24 -120mm AF D on a D700?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by mike_halliwell, Oct 8, 2014.

  1. I've got an event coming up where my usual 70-200mm VR II is going to be a little too long, so have been looking for a zoom in the 24/28/35 to 85/105/120/135. Focus speed is fairly important as it's horse action.
    It would be used probably between 50 > 90mm @ about f5.6....any closer than 50mm and you're too close to a jumping horse!
    I'd like a bit of overlap so the 24/28/35 > 70mm 2.8s are not long enough and a bit too £££!
    Cash is an issue at the mo' and I've come across the old 24-120mm AF-D for ~ £125 or $180.
    What's it like wide open or maybe > f5.6 on a D700?
    I thought about the kit lens, the 24-85mm AF-S VR, but it's dire wide open and slow AF.
    How about the older 24-85mm 2.8/4 AF-D?
    I've seen the new Sigma 24-105mm f4 OS HSM which, wide open, seems sharper than the Nikon 24-120mm f4, but at about £600 new, might burst the purse..:-(
    Sadly, no-one's made an FX 40-120mm 2.8 yet!
  2. Reviews (KR, Bjørn, photozone) of the 24-120 don't seem to be glowing. I always got on well with my 28-200, though it has some appreciable CA that needs fixing in post and it really doesn't hold up on a D800. It's my D700's body cap, though, with the proviso that I stick to f/8 where possible.

    I've never really tested mine because the 28-200 held up so well - I've used it for video on my D800 but haven't really checked it for stills - but how about the AF-D 28-80 f/3.3-5.6G? Should be cheap, it's tiny and light, and it has extremely fast focus. It's also clearly held together with sellotape, so don't bash it too hard. I believe it's unusual in that the exposed front element is plastic (it's a hybrid, but the front bit is soft), so you probably want a protective filter on it more than the average lens. I can't definitively say it's brilliant, though.
  3. SCL


    I had one good copy and 2 uninspiring copies. Mine was mostly used on an old D100 and F5. It was ok on the longer end in good light stopped down a notch or 2. In this day and age I wouldn't pay what your seller is asking though...you should be able to get it for closer to $120. The focusing speed may be disappointing to you if you're used to more contemporary lenses, although it was much faster on my F5 than on the D100. Why not just go with a good prime for the horse jumping? If you are ok with manual focus, the old series E 100mm f/2.8 makes a nice light compact package and is plenty sharp when stopped down to f4.
  4. Test it by yourself before buying.
    I had 24-120 variable aperture one about 10 years ago.
    The focus was severely affected by zooming function. If you need the speed of handling, then this kind of behaviour is not a "horse stopper".
  5. What's it like wide open or maybe > f5.6 on a D700?​
    In a word: bad. Center sharpness is OK but borders aren't. $180 definitely to high a price to pay. The subsequent variable aperture VR version is a bit better - but not much. f/8 is doable if one isn't too picky about the corners. Forget shooting either wide-open at any focal length.
    Consider a AF-S 24-85/3.5-4.5 (non-VR) - there are conflicting reports whether its better or not than the even older AF-D 24-85/2.8-4.

    Can you rent a more current lens rather than buying an old used one?
  6. I`d say this is a task for two cameras.
    One with the 70-200, another with a 24/28-70, 24-85, 28-105 if you like. No other zoom will give you the performance at 70mm of the 70-200VRII.
    Which other lenses do you have? If you already have a 35, 50mm prime, maybe you`d be better with a second camera instead. Even a film one.
  7. I was very happy with the 24-85/3.5-3.5G AFS on an F100 film camera. I am less happy with the 24-85/3.5-4.5G VR that I have now, on D800 and D600 bodies. Maybe my sample is not the best.
    For an event I shoot regularly, I tried out an old 35-135AF since the focal length compliments the 300/2.8 I have on a second body pretty well. Surprisingly, I get good results with this early AF lens, especially if I can stop it down a half stop. I must have gotten a good one of these. It is better than the old 28-85/3.5-4.5AF I had, for sure. Not sure how it would compare to a good 28-105AFD. The 35-135 I have was a steal for what it can do.
  8. The 35-135 I have was a steal for what it can do.​
    Interestingly a friend has just lent me hers, so I can have a try with it. The focal-length range is spot on.
  9. i would go for the sigma 24-105 over both versions of the 24-120 if sharpness matters.
  10. Mike, I once looked at a used 24-120 AF-D Nikkor and gave it a brief going over by taking a few shots. It was horrible! Although the lens looked physically in near-perfect condition. IIRC the focusing wasn't too fast either. In the end I bought a fairly beat up Tokina 24-200mm f/3.5~5.6 AT-X zoom, which still isn't brilliant IQ wise, but better than the Zoom-Nikkor over the 24-120mm range.
    The Tokina is OK as a walk-about do-anything lens, but obviously not as good as a more specialist tool. In other words, it wouldn't be my first choice if convenience wasn't paramount.
    If you can run to a Tamron SP 28-75mm f/2.8 I don't think you'll be disappointed. May not be long enough for you though, but the "G" version focuses pretty fast.
  11. Count me in the group that thinks the older 2 versions of the 24-120 pretty much sucked. I had the misfortune of owning both (still have the 2nd one - no one wants to buy it no matter how much I reduce the price) and those lenses did not work well on any camera. Just not sharp - at any focal length, in the center, on the sides, - nowhere. Even at f8. Those lenses are turkeys. If someone says they got a good copy - well perhaps there were 1 or 2 out there, but based on my personal experience and the volumes of negative reviews, I would not take the chance.
    Now the new 3rd version f/4 is an entirely different animal. Yeah - I bought that one too. It is a winner. An excellent lens that I use in cases where I need a walking around one lens solution that is longer than my beloved 24-70/2.8.
    Incidentally, if you are hell bent on buying the earlier version - give me a yell. I will sell you mine for $150. Just don't complain if it produces crappy photos.
  12. I had three of three of them. Never liked the results I got with any of them.

    However: The current version, the AF-S 24-120mm f/4G VR , is a gem among moderate priced zooms. That judgement is based on using it on D750 and a D810.
  13. One lens I forgot to mention is the old 28-105/3.5-4.5 - quite a few people seem to like it a lot. I have used it only on a DX body but am tempted to pick up another copy to use on my D700.
  14. Great recommendation Dieter. I totally forgot about that lens. A couple of years ago, I was traveling in the desert and did not want to lug my D3 and 24-70 and did not yet own the new 24-120. I grabbed the 28-105 that has been on my shelf for the past 25 years, slapped it on a D700 and used it as a lightweight walking around lens.
    I was extremely pleased with that old time favorite. This was a pleasure trip and most of the shooting I did was people shots in the street. Take a look at a few of the selected shots from that trip. By the way - you can purchase that 28-105 lens these days for less than $200.

  15. Well, I wasn't too happy with my 24-120 VR lens (the last version with variable aperture), because it tended to show some distortion at the bottom of the frame. Replaced it with the newer version (with constant aperture) and now I'm satisfied.

    However, since your budget isn't quite friendly, I'd go for something recommended here. I also like the 24-85 AF-S with variable, slow aperture, but it's been so vilified I think I'll stop here. BTW, I still have mine...

    Best of luck!
  16. I have used the 35-105, 35-135, 28-105, 24-85/3.5-4.5 and 24-120/4 amongst others. I still keep most of them. I haven`t used the new 24-85.
    Those who doesn`t like the 24-120/4 will be highly disappointed with any of the older lenses. IMHO every release improved the previous version by a slight margin but the 24-120/4, which is a big improvement over the 24-85/3.5-4.5.
    When I bought the 24-85/3.5-4.5 the f2.8-4 version was available (new, at the release). I tried both and settled on the AFS version, never regretted it. The only noticeable advantage of the f2.8-4 version was its slightly faster speed. If I recall it correctly, the AFS version was slightly cheaper. Many people claimed that AFD lenses were much better than the new AFS ones.
    The 35-135 could be a steal but don`t expect it to be a great performer. In fact, I gave mine time ago, while I keep the 35-105 anywhere, working as a F401s cap... Go figure.
    Again; any of this lenses will give you reasonable results depending on your needs... but if you need top quality results, neither of this lenses will get you close to the 70-200VRII performance @ 70-100mm.
  17. Another vote for the 28-105. I have two. I can't see any quality difference between them: they are both very good. If anything, I find the contrast can be a little low, but easily dealt with. I have a 35-70 f2.8 as a walkabout lens, but the range is obviously restricted. The 28-105 is often more useful. Now if there were a vr version...
  18. Excellent info everyone. Thank you!
    There's a kinda consensus against the early 24-120mm. Time to trade in some of my old glass that I've got accumulating around me.
    The event is slightly unusual in that I know where I'm going to be situated for a specific outdoor cross-country horse jump....and it's a very wide one. I visited it last week and if*, and that's the nub, if they jump it centrally, the framing is spot on for 70mm. If they jump the far side, it's kinda 100mm and if the near side, it's about 50mm. Now I could shoot loose in the frame with a 50mm prime and crop later, but the D700 is a bit low on pixels, and I know the client may want up to 20" x 30" prints. The approach is fairly straight, but I wouldn't really have time to choose between 2 bodies. Cars and bikes have a 'racing line', but horses are more 'free style' directionally speaking!
    Normally, of course, I'd just step back about 5yds and put the middle of the fence @ about 120mm on the 70-200mm.....but there's a solid hedge behind me.
    The 28-105 is often more useful. Now if there were a vr version...​
    and with a constant 2.8. They'd sell loads!
    .....and of course NAS (or maybe SAS in this case?) is an issue here too...:)
    I'll try the 35-135mm this weekend and let you all know.
    * you can examine the ground to see where the majority of hoof marks are for takeoff and landing to guess the line...but this is a big, tall new sponsored fence. I asked a few riders where they'd jump it and they were unusually vague! They knew where the'd like to jump it, but it's at a fairly sharp corner, so the exit is harder than the entry.
  19. There is an old Tamron 28-105/2.8 I think. Don`t know about its performance.
  20. There is an old Tamron 28-105/2.8 I think. Don`t know about its performance.​
    Nice find Jose!
    Forget the old D variant, there's a new (well 2006) AF version that appears to be built like a tank but is sharp. AF is a bit slow, but what do you expect for a heavy bunch of fast glass. I guess the d700 AF motor is up to it.
    For some odd reason all the ones I can find are in Germany or Roberts in the US?
    Found this old photo.net thread.
    Various forum threads point out it's not 'designed' for digital, but say it's OK from f4 upwards.
    This is the kinda lens i want Nikon to offer me! Maybe Tamron will re-introduce it?
  21. If you are on "budget" take an old but good 28-105. Il you have money take a Tamron 24-70.
  22. The 28-105 is a far better lens than the old 24-120. But if you insist, I will give you mine for postage. It is just gathering
  23. i have the tokina 24-200. built like a tank but optically weak, unless you shot at f/8 and then all of a sudden the contrast kicked in. pretty susceptible to flare and contra light as well.
  24. Well,
    the old 24-120 mm D lens for sure isn´t a gleaming optic. It was a first for Nikon and everyone else when introduced. Certainly marginal quality even on slide film from 85mm onwards. The shorter and mid range is quite OK, a good image would not be ruined by this lens. A great walk-around solution in the early 90´s, I used mine a lot for travel then.
    To say HORRIBLE is one of the usual photo.net exaggerations. I used mine again briefly on the D200 I used to own years ago. Just for fun as an experiment. The results were not useless though I would not run and buy one now except as a stop-gap solution.

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