Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF AF

Equipping any Nikon DSLR camera is all about finding the right lens for the right job. Nikon features a large collection of different lenses each with different focal lengths. The standard focal lengths are excellent for general photography while close-up lenses and telephoto lenses are better for photojournalism. There are also wide-angle lenses that are ideal for landscape photography. To handle all these photography tasks using the same camera, several lenses may need to purchased and that costs hundreds of dollars. But with a standard zoom lens like the Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF AF Zoom-Nikkor, one can use the same lens to take different types of pictures at a fraction of the cost.

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Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF AF

Design & Construction

The Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4D is robustly built both in and out which is good for a lens in this price range, but some things needs to be noted regarding the focus ring and zoom barrel. Both of these rings are made of plastic, so care needs to be taken when using these, but the focus ring stays decent and has a loosely feel to it. The zoom ring is a bit stiffer, but is just as easy as the focus ring to manipulate. All that is required is a simple quarter of a turn to go from one extreme to the next.

One very important design aspect to be noted with the Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4D is the fact that these two rings are reversed so frequent lens changers might be confused. On the upside, these two rings are still easy to distinguish because they do not have similar looks. It also comes with a butterfly-style lens hood that is made of cheap plastics. Although it isn’t deep enough to avoid accidental touches to the glass, it is still good in blocking unwanted dust and light.

Actual user review:
“I bought this lens new about six months ago to use on my D3, and have used it now for four weddings. It is not quite as sharp as my 24-70mm f/2.8, when wide open, but when stopped down one stop, it is tach sharp. It is also much lighter which helps a lot at a long event, and it has more reach, making it great for parties and receptions. It autofocuses very quickly with the screw drive in the camera, and I never miss any action shots due to focus lag. It won’t focus on some of the low-end Nikon DSLRs because they lack the drive screw. I don’t recommend this lens for DX cameras, because 24mm is not usually wide enough on DX for many reception and party shots. In my opinion, the 16-85mm VR DX or even the 18-70 DX lens would be a better choice for a DX camera. The 24-85mm is also a very nice light weight travel lens for an FX camera. “ – R.K.MacDonald (GA,US)

Features & Specifications

Sharpness isn’t the strongest point of the lens, but it still does the job at 85mm, f/4.5 which is the minimum focus distance and wide open too. At these settings, center sharpness is outstanding and the same can be said for edge sharpness as well. Other focal lengths also display impressive results in sharpness including f/2.8 (24mm) settings making it an ideal lens for situations where quick changes can occur. Normally the lens needs to be swapped to accommodate these changes without sacrificing sharpness levels. Once it is stopped down a single stop or two, the sharpness results can be compared to some of the prime lenses offered by Nikon.

There is some noticeable chromatic aberration at the edges along with visible barrel distortion when it is wide open. Barrel distortion can be significantly reduced when the widest focal length is used. Flare isn’t really a major issue because it has the Nikon Super Integrated Coating which enhances the overall performance by minimizing reflections and reducing both ghosting and flare. Combined with the hood that was mentioned earlier, flare is not a problem with this lens. The Nikon AF Zoom- NIKKOR 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF is also famous for its brilliant macro ability allowing photographers with this lens to get really close to subjects.

Although it is the only camera that lacks the AF-S designation, the auto focus performance is still pretty speedy despite all the noise that it can generate and is capable for extremely close focusing at 1 to 1.5 inches distance. Transitioning to manual focus isn’t smooth, but it is understandable as it is one of the oldest lenses around.

Bottom Line

The Nikon AF Zoom- NIKKOR 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF is a pretty dated lens that lacks some of the technologies that are present in all the other standard zoom cameras, but the focal range still makes it a highly flexible camera for all sorts of occasions and the macro switch makes the lens even more fun to use. It is lightweight, fast, and handles image quality fairly well for beginner and prosumer photographers to appreciate. The 3.5x optical zoom is enough to use this lens for full length portraits, travel, and landscape photography. It is best to use this at f/2.8 maximum aperture with the 24m setting for light shooting.

Average User Rating:

I use this lens on my D80 and I LOVE it. Great sharpness. The macro mode is a nice touch and an all around good time. Great all around lens. At this point, if I had to take one lens with me, this would be it.” – J.Sliski (TN,USA)

This lens received mixed revews everywhere I checked. Having used Nikon products for the past 37 years, and owning three Nikon lenses for my D80, I ordered it. In the past month I have used this lens shooting several indoor events, both available light and with my SB-600, with excellent results. Its performance as a Macro lens is also outstanding. For those of you who want to take this lens to a lab to find fault, have at it! It works for me!” – M.R.Mclellan, Jr. (US)

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