Walkaround/Vacation Shootout 24-120/4 vs. 28-300 VR

Started Jul 21, 2012 | Discussions thread
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InTheMist
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Walkaround/Vacation Shootout 24-120/4 vs. 28-300 VR
Jul 21, 2012

Hi Everyone,

I have vacation coming up. While I had ordered a 24-120/4 a few months ago, I hadn't received it yet, so I got a 28-300 VR to fill the gap. The 24-120/4 was unexpectedly delivered at the last minute leaving me with two wide-zoom-range walkaround lenses.

One of these is going on eBay , at the end of this mini-review, I'll tell you which.

I started with an impromptu studio because one of the things you do on vacation is take shots of your kids/partner/self. Because I'm not a fan of putting my girlfriend on the internet, you'll have to live with my next best subject: Green:

Green has deep blue eyes and hair for you to best judge sharpness:

24-120/4:

28-300 VR:

Control 50/1.8:

Yeah, the 50/1.8 has something, but I'll be d*mned if I can tell the difference between the 24-120 and 28-300.

I repeated this test also at 85mm and a couple of other apertures and the results are the same. If you'de like some other crops, just let me know.

Next, I took a wide-angle landscape shot. Sorry for this, but our weather is crap at the moment.

Here is a crop of the 24-120:

A crop of the 28-300:

The control group for this was the 14-24/2.8:

In reviewing these (edge) crops, it is clear that the 24-120 is a tiny bit better in sharpness and CA.

So, I thought, I better leave the house (the previous comparison was taken out of the open widow) and make some crappy tourist photos:

24-120/4:

28-300 VR:

More tourist junk:

24-120/4:

28-300 VR:

The 24-120 wins this one. The microcontrast and sharpness in the building and hiker is obvious at 100%. It was handheld - maybe I moved a bit.

Finally, the classic wheat field shot :

24-120/4:

28-300 VR:

Surprisingly, the 28-300 wins this. Again, handheld.

Finally I did a closeup (Warning! Next stop, uncorrected vignetting city coming up!)
24-120/4:

28-300 VR:

GAH! WTF Vignetting!? I knew the 28-300 needed correction, but I wasn't expecting the 24-120 to be only a bit better. Other than that, I couldn't tell the difference even at 100%.

24-120 f4 Pros:

  • Fixed f4 throughout the zoom range

  • Sometimes a bit sharper in real-world use

  • Uncorrected vignetting a bit better

  • Uncorrected color fringing a bit better

  • A little smaller with hood

24-120 Cons:

  • Distracting vignetting and corner sharpness

28-300 VR Pros:

  • 300mm capability

  • Surprisingly comparable to the 24-120/4

  • Without the hood, only a tiny bit longer than the 24-120

  • Thats it.

28-300 Cons:

  • Heavy vignetting and mushy corners

Compared to 2.8 zooms:

  • LOL, forget it.

  • Much slower focus, not as sharp, corner performance, vignetting etc...

  • More practical and lighter for casual walkaround shooting

So, which is going on the auction block? Actually, I'm going to wait a few months and shoot both, but most likely, the 24-120 f4 will be made redundant.

I was shocked and disappointed that the 24-120/4 was only a bit better than the 28-300 in some cases. Many times I couldn't tell the two apart. A 10x compromise zoom held his own vs. a gold ring "pro" optic! I can't tell you how disappointed I am in the 24-120. My expectations were much 'almost as good as the 24-70/2.8'.

"But you shot handheld", some will say. Yep, except the first two comparisons.

If you take a tripod, remote and shoot MUP on vacation than you should have stopped reading a long time ago - probably never even clicked into this thread.

I leave in three days for a vacation in Egypt, and the 28-300 VR is coming with me. The 24-120/4 is most likely going on eBay.

If you would like to know more about the 28-300, please visit my thread "A week with the 28-300 VR" found here: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/readflat.asp?forum=1021&message=42030713

A teaser:

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