigger difference than I expected. I don't know the exact numbers, but after using it, it became apparent that some shots and perspectives are simply unavailable with the big mid-zoom at 24mm vs the 24mm Prime. This is very useful in product shots and creative expressions.

    - Low Light. The primary benefit. This lens focuses better in low light, and allows for more hand-held shots, more often without flash, because of the 6 stops beyond 2.8, all the way to wide open at 1.4. There were several events that stretched into evening, twilight, and intimate light where the big 2.8, while good, was not great. This lens is great and gives me more confidence that I will get the scene and the shot properly framed and allow the intimately lit moments to be rendered properly.

    - Depth of Field qualities: The effortless way this lens captures the subject and throws the rest out with that shallow DOF plane at f1.4 - 2.8 is opening up many more creative applications. Basically, you use this lens almost exclusively at F1.4 (or, depending on whether a sliver is too thin of DOF, down a few clicks), and the results produce images you can pick out of a lineup, and become favorites. The bokeh is quite nice at the rear, with small blue and red LED's rendered as nice round christmas ornament impressions, for example.

    - Video: for all the above reasons, the 24mm f1.4 is going to be very useful on video -- for simple interview work to special product/logo placement, to scene setting follow focus use.

    And of course, it is smaller and lighter, and also has strong build quality & weather sealing. It is comfortable to use on the D800, and since my perspective is using the larger mid-zoom, I don't have any feeling of "gee this is a big lens for 24mm".

    It remains to be seen under what circumstances the 24-70 will end up on the camera, because I do have a 50mm f1.8 prime and prefer the amazing 135mm f2.0 DC for normal and portrait use, and am enjoying the "commitment" you get when you put a Prime lens on your camera and can focus creatively on other decisions. Either of those on the d800, or even on a 2nd body D7000, give fine results in low light as well. Still, the versatility of the zoom is valuable on the job.

    But now, I can say this. With the 24mm f1.4, I fear no darkness!

    Where will this lead? Probably to 85mm f1.4!
    The original post lists many of the reason that I like primes. And yes, the 135 is amazing. It is 20 years older than my 85 and pretty much just as good. Nothing against the 85, it is amazing too. But don't expect it to be better than the 135.

    The 24 is certainly an amazing lens. I think it would be amazing for street photography or other dark places. Someday I will buy it.

    As far as the 24-70 goes, I just use my 50mm 1.4G, get similar image quality at 50 mm, 2 stops of improvement, better bokeh, much less weight and a third of the price. The only thing I don't like is the crappy consumer build and the fact that Nikon is not charging four times as much and delivering wicked image quality on par with my 85 and 135.

    As far as the 45mm between 24mm and 70mm that is not covered, I will zoom with my feet.

    Now if I was an event photographer, I might look at this differently.
  • redirectorredirector Posts: 9Member
    image Circling back to this discussion 18 months after posting it, enjoying the new comments and suggestions from PB and others here.

    Initial observations then have held true. I have found this lens to be so useful, creative and of such quality that I adjusted my kit to keep it on one camera 100% of the time, and added a 2nd body to support everything else. Reading the old post reminded me that this was a refurb -- no issues on that front either.

    A few comments on other lenses and choices now, in conjunction with this one on an Event shoot or a Wedding, particularly for events that go deep into the night:

    - I no longer have the 24-70mm f2.8 (theft). So recently, I rented a 24-120mm F4.0 VR for daylight-to-evening versatility, on a second body when the clock is ticking... I need that range often and sometimes cannot switch shooting positions... Naturally the 24mm f1.4 focuses closer, has better image quality, and goes effortlessly into the night. But as light falls, I switch out the 24-120mm for either my old 50mm f1.8D (your 50mm 1.4G is on my radar for upgrade, @WestEndBoy!) or 85mm f1.8 (new for me, and it's a strong performer), or the 135mm f2.0. For Receptions there is more time and flexibility so I can then once again zoom with my feet.

    - And I agree 100% with MikeP, Golf, and MSMoto regarding the issue with 24mm and wide-angle distortion of faces/people on the outer 20% of the frame. Encountering those situations on occasion makes me long for an option at 35mm, which I have not explored, and would love recommendations between the Nikon or Sigma versions at 1.4-1.8.

    - In my event work, long range shots at night are not encountered as often, so I find my old 80-200mm f2.8 remains in storage after 6pm. And in general for fast moving social and product events, I get into these technical tradeoffs we all hit on occasion -- for example, if the couple or label/feature is not on the exact same focal plane at f2.8 then somebody's eyes or logo is not 100% locked in. I find myself stopping down a bit, negating the power and price of the 2.8, then wondering why I don't have a VR lens at that zoom range under those circumstances to help the slower shutter (I do use and like a monopod when needed, but it's one more piece...) So with that said, the new 70-200mm f4.0 VR is a potential option for upgrading. A slightly deeper DOF is a bit of insurance for critical focus when working at a faster pace, and VR helps keep things steady as light fails.

    - The new D810 is superior to the 800 in so many ways. I have upgraded and will either keep the 800 as the 2nd or potentially bundle it with a D5200 and trade in for the 750, which I like for the hinged screen and remote monitoring capabilities for time-lapse and video.

    - Finally... I am now out of the DX market.

    So much of what we do is about trade-offs... finding the right combination of options, speed, price and versatility that suits your style, and the technical requirements of the shoot. Building a kit around this 24mm f1.4 works for me.
  • SymphoticSymphotic Posts: 641Member
    @mikep: I know what you mean. It would appear that we have both made that mistake...no? :P

    ARN_5610.jpg

    D4 24 1.4G 1/320 ISO 100 @ f/1.8
    Gotta love a face like that!
    Jack Roberts
    "Discovery consists in seeing what everyone else has seen and thinking what nobody else has thought"--Albert Szent-Gyorgy
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,396Moderator
    Buy the 24mm f/1.4. It is such a useful lens....great walk around.
    Msmoto, mod
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