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A compact, lightweight, travel lens!
Smart Photography|September 2020
A compact, lightweight, travel lens!
Nikkor Z 24-200 mm f/4-6.3 Zoom Lens
Ashok Kandimalla

Inside the Box

Snap-on front lens cap

Rear lens cap

Petal-shaped bayonet lens hood

User manual

Soft pouch

Warranty card

This is the first super-zoom, all-in-one type lens that Nikon introduced with the Z mount. Unlike the other full-frame lenses introduced so far with the same mount, it is not a part of the premium ‘S Series’. What does that mean to us as users and how does it perform? Let’s find out.

Design & Build Quality

The lens feels solid in hand, with an excellent finish. The barrels have a perfect fit and there is no wobbling anywhere. Nikon says that this lens is drip and dust resistant and there is a rubber gasket around the lens mount, as with S lenses. There are two rings – one for zooming and the other is a customisable multipurpose one that is common to all Z lenses. A lock has been provided to prevent zoom creep and that’s about it, as there are no other switches.

Let us look at a few of the differences in construction, when compared to the more expensive ‘S’ lenses. While the S lenses use the hybrid part metal - part polycarbonate external construction, this lens is fully made up of the latter. The bayonet mount of the lens is made with a hardened aluminium alloy, whereas, the S lenses use the more durable brass-with-chrome plating. The lettering on this lens is screen printed rather than engraved. None of these in our opinion will make a difference to the intended users in practise.

Key Features

The lens has a variable aperture. It starts at a respectable f/4 at 24 mm and lands up at f/6.3 at the long end. The change from f/4 to f/6.3 happens quickly, with the lens speed reducing to f/5.6 by 50 mm and reaching f/6.3 by 80 mm. Optically, it uses 19 elements in 15 groups. The design is advanced, with no less than two ED, one ED aspherical, and two aspherical elements. Other features are - ARNEO coatings, a fluorine coating on the front element, an electronically controlled diaphragm and a silent stepper motor. The zoom ring has positions marked at focal lengths of 24, 35, 50, 75, 105, 135, and 200 mm. Compatibility with 67 mm filters is a great help as these are relatively cheap. Nikon has built VR into the lens and it is good for 5 stops. This is a good move as you can pair this lens with low-cost bodies like the Z50, that do not have inbody VR.

The lens follows the current trend by most manufacturers towards slower maximum apertures. This is due to the superior low light AF capability of MLCs, and also because the high ISO performance of cameras have improved. While that f/6.3 number may put off many, this is just 1/3 stop slower than f/5.6, which is the maximum aperture of most kit zooms and is thus not a limitation in practise. The difference in DOF will be insignificant for a 1/3 stop difference. On the positive side, you are getting a compact and light lens.

Ergonomics

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September 2020