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Nikon 16-35/4 VR and 17-35/2.8 (not to scale)  
Nikon AF-S VR 24-120mm f/4G
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For more on optical considerations, see Making Sharp Images.

My comments are aimed at full frame users. Cropped-frame DX users might find the 24-120 a reasonable choice for images ranging in quality from acceptable to very good, varying by focal length.

Versatility of focal length range and a slow maximum aperture are reluctant trade-offs for the gross distortion and mediocre sharpness over the far ends of the zoom range. On the other hand, those compromises might be perfectly fine for some shooters.

Comfort level

I’m a little uncomfortable judging this lens. On the one hand its 5X zoom range and VR are appealing, its mid-range performance is very good, yet the mid-range distortion and the performance at the telephoto end make it a very tough call. I prefer predictable performance, but it’s fair to say that users comfortable with those limitations could rate this lens much higher for their own use than I would for mine.

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Since 2006, Diglloyd Advanced Photography is the authoritative review and reference for DSLRs and their lenses: Canon and Nikon primarily, but also Pentax and some medium format. Reviews of key DSLRs are included, but the primary focus is on lens performance. Also included is a wealth of technique and workflow approaches.

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