The truth about the 24-120 f4 & D800

Started May 2, 2012 | Discussions thread
Senior MemberPosts: 1,294
Re: The truth about the 24-120 f4 & D800
In reply to ianbrown, May 3, 2012

I have a good copy of the 24-120/4. I test my lenses very carefully and end up returning about half the Nikon lenses I buy due to problems. I don't think I'm that picky actually, I just think Nikon quality control is really poor.

But my 24-120/4 has zero issues that I can detect. Maybe I lucked out.

I think the lens is very good on the D800. Sure, new model prime lenses are sharper, especially in the corners. But the difference is less than you'd expect. I tested it against the 24/1.4 and the 35/1.4. I could never find a really great copy of these lenses (I would expect nothing less than excellence for a $2000/$1650 prime lens!), but even the best copies I tried aren't that much better than the 24-120. Sure, the corners on the primes are sharper, but not by as much as you'd think, especially at 35mm.

I only tested close to infinity (I was primarily interested in how these lenses perform for landscapes). Maybe the primes do better at close range, I don't know. But on the other hand for closer subjects sharpness typically matters much less. IMO the main reason to get these primes is for the large apertures.

Anyway, back to the 24-120/4 zoom. I also tested it against the 50/1.8 prime. The 50 is much sharper, if I disregard the two soft corners on my bad copy of this lens. So getting the 24-120/f4 + 50/1.8 is definitely recommended.

Sharpness on the 24-120 stays very good until about 70mm or so. At 85mm it's a little softer, and noticeably softer at 120mm. But say from 24-100 I would rate this lens as very good, considering it is a 5x zoom!

I don't own the 24-70, so I can't say how it performs in comparison. But in my mind the 24-70 would have to be absolutely spectacular to make up for the convenience and image stabilization of the 24-120.

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