Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR Lens

September 16, 2012

When you buy the Nikon D600 you have the option to get the body only or buy it with the Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens. Nikon also has two other 24-85mm lenses:, the 24-85mm f/2.8-4 lens (2000) and the 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 G AF-S (2002-2006) lenses. So the one that you get with the D600 is the latest model that was announced on June 14, 2012.


Nikon 24-85mm VR lens

Nikon 24-85mm VR lens

The AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR is a medium telephoto FX-format zoom lens, which wears Nikon’s latest optical and technology innovation, including:

  • VRII – Nikon’s second generation lens-shift Vibration Reduction System
  • SWM – Silent Wave Motor for quiet and fast autofocusing
  • M/A – a Switch that allows you to quickly  switch from automatic to manual focusing by overriding the camera’s settings
  • AS – Asphetical lens elements to minimize lens aberration
  • SIC – Super Integrated Multilayer lens Coating helps reduce ghost and flare by minimizing internal reflections
  • ED – Extra-Low Dispersion elements offering superior sharpness and color correction, while minimizing chromatic aberration
  • IF – Focusing happens internal, so the lens barrel doesn’t extend during focusing, allowing faster focusing speed and allows Nikon to produce smalle and lightweight lenses

The Nikon 24-85mm enjoys all that advanced technologies, which makes it a perfect match for the performance of this new modern Full Frame CMOS Sensor.  After all, it doesn’t make that much sensr to invest  a lot of money in a FF DSLR, but not taking advantage of its sensor capabilities to the max.

On a DX format camera this lens is equivalent to approx. 36-128 mm (considering a 1.5x crop factor), whic is more on the tele side, but on a full frame DSLR you get a very versatile range with 24mm wide-angle. This lens is much cheaper than the Nikkor 24-70 mm f/2.8G ED, and costs more than three times less but the later is faster and also includes Nano Crystal Coat . It’s certainly a very good alternative to one of Nikon’s most popular FX lenses. If you have the money, the 24-70 mm is probably the best normal zoom lens to have in your bag. For some photographers, this is probably the most used one.

The 24-85mm was designed to be an affordable walkabout lens and suitable for various shooting styles, but ideal for landscapes, architecture, portraits, group shots and also optimized for HD video shooting with its quiet and fast focusing.

Lets admit it, changing lenses is not fun. If I personally would be able to shoot with one lens only, I would probably would. But in reality, lenses like the 18-300 mm don’t provide the photographer with optimal image quality and they won’t cover all the special lens capabilities, like 1:1 macro, ultra-wide angle / fisheye, etc.

This why Nikon has designed the new 24-85mm, giving enthusiast an affordable lens with very high optical characteristics.   There are some enthusiasts that really wanted to get the D600, but don’t have enough budget to get the 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens. So those photographers on a tight-budget who want to get the D600 but can’t afford getting the 24-70mm f/2.8, the 24-85mm might be the perfect choice for them.

The Nikon D600 is also compatible with Nikkor DX lenses. However, when you mount a DX lens on the Nikon D600, the camera automatically identifies the lens and use the camera in a DX-mode, so the camera take advantage of only part of the sensor, not all of the sensor size.

Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G VR Lens Reviews

The lens has already been reviewed by several lens reviews websites and you can read more about it here:

  • – Highly Recommended 4.5 stars
  • Ken Rockwell – “Nikon 24-85mm VR is a marvelous, small, light midrange zoom..”
  • – Recommended (“surprisingly good lens at a reasonable price.”)

So it seems many lens reviewers came to a conclusion that the 24-85mm VR is a magnificent lens with excellent sharpness, lightweight and compact in size.  The lens also boast a weather-sealed mount. Maybe I didn’t say it quite loudly, but the 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-S VR lens is a relatively very compact lens, much more compact than the 24-70mm f/2.8 VR, 28-70mm f/2.8 and 24-120mm f/4 VR lenses. It does have a plastic barrel, and it’s not built at the same quality as the more expensive lenses, but that’s acceptable considering the price tag.

As 24mm the lens produce quite noticeable geometric distortion, and the barrel distortion at 24mm is quite pronounced to be honest.  However, this is a compromise that we as photographer should make when we buy a non-pro grade lens.  All in all, the new 24-85mm VR looks like a well worthy replacement for the older model and those who seek a relatively cheap walk around lens.  The new model is sharper than the older 24-85 mm (non VR model which is discontinued) and it’s probably the most recommended walk around lens for the D600 for people on a tight budget.

Nikon 24-85mm VR Specifications

Here’s the Nikon 24-85mm lens specifications:
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Nikon 24-85mm VR Sample Images

Some photos taken with the 24-85mm VR lens via Flickr.
Image shot using an AF-S NIKKOR 24–85mm f/3.5–4.5G ED VR lens

Image shot using an AF-S NIKKOR 24–85mm f/3.5–4.5G ED VR lens

Image shot using an AF-S NIKKOR 24–85mm f/3.5–4.5G ED VR lens

Image shot using an AF-S NIKKOR 24–85mm f/3.5–4.5G ED VR lens

Image shot using an AF-S NIKKOR 24–85mm f/3.5–4.5G ED VR lens

Image shot using an AF-S NIKKOR 24–85mm f/3.5–4.5G ED VR lens

Image shot using an AF-S NIKKOR 24–85mm f/3.5–4.5G ED VR lens


Ask yourself whether do you really need more than that? – For some of you, this might be the perfect walkaround lens, while others will need a more specific lens for their specific needs.


Highly Recommended Walkaround Lens for the Nikon D600

Of course there is always the debate whether to get the 28-300 mm VR lens, which you give up a bit in the wide, but get a long zoom range. Of course the image quality won’t be on par with this lens, but it’s very versatile and for some people, this might be the only lens that they need. The thing is that if I already invested in a Full Frame DSLR like the Nikon D600, I want to take advantage of it. The bet thing is to equip the D600 with a well-worthy lens, and the 24-85 mm although not the best in the group, it’s a well deserved lens to be mounted on the Nikon D600 or any other Nikon Full Frame DSLRs.

If I had the Nikon D600 and was on a tight budget, I would certainly get the 24-85mm VR lens. It’s like having the 18-55 mm VR for a DX camera.  What I like about this lens after reading tons of information about it is: excellent sharpness, good build quality, very compact and lightweight, internal focusing and the excellent VRII image stabilization.  Highly recommended walkaround lens for the Nikon D600, D700 or D800 Full Frame Nikon DSLRs.


Purchae  Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S VR lens via Adorama

Purchase  Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S VR lens via B&H Photo


You can also view the Nikon D600 + 24-85mm unboxing video to get a feel about how it’s like getting this lens and opening it for the first time!

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