24/28/35 - 105/135 for D800 general use

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by clive_murray_white, Feb 24, 2014.

  1. I didn't realise that when I thought casually about getting a handy modestly priced general purpose AF lens for my D800 I was entering one of the great Nikon mazes.
    Any views?
  2. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    My recommendation is to get something that starts from 24mm on the wide end, as the different between 24mm and 28mm is non trivial. You are better off getting something wider as 24mm is often sufficient so that you won't need another wider (zoom) lens. Some of the options for this range include the 24-85mm/f3.5-4.5 AF-S VR, 24-120mm/f4 AF-S VR and the expensive 24-70mm/f2.8 AF-S.
    The long end is better covered by a different zoom that is entirely in the telephoto range for better quality, such as the 70-200mm/f4 AF-S VR or 70-200mm/f2.8 AF-S VR II if your budget is higher. A budget option would be the 70-300mm f4.5-5.6 AF-S VR.
  3. Thanks Shun - I'm pretty well covered at the wide end Sigma 15-30, AF Nikkor 24/2.8 and a Fuji X100, but point taken, for just one lens 24 at one end is handy.
    For an ultra lightweight "holiday" or 'trip" kit taking the 24 + something from 28/35 - 135 or maybe a bit more, seems like a pretty good idea. At present I do it the old fashioned way 50/1.8G , 85/1.8G and the 24 and run about a lot. - or take the sigma 15-30 and flick between fx and dx to get a bit extra length.
    When I did some homework this I read a previous thread, Nikon's worst lenses, the 24-120 came up quite often. There seem to be quite a range of offerings, 28-200, 35-105, 28-105 28-100, 24-120 and heaps of criticism - 70 is too long at the short end for me
    Thanks again Clive
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    When I did some homework this I read a previous thread, Nikon's worst lenses, the 24-120 came up quite often.​
    The old 24-120mm/f3.5-5.6, first version was AF-D and the second version AF-S VR, are generally considered to be fairly poor. However, the current 24-120mm/f4 AF-S VR is a constant f4 and a very good lens. That is my primary mid-range zoom in these days and that is the main reason I don't own the 24-70mm/f2.8 AF-S and my 28-70mm/f4 AF-S mostly stay home in these days, as I prefer a longer zoom range. But even that is still a 5x zoom so that it is a bit weak on the two extreme ends in its zoom range.
  5. Thanks again Shun, the new 24-120 does sound a lot better, but at a $1000+ a bit steep for my purposes, any advice on any of the older or cheaper lenses in the range?
    Thanks - Clive
  6. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

  7. any advice on any of the older or cheaper lenses in the range?​
    I recently picked up a mint in box copy of the
    28-105/3.5-4.5 D IF
    for $165!
    It's older technology, screwdriver af, no VR, but is very sharp and distortion free! An added bonus is that it has a macro mode that can do 1:2! This is going to become my new general purpose "walk-around" lens"
  8. Hi Frank,
    Nice price in US more here in Aus - lots of people say nice things about it on FX but when I looked on Flickr pool I felt it may be a little cool or flat in the way it renders - or was that just the choice of the photogs using it?
  9. Clive, I do think quite some of the older Nikon lenses do render a bit cooler colours, but nothing that cannot be easily fixed in post-processing; the 24-120 f/4VR (which I do have as well) does render more saturated colours and seems to have a bit more contrast than the older lenses (for info, I use it alongside a AF-D 80-200 f/2.8, amd find the colour rendering is indeed quite different).
    The 24-85VR looks a fairly ideal compromise if budget is constrained, the 28-105 looks a good lens (I considered it, but no good deals on eBay EU at that time). I do agree with Shun, having 24mm on the wide end is mighty nice - 28mm just too often isn't wide enough for me. While it is more expensive than I think it ought to be, the current 24-120 doesn't disappoint me. In some threads you will find people with different opinions on it, and photozone tests reveal weaknesses - problem is always a bit what you really expect and consider acceptable, and sample variation. Still, would I be shopping today, I'd probably get the 24-85 f/3.5-4.5VR instead as it's about as good, and 65% of the price.
    Problem with all these lenses will be that at a pixel level versus a D800, they won't be the best you ever saw. But for normal-sized prints, they'll do the job just fine.
  10. I switched from the 28-105 to the 24-85AFS (first version) and never regretted it. The 28-105 is a nice lens, but think I liked best the AFS, and although I never compared them side by side, I tend to think it is a better performer at the longer end (although it stops at 85). Sadly, I currently don`t have a valid "testing camera" to compare them.
    I find its salad bowl type hood (rotating front element), to be a cool down feature on the 28-105. And the 24mm end makes a difference to me, too. And the AFS. So I think I`d try on the new 24-85VR.
    Right now, I`m using on my D700 a 24-120/4, which I consider a much better lens (despite of its limitations).
  11. Just because it got a mention above and this is a rare example of a lens I know about... the (discontinued) 28-200 f/3.5-5.6 G is a lovely lens on the D700. Reasonably sharp, at least stopped down a bit; managable artifacts, small enough to be a body cap (just), it was my most-used lens because it's what I left on the camera until I knew what I was going to be shooting. 24mm would have been nice (I also have a 14-24), but 28-200 is a pretty useful range, especially for such a small and cheap lens.

    Sadly, it really can't keep up with the D800's sensor, so I now barely use it. Sorry, no good news there. The 28-300 is a bit better, but supposedly still not ideal, much bigger and much more expensive - and still not a perfect option for the sensor. (I do have a 28-85 f/3.5-5.6 G somewhere that I really ought to test on my D800 in case it does better.)

    The consensus seems to be the 24-120 f/4 is the obvious "street sweeper" lens, and that the variable aperture one is cheaper, but a paperweight. If you want to do the D800 justice, sadly the lenses aren't cheap. Aiming a bit wider and cropping digitally can be better than a poor superzoom. If 24-70 is enough range for you (and I don't feel the need myself), have a look at the third-party options.

    If you want really cheap, I'll go back to the 28-200. But I'd only do that if you're aware that it's not going to give you 36MP of goodness, and if you want to complement it with some other lens purchases later. If you're happy to switch lenses when you need performance - e.g. to some cheapish primes like the 50 f/1.8 AF-S and 85 f/1.8 AF-S, or Sigma 35mm f/1.4 if you can stretch to it - it can be better than nothing. Good luck.
  12. 28-105D used to be my lens when I had my D700 - it was reasonably sharp and the built-in macro came in handy at times, but my D800 arrived and the 28-105 really fell apart. I've tested 3 samples or so of this lens on my D800 and they all were not very sharp at 36MP.
    I bought a 24-85AFS (original non-VR version) and it's actually pretty good on the D800. I then bought the newer version with VR foolishly thinking that Nikon would make substantial improvements in IQ, but alas the VR version is slightly better on the wide end, but slightly worse on the long end compared to my non-VR version. VR was nice though.
    I've since sold the VR version and kept my non-VR version - the VR version was just not worth the price.
    So, try out a lightly used 24-85/3.5-4.5AFS and you might be happy with it.
    I've tried one copy of the 24-105/4AFSVR and was not terribly impressed with the IQ for the price.
    Nikon just seems incapable of making a really good 24-XXX zoom that does well at 36MP.
  13. The first hand first hand knowledge of lenses that worked well enough on D700 but are now found wanting on D800 is invaluable, thank you, in a way it looks like I either save up a few dollars for the 24-120/4 which sounds like the sensible thing to do or take a bit of a gamble on a 28-200, which from all the pictures I've looked seems to have a rather nice way of rendering things, I'd even call it a happy, cheerful, little street sweeper, almost perfect attributes for spontaneous holiday/trip shots.
  14. Clive: I concur. The 24-120 isn't perfect, but getting anything to work perfectly at 36MP is a challenge (even the sample images for the D800 shot with the 24-70 are a bit iffy). If you've effectively got a camera and nothing to put on it, and if the cost of a used 28-200 is the kind of thing you can write off, I'd get one. It's no match for a good prime or an f/2.8 zoom, but it's not useless and it's cheap. Just bear in mind that it's a stop-gap lens to be used either until you get something better, or when you need a zoom and you've not put a cheap prime on the camera. If you can bite the bullet on a 24-120, I'm sure you'd be happier with it optically, but they're not cheap - which is why I don't have one. Of course, this assumes that you must have a zoom. If you can live with some f/1.8 primes, it's much easier to do your D800 justice. Good luck, whichever you choose.
  15. I like the new 24-85mm/f3.5-4.5 AF-S VR, and it is rated highly. Add a 70-200mm f2.8 VR or a 70-300mm f3.5-5.6 VR, and you'll have a great two-lens kit, which you can always enhance with the amazing 14-24mm f2.8 G or the wonderful 85mm f1.4 G or maybe a nice macro.
    Good luck with your decision!
  16. Hi Andrew,
    When I moved over to Nikon D800 I did exactly what you suggest by buying a bunch of good primes and I've been really happy with the image quality. Perfect for all our 300 dpi publishing and printing requirements.
    Side by side the printing etc goes the constant need to promote the business in blogs and Facebook etc, obviously not requiring 36mp!! so the idea of having a street sweeper that holds up OK when crunched down small and only 72 dpi has crept in as a possibility - I could use a 50mm or 24mm and then crop in LR/PS but my ability to look through the viewfinder and imagine a cropped image prior to shooting isn't a strong point of mine.
  17. Both the 24-85mm f3.5-4.5G ED VR and the 24-120mm f4G ED VR get a score of 22 on a D800.
    That should tell you everything you need to know.
  18. Sorry Scott - I didn't get back earlier - you could say I had a big day at the office - looks really interesting - kit lens for D600 isn't it? a bit shorter than I really wanted but it does seem to take nice pics - cheers - Clive
  19. I recently tested a bunch of AF-D Nikkors, and also the current 24-85/3.5-4.5G VR, at focal lengths from 28mm to 80mm. This included geometric distortion, contrast, and center and corner sharpness, as well as handling and functionality. The tests were done carefully, ratings were subjective.
    The best were the 28-70/3.3-4.5D-AF (N90s kit lens), and the 28-80/3.5-5.6D-AF (plastic mount). The 28-80 is so cheap and weak, the clear winner is the 28-70. It's an optically excellent lens, with solid build, low distortion, good close focus, and nicely compact. Every Nikon shooter should own a copy of this lens.
    Acceptable tier included the 24-84G-VR, the 28-105/f3.5-4.5D-AF, and the 35-105/3.5-4.5D-AF. The 24-85 has the advantage of VR, but the disadvantage of being too bulky. The 28-105 is a middling, but has handy macro capabilities, however, it has no good lens hood solution. I want to love the 28-105, but I don't and almost never reach for it. The 35-105 is a beautifully built and great handling little lens that gets you to 105, but lacks close focusing capability. Still, I love to shoot with this lens.
    Not very good lenses included the 35-70/3.3-4.5AF, 35-80/4.0-5.6D-AF (metal mount), and the 28-85/3.5-4.5AF. Don't waste your time with these. The 28-85 is actually a pretty good lens optically, but it is just too bulky and heavy for what it delivers.
    My 2ยข
  20. Actually, I don't know why I tend to ignore the 24-85 VR. It may just be that it's recent enough that I've not got around to looking at it. It was handy to have a street sweeper on my D700, but the price of the 24-120 has put me off, a 28-200 was an extremely useful range, and once you get down to 24-70 territory I start preferring primes. I'd probably like the range of the 24-85 over the 28-70, though I take Dan's advice on board and I'd want to try a 24-85 before buying - IIRC it's on Thom's "recommended for D600 but not D800" list. It's not quite disposable money, though - and I should really see how my 28-80 f/3.3-5.6G behaves. (This is the one with the plastic front element, which is exciting. It's also scary to focus on an F5, which is one reason I own it.)
  21. The 28-105 is a middling, but has handy macro capabilities, however, it has no good lens hood solution.​
    I found the HB-27 to be an excellent alternative hood for the 28-105/f3.5-4.5D-AF !
  22. Hi Dan I've been working through your suggestions, in between working! but 28-70/3.3-4.5D-AF are they normally very cheap to buy - like less than $100 more like $70 because I've found a couple and suddenly think Oh no there's another version of 28-70 that's horrible.
  23. A real Nikon newbie question now! RE: 28-70/3.3-4.5D-AF evidently there was an earlier AF non "D"version - what's that actually mean in terms of it's usability on a D800

    Thanks in advance Clive
  24. Frank, thanks for that tip!

    Clive, yes, the 28-70/3.3-4.5D-AF lens can be had at very favorable prices. I think I gave about $150 for a mint copy. Also, the 'D' version will allow the D800 to use auto distortion correction, the non-D won't.
  25. Thanks for the advice everyone - I've just bought the D600 24-85 kit lens, well priced, has 24mm at the wide end nice and compact for travel etc and best of all I like the style of the images it takes. - Clive

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