New 24-120mm f4 Lens Discussion (cont'd)

spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,621Moderator
edited November 2014 in Nikon Lenses
I found that the only discussion about this lens is over on the old forum so I thought I'd continue it over here.

I just bought the D750 with the 24-120VR bundled as a kit lens. I tried this lens on a D600 at a dealers about a year ago and although the VR was pretty good (I thought the VR was great at the time but then I got the 70-200 f4 which as got phenomenal VR), but the lens struck me as 'meh' in terms of sharpness and contrast. I knew the light was really horrible in the shop (CFL's) as it gave the impression of being good enough, but at the same time did the products being sold no favours when customers actually tried them. However, the VR (essential for me) and useful range made it the perfect wedding lens so I went for it on my D750. My mindset was 'let's face it pixel-peeping high sharpness isn't really relevant to wedding shots is it'?

OK, a quick description of the 70-200: Sharpness - great, contrast - great, VR - phenomenal. So I'm thinking Nikon's f4 range of FX lenses are perfect for my purposes because the 24-70 has no VR.

I unboxed the D750 and 24-120 and shot a few things around the room - BUGGER! The lens is nowhere near good enough. Now I admit I haven't yet fine-tuned the AF, but the thing doesn't look sharp until f8! f4 is wtf, and sharpness does not greatly improve at f5.6 either.

Now, I'm trying to give up reading DxO Mark because I don't think it reads across too well in comparison to real life experience, but I am surprised that I haven't seen anybody raise this before on this forum. I realise there are a few 'brand loyalty before reality' people here who only ever say nice things about Nikon gear, but there are a lot of people who remain detached from all that and give praise/criticism where it is due. Perhaps none of them have this lens, though I doubt that.

Anybody else got any experience of this lens? I'm thinking of returning it to Nikon as not good enough. Whenever I've fine tuned a lens I've only improved it to a small extent so I'm sure no miracle is going to happen by doing that today. To be clear, 120mm at f4/f5.6 is 'bleah'.
Post edited by spraynpray on
Always learning.
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Comments

  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited November 2014
    yes forget Dox scores

    Sharpness is defined in term of 'meh' and 'bleah'

    Can you post some samples for us to pixel peep


    I use my 24 -120 f 4 vr at lot
    its not as sharp @ 120mm as my 70 -200 f 2.8 or my 80 -400
    or my 50mm f 1.4 @50mm
    nor the 24mm f 1.4 @ 24mm
    nor the 16 -35 f 4 vr @24mm
    if you want razor sharp results then you have got to use a prime
    but for a mid range zoom with VR it is hard to beat

    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    My 24-120 /4 up to about 70mm is acceptably (I am fussy) sharp at F4 and very sharp at F5.6.
    At 120mm it is acceptably sharp at F45.6 and very sharp at F8.

    These are on D800e / D810.

    There is sample variation in wide-tele zooms, if you can , return yours and try another one.

    You must AF fine tune this lens.

    .. H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,139Member
    @haroldp that is consistent with dxo tests results. are you able to comment regarding 1/3 stop performance between 70-120 ? eg F 4.5 and F 5.0. just curious.
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,621Moderator
    edited November 2014
    OK, at the dealers now, just compared it to another and I'm going to swap it for it because it is better. Not as sharp as my 70-200 f4, but better than the other 24-120.
    Post edited by spraynpray on
    Always learning.
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,334Moderator
    How ironic, I just stuck the AF S NIKKOR 24-120MM 1:4 G ED VR N on my D800E to see how it all goes. I will post some images at some point.

    My initial findings with this lens were spectacular, then I had one shot I thought was soft. But a rerun may prove to be a different story.
    Msmoto, mod
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,621Moderator
    @PitchBlack: I hope to get a Siggy 35/1.4 in the future, but my partners experience of the horrible focus of his Siggy zoom has made me wary. The focus of the 24-120VR on the D750 is nice and fast.

    @Msmoto: I look forward to it. I don't think they are all bad, but I was 2 for 2 before trying another.
    Always learning.
  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    @heartyfisher

    I typically shoot aperture priority with zooms like this as they are my 'walking around' lens and am not at intermediate stops often enough to have a reliable opinion.

    On the D800 / 810, the 24-70/2.8 is enough better that I will use it in it's focal rang on a planned shoot, but I travel with the 24-120.

    Unless I need faster openings, within it's range the 24-70 is the equal of my primes for any practical purpose. I wish it had VR.

    Regards ... H

    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • haroldpharoldp Posts: 984Member
    This lens (24-120 / 4 VR) has had the widest AF tuning variation of any of my lenses.
    -14 on the D800e, -1 on D3x, and +4 on D810.

    you must fine tune it.

    .... H
    D810, D3x, 14-24/2.8, 50/1.4D, 24-70/2.8, 24-120/4 VR, 70-200/2.8 VR1, 80-400 G, 200-400/4 VR1, 400/2.8 ED VR G, 105/2 DC, 17-55/2.8.
    Nikon N90s, F100, F, lots of Leica M digital and film stuff.

  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,621Moderator
    Thanks Harold, I'll check the new one and report back.
    Always learning.
  • heartyfisherheartyfisher Posts: 3,139Member
    @haroldp thanks for replying. Hopefully MSMOTO will be able to check that when she does her tests.
    Moments of Light - D610 D7K S5pro 70-200f4 18-200 150f2.8 12-24 18-70 35-70f2.8 : C&C very welcome!
    Being a photographer is a lot like being a Christian: Some people look at you funny but do not see the amazing beauty all around them - heartyfisher.

  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    On many outing with birdman...a local NRF member that lives in my city which at the time had this lens, I too found myself not to impressed with it. It was for me, just OK...and if you know me, I'm not an "ok" kind of consumer when it comes to lenses. If I was you, Andrew, I would just get the body only and put the funds toward the Sigma 35 1.4 Art. Now that is kick-ass glass. :P
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,621Moderator
    Too late Ali, I bought it as a kit. The new lens is OK though, certainly good enough for weddings where reliable focus and good VR trump absolute sharpness anyday. I do look forward to getting the 35/1.4 Siggy tho.
    Always learning.
  • tektradertektrader Posts: 58Member
    edited November 2014
    I just bought one to use as a travel lens.

    Took it to Bali last month. First impressions when I was fine tuning it is that it isn't much worse than my 24-70 wide open.

    BUT a few things I have noted. Don't use it at F4. The edges are not good. F5.6 is significantly better. It does seem to have a non linearity over its zoon length. Very sharp when fine tuned at 70mm But at 120 the fine tune value is quite different.

    If it could be adjusted at each focal length like the Sigma it would be much better. The rubbish about the sigma being better is just rubbish. It is slightly sharper wide open BUT at F5.6 the Nikon is a very different lens than at F4.

    Roughly comparable to the 24-70. The 24-120 is very slightly less sharp.

    The VR on this lens amazing. After using it I am tossing up whether to sell the 24-70. The VR actually made up for many of the shortcuts of the focus purely because of its ability to ignore mirror slap. I was always having mirror slap issues with the 24-70. The minute Nikon make a VR version of the 24-70 I will buy one.

    My fine tune value on the D800 is +1
    Post edited by tektrader on
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,621Moderator
    The first 24-120 I had wasn't sharp until f9 so clearly it wasn't a representative lens. Glad I swapped it out. It was very sharp by then, but very unsharp at the f4 end. The point of buying fixed aperture lenses is to be able to throw them wide open without concern as I can with my 70-200 f4 so that 24-120 was a big disappointment to me.

    I am going to try a version of @PitchBlack's idea for fine tuning the one I have now because I do find working closer to minimum focus and maximum zoom isn't giving me the improvements I expect so I'll start with trying further away at max zoom and then zooming out to see what happens.
    Always learning.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    As I have said many times before, the 24-70 2.8, be it Nikon or Canon, does not need VR. In fact, when Canon introduced their new version, they also left it out.

    To compare the 24-120 F4 to the 24-70 2.8 in relation to sharpens is also a mistake. I have used both and I know which is far superior.

    Lastly, I also fill it is rubbish to accept a lens that is soft at is widest aperture. Hence, why I passed on the Nikon 58 1.4G and got the Sigma 50 1.4 Art.
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • spraynprayspraynpray Posts: 5,621Moderator
    the 24-70 2.8, be it Nikon or Canon, does not need VR.
    I can't agree with you Ali. You obviously have fairly steady hands (as did I until I was about 55) and shoot in reasonable light or from a tripod when the light isn't up to it. Wedding photographers need to be highly mobile, shoot in appalling light with utter reliability and get results that need little processing. If the 24-70 f2.8 had VR, I would have had it and foregone the extra (useful) length of the 24-120.

    Also, why does the 16-35 have VR then? If the 24-70 doesn't need it, the 16-35 definitely doesn't.
    Always learning.
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited November 2014
    As I have said many times before, the 24-70 2.8, be it Nikon or Canon, does not need VR. In fact, .
    provided you have steady hand and shoot at 1/125 or higher, but this not always possible with an f 4 lens
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • MsmotoMsmoto Posts: 5,334Moderator
    I will try to get out and do some testing today with the 24-120/f4 VR on the D800E. Meanwhile, here is a link to some tests done earlier on the D4.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/fantinesfotos/sets/72157631983618062/

    And, one shot at f/10, 1/100th sec, handheld: The VR apparently worked

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/fantinesfotos/7014984231/sizes/o/
    Msmoto, mod
  • bald_eaglebald_eagle Posts: 88Member
    Hi All,
    How does the 24-120 f4 compare to the older 24-120 f3.5-5.6.
    In particular, I'm wondering how it fares with CA.. I have the f3.5-5.6 version and, although it's seems quite sharp to me, it suffers from some truly awful CA problems, at least on my DX body...

    Right now I'm thinking of upgrading from DX to FX and am considering the D750 either with or without the "kit" 24-120...
    When the CA isn't much better than my existing 24-120 f3.5-5.6, I'll not bother with the kit lens and maybe get the 105 Macro instead..

    Cheers,
    Baldy ;)
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    the old 24 -120 was reckoned to be one of Nikon's worst mid range zooms
    The new one. one of their best
  • PB_PMPB_PM Posts: 3,699Member
    ...why does 16-35 have VR then? If the 24-70 doesn't need it, the 16-35 definitely doesn't.
    As someone who owns both lenses, I hope these comment will be helpful.

    The 24-70mm F2.8 is generally considered event/action capture tool, and many users don't find VR helpful, since using it won't help you freeze motion. Only a faster shutter speed, and thus large aperture, or flash can do that. Would VR be useful for people who use the 24-70mm F2.8 as a general purpose mid-range zoom? Yes, that is why the Tamron 24-70mm F2.8 VC has gained some popularity. As someone who uses the lens for both purposes, I agree with both points. For action and events I've not found VR to be overly useful, but for general purpose photography, or when you want to stop the lens down a little, VR would be helpful. My point of view is, if adding VR does not degrade image quality/bokeh, significantly increase the weight, or cost, go for it. If it does, please leave it out.

    As for why the 16-35mm F4G has VR, simple, it's a slower aperture lens that it targeted at landscape and interior architecture photographers. In other words, users who are often trying to use the lens stopped down in lower light situations. Unfortunately using a tripod is not always possible, since some locations don't allow the use of them, so the VR is a very helpful tool. Even with less than steady hands, like mine, hand holding the 16-35mm with VR on at ridiculously slow shutters speeds (1/10s) is possible. This of course allows the user to keep the ISO lower, which is useful for taking maximum advantage of a given cameras dynamic range and overall image quality in a landscape or architectural image.
    If I take a good photo it's not my camera's fault.
  • Golf007sdGolf007sd Posts: 2,840Moderator
    edited November 2014
    You obviously have fairly steady hands (as did I until I was about 55).....Also, why does the 16-35 have VR then? If the 24-70 doesn't need it, the 16-35 definitely doesn't.
    You and Sevenscrossing are quite correct in that I do have, for the time being, steady hands.

    VR surly does come in handy with helping reduce camera shake, but it does nothing in preventing blur when the subject is moving while shooting a low shutter speeds. The two are not always mutually exclusive.

    With that aside, I think you will find, given the great capability of Nikon's new DSLR's high ISO capabilities (your new D750 in fact has great ISO performance) and having a lens that can shoot at f/2.8 vs f/4, these lens will do a far better job and produce much more pleasing results. Shooting at a weeding, in poor lighting conditions with a long telephoto lens, IMHO, is not the best way to capture the subject, without proper light hitting the subject. YMMV.

    The 16-35 is a great lens...but is serves a whole different purpose, than the 24-70 & 24-120 intended usage. PB_PM comments above are very much in-line in what I was about to say.

    Nikon has done and outstanding job on their f/4 line of lenses, much like they have done with their f/1.8's. I personally, have played with Adamz 300 f/4, which also lacks VR, and found it to be great. I did not have the same feeling about this lens (24-120).
    Post edited by Golf007sd on
    D4 & D7000 | Nikon Holy Trinity Set + 105 2.8 Mico + 200 F2 VR II | 300 2.8G VR II, 10.5 Fish-eye, 24 & 50 1.4G, 35 & 85 1.8G, 18-200 3.5-5.6 VR I SB-400 & 700 | TC 1.4E III, 1.7 & 2.0E III, 1.7 | Sigma 35 & 50 1.4 DG HSM | RRS Ballhead & Tripods Gear | Gitzo Monopod | Lowepro Gear | HDR via Promote Control System |
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    edited November 2014
    but it does nothing in preventing blur when the subject is moving while shooting a low shutter speeds. ).
    But this applies to all lenses
    Wide angle , midrange, teles, zooms, primes , Nikon, Canon, Sigma.
    Every lens in the book

    I think we all know a top end prime will be sharper than any top end zoom
    The reason for using a mid range zoom is simple, it avoids the need to keep changing lenses, which really is very useful fro most styles of wedding photography. A 300 f 4 may be very sharp, but virtually useless for weddings
    Post edited by sevencrossing on
  • PistnbrokePistnbroke Posts: 1,433Member
    edited November 2014
    If you are a RAW shooter then the sharpness or much of it comes from your post processing. If you are a JPEG shooter it comes from the sharpness menu. Certainly totally rubbish lenses like my Sigma FX 17-35 D become totally brilliant with the right sharpening.
    Post edited by Pistnbroke on
  • sevencrossingsevencrossing Posts: 2,800Member
    In the next post, someone is going to claim, sharpness comes from the sharpness fairly
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