Breakdown of the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens shows internal design like nothing before

Jan 15, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

Breakdown of the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens shows internal design like nothing before

Jan 15, 2020

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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Seeing lenses taken apart and dismantled for the first time, or anything mechanically or electronically complex just fascinates me. I don’t know what it is about it, because it’s unlikely I’ll ever need to take one apart myself, and it serves no real educational or practical benefit. But I just find it interesting to see what makes this stuff tick.

One I’ve been particularly seeing inside is the new Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens, and as usual, Lens Rentals has not let us down. They’ve just posted a teardown of the Nikon Z 24-70mm f/2.8 S lens to their blog, and it shows that Nikon really seems to have stepped up their game when it comes to design and engineering.

We were interested in this disassembly, and by interested, I mean both excited and nervous. We assumed that things would be very different inside from previous Nikon lenses. But Nikon lenses have always been a bit ‘old fashioned’ and different from other SLR lenses, so we weren’t sure what to expect.

One of the things that did surprise them was how much of an effort Nikon seems to have made with the internal design of this lens, giving it a “clean, well-engineered layout for the electronics”. It’s something that Lens Rentals and other repair places have given Nikon a hard time over for years, but now it seems to have been addressed…

“Look at this engineering right here: neat flexes running directly where they’re heading placed in recessed channels in the barrel and thoroughly taped in place. Superb!” – LensRentals

One thing that becomes very apparent throughout the deconstruction of this lens is just how accurate and finely tuned everything is. Where some parts fit together, you can barely even notice a seam unless you look very closely.

This level of precision and detail extends to just about every aspect of the lens construction. In fact, it was so well put together that it took an entire day to figure out how to break in and take the thing apart. The sheer number of components in modern lenses and how they all interlock is just astounding. Now, though, with the benefit of hindsight, they reckon they can do it in a couple of hours.

They’ve certainly come a long way since the days of the basic AI manual focus lenses, that’s for sure. And it’s even very different to Nikon’s latest F mount lenses, too, as well as lenses that other manufacturers are creating. As LenSrentals notes, this “suggests Nikon Z lenses, like Canon R lenses, are a completely new optomechanical design, probably done entirely in-house”.

There’s a lot of amazing engineering, and it’s certainly a lot neater inside than many Nikon lenses of old. If you’re even slightly interested in seeing how these things work on the inside, head on over to the Lens Rentals blog and read the full teardown. it’s long and there are a lot of pictures!

Images used with permission.

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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