Nikon, Nikkor 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR Zoom Lens Review

The Spit, Surfers Paradise
The Spit, Surfers Paradise

This lens is much derided on the internet as not very sharp, however I have found it to be quite a nice lens particularly for travelling, where the zoom range is very nice as a compact travel kit.

This lens offers a focal range of 24-120mm and incorporates the Nikon Silent Wave Motor (SWM) and Vibration Reduction (VR).

The image to the left was captured at 1/8 second at 200mm, hand held.

The main shortcoming of this lens is the minimum aperture of f/5.6 at 120mm, but to my mind the VR helps to make up for the minimum aperture.

The SWM focussing is very fast and quiet in operation and I find the VR action very good.

There ar two aspherical lenses and two ED glass elements for high performance and to assist in reducing lens aberations.

With this lens there is also a small amount of vignetting at the 24mm end of the zoom range. However this short coming can easily be fixed with post processing of images.

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Some specifications of the lens are as follows.

  • The lens comprises 15 elements in 13 groups with 2 ED glass elements and 2 aspherical elements.
  • Picture Angle with FX format 84 deg to 20 deg 30′, with DX format  61 deg to 13 deg 20′.
  • Minimum f/stop 22.
  • Maximum f stop varies from f/3.5 to f/5.6.
  • Closest focusing distance, 0.5 metres (1.6 feet).
  • Maximum reproduction ratio, 1/4.8.
  • Filter Size, 72mm.
  • Dimensions 77 x 94 mm.
  • Weight, 575 gms.

The lens provide a two position switch, the first position for optional manual/auto focussing and the second position for manual focussing.

A VR ON/OFF switch is also provided.

Nikon 24-120mm Zoom

Vibration Reduction

There is an ON/OFF switch for setting the vibration reduction. When ON the vibration is reduced while the shutter release button is lightly pressed and at the instant the shutter is released.

  • Wait until the image in the viewfinder stops vibrating before fully depressing the shutter release button.
  • If you pan the camera horizontally, vibration in the vertical direction is reduced.
  • When the lens is mounted on a tripod, set the vibration reduction ON/OFF switch to OFF. However, set the switch to ON when using a tripod without securing the tripod head, or when using a monopod.

As mentioned above there are lots of bad reports on the performance of this lens over the internet, however in my opinion it performs quite well. You need to take into account that it is quite a slow lens, f/5.6 at 120mm, but all lenses have their limitations and the photographer needs to understand those limitations and work within them. I love the range (24-120mm) of this lens.

The lens described here is now discontinued but there is now a better lens from Nikon, the new lens as follows with a constant aperture of f/4.