Nikon 24-120 F4 VR - Good but not stellar

Started Oct 4, 2010 | Discussions thread
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PaulW2020
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Nikon 24-120 F4 VR - Good but not stellar
Oct 4, 2010

My pre-order of this lens arrived Friday and I've had the weekend to try it out and compare it to my other lenses.

My overall impression is its good but its not out of this world sharp. Better than the old 24-120 VR lens I owned a few years ago.

So far I've compared it to the Nikon 24-85mm f3.5-4.5 lens and the Nikon 16-35 f4.

I expected the new 24-120 to blow the old Nikon 24-85 out the water when it comes to sharpness.

In fact they very close in sharpness and to be honest the old 24-85 is often actually sharper. Not by a difference you'd see in a 6 by 4 print - it'd need to be a big poster to see the difference.

Still given the old 24-85 f3.5-4.5 is quite a few years old and much ligher and no Nano coating I'd expected the 24-120 to be a clear winner - its not and I was a little disappointed by this. In fact wide open the old 24-85 performs marginally better and suffers less from chromatic abberations.

I went on to compare at the Nikon 16-35 f4 lens at 24, 28 and 35mm. Overall this is a sharper lens than the 24-120 f4 - particularly wide open but even at f8 and f11. The difference at f8 and f11 is pretty small but noticable if pixel peeping. So again at 6 by 4 print size no difference - at poster size a small difference.

I don't have a 24-70 f2.8 to compare with - it was too big and heavy for me and no VR. I suspect the 24-70 will be sharper and would be surprised to hear the 24-120 is the better lens.

In all comparisons the centre of the frame was sharp and differences between any of the lenses so small its not worth worrying about. It was towards the edges of the frame the differences become noticeable.

Maybe I got unlucky. Maybe the other forum members have got a stellar 24-120 that blows Pro lenses out the water.

Its still a keeper though. The VR and the useful 24-120 range and the lower weight win over the 24-70. A good walk about lens but a record breakingly sharp lens - definately not - acceptably sharp not phenomenally sharp.

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