24-85AFS Better Than 24-85AF-D?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by john_hinkey, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. Today I had an opportunity to try out a 24-85/3.5-4.5 AFS and a 24-85/2.8-4AF-D on a D700 and I was expecting the AF-D to be the better lens based on some on-line reviews (like photozone.de) and other opinions here on DPR.

    I was shocked to find quite the opposite. The AFS won hands down at both 24 and 85mm (did not test in between) at all common apertures, especially at the 24mm end of things. By won, I mean it had the significantly better sharpness at anything away from the center of the image where both lenses were pretty much the same.

    The AFS was used while the AF-D was "new" in the display case, thus had been handled, but never owned. I had previously tested out 2 used 24-85AFD copies on a D3s and these were way worse than the display case copy I had tested today.

    So is this finding correct or did I just happen to test a super stellar copy of the AFS and a very sub-par copy of the AF-D?

    I'm interested in these lenses as a light-weight 24-XX walk-around zoom for a future D700 body.

    Thanks - John

    PS - I've posted this on DPR and FredMiranda as well - I wanted to get a broad section of opinions about these two lenses and my findings.
     
  2. Check out Thom Hogan's findings on www.bythom.com you will see that he agrees with you. I believe that is widely known that the AF-S was replaced by a lesser lens, the AF-D. But for what reason....?
     
  3. I never understood that. Being AFS the slower version should be an upgrade. I have tested it against my previous 28-105 and prefer the AFS.
    I have also read different and contradictory opinions about one vs the other. Maybe most ones in favour to the AFD.
    If there is something I`d complain about this lens is the mechanical construction, that is no different to most consumer type lenses. The usual cheap plastic feel, clumsy manual focus gear coupling mechanism, telescopic zoom barrel. At least, this is the kind of lens that becomes more used by many people; I`d love to have it in a more durable quality and exquisite feel/finish.
    My expectations are on the new 24-120/4 version. My dealer doesn`t have it for testing yet; I`m not excessively happy after checking the wide zoom, which I expected a full pro quality on a more compact bulk, at the expense of speed... we will see.
     
  4. Who knows? You would think that an AFS lens would out perform an AF D lens...especially on a current tech body. But thats not the case here. The AFS has form.
    Looking at dates, the AFS version was introduced in 2003 but discontinued in 2008 after a checkered few years and Nikon pinned its colours back onto the AF D lens instead. Given that this is a news lens, they probably did it for good reason. News guys are unforgiving and Nikon listens to press photographers.
     
  5. I don't know the AFD, but I use my AFS most of the time on DX and FX camera. Only when I need 2.8 I go to the 28-70 or 17-50. My AFS is sharp full open.
     
  6. It depends a lot on the particular copies and also the person who does the test and how he does it.
    You said:
    the AF-D was "new" in the display case, thus had been handled, but never owned​
    So I can assume that the lens is still in the store and very likely you just borrowed it for a couple of minutes to test it handheld and in a not-so-bright condition inside the store without a good subject for testing (the lady at the store maybe gorgeous but she is not a good subject for testing either). Such a test doesn't mean anything. There maybe a lot of camera and camera-man errors in focusing, moving, shaking
     
  7. So I can assume that the lens is still in the store and very likely you just borrowed it for a couple of minutes to test it handheld and in a not-so-bright condition inside the store without a good subject for testing (the lady at the store maybe gorgeous but she is not a good subject for testing either). Such a test doesn't mean anything. There maybe a lot of camera and camera-man errors in focusing, moving, shaking​
    Actually no - I'm not that inept.
    Yes, they know me well enough and were kind enough to let me use their D700 (with my CF card in it) to take each lens just outside the store and photograph the 5-ish story very modern building on the other side of the street about 50 ft. away. Makes for a great test subject since on a sunny day it is contrasty, flat, has lots of detail, and is large enough to fill the screen with a FX wide angle when held level.
    I set the D700 to RAW, ISO 200 and checked the focusing using live view (hand-held). Put it in aperture priority mode and ran the lenses through the apertures from wide open to f/16 in one stop increments (unless wide open is at f/3.5 or something) at 24mm and 85mm FLs. All shutter speeds were well above that needed for hand-holding. Since I'm in Seattle I then took a series of images of the Space Needle which gives me some sense of center quality at infinity.
    I then take the NEF files home and view them using NX2 and compare the detail, contrast, CA, etc. at the centers, edges, and far corners.
    So it's fairly detailed - I know what I'm doing.
    Thanks for the assumed lack of competence.
    John
     
  8. I can't speak of the AF-S version, but I've had the AF f/2.8-4 Macro with a D70s for almost 5 year and find it to be very clean and sharp. I especially like that it has the macro feature to make it that much more versatile. I've shot catalogue furniture, portraits, and food (enlarged to 40"x40") with very good results.
     
  9. about 50 ft. away
    A lot of these mid-range zooms are optimized for distances of about 2m (6 feet). This is because they're designed for PJ type shooting at close range. Your results may be different from that of some test sites (i.e. photozone) because usually quite short distances are used for testing. Not that the long-distance test doesn't have merit - it does, it's just going to give different results than a short or medium distance test.
     
  10. about 50 ft. away
    A lot of these mid-range zooms are optimized for distances of about 2m (6 feet). This is because they're designed for PJ type shooting at close range. Your results may be different from that of some test sites (i.e. photozone) because usually quite short distances are used for testing. Not that the long-distance test doesn't have merit - it does, it's just going to give different results than a short or medium distance test.​
    Hmm . . . well you are saying that it may be even better up close than at infinity? The 24-85AF-D had just terrible corners and I don't think they would change much at 5 feet I'm afraid. My 16-85AFS definitely does better at 85mm up close than at infinity so perhaps you are right.
    Anyways, this afternoon I bought the AFS version for $350 (consistent with LN- KEH listings) - it looks like it is brand new without a mark on it - even on the lens mount. Original box and papers too. We'll see how it goes.
    John
    Though I don't have a D700 yet, I'll compare it a bit with my 16-85 on my D300 just for kicks.
    I would have liked to get the AF-D version is not just for the faster glass, but I just have not found one w/o terrible corners wide open or even stopped down a bit. Occasionally some come up on the local CL so I may try some out to see if I can find one that is on par with the AFS version I now have.
     
  11. Maybe I've been doing it wrong, but I've used the AF 24-85mm f2.8~4D Nikkor for a couple of years in doing the high school (local) individual football photos. No one has kicked that the images were anything but professional. And that is with a Nikon D700 body.
    'tis your money and your investment....
     
  12. Maybe I've been doing it wrong, but I've used the AF 24-85mm f2.8~4D Nikkor for a couple of years in doing the high school (local) individual football photos. No one has kicked that the images were anything but professional. And that is with a Nikon D700 body.
    'tis your money and your investment....​
    Jerry - All I can say is that I tested 3 copies of the AF-D and found them wanting compared to the single copy of the AFS version, which I found more than acceptable IQ-wise on the D700. Maybe some day I'll find a well performing AF-D version and switch to it, but until then the AFS version is it.
    Thanks - John
     
  13. A lot of these mid-range zooms are optimized for distances of about 2m (6 feet). This is because they're designed for PJ type shooting at close range. Your results may be different from that of some test sites
    this is a really great point.
     

Share This Page