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Nikon 24/3.5 tilt/shift first impressions

Keeble & Shucat of Palo Alto, CA loaned me the Nikon 24mm f/3.5 Tilt/Shift lens today for a brief shoot. I do plan on expanding my 28mm Shift Lenses Review to include this lens (and renaming it accordingly).

Update: this lens is reviewed in more detail as part of diglloyd’s Advanced Photography (DAP).

Shift lenses are headed in the right direction, getting better and better. The Hartblei/Zeiss offerings out out of the reach of many (price) but Nikon’s current offerings include the 24 f/3.5, a 45mm f/2.8 and an 85mm f/2.8. Canon has a similar line. Discontinued are Nikon’s 28/4, 28/3.5 and 35/2.8 PC-Nikkors (no tilt). Schneider’s 28mm PC-Super-Angulon remains available for Nikon or Canon users. All of the latter lenses are “covered” in28mm Shift Lenses on DX frame.

Nikon D3 + 24mm f/3.5 tilt/shift @ f/8

The Nikon 24 T/S is a very nice handling lens and built to similar standards as the several-year old 85 f/2.8D PC-Micro-Nikkor. However, it now offers electronic aperture control, a boon for usability, but a disappointment for those of us who like to shoot Nikon lenses also on Canon via an adapter.

The good news is that optical performance is very high. Having used the Canon 24/3.5L T/S and the Olympus 24/3.5 shift (but not owning either at the moment) I can only hazard the following experience-based opinion: the Nikon offering appears to be the best yet available in the 24mm tilt/shift realm. Congratulations Nikon! A future in-depth report will have to speak to the details of this fine lens, but stitched images certainly are one good use of this lens, like this 19 megapixel example below.

Nikon D3 + 24mm f/3.5 tilt/shift @ f/8 , 19MP stitched image

Creative uses of tilt are fascinating. Here the lens tilt was used to isolate the subject, deliberately blurring the surrounding areas which would normally be sharp.

Nikon D3 + 24mm f/3.5 tilt/shift @ f/4 , tilt used

Nikon D3 + 24mm f/3.5 tilt/shift @ f/4 , tilt used

The bottom line for me is that when the budget cooperates, the Nikon 24 T/S is a lens I want to own. I expect that the 45mm and 85mm offerings will afford even better performance. Get your own 24/3.5 T/S at B&H Photo.

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