The Nikon 14-24 F2.8 would have to be my most used lens. When it comes to nightscape photography there are so many things you take into consideration when selecting a lens like...
How flat of a field across the sensor does the lens produce
How much light the lens will let in
What kind of aberrations are involved with the lens
For me I highly recommend the Nikon 14-24 F2.8 lens for many reasons. There is very little to no coma in the corner of the lens, meaning stars are going to be pinpoint right across the frame. In one corner of the frame the stars do look a little elongated but it's very minor compared to many other lenses in the market.
Shooting at F2.8 allows a lot of light to hit the sensor for night photography, sure an aperture of F1.4 or F1.8 would be better for letting in a lot more light, but with these kind of apertures come with many more challenges like coma, chromatic aberrations. So shooting wide open with this lens is perfectly fine, no chromatic aberrations meaning your stars won't have a purple hue to them.
The words ED on the lens mean Extra-Low Dispersion glass, which is something I look for a lot in not only my lenses but telescopes too. ED glass helps with controlling the chromatic aberrations within the lens or telescope. As blue, green or red wavelengths pass through glass they separate. Normal glass you'll find the red and green wavelengths will come to a point where as the blue wavelength will be slightly off which results in a purple or violet hue around a star or bright object.
ED glass helps all three wave lengths (Blue, Red, Green) come into a single point, in turn resulting in a better image with little to no chromatic aberration.
When it comes to manual focus I have never had a issue with focus slipping or needing to be adjusted throughout the night. The focus ring feels very light (prefer more of a resistance and solid feel).
The lens having a plastic outer construction to it still feels very solid and nice, I've put this lens through some harsh environments, including my most recent trip to China where I was hiking up the Huashan moutnain on a rainy day, mist and fog coming in from all angles. The lens got extremely wet, almost like leaving it out in the rain. It's attitude "Is that the best you've got".
Being weather sealed means peace of mind and I don't worry at all about dew building up the lens during all night adventures shooting nightscapes.
When I shoot my nightscapes I am mostly shooting at a focal length of 14mm or 24mm, this lens being a zoom lens covers these focal lengths for me. When shooting at 14mm the lens is very flat across the sensor, 24mm still shows very good results at F2.8. Sometimes I will shoot at F3.5 just because my camera can handle high iso without an issue and F3.5 will give me even better results than the already impressive F2.8 that you would be extremely happy with!
Now let's move on to landscapes....
Being a zoom lens really helps you frame an image the way you see fit without having to switch between lenses. There was a time where you couldn't purchase filters for this lens thanks to the fixed petal shaped lens hood and large glass element, those times are now over!
Sure the filter setup for this lens is a little more expensive due to the size however when you take in to consideration this lens does everything from clear and sharp landscapes to fast light gathering nightscapes, there is no need to carry more lenses with you.
I will say this though, the lens does weigh a bit. It's a beast! So making sure you have a good tripod and ball head that can support the weight is a must.
So it may cost a little bit extra, but it's certainly worth it. I mean just like the saying in telescopes.... Your better off with something that you'll use all the time than something you'll only use a few times.
Nikon 14-24 F2.8 lens, 25 second exposures. Multiple images stitched together.
If you have any questions please leave a comment and I'll do my best to answer them. Also if you would like to see more Nikon lens reviews regarding nightscape photography let me know which one and I'll see what I can do.