9 out of 10 points and recommendedSharp, quick auto-focus, very usable focal range (on full frame)Maybe a little too much plastic (but quality is OK), vignetting at 24 mm and wide open
I was looking for a lens to begin with on my new D700 (full frame). I didn't want to spend 1500 $ or more for the "pro" Nikon zooms at f2,8 so I looked around for an "old" model from Nikon. I read the review from Thom Hogan about this 24-85 mm lens, and managed to find it new (!) for 320 $. (the lens not Thom !)reviewed February 21st, 2009 (purchased for $320)
I'm very impressed by this little lens, the image is uniformly sharp and even wide open, the corners are OK. You can really take sharp photos wide open from 24 to 85 mm.
The AF-S is quick and silent, you simply forget it !
And the focal range is very interesting on a full frame camera.
The contrast and colours are excellent, and Ican't see any ghosting.
What is not so good : wide open at 24 mm, there is noticeable vignetting, and there is also some distorsion you can see when you take buildings or other subject with straight lines.
But I shoot allways in RAW format, and both problems can be eliminated in Capture NX.
Concerning chromatic aberration, I can see none in the photos, but it's because the D700 corrects it automatically.
When the CA correction it set to OFF in Capture NX, there is some visible in the edges at 24 mm (for example when there is a tree or an electric wire against the sky in the edge of a photo) but it's well handeld.
My conclusion : a lens to take great photos with, without having to watch on the aperture to be sure to have sharp pictures.
They are of course sharper lenses, but not with this focal range, quick AF and price !
2 out of 10 points and not recommendedZoom rangeOptically horrible, soft, no contrast, distortion, ghosting (at least on a full size DSLR)
I buyed one to try it on a D700 (full frame DSLR)reviewed February 21st, 2009 (purchased for $300)
I don't know if this one had a specific problem (it was a new one), but at apertures between f3,5 and f8, the left quarter of the photos was ugly between 28 and 50 mm.
Very very blurry, and with huge ghostings between dark and bright zones.
The right side was also soft, but way better then the left side.
This issue was so strong, it was pretty well visible on 6x4 prints.
Vignetting wide open at the wide end was also very visible.
Even toward the tele end, the photos were soft and flat, without contrast.
Another issue is the very heavy pincushion distortion toward the tele end.
Maybe this lens behaves better on an APS-sized DSLR, but on a D700 forget it.
I don't know what Kenn Rockwell has smoked before he wrote his review about this lens on a D3, but I think it was something very strong !!
I returned mine after about 40 photos and I'm now happy with a 24-85 f3,5-4,5G ED IF AF-S lens (see my review) wich gives very good results in all situations.
3 out of 10 points and not recommendedVC works very wellUnsharp, quality issues, bad AF in low light
I buyed this lens for a full frame Nikon D700.reviewed February 24th, 2009 (purchased for $600)
The first one had an issue right out of the box : the zoom ring moved once from 28 to 300 mm, and when I wanted to zoom back, it stopped at 70 mm, and it was not possible to go back to wide angle.
So I returned it and got another one.
This one had an optical issue : pictures taken between 28 and 50 mm where consistently unscharp in the right quarter, even at f8 or f11. On the left side they were OK.
On the long end (over 200 mm) photos went not sharp even in the center. I tried the AF fine-tune on the D700, but it didn't help. So I sent it back.
I was fool enough to buy a third one.
It had the same issue than the second one at the wide end, but this time on the left side of the photos.
On the tele end, the photos went as unsharp as with the second lens.
And as described in different reviews, the AF has problems at the tele end when there is not a lot of light, with frequent hunting (sometimes it's impossible to lock the AF) or blurry photos.
The VC works very well, but that's not a big help when the lens is optically weak.
So I returned also this third lens.
I have now a Nikkor 24-85 mm f3,5-4,5G AF-S ED IF lens on the camera and I'm very happy with it (see my review of this lens)
3 out of 10 points and not recommendedFocal range, VRSoft soft soft
Having read not so good reviews about this lens, I decided anyway to buy an used one, on Ebay.reviewed August 27th, 2009 (purchased for $200)
The lens was in good condition.
Construction quality is OK, and the lens feels solid.
My camera is a D700, with a full frame sensor, and the auto-focus is OK even at the tele end.
Optically, this lens was a big deception.
The image is soft at any focal length, and toward the 120 mm, it gets blurry even in the center.
You have to go to f10 to have an acceptable quality after postprocessing.
At the wide end and full open, there is a lot of light faloff in the edges, maybe it's not so visible on an APS-C sensor, but on a full frame sensor it's terrible.
Edges are also blurry on the wide end.
Full open, they are noticeable ghostings in zones whith harsh contrast (per example, a roof against the sky).
All in one I would'nt recommend this lens.
I have two other lenses, a 24-85 f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S (reviewed on slrgear) and a 28-200 f/3.5-5.6 AF-D, wich are both far better.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedVersatily, overall qualityA little distorsion and vignetting at some focal lenghts
I allready tried different "super-trans-standard" zooms on my D700 :reviewed September 24th, 2010 (purchased for $1,266)
- Nikkor 28-200 AF G : not very impressed
- Nikkor 28-200 AF D : not bad at all, it was often on my camera prior to buying the 28-300.
- Tamron 28-300 with VC (tested 3 of them) : Oh my god, what a crap !
So I was curious to test this new 28-300.
I'm overall very impressed, this lens has a very good usability.
Let's beging with it's drawbacks :
- full open at 300 mm there is a not negligeable amount of vignetting
- Distortion (ranging from barell to pincushion depending of the focal length)
This two problems are easily removable during post-processing.
- At full aperture, the lens is a little less sharp, but nothing very bad, it's also easily correctible.
It's pros's :
- The focal lengths range, of course !
- Accurate and silent AF, even at 300 mm when it's dark.
- Very efficient (and silent) VR, a real plus at the tele end.
- Best image quality of all superzooms I tested so far.
-"Compacity" (Think at the Canon 28-300 lens !)