Dpreview just did a tremendous service to Nikon users and put up the first sample images of the new 24mm lens. All of the images in this post are based on those samples, which can be found here as of this writing.
This said, true to DPR’s tradition of top-class analyses paired with poor photography, the images are rather crud quality. Given that I'm starving for test images I’ll take what we got and be happy about it, but I will skip some images.
Let’s dive in now, let’s look at a pair of similar images.
First up is a shot wide-open, focused somewhere towards infinity:
We’ll look at crops from the center, border and corner, wherever appropriate detail may be found. Here reproduced slightly below 100%.
The center (left) looks good, there is just a bit of softness there that would probably not be visible after a RAW conversion in Lightroom. The far border at 18mm (center) looks fairly good as well, though it is quite a bit softer. You can see that fine detail (center, leaves below) is reproduced with very low contrast and is at the limit of what simple sharpening can fix. Finally at the corner (right) we get the very soft details you would expect to see from this lens, but I am pleased to note that fine structures are still quite visible. The contrast is extremely low, and clearly there is light fall-off in spades here, but there is none of the smearing I dreaded to see.
I am very pleased with the results so far.
Next is a shot stepped-down to f/8, some five stops down, again focused somewhere towards infinity:
Again, we’ll look at 100% crops from the center, border and corner, wherever appropriate detail may be found.
The center (left) looks great, I have nothing to say here because this is perfect. The far border at 18mm (center) looks great as well, with the faintest touch of softness. Finally at the corner (right) we get very good detail with a bit less contrast than elsewhere in the frame. This image would sharpen up easily to just fantastic results.
What else do I note in these images?
Chromatic aberrations are either negligible/absent or the D3S corrected for them very well if this was shot in JPEG. Possibly the latter applies and is responsible for some contrast losses.
The color transmission is different from what I am used to from the Zeiss ZF family, the contrast and saturation of this image (which was shot in daylight!) is moderate. Quite possibly this is also due to the D3S if this was shot in JPEG.
I would rather get a RAW file and process it myself but for now I think this has been very interesting, and I’m encouraged by the data.