Going Wildly Wide: AFS 12-24 mm f/4 G ED IF DX Nikkor Reviewed

6. Flare and ghosting

Zoom lenses have always been susceptible to excessive ghosting, often combined with a moderate resistance to flare as well. Despite sophisticated multi-coating treatment of the glass surfaces, unwanted internal reflections are prone to occur. A recent example of a zoom with nasty issues in this respect is the AFS 70-200 mm f/2.8 VR Nikkor. Thus, as far as flare and ghosting control were concerned, my apriori expectation for the 12-24 DX lens was quite lukewarm.

I'm happy to report that these worries were unfounded and that the 12-24 DX ranks up amongst the very best of zoom lenses in terms of its ability to produce low levels of flare and ghosting. It comes even close to my zoom reference, the venerable 25-50 mm f/4 Nikkor [AIS], and isn't ashamed in the company of the two reigning ghost-free champs, 28 mm f/2 Nikkor [AI] and 20 mm f/3.5 Nikkor [AIS, 52 mm thread].

You can provoke some small ghosts, but these are not numerous and usually are not that bright either. An elongated, greenish blob may be present with the sun just at the rim of the image field to give the sun rays a grazing angle of incidence to the front element, but as the spot is easily seen in the viewfinder and disappears when the camera is moved ever so slightly, this is of no real concern.

Sun and Birch Carrying Catkins

Shooting straight into the sun doesn't trouble the 12-24 DX at all.

Just remember to stop the lens down to f/22 for this kind of shooting, when the sun is within the imaged area.

© Bjørn Rørslett/NN

Always keep the front element of the lens immaculately free of any dirt or smudges before trying to shot backlit scenes, and of course remember to remove a filter if present. Whatever small dust there is on the front surface(s) will show up as distinct bright spots on the image for these shots. If the sun is included in the picture, you may have to reframe slightly, using the lens stopped all the way down and having the depth-preview engaged, to ensure the few remaining ghosts do the minimum pictorial damage. You are however warned that ghosting is much more prominent when the 12-24 DX is pressed into service for IR photography.

Going Wildly Wide: AFS 12-24 mm f/4 G ED IF DX Nikkor Reviewed

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Last update 29 July, 2004