I’ve written a great deal about the Zeiss ZF lenses, both in this blog as well as in my extensive in-depth review. As always, my comments are based on my own personal use, not specifications or second-hand knowledge. I do recommend products only after I’ve used them enough to have a fair view of how they perform.
For many users, manual focus is simply not feasible, due to subject matter, eyesight issues, etc. So what lenses should you buy to cover the bases?
The answer is simple if you can afford it: in the 14mm - 70mm range, Nikon’s offerings are simply the best, offering outstanding image quality which will require the rumored 24-megapixel D3x to see the limits. (Some readers report mechanical issues with the 24-70, but my 24-70 is perfect, as is my 14-24).
The Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8G ED is an amazingly good lens, easily outperforming any prior lens (zoom or not) in its territory, even the Canon 14mm f/2.8L II ! If you like to shoot wide with unbeatable image quality on full-frame, this is the only game in town. It also works on DX cameras, with an equivalent field of view of 21-36mm.
It should prove interesting to see how the 14-24mm performs at 18m against the new Zeiss ZF 18m f/3.5. I expect the 14-24mm to hold up very well, with differences showing up in the “edge cases”. Get the Nikon AF-S 14-24 f/2.8G ED at BH Photo or Adorama.
Nikon D3 + 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
The Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G ED is also a stellar performer, raising the bar over previous Nikon and Canon offerings, both in terms of optical performance as well as ergonomics.
Edge-to-edge sharpness is there on full-frame cameras. Compared to the older 28-70/2.8 (which I also own, and use for infrared on the Canon 5D), the new 24-70 raises the bar so much higher that it’s definitely worth the upgrade for anyone who regularly uses a mid-range zoom. Invest in good lenses for the 24MP Nikon D3x! Get the Nikon AF-S 24-70 f/2.8G ED at BH Photo.
Nikon D3 + 24-70mm f/2.8G ED @ f/11