This is my desert island lens. If I was going to the ends of the earth and could only take one lens with me, it would be this one: the Nikon 24mm ƒ/1.4G. It's not perfect, by any means, but I find it endlessly versatile for how I often want to take photos. It's great for travel, great for family photos, decent for architecture (unless you have the PC-E tilt-shift 24mm lens on hand, which is better for traditional architectural photography). It's not great for traditional portraits, but I like it for environmental portraits when you want to capture surrounding context. It's not good for on-field sports action, but is good for sideline and behind-the-scenes shots.
A 35mm is a traditional choice for photojournalism. This one's a little wider than that, obviously, but shares similarities. It's wide without introducing much distortion. It's quick to focus. And when you crank the aperture up to ƒ/1.4 it's fast. That speed, combined with the wide focal length that is less susceptible to the effects of camera shake, makes it especially good for night and very low-light shooting.
To get technical, it's an FX lens for Nikon F mounts, has two ED and two aspherical elements, a rounded 9-blade diaphragm, Silent Wave AF focusing (with manual override), has an aperture range from ƒ/1.4 to ƒ/16, and takes 77mm filters. While not large, per se, it's also not petite, and is significantly larger and heavier than, say, the 50mm ƒ/1.4G (the 24mm weighs about 1.4 pounds (620 grams).
Nikon actually has a few primes at the 24mm focal length. This is the fastest of them. It's also close to the most expensive; only the tilt-shift 24mm is priced higher. But for me, at least, the premium price for this lens has been worth every penny, and if one day mine gives up the ghost I'll be replacing it with another in a heartbeat.
So here are some photos I've shot with this lens in the hope that it's useful to give an idea of how to performs under real-world shooting conditions.
Sample Images Taken with a Nikon 24mm ƒ/1.4G ED Lens
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Bcause they've been around for a while now and are solidly built, you can often find good quality used copies available at places like KEH.
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