24-85 f/2.8-4 or 24-120 with D3?

Discussion in 'Nikon FX DSLR' started by adaml, Jul 28, 2008.

  1. adaml

    adaml

    976
    Feb 21, 2006
    chicago
    Having been spoiled by the reach of my DX lenses, I have found the Beast to be a bit limiting on the long end with my new D3. Now I know that neither of these two lenses approach it in terms of build or IQ, but are they good choices for when I need a bit more reach? If so, which do you prefer?

    BTW, the 24-70 is not an option not only because reach is the issue, but also because of cost.
     
  2. The 24-120 is considered one of Nikon's "doggier" lens. The 24-85 f/2.8-4 has had mixed reviews....Photozone likes it; Thom and Bjorn have not. I just tested a refurb and sent it back...it had ghosting along high contrast edges, and tended to bloom. I suspect a misaligned element somewhere but at the price (even refurbed) I didn't want to chance Nikon not being able to fix it. Too bad, because otherwise I liked its range and the macro feature.

    Nikon also made (briefly) an AFS 24-85 f/3.5-4.5. I own one of these. Unfortunately, it is not as sharp as some other of their zoom lenses....probably just a cut above the 24-120mm.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2008
  3. i was loaned a 24-120 for a while and it works alright with the D3 but it is rather dark, especially with the zoom out to 120. the VR does not work very well on it either.
     
  4. I love the 24-85 2.8-4, that lens is very nice. Color saturation is amazingly good and leans towards very rich warm colors. Sharpness is far better than the 24-120 VR and despite being an AF-D lens, it never hunts which the 24-120 VR tends to do, despite being AF-S. Plus you get a nifty pseudo macro with the 24-85!

    I'll probably pick one up once I go FX.

    Heck I'd probably just scrounge around for a 28-70 'Beast'. Those are probably selling for less than a grand.
     
  5. 28-105??

    Adam,
    Not part of your original question, but several people have given this lens good reviews in the lens forum. Gives you a bit more reach than the 24-85 & is not expensive - ca 170 USD at KEH.
     
  6. I have pondered this question and I have the following three lenses:

    • Nikon 24-120mm VR AF-S G, Great range bu soft wide open, decent sharpness at F8, A fair amount of linear distrion at the wide end (bent horizons)
    • Nikon 25-85mm AF-S G, Sharper then the 24-120mm VR but a fair amount of CA)
    • Nikon 28-105mm AF-D, A bit soft overall, good macro function

    Maybe you should consider another odd lens in the lineup:
    • Nikon 35-135mm AF F3.5-4.5, it's AF is pretty slow but it is quite sharp even at F3.5 and has a very good zoom range for weddings etc. The good news is that when they appear on Ebay they are quite cheap. Watch out for mechanical AF issues, make sure you get a mint one....
     
  7. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    Oregon
    Harry:

    Bjorn rates the 24-85 D aa 4 which is a "PRO" rating from him....I'd say that "OK"...what makes you say he didn't?

    Mine has been a great performer, I do understand that some of the very early ones did have some production issues.

    I always use the hood except for Macro and use spot focus...

    From mine:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  8. adaml

    adaml

    976
    Feb 21, 2006
    chicago
    Thanks to all for your informative posts.

    I've decided to go with the 24-85mm which seems to fit the consensus of opinion, as well as most of my needs.
     
  9. My bad. I was working from memory and find I attributed Ken Rockwell's negativity to Bjorn. You are right, Bjorn gives it a passing grade, although it seems he likes the 24-85 slightly better under most conditions. Certainly Thom and Ken Rockwell favor the latter. (BTW, I favor the former, having tested them head to head).

    Sorry about the error. I like you shots, BTW.
     
  10. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    Oregon
    Harry:

    Thanks for the image comments, appreciate it.

    Yep, his review of the newer model would have been great except that one failure....Nikon must have some more information to choose one over the other as to keeping one in the line.