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Review by Markus Stamm, published January 2013
Special thanks to Ian Dickinson for providing the lens!
When talking about historic Nikon lenses, there are some obvious candidates that come into one's mind, like the Noct-Nikkor 58/1.2, the 1200-1700mm zoom or that bizarre and rare 6mm f/2.8 fisheye lens. But hardly anyone would think about a DX lens in this context.
In some sense, however, the Nikkor AF-S DX 12-24mm f/4G IF-ED is a historic lens, too: it was Nikon's first dedicated DX lens, introduced early in 2003 and specifically designed to work with digital cameras and the smaller sensors that were introduced in the early days of digital SLRs.
Almost a decade later, the majority of Nikon DSLRs still features DX sized sensors. And, unlike some other DX lenses introduced later, the Nikkor AF-S 12-24/4 is still around. It retails for around 950 EUR/1100 USD, which makes it one of the most expensive DX ultra-wide zoom lenses.
In this review we will have a look at how the lens performs on our current DX test camera, the Nikon D7000.
The build quality of the lens is very decent. However, the outer parts are just made of (good quality) plastic - slightly disappointing for a lens in this price class but positively speaking it is a very light-weight lens as a result.
The broad, rubberized zoom and focus rings operate very smoothly. The physical length of the lens remains constant despite a moving inner lens tube. Thanks to Internal Focusing (IF) the front element does not rotate so using a polarizer remains easily possible - even with the supplied petal shaped hood.
Typical for all G lenses the Nikkor does not feature an aperture ring.
Thanks to silent-wave drive, the AF operates silently and reasonably fast. In addition, it makes the lens fully compatible with all current Nikon DSLRs, including the motorless entry-level models.
|Equiv. focal length||18-36 mm (full format equivalent)|
|Equiv. max. f-stops||f/6.0 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field - not speed)|
|Optical construction||11 elements in 7 groups, incl. 3 aspherical and 2 ED elements|
|Number of aperture blades||7 (rounded)|
|min. focus distance||0.3 m (max. magnification ratio 1:8.3)|
|Dimensions||83 mm x 90 mm|
|Filter size||77 mm (rotating)|
|Hood||HB-23, petal-shaped, bayonet mount (supplied)|
|Other features||Lens reports distance (D) to the camera, Silent Wave AF drive|