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AF 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF, buy it???

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by bwphoto, Apr 6, 2007.

  1. Hey Nikon experts,

    I have this guy selling AF 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF in like new condition with the box, caps and hood for $360. Should I get it?

    I read Ken Rockwell's article about this lens (http://www.kenrockwell.com/nikon/2485af.htm), but he recommended the slower f/3.5-4.5G instead which is cheaper, due to soft corners and light falloff at 24mm wide open.

    I just want a reasonably priced lens (and hopefully sharp) for an all around lens in tight spaces (inside house) and also for travel on a DSLR. I need a 70 to 85 mm at the tele end for taking candids by taking some distance from the person and hopefully the person won't be aware of me taking picture. If I use 35mm lens, then I will need to get close, the person would be aware of my presence, and the candid moment would be ruined. :frown:

    If I can use the zoom in this range without using flash, that would be great. I can't afford the.. was it the 28-70mm f/2.8 that's about $1400 new?

    So what are your suggestions? Buy this lens or get other?

    And yes, I know primes are sharper and I will get the 50mm soon, but I need a zoom for versatility, hopefully fast (to avoid using flash), sharp, but not expensive.

  2. I had that lens and wasn't impressed with it.

    If I were shopping for your needs I'd go with the Nikon 35-70 f2.8 for general purpose (and close-ups) and add the Tokina 12-24 for your wider needs at price better than the Nikon equivalent.

    You should also consider the Nikon 18-200 VR... an EXCELLENT lens.
  3. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Woody's nailed most of the comments I would make, but I'd add that the 35-70mm f/2.8 also has a limited level of macro capability, and the IQ/bokeh/overall quality of the lens is something on the order of 95-98% of the Beast, the 28-70mm AFS f/2.8, although, of course, the 35-70mm isn't AFS speed focusing. It doesn't quite match the Beast in how it carresses some people's looks, but it's still darned good.

    You can find a 35-70mm for $300 - $400 if you look around.

    Also consider if you really need super wide-angle, or if you're satisfied with 18mm levels. You could use a kit lens for some shooting, if you don't need wide aperture for shooting. The 12-24mm Tokina's a pretty good lens for the money if you want more WA. OTOH, if you do want more low light capability, a lens like the 20mm f/2.8 might suffice.

    John P.
  4. Hi Woody,

    why weren't you impressed with it? Is it the lack of sharpness? The distortion?

    How much is the going around price for the 35-70 f/2.8?

  5. Hi John,

    I guess your post came in when I was typing mine :) 

    Yes, I've seen this "Beast" mentioned several times also I think on Rockwell's. Why is it called so? Because of the size and weight? Well, I'm sure there are other lenses that will outperform this 28-70 f2.8 in terms of it's size and weight. Yes the beast would be my dream lens if I were to do professional work, but I don't think I want to carry this expensive lense for travel or general use.

    Just so you know, will use the lens mostly for people photography (family, social gatherings, portraits) and a good bokeh would be great but not critical for me.

  6. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
    I've been very happy with mine, I normally always shoot at least 1/2 stop from maixmum. There were some problems when this lens first came out but not recently. Check the Fred Miranda reviews. However I test it on a tripod against my Nikkor 12-24 and 80-200, and giving it the 1/2 stop advantage it was as good.

    Since I don't use a normal lens a lot I have not been tempted to upgrade. What camera do you have? I am getting a D200 but have only tested it on a D70.
  7. Jeff Lee

    Jeff Lee

    May 16, 2006
  8. Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  9. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Leo :

    Heh. It's often the way of the Café that people are responding in the same period of time... :rolleyes: 

    Yup, the "Beast" was named so by Uncle Frank, and it's apt when you see it on a camera body. It's an absolutely wonderous lens, and has a number of us entralled to it. In all truth, when you look at the overall performance of this zoom lens, it's hard to find another that does everything that this one does in the focal lengths it shoots within. But, as you so correctly point out, it's an expensive lens.

    Dollar for dollar, I'd say the 35-70mm f/2.8 is a better purchase than the 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF. The ability to shoot at a uniform f/2.8 aperture through the focal range is a serious plus, and the 15mm difference at the long end is addressed by two or three long steps forward. The bokeh of the 35-70mm is quite fine as well, which while perhaps not a critical issue for you, will allow for you to shoot wide-open and get pleasing portraits with nice isolation.

    Now, the bokeh issue is not always critical, but the 24-85mm lens has a significant difference in this respect. You might look at Bjørn Rørslett's comments on that lens (Bjørn's Take on the 24-85mm) and then read his comments about the 35-70mm f/2.8 (Bjørn's Take on the 35-70mm).

    Now, I'd also balance that against the extra stop of shooting capability with the 35-70mm lens, great for family indoor shooting.

    The 24-85mm is not a bad lens, but I'd suggest that the 35-70mm is a better lens, dollar-for-dollar.

    YMMV, as they say... :wink:

    John P.
  10. Wow, responds are sure fast here!

    Jeff: Do you have any pics to share which are a result from this 24-85 lens. Preferably portraits.
    I don't have a camera yet. I plan to get the S5.

    Jimmy: I can't open the link. Probably because I haven't posted at least 25 postings yet. :( 

    John: Thanks for the Bjørn's link. Another site to be saved on my bookmark. :) 
    You're refering to NikonCafe's Uncle Frank? That's funny because I've seen someone else on another forum refer the 28-70 f2.8 as the beast also. I thought Rockwell also did but I guess I confused it with another article.

    Well, the way I see it, since you loose 15mm at the wide end, you have to step backward to get the same coverage. That is if the space permits.

    BTW, I don't see any mentioning of bokeh on Bjørn's article.

    You mean in terms of the fixed f2.8 and being sharper? (It IS sharper right?)

    Also from your first post above about the IQ/bokeh/overall quality, can I summarize that the Beast would be the first, the 35-70 second, and the 24-85 being the last (of excluding other zoom in the similar range).


    If you guys were to pick between the 24-85 f2.8-4D and the slower but cheaper and newer AFS f3.5-4.5G ED, which one would you take?

  11. PJohnP


    Feb 5, 2005
    Leo :

    IIRC, Uncle Frank coined the expression when we were all over on DPR (before the Café opened). I could be wrong, I suppose. I should ask Frank...

    Step forward for long shooting, step back for short (WA) shooting. :wink:

    I should have separated those sentences with a carriage return. Mea culpa. I really intended you to see the comparative remarks by Bjørn, and also to note his comments about "moustache" distortion, although that's more of an issue with full-frame shooting. Note that Bjørn reviewed this with the D1X - I'd suspect some differences with a D2X or a D200 in terms of the performance.

    Bjørn rates the 24-85mm as a "4", which certainly doesn't mean that it's any kind of poor lens; and in fact, exactly the opposite.

    However, the 35-70mm rates a "4.5" including the comments about "impressively sharp 'normal' lens" and "Barrel distortion and corner fall-off are kept at negligible levels" . My experience testing the 24-85mm and owning a 35-70mm would tend to follow Bjørn's comments.

    Bjørn's rating on the Beast, though, is a "5". :wink:

    It's a tough call on this one in terms of what it's worth to get that last few percentage points of performance between the 35-70mm and the 28-70mm lenses, and for many people, the substantial difference in cost is a sufficient deterrent. The difference in performance between the 24-85mm and the 35-70mm, however, is somewhat greater, and the difference between the two in cost is lower.

    And, FWIW, I've never once regretted "stretching" a bit further in cost to get the clearly better of two alternatives in lenses. Good glass is a fine thing to have, but better glass has always been, well, "finer"... YMMV, of course. :biggrin:

    John P.
  12. Sigma's 24-70mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro is supposedly the sharpest of Sigma's f/2.8 normal-zooms to date. I have a slightly older 28-70mm f/2.8 EX DF and it's quite sharp itself, very usable at f/2.8 throughout and very sharp by f/4. If you consider this one make sure you get the newer Macro version of the 24-70mm because the older versions are not as well regarded.
  13. DPR?

    Yes, forgive me :biggrin: . I didn't really pay attention when you say 15mm is actually 85mm minus 70mm. But my thought was somehow pinned on the wide end, whereas 28-24 is only 4mm. (Duh to me :redface: )

    Forgive my ignorance, but what is moustache distortion? Is it another name for barrel distortion?

  14. Jimmy: Thanks for the links. Hm.. I guess the 28-105 seems nice too. :)  But do you know if the aperture blades are rounded or not?
    I found out from PhotoZone that the 24-85 has rounded aperture blades, which hopefully will give nice bokeh.

    Stephen: This Sigma lens might be what I'm looking for. I might try it. But do you know if the aperture blades are rounded. Do you happen to know how much is the average price new and used?

  15. BTW, does anyone know if the 35-70mm f2.8D has rounded aperture blades or not?

  16. Holmes


    Oct 28, 2006
    Wyoming, USA
    Seven blades, not rounded. Bokeh is really very nice with this lens.

    One of its attributes that I really like is its fairly compact size and 62mm filters.

    I've just acquired another copy of this fine lens and use it with a Nikon HN-24 hood. When using a polarizer, I can easily orient using the hood (the front of this lens rotates).

    Best bang for the buck in pro glass, in my opinion.
  17. Holmes,
    You know what they say. Picture is worth a thousand words. Please please attach some pic sample from this lens at 35, 50 and 70mm. Preferably portrait, but if not, it's OK too. I want to see the bokeh.

    BTW, I'm surprised PhotoZone does not have a review of the 35-70mm lens. How do we get them to review lens. Wait until they get lots of request/demands to review any lens? :) 
  18. Holmes


    Oct 28, 2006
    Wyoming, USA
    Can't help you there, Leo, until next weekend - I'm sitting in a motel room right now doing the travel thing.

    It would be nice to see a Photozone analysis of this lens. Not sure how backed up he is but we'd probably have to supply a test lens.
  19. That's OK, Holmes, next week is fine. I hope you don't mind if I remind you next week? :biggrin:. However, if anyone else can provide them now, that would be great. It doesn't hurt to have picture samples from different photographers with the same lens. :) 

    Where is this Photozone guy located? German? Just trying to guess from looking at his domain.

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