The everyday partner
We could relate this Nikkor Z 24-120mm F/4 S to a kind of super transstandard. Admittedly, its maximum aperture stops at f/4, but in broad daylight, this will hardly be a problem. It benefits in return from a very interesting focal range which makes it a privileged partner for several photo practices.
Thus, with its wide-angle, it will be possible to indulge in landscape or architectural photography without difficulty. Between 35 and 50 mm, we have here an ally of photoreporters and others street photographers. Finally, from 70 mm and up to full zoom, you can count on focal values that are quite suitable for portraiture, or even certain sports.
Mounted on Nikon Z7, Z6 & Co., we obtain a somewhat bulky unit, but whose weight remains equivalent to that of a bare Z9. In addition, the zoom replaces several lenses quite well.
Relevant for portrait painters
For portrait lovers, the focal range of 70mm to 120mm is quite relevant, especially this last value. It’s long enough not to distort faces too much, but we regret that the maximum f/4 aperture doesn’t separate the background as well as with a brighter lens.
Regarding the bubbles bokeh, we cannot say that they are really round in the center of the image. However, their shape does not vary greatly as one approaches the periphery, and their surface does not really have any defects.
The impasse on optical stabilization
For its zoom, Nikon has done things simply, and unlike its equivalent for SLR which was equipped with optical stabilization, this one is not equipped with it. This is quite easily explained.
Beware of use on APS-C hybrids
Indeed, this 24-120 mm f/4 is intended mainly for the brand’s 24×36 sensor hybrids. However, all these boxes (Z5, Z6, Z6 II, Z7, Z7 II and Z9), as of July 2022, are equipped with a stabilized sensor. For those who would use the zoom with an APS-C hybrid (such as the Z fc), in addition to a certain problem of imbalance in hand, they will have to ensure that they remain very stable before shooting with this 36-180 (in 24×36 equivalent ).
On our side, in combination with a Z7 II, we did not have to suffer from camera shake, unless we were trying to photograph in very low light.
Powerful and quiet autofocus
The management of the autofocus is quite successful. The zoom is rather quiet and you can count on good liveliness. The focus is acquired quickly and the autofocus motors work in concert with face and eye tracking. As a small bonus, the minimum focusing distance is 35 cm over the entire focal range, which makes it easy to try proxiphotography, especially at full zoom.