Sunday, March 23, 2014

Nikkor AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5

This lens was recently updated to a VR version. There is also an older, f/2.8-4 version - which is lousy and not recommended. Both the newest, VR version and this one are very capable. And since the VR hit the shelves, this non-VR one sells at very competitive prices.

+ superb value, you get plenty of performance for not much money
+ no complaints about optical quality - particularly in terms of it being a non-professional zoom lens.
+ autofocus fast and accurate.

- vignetting wide-open at 24mm pretty visible
- plastic. Again, who cares.
- although it focuses close, optical quality suffers a bit at short distances

A boring subject, but shows the good contrast & sharpness characteristics of the lens

Intended Users
Great for:
  • FX users who need a simple, no-nonsense lens for all-around photography
  • small, light travel lens
  • good for spring/summer walks (especially in daylight)

Not for:
  • low light; f/4.5 is better than f/5.6, but it's still not great
  • abuse. It will break - if you need a sturdy lens, get an AI-S
  • people who are used to VR. At 85mm, you need to check your discipline and/or support.

Final Verdict
Despite the minus points above, this is a sweet lens. It was great value even before the VR version came; now, it's superb. If you're a zoom person (to put it this way: if you can sacrifice a bit of performance for flexibility), then this is a very serious competitor. Especially in good light, it has no flaws, really. In lower light, things get bit trickier. But, if you need the flexibility of a zoom and fast maximum aperture, be prepared to throw in some serious $$$

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