Overall: 4(DX)/3.5(FX) out of 5
Price on Used Market: ~$300–600 USD
Value at $450 USD: 2.5
The fastest 24mm lens Nikon’s ever made [edit: the 24mm f/1.4 is now faster], the Nikon 24mm f/2 AI-S is a super-contrasty lens with good DX performance if you can get past some issues.
Nikkor 24mm f/2 AI-S
|Hard Infinity Stop?||Yes|
|Built in Hood?||No|
Image quality on this lens is a mixed bag. It’s nice and fast with a max aperture of f/2, and very contrasty from f/2.8 on. Wide open performance isn’t spectacular, the image can have a bit of a surreal look in bright scenery to it due to a halo effect. It has significant flaring and ghosting issues, along with chromatic aberration wide-open. The lens has good definition on DX, but corners on Full Frame have both (correctable) vignetting, and some amount of blurriness. Boke is busy as is common with wide lenses.
Full Frame Example (D700) @f/4 w/circular polarizer
Not the most exciting image in the world, but a pretty decent example of performance on full frame. The IQ in the center is immaculate, whereas if you look at the sides resolution has dropped significantly. Edge performance improves significantly by f/8, but is never perfect. Vignetting is easily visible, too, but I have no problem correcting for it in Aperture when desired.
It’s not a pancake, but it’s small and light, especially compared to any wide zooms. Focusing is silky smooth, ¼ turn getting you from close focus of 0.27m/.9ft to infinity at which there’s a hard stop.
Nikon is currently lacking in fast primes, and this lens fits the bill. However, the 24mm f/2.8 AF-D can be had cheaper, comes with AF, and is just one stop slower. Despite the downsides, there is a really nice feeling to the way the lens draws light that makes it better than my complaints would suggest. It’s for this reason my overall rating is higher than either the optics or value ratings.
More Photos with this Lens
All images with a DX Crop unless otherwise noted
Full Frame (D700)
More Photos of this Lens