24-XX Zoom for FX, that is Light.

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One of the things that has made me hesitant to purchase a D700 is finding a good FX replacement for my 16-85 VR zoom. Its important to me to have a 24mm wide end. The f2.8 Nikon is way too heavy and expensive as well. I would like to hold the maximum weight to 650 grams as I carry the camera for up to 12 hours at a stretch while traveling. Even the less costly Sigma 24-70 HSM is too heavy, although the older model might cut it. Nikon's 24-120 looks like a replacement for me in terms of FOV, but its reputation for being a weak lens is enough to keep me away. I have met a few folks with the older D model who hate it.

From what I can determine by reading various reviews, the discontinued 24-85 f3.5-4.5 AF-S is a good performer, even better than the more available 24-85 f/2-4 D model. Is there something else that I am missing, or am I getting the wrong impression on anything?
 
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24-85 f 2.8-4.0. Had one that was my everyday and more lens until my daughter "talked" me into buying a 17-55 so she could inherit the 24-85. It's light, sharp and has 1:2 macro mode.

I had the AF-D version.
 
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From what I can determine by reading various reviews, the discontinued 24-85 f3.5-4.5 AF-S is a good performer, even better than the more available 24-85 f/2-4 D model. Is there something else that I am missing, or am I getting the wrong impression on anything?
That's about it, unless you consider the Sigma 24-60/2.8 (a steller lens from what I've seen). I've gone through a few FX zooms and recently settled on a 24-85 AF-D. Depending on who you talk to, the 24-85's are pretty comparable - some like one over the other, but it all seems to come out in the wash. I really like my AF-D version - super sharp compared to my old 24-120VR (I haven't tried the AF-S lens). The 28-105 is a nice lens for sure, though the range was a little boring for me. If macro is important, the AF-D lens (as well as the 28-105) have macro features that give you 1:2 macro reproduction - a nice little bonus if you ask me.

Bottom line: I don't think you can go wrong with either, but if light-weight is your primary concern, the AF-S lens is a bit lighter (4xx grams vs. 5xx).

Steve
 
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The latest 24-120VR is not as bad as its rep. Sure it's no 24-70 2.8, but it's not supposed to be either. I find it a great travel/party lens, light good focal length, and reasonably sharp (not critically so). That said, I have not been traveling/partying much lately... I would love to see a 24-XXX/4. But then again, in the current pricing scheme, it would be 1400...

You can get one pretty cheaply on the used market, so why not give it a try.

[puts on flame retardant suit and leaves thread alive]
 
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Steve, pretty good summary. Seems like among the reviewers there is a split on whether the G or the D is the better of the two 24-85's.

Rich, there are definitely lots of used 24-120's for sale at reasonable prices. I have seen a number of non pro D700 owners using this lens, particularly when traveling outside the USA. Sorry you have not been partying much lately. We all need a good party now and again.
 
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I use the 24-120 VR for my work. I like it, it's light and gets the job done. Lately I'm not such a stickler for glass quality, the D3/D700 sensor is very forgiving when it comes to pixel density.
 
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The Sigma 24-60 is about as light as it gets for an f/2.8 FX lens. Sure, there is some vignetting if you shoot it wide open, but just set vignetting control on the D700 to high and you're golden (or correct in post if using RAW). It is just as sharp at 24mm as the Sigma 12-24 from the tests I did yesterday.

I can see why you want 24 at the short end, it really is quite a significant difference from 28.
 
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I don't own a 24-120VR but they can be bought for not terribly much money due to the mixed reputation. why don't you try one?

Other alternatives are the 24-85's or just getting a 20/24 prime and a 60mm macro (that would make a wonderful walkabout kit IMHO)
 

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