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Reviewed: Nikon AF-S 24-120mm f/4G VR

My review of the Nikon AF-S 24-120mm f/4G VR is now published in DAP.

The 24-120 has been a very challenging lens to review, the zoom range alone covers such a wide range of behavior that varies. I might have more to say on it and/or more comparisons. At optimal settings like 50mm at f/8, it can deliver very high quality results. At other settings, not so great. The full review is thus needed to get a fair picture of what might apply for your own uses.

The 24-120 won’t find itself on any of my top recommended lists because it cannot deliver sharp edges over some of the zoom range, and because f/5.6 is so notably better than f/4, making it a “slow” lens. But for some shooters, that judgment might not apply; the mid range is very good (at f/5.6 - f/8), and a lot of shooters park the aperture at f/8 or so anyway. So it’s a tough lens to rate in general, given different shooting goals.

So I’ll say this: if you want a wide-range zoom, and are comfortable shooting at f/5.6 - f/8 with some strong pincushion distortion in the mid range, as well as some weakness at the wide end and telephoto ends at the edges of the frame, the overall high contrast of the 24-120 should prove pleasing, as the example photos make very clear.

Regrettably, my Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G shows clear signs of asymmetric sharpness, making a comparison with the 24-120 not so conclusive. See Brand-new Blur.

Grassy eastern hills of the White Mountains
Nikon D3x + Nikon 24-120mm f/4G VR

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