24-120mm F4 VR or Canon 24-105 F4L

Started Dec 30, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Dr Bob
Dr Bob Senior Member • Posts: 1,319
24-120mm F4 VR or Canon 24-105 F4L


I am not here to start a war! I am about to buy a FF dslr (either the D600/800 or the 6D/5DmkIII). Over the past month I have read every thread on here (and everywhere else!) and have come to the conclusion that there is no one body that really stands out. As someone said in a thread yesterday, when choosing which body to go for, you are buying into a system. To me then the choice between Nikon and Canon comes down to what lenses I can get within the budget. I am posting on this forum as I am just about leaning to the 600/800 as the 5D is marginally above the budget and the 6D is too new and potential problems may not have emerged. Ok, the D600 may be suffering from dust and oil but sensor cleaning would not put me off – if that is all that is wrong! Whilst this rationale seems very simplistic, all the bodies have their strong points and I am aware of all the specs etc etc. All will do a good job.

For me now, I need more info on lenses for each system to make a decision.

I am aiming at the D600/800 with the 24-120mm F4 or the 6D/5DmkIII with the 24-105 F4L so it is coming down to the comparison of the two lenses. There have been recent threads comparing the 24-120 with the Sigma and Tamron 24-70 but I cant find any that compare the Nikon with Canon directly. Loads of lens reviews out there but I'd like some real world feedback rather than lab test results.

I will use the kit for mainly landscapes (and the majority of that will be with a tripod) but with some street stuff and nature thrown in. I am looking for sharpness for printing at 30” by 24” and being able to crop and print at the same size. Likely to be using filters (polarisers and ND grey grads) quite a bit. Not too worried about distortion or vignetting as long as Lightroom handles it but I am concerned about edge sharpness but that will mainly be at stopped down apertures. Some info on how flexible these lenses are would be useful – I am from an Oly background and spent years using a lens that was great at its sweet spot – F5.6 – but soft everywhere else so I shot everything at F5.6. It was a bit limited but did give good shots! Not too worried about AF performance as I am used to manual or focus and re-compose.

The reviews of the 24-120 F4 seem a bit mixed – some saying it is very sharp, others not. Would this lens be good enough for the D800? The Canon 24-105 has a red stripe so it obviously must be a great lens(??!!??) but how does it compare – system to system? For the bodies, I am just leaning to Nikon - for the lens the Canon seems to be just on top.

My budget limit would be the D800 + 24-120, so if I went for the D600 I would have a bit more to spend viz the 50mm prime (1.8g or 1.4g) or is there a better zoom in the price range– I cant see it. I am always told spend more on the lens than the body but I am leaning to the 800. I don't want to go near the D600 24-85 VR kit lens as it will not be sharp enough.

Plan B could be to go for primes instead of the zoom – the 28mm 1.8g, 50mm 1.4g and either the 85mm 1.8g or the 70-300 VR (for the flexibility to shoot nature) although price wise this may force me towards the D600.

Any comments on the above would be great.


 Dr Bob's gear list:Dr Bob's gear list
Nikon D800E Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 500mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G +1 more
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