Ultra-versatile or so-called ultrazoom has always been and will be popular among travel photographers, those who do not like or do not have the opportunity to carry a lot of camera equipment with them. These lenses can replace many lenses and cover almost all the required focal lengths. However, everything would be fine if it were not for the weak aperture ratio of such lenses. The Nikkor Z Ultrasound was expected by many, because they wanted so much to see that very advantage of the new mount. Did it work or not? In this review, we will test the NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR Lens in detail. So let’s get acquainted.
The NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR is the first non-S Line full-frame Nikkor Z lens. This is also evidenced by the materials of manufacture – the body is almost completely made of plastic. Nevertheless, the novelty has inherited some of the features of the lenses of the top line. First of all, it is a programmable electronic focusing ring, which can be assigned to control aperture, exposure compensation or ISO. And also the base of the mount is made of metal and has a sealing rubber insert on the flange, and the lens itself is protected from moisture and dust.
Despite the ultra-wide range of focal lengths, the lens is very compact and lightweight. It is only 114 mm long, 76.5 mm in diameter and weighs 570 grams. The filter diameter is 67 mm.
The zoom ring has a rubberized coating, the travel is smooth and moderately tight. The lens does not unfold spontaneously; nevertheless, there is a zoom lock on the body. There are no more switches on the case.
Nikon engineers equipped the NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR with optical stabilization, as evidenced by the VR abbreviation in the name. According to the manufacturer, the efficiency of the system is up to 4.5 steps. As far as you know, all Nikon Z full-frame cameras are equipped with matrix stabilization, but how effectively the two stabilizers work together is not reported. Below we will definitely test this aspect and try to find out the real efficiency of the system.
The optical design of the NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR consists of 19 elements in 15 groups. There are 2 extra-low dispersion (ED) glass elements, 1 aspherical extra-low dispersion (ED) glass element, 2 aspherical elements, ARNEO coated elements, and a fluorine-coated front element.
The minimum focusing distance is from 50 cm at the wide angle to 70 cm at the long end. Focusing is silent, when the distance is changed, the front element does not move.
The diaphragm, as the name implies, is variable. The minimum values are F/22–36. The diaphragm design has a rounded opening and consists of 7 blades.
NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR Review
Let’s start our testing with sharpness. For the test, we will use the standard test world. So, let’s analyze the picture quality at a wide angle of 24 mm.
At the maximum open aperture in the center, there is a completely insignificant decrease in sharpness, then, up to about f/11, the center is absolutely sharp, which cannot be said about the periphery. In general, a softening of the picture is noticeable at all values, the maximum sharpness is in the range of f/8-11.
At a focal length of 70 mm, the center is immediately sharp, the periphery also looks a little sharper. Starting at f/16, there is a general decrease in sharpness under the influence of diffraction.
105mm shows a similar picture in quality, but the de-sharpness due to diffraction is offset by one stop. Now softening starts at f/22.
The 200mm focal length gives this lens the sharpest possible peripheral sharpness. In the center, sharpness starts at the widest aperture of f/6.3. The general drop in sharpness begins after f/22.
In general, the lens does not please with detail on the periphery, and it is better to avoid shooting at the maximum closed apertures. However, one should not forget that we are dealing with a super universal. This is normal behavior for such lenses.
NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR is equipped with three aspherical lenses, which, among other things, are designed to reduce distortion. Nevertheless, at the widest angle of 24 mm, we can observe significant barrel distortion, which is almost completely corrected inside the chamber. However, as a result of artificial adjustments, we can observe that part of the image is cropped out. Thus, interpolation occurs, which, in turn, reduces the final image quality. Deterioration is insignificant and it is impossible to assess it with the naked eye, but nevertheless, I advise turning off the intra-camera correction when shooting at 24 mm.
The focal length of 70mm already shows pincushion distortion. Distortion is relatively small:
With a further increase in focal length, the effect of pincushion distortion decreases, but does not disappear.
There are two types of chromatic aberrations – longitudinal and transverse. Longitudinal aberrations are typical only for open apertures throughout the entire field of the frame, while transverse aberrations appear at all values of the aperture, as a rule, closer to the edge of the frame. For the longitudinal XA test, I use the Datacolor SpyderLENSCAL calibration target, and for the transverse ones, a special test.
To reduce the effect of chromatic aberration in the optical design of lenses, elements with ultra-low dispersion are used. There are three of them. So, let’s see. On the left – longitudinal, on the right – transverse.
Chromatic aberration is negligible, but noticeable at all apertures. We can observe the same thing at other focal lengths.
Overall, the indicator is very good. Although we observe CA at all diaphragms, they are minimal. Plus, do not forget that such distortions are effectively corrected in-camera, as well as manually in any RAW converter.
At 24mm f/4-6.3 there is a noticeable vignette that disappears completely after f/9. When shooting at a narrower angle, the vignetting effect is reduced. Starting from about 70 mm, vignetting is almost invisible even at the maximum apertures.
And here NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR is very pleasing. The lens has excellent protection against backlight and side light. It was very difficult to find the conditions under which there was a decrease in contrast or a noticeable flare in the frame. Nevertheless, at a certain angle and only at the most closed apertures, you can get such glare.
Notice how well the lens handles near-direct light. Not every lens can boast this behavior.
Our hero is far from the brightest representative of lenses capable of drawing beautiful bokeh. Nevertheless, let’s take a look at what he is capable of.
As you might expect, 24mm does not give nice bokeh.
But 70 mm looks much more interesting:
Focal lengths from about 105mm already show beautiful bokeh with large light discs. In general, at these focal lengths, the NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR will perform well in portrait photography, which we will definitely test in our future reviews.
Let me remind you that NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR is equipped with optical stabilization. I tested the lens on a Nikon Z6 camera, which is equipped with matrix stabilization. You cannot disable the work of optical or matrix stabilization separately. Either both stabilization systems or none of them work simultaneously. Thus, I was not able to find out the real efficiency of the optical stabilization system, but we tested the overall efficiency and it is impressive.
At a focal length of 24 mm, the stabilizer shows 4.5 stops of efficiency, which the manufacturer actually claims. But at the maximum focal length of 200 mm, the results are completely different.
Here we see an incredible 6 stops. It seems that optical stabilization is included in the work only at a long focal length. The effectiveness of the stabilization is really good.
Astigmatism and Comatic Aberration
These optical aberrations are especially pronounced in the form of distortion of points of light in the frame. Coma is typical for the periphery of the frame and decreases towards the center, and is also corrected by aperture. Astigmatism is noticeable, as a rule, closer to the center of the frame and at all values of the aperture.
Coma on the left, astigmatism on the right.
Comatic aberrations are noticeable only at a focal length of 24 mm. When you stop after about f / 8, the effect almost disappears. Astigmatism is not typical for this lens, and as the focal length increases, the coma almost completely disappears.
NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR for Video
Due to its compactness and wide range of focal lengths, the lens will be attractive not only for travel photographers, but also for videographers. The compactness allows the NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR to be mounted on a gimbal without having to have a powerful electronic stabilizer. I tested the lens with the Z6 camera on the Zhiyun Weebil S gimbal and it did a great job. Let’s take another look at the stabilization efficiency and compare with the picture on the electronic stabilizer.
In the test above, I did not soften my gait, the shooting was carried out at a wide angle of 24 mm. Of course, the picture is not smooth, the results for such a stabilization system are quite expected.
Now let’s look at the picture when shooting on the Weebil S Gimbal:
In addition to mounting on a steadicam, optical and matrix stabilization worked in this example. As a result, we observe an absolutely smooth and perfect picture. In addition, we are pleased with the adequate operation of optical and matrix stabilization in conjunction with the steadicam.
Autofocus Motor Noise
An important indicator for operators is the speed and noise of the autofocus motor. If speed is a parameter more related to the camera system, then noise is directly related to the lens.
The autofocus motor is completely silent. In the background, you can hear a constant monotonous noise – this is the noise from the cooling system of the LED device that was used during the shooting. If the speed of work seemed to you slow, let me remind you that in Nikon Z6 the refocusing speed is regulated in the settings.
Another important indicator for video production is the change in scale when refocusing.
As you can see, the scale changes are quite minor at only 2 percent. This is an excellent indicator for such a versatile lens.
When the focal length is changed, at the moment when the focus is on the subject and is fixed, the focusing distance for most lenses changes – this is called varifocality. The absence of this effect is called parfocality. This parameter is rarely paid attention to, but nevertheless it is very much appreciated by professional videographers.
Changing the focal length from 24 mm to 200 mm:
Changing the focal length from 200 mm to 24 mm:
When changing the scale from 24 to 200 mm and vice versa, the focusing distance does not change, which pleasantly surprised me.
Photo Gallery NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR
It must be said that the NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR lens “does not have enough stars from the sky.” Unfortunately, we don’t see any incredible image quality here. Reduced sharpness and lower aperture are the compromises we have to make if we want to have such a versatile and compact lens in our arsenal. Nevertheless, in terms of sharpness, there is no crime here, everything is at a fairly high level. But we always want more. 🙂 And we get more in other characteristics.
The minimal manifestation of chromatic aberrations, the almost complete absence of coma and astigmatism, excellent glare protection and resistance to backlight were very pleasing. The noticeable barrel distortion at wide angle brought some disappointment, but this is again a drawback of such lenses. And the excellent performance of the stabilization system is what largely compensates for our low aperture ratio.
For video shooting, the NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR is good in almost all respects. Compact, fast, quiet, and what is rare at all – minimal focus breathing and parfocality.
Can we recommend this lens? Unfortunately, nothing like this exists for the Z mount at the moment. The choice is limited – either we use an FTZ adapter or the native NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR. Our hero has an excellent balance of pros and cons, as well as greater compactness, in comparison with similar lenses installed through FTZ.
Nikkor Z 24-200mm F/4-6.3 VR
In this review, we will test the NIKKOR Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR lens in detail. So let's get acquainted.
Product SKU: NKZ24200
Product Brand: Nikon
Product Currency: USD
Product Price: 897.85
Price Valid Until: 2021-08-28
Product In-Stock: InStock