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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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The review covers the September 2010 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G VR, a 2010 design replacing the 24-120mm f/3.5 - 5.6G IF-ED, though Nikon still sells that version.

At about $1279, the 24-120/4 is not aimed at beginner budgets, since one can purchase a Nikon DX format camera and several lenses for that price. So it had better deliver something substantially superior in order to justify the price.

The other lens worth considering instead is the Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8G. The 24-70 offers a full stop faster operation, but without VR.

Personal view of the 24-120

B&H Photo supplied a brand-new loaner lens for testing. I wouldn’t purchase it for my own use, because it lacks the type of versatility that I prefer: the ability to shoot in low light at a wide aperture with very high image quality. At f/4, I want outstanding image quality, and that is impossible with the 24-120/4G

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diglloyd Advanced Photography includes hundreds of pages of exclusive coverage and high resolution, Retina-grade example pictures detailing Canon and Nikon DSLR bodies and their lenses, with in-depth analysis of sharpness and contrast, color, bokeh, vignetting, distortion, MTF, and flare. Also included is a wealth of in-context technique and workflow insight. Since 2006, diglloyd Advanced Photography is the authoritative review and on-line reference for discerning Canon and Nikon shooters. Subscriptions cost $ per year.

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Lens construction of the Nikon 24-120mm f/4G VR II    
Lens construction of the Nikon 24-120mm f/4G VR II

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