The Nikon 14-24mm is a legend of a lens. It is a full frame (FX) ultra-ultra wide zoom. No this is not a fisheye lens; the straight lines stay straight. It is a large lens and a fairly high budget level lens and really too much for a DX camera. But did I say a legend of a lens? Yes the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 AF-S set a new standard in ultra-ultra wide angle lenses. There is no other lens I have seen or had the opportunity to use that even comes close to this lens. There really is no Nikon, Canon or Sony lens I have yet seen that comes close to this one. This lens is actually sharper wide open at 14mm in the corners than the 14mm f/2.8 prime lens – even when the prime is stopped down to by 1 full stop! This lens is virtually flawless and is devoid of softness anywhere – at every aperture in full frame camera. Now the 24mm end being sharp, but the 14mm end is a breakthrough in lenses.
Having said that it is a bit on the high side for budget and if you are simply taking pictures the others ultra-wide angle lenses are more than satisfactory. Yes this lens is a little softer when wide open at 14mm in the very outside corners than when out at longer focal length or smaller apertures, but still stupidly sharp and still ahead of any of the competition.
Having said all that, you really will not notice this sharpness unless you are being very critical and looking in the corners of a full frame image.
The major downside to this lens over most of the competition and even the older Nikon lenses is the ability to place filters on the front of it are quite limited. There are some available but they are not as convenient and are a bit more costly.
There is some barrel distortion at the 14mm end, but essentially gone by the time you reach 18mm. Later colour fringes? None! Falloff in corners? None!
The front lens cap is a bit large, due to the bulb shape of the front lens itself (which is also the reason filters simply don’t work). When one finds a lens with this bulb shape they think of fish-eye – but this has the shape and no fish-eye!
How did Nikon do it? Well keep in mind that Nikon, unlike their major competitors, is first a lens company and then a camera company. Nikon has known how to do this for some time, but not in large quantities and at less than five digit figures.
One other interesting note, this lens has essentially a built in lens hood. It is a big lens, huge really compared to others. A heavy lens. An expensive lens. But a very good lens.