Mount: Nikon F | Format: Full frame | Construction: 12 elements in 10 groups, 9 diaphragm blades | Closest focus distance: 25cm | Filter thread: 77mm | Autofocus: ring-type ultrasonic | Dimensions: 83 x 89mm, weight 620g | Tested on: Nikon D600
This is Nikon's top-dollar f/1.4 prime lens for full-frame cameras. You can use it on an APS-C (DX) format Nikon, but the equivalent focal length would be 36mm, which is not very wide at all, defeating its purpose.
This lens's pro build quality includes a magnesium barrel and weather-sealed mounting plate. Aspherical and ED (Extra low Dispersion) elements are utilised, along with Nikon's Nano Crystal coating to reduce ghosting and flare, as fitted to most of its recent up-market lenses.
As a 24mm f/1.4 lens with full-frame compatibility, it's typically chunky. It has fast and near-silent ring-type ultrasonic autofocus, and a neat focus scale positioned beneath a viewing window on the top of the lens barrel. There is a depth of field scale, though it's not quite as clear as some. Focusing is completely internal, so the lens doesn't extend during autofocus.
Centre sharpness is excellent even at very wide apertures, and levels of sharpness are maintained very well even into the extreme corners of the image frame. The Nikon performs very much better than some lenses, such as the Canon 24mm f/1.4, while also managing to keep vignetting down to lower levels. Colour fringing is also better controlled, throughout the aperture range. All in all, it's a very pricey lens, but you get what you pay for.
Sharpness: The sharpness chart provides an indication of lens performance across the focal range (for zoom lenses) and at different lens apertures.
The up-market Nikon is super-sharp even at its widest aperture of f/1.4, right across the whole image frame.
Fringing: There's almost no colour fringing to be seen, lab scores remaining ultra-low throughout the entire aperture range.
Barrel distortion is a little more noticeable than other lenses of this type, but it's still not bad considering the big angle of view. Negative values indicate barrel distortion, positive values indicate pincushion distortion, and figures closes to zero are best.
Verdict: The image quality is absolutely excellent and fully in keeping with the lens's professional-grade build and high asking price.