Nikon Z 14-30 f/4 S - Not So Great, or Copy Variation?

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Gordon/CameraLabs has posted a review of the 14-30 S, and it's a bit surprising (not in a good way). Gordon compares it directly to the Tamron 15-30 f/2.8, and the Tamron is heads and shoulders above the Nikon.

As an owner of the Tamron 17-35 f/2.8-4, I was fully planning on selling that lens and picking up the Nikon. However, after going back and looking at the Tamron review, I'm not so certain any more of that plan. The $600 Tamron actually looks better than the $1,300 Nikon IMO.

I wonder if Gordon got a dud in the copy of the 14-30 he received, or if it is a true indication of the lens' performance. I guess we'll have to wait and see what other reviewers have to say.

For those curious, here's the link to the 14-30 review.
 
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Everyone else seems to like it. He's probably using a demo lens that's been passed and knocked around several times over. I would take this early review with a grain of salt. Saying that, Tamron has been making their 17-35mm f/2.8-4 for ages in different iterations. If anything it's a testament to how well they've perfected that zoom!
 
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Have a look at a YouTube guy RicciTalks, he works for Nikon but appears to give unbiased reviews on their gear, he has had a 14-30 for a while and certainly rates the 14-30 very highly, when I have spoken with him at meetings he states that the lens is better than Nikon's own 14-24/2.8 and massively better than the 16-35/4.
 
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Have a look at a YouTube guy RicciTalks, he works for Nikon but appears to give unbiased reviews on their gear, he has had a 14-30 for a while and certainly rates the 14-30 very highly, when I have spoken with him at meetings he states that the lens is better than Nikon's own 14-24/2.8 and massively better than the 16-35/4.
Wait, so you’re telling me that a person, employed by Nikon, has positive things to say about a brand-new product produced and sold by Nikon?

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Based on that review, I'd wait as well - particularly if I already owned the Tamron.

But at the material testing lab where I worked they'd call that 'n of 1'
Oh, for sure. A sample size of 1 is useless from a statistical inference point of view.

And yeah, I’ll be holding off until gordon updates his review, and I see some additional reviews as well. There’s nothing wrong with my Tamron, and I’ve actually been very impressed with its performance (for only $600!). I want the Nikon for the smaller size and wider FoV, but notnif it comes at the expense of what Gordon saw with regards to optical performance. Quite frankly, that’s unacceptable for a $1300 lens made in 2019.
 
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Wait, so you’re telling me that a person, employed by Nikon, has positive things to say about a brand-new product produced and sold by Nikon?

View attachment 1635547
Yep :), and having met the guy he appears very genuine, have a look at his channel and make your own mind up, he has an IG account as well where he posts images and clips of what he gets up to with the Nikon gear he has access to.
 
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Yep :), and having met the guy he appears very genuine, have a look at his channel and make your own mind up, he has an IG account as well where he posts images and clips of what he gets up to with the Nikon gear he has access to.
I’ve conversed with Ricci through his YT channel, and yes he is very helpful. However, I take what he says (along with many others online), with a very big grain of salt.

I’m hopeful that Nikon sent Gordon a crap copy, and will certainly keep my eye out for other reviews of the lens. But in the mean time, I’ll keep shooting with my Tamron.
 
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Oh, for sure. A sample size of 1 is useless from a statistical inference point of view.

And yeah, I’ll be holding off until gordon updates his review, and I see some additional reviews as well. There’s nothing wrong with my Tamron, and I’ve actually been very impressed with its performance (for only $600!). I want the Nikon for the smaller size and wider FoV, but notnif it comes at the expense of what Gordon saw with regards to optical performance. Quite frankly, that’s unacceptable for a $1300 lens made in 2019.
Agree. I think it is all the more surprising given the corner to corner performance of the current S lenses - you'd think they want to maintain that level of performance. Lens performance is what is going to drive photographers to adopt the Z system probably more than anything else -
 
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Have a look at a YouTube guy RicciTalks, he works for Nikon but appears to give unbiased reviews on their gear, he has had a 14-30 for a while and certainly rates the 14-30 very highly, when I have spoken with him at meetings he states that the lens is better than Nikon's own 14-24/2.8 and massively better than the 16-35/4.
Did he compare it to the 18-35 G? It's my understanding that that somewhat new lens is shaper than the 16-35 or the 14-24.
 
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Did he compare it to the 18-35 G? It's my understanding that that somewhat new lens is shaper than the 16-35 or the 14-24.
The 18-35mm G is a sharp lens, but it's no 14mm. Also between the 18-35mm G and 20mm 1.8 G, I much prefer the 20mm prime.

On the mirrorless front though, I think this lens competes directly against the Sony 16-35mm f/4 which I currently own. I have no complaints about this lens at all in regards to sharpness and it's also one of the many reasons why I'm still in Sony camp and haven't jumped ship to the Nikon Z despite still being a Nikon DSLR shooter.
 
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@Martin Norden , I watched Ricci's 14-30 video last night. Very good video, and shows how good the 14-30 really is when compared to the F-mount 14-28/2.8 and 16-35/4. Gordon must've gotten a dud copy of the 14-30. This is both reassuring (the results Gordon saw were not typical of the lens), and concerning (how much variation is present in the manufacturing process that allowed a lens that maligned to make it out the door?).

I'll continue to wait and see what other reviewers have to say about the lens before making any decisions on what to do.
 
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@ijm5012 I think you might be on to something. I just checked out the full resolution images from this other thread:
Neat article about the 14-30 f4S

None of the images were sharp from the 14-30. Yes, I know I'm pixel peeping or perhaps Flickr did something to the images...but based on the cameralabs article and this Petapixel article sample images, this is a "no buy" from me right now. As I stated over in the other thread, I'm holding off judgement until I have a chance to actually use one for myself, but this initial impression is not good.
 
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@ijm5012 I think you might be on to something. I just checked out the full resolution images from this other thread:
Neat article about the 14-30 f4S

None of the images were sharp from the 14-30. Yes, I know I'm pixel peeping or perhaps Flickr did something to the images...but based on the cameralabs article and this Petapixel article sample images, this is a "no buy" from me right now. As I stated over in the other thread, I'm holding off judgement until I have a chance to actually use one for myself, but this initial impression is not good.
I saw that Peta Pixel article earlier and agree the images look questionable. But try downloading one (I just did the first one) and run it through a straightforward 'sharpen' in Photoshop and it looks much better. Even just downloading them, they look better than Flickr. But like you, I'm in more of a 'wait and see' rather than a 'preorder' mode.
 
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Yeah, I'm still interested in this lens, but will not be pre-ordering it like I did the Z6.

The wife and I are heading to England in late June, and the 14-30 would be great for the time we'll spend in London. Fortunately, with a mid-April release, I'll have ~2 months to make up my mind regarding buying one or not.

What I'm really curious about is how the lens does with an 82-77 step-down ring attached to it. I'd really hate to buy and carry 82mm filters vs. 77mm ones that I already have. My gut tells me that there will be physical blocking of the corners.
 
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If you guys want small, have you considered the Voigtlander 15mm 4.5 III in M mount? I have the version II and it's the smallest wide angle lens you can get. It takes small 52mm filters and fits easily in your pocket.

VoigtlanderSuper Wide-Heliar 15mm f/4.5 Aspherical III Lens

Voigtlander also makes a 10mm f/5.6 (no filter) and 12mm f/5.6 (67mm filter) wide angle lenses. I made this point earlier in another thread despite the advantages of the mirrorless mount, Nikon and Canon still insist on using SLR style lens designs. When looking at M mount lenses, it's quite feasible to make lenses even smaller especially with Nikon's shallow flange and large diameter mount.
 
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I am looking forward to the 14-30 S if production copies live up to (most of) the hype. Basing any verdicts on early reviews is premature, IMO. We all want it to be another grand slam, but such a small ultrawide with no compromises — including no copy variation — is unrealistic. Even if not the holy grail of ultrawide zooms, its size makes it appealing. I have a Sigma 12-24 Art now, quite a handful on a Z body!
 
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I am looking forward to the 14-30 S if production copies live up to (most of) the hype. Basing any verdicts on early reviews is premature, IMO. We all want it to be another grand slam, but such a small ultrawide with no compromises — including no copy variation — is unrealistic. Even if not the holy grail of ultrawide zooms, its size makes it appealing. I have a Sigma 12-24 Art now, quite a handful on a Z body!
So is the 14-24 f/2.8G! I'm also keeping my fingers crossed for the 14-30 to be a good replacement. I'd happily give up a stop of light and a pound of weight, while gaining 82mm filter thread capability.
 
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Yeah, I'm still interested in this lens, but will not be pre-ordering it like I did the Z6.

The wife and I are heading to England in late June, and the 14-30 would be great for the time we'll spend in London. Fortunately, with a mid-April release, I'll have ~2 months to make up my mind regarding buying one or not.

What I'm really curious about is how the lens does with an 82-77 step-down ring attached to it. I'd really hate to buy and carry 82mm filters vs. 77mm ones that I already have. My gut tells me that there will be physical blocking of the corners.
I understand that whilst a single 82mm filter works absolutely fine on the 14-30 if you double stack it will vignette, users of Lee Filters 100mm system cannot have the polariser ring attached to the holder or it appears in the frame, the NISI system works much better.

Enjoy your trip to London, is that the only destination you'll be visiting in England?
 
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Enjoy your trip to London, is that the only destination you'll be visiting in England?
No. We're flying in to London, and then taking the train up to the Lake District for 5 days. From there, we'll take the train back to London for 3 days, before taking the train down to Chichester for 2 days for the Goodwood Festival of Speed.

We're looking forward to it. We spent a week in London back in 2015 and loved it. Such a fantastic city with so much history.
 

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