Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S Review

January 27, 2022 | Mark Goldstein | Rating star Rating star Rating star Rating star Half rating star


The new Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S is the fifth standard zoom lens released in the past few years for Nikon Z-series full-frame mirrorless cameras, with all of them starting at 24mm, joining the Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, Z 24-70mm f/4 S, Z 24-50mm f/4-6.3 and the Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR.

It's perhaps the most versatile of them all in terms of the balance between maximum aperture and focal range, offering the longer focal lengths of 70-120mm, all still at f/4 maximum aperture.

Ideal as a travel lens, covering 24-120mm in such a relatively small and lightweight package is very appealing, especially to those who have been used to using a DSLR and a standard 24-70mm lens.

It’s a very flexible option, being suitable for a wide variety of different subjects, from landscapes at the wide-angle end, to portraits at the telephoto end.

Thankfully, when it comes to image quality, the Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S displays fantastic sharpness at all focal lengths and apertures at the centre of the frame, with still very good levels of sharpness at the edges.

Despite the fairly narrow aperture, it’s capable of creating some attractive shallow depth of field effects thanks to the combination of the 9-blade aperture and the longer focal lengths on offer.

Vignetting is a little more obvious than hoped for, as is flare when shooting directly into the sun, but chromatic aberrations and distortion are well controlled and it's capable of creating very nice sunstars at f/22.

The design incorporates useful features such as the configurable control ring and function button, whilst being usefully weather-resistant.

We did find the zoom ring to be a little too stiff in action and the lack of built-in vibration reduction may prove off-putting for some, especially for Z50 and Z fc owners whose cameras don't feature in-body stabilisation.

Auto-focusing proved to be very quick and very quiet on the Z5 camera that we tested it with, making it ideal for both stills and video.

We feel that the asking price of £1099 / $1099 in the UK and the US is very reasonable for this lens, making it half the price of the Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S, similar in price to the Z 24-70mm f/4 S, and slightly more expensive than the Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR.

Overall, the fifth zoom lens for Z-series cameras that starts at 24mm is for most users the best of them all. Unless you really need the faster f/2.8 aperture of the Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S or perhaps the extra reach of the Z 24-200mm f/4-6.3 VR, the Nikon Z 24-120mm f/4 S fits the bill as a very accomplished travel-zoom for full-frame mirrorless cameras.

4.5 stars

Ratings (out of 5)
Design 4.5
Features 4.5
Ease-of-use 5
Image quality 4.5
Value for money 4.5