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

Along with the Nikon 18-300mm VR, Nikon has also released a cheap full-frame lens – the Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.6G VR, also known as “AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR“. The lens replaces the older 24-85mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S lens, which went out of production in 2006. It is a good quality affordable full-frame lens, designed to be used with the upcoming Nikon D600 DSLR, probably even as a kit lens.

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

I will be reviewing this lens, along with the Nikon 18-300mm VR DX this summer.

Official Press Release

MELVILLE, N.Y. – Today, Nikon Inc. announced the addition of two new lenses to the legendary NIKKOR lineup, the AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR and the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lenses. The new 18-300mm VR lens is a versatile and compact 16.7X all-in-one super zoom DX-format lens, while the new 24-85mm VR lens is an ideal standard zoom for any FX-format photographer. These optics were designed to meet the needs of all types of photographers, from those looking to capture everything from family outings to elusive wildlife and stunning landscapes. The new 18-300mm and 24-85mm lenses deliver the performance and superior image quality that photographers of all levels have come to expect from NIKKOR lenses whether capturing still images or HD videos.

To capture stunningly sharp images with excellent clarity and color reproduction or HD video that exhibits sharp critical focus with a dramatic depth of field, the new 18-300mm VR and 24-85mm VR lenses will empower photographers with a variety of exclusive core NIKKOR technologies. Both lenses are equipped with Nikon’s Vibration Reduction (VR) II image stabilization system which provides the equivalent of a shutter speed approximately four stops faster. The built-in Vibration Reduction will help photographers create blur-free images and video while shooting handheld and in challenging lighting conditions. Two focus modes, manual-priority autofocus (M/A) and manual focus (M), are easily selected in both lenses as well. When either lens is in manual-priority autofocus (M/A) mode, users will be able to instantly switch from autofocus to manual focus operation by simply rotating the focus ring, even during AF servo operation. Additionally, both lenses feature an internal focusing system, providing fast focus without changing the length of the lens while retaining working distance through the focus range, and Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology designed to deliver fast, accurate and quiet AF performance. The lenses also boast Nikon’s Super Integrated Coating (SIC) which provides superb color reproduction, color consistency and reduced flaring.

“Whether a pro on assignment, a photo enthusiast or an indie cinematographer, all Nikon users appreciate and rely on the vast selection and reliability of NIKKOR lenses for all of their imaging needs,” said Bo Kajiwara, director of marketing, Nikon Inc. “The new AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-300mm VR and AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm VR lenses are fully optimized to capture stunning images and videos while meeting the growing needs of photographers of all levels around the world.”

The NIKKOR 24-85mm VR Lens: The Standard Zoom for FX Shooters
Ideal for photographers seeking an FX-format compatible standard zoom lens, the new AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens delivers sharp, crisp and high-quality images and can be assigned as an everyday walkabout lens. Covering the frequently used focal-length range of 24mm to 85mm, this lens is a great companion for any FX-format shooter and is ideal for shooting stills of landscapes, architecture, head and shoulder portraits, candid shots or group shots. For HD video shooters, the 24-85mm VR lens is a natural choice when filming landscapes, large groups of people or when wide field establishing shots or medium close-ups are needed. The 24-85mm lens is a great everyday lens that is compact, lightweight and easy to carry on any photo assignment or family adventure.

In addition to the lens’ built-in Vibration Reduction (VR) technology, the AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens features Auto Tripod detection which recognizes when the camera is mounted on a tripod, even during HD video recording, to help deliver specialized VR correction. The lens construction of the 24-85mm VR lens consists of 16 optical elements in 11 groups with one Extra-low Dispersion (ED) glass element, three aspherical lens elements and a seven rounded blade diaphragm.

Price and Availability
The AF-S NIKKOR 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lens will be available at the end of June 2012 and will have a suggested retail price (SRP) of $599.95*.

Lens Construction and MTF

Here is the lens construction:

Nikon 24-85mm Lens Construction

And MTF Curves for wide and telephoto:
Nikon 24-85mm MTF Wide Nikon 24-85mm MTF Tele

Pre-order information

Pre-order your copy of the Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-5.6G VR from B&H for $599.95.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) Marco
    June 14, 2012 at 3:16 am

    I wonder if this can be used for Macro like my kit 18-55mm. Which is an excellent lens by the way.

    • 4
      ) Bruce
      June 14, 2012 at 6:08 am

      Minimum focus distance (mfd) on new lens is .38m, mdf on your 18-55 lens is .28m. Visually, the mfd for each lens will produce similar results when attached to a DX camera. BTW – neither are a ‘macro’ lens as such. The question I’d be asking is why would you want to spend $599 on a lens, which is 3 times the price of something you already have and are happy with. A lens which also gives you less wide angle too.

      • 13
        ) Marco
        June 14, 2012 at 1:39 pm

        Thanks for the information. I was interested in this lens because I’m planning to get a D600 and figured this would work well with it. However at that price, I think I’ll just keep my D3100 + kit lens and stick my 50mm 1.8G on my (hopefully) future camera.

  2. 2
    ) Carmelo
    June 14, 2012 at 3:55 am

    Hi Nasim!
    Does this new lens have a full-metal mount?
    I think that this new Nikkor 24-85 vr has minor distortions and probably better sharpness than the Nikkor 24-120/4 vr. My Nikkor 24-120/4 vr has a very weak point of sharpness at 85mm and f4.0 (at f4.5 it magically improves).The big question is if bokeh and flare resistance are better on this new 24-85 vr than on the Nikkor 24-120/4 vr compared at the same focal lengths.

    • June 16, 2012 at 9:26 am

      Carmelo, yes, the lens does have a metal mount, so it is not like the cheapo kit lenses.

      As for sharpness, I am expecting this little lens to be a champ throughout the focal length. Bokeh is not going to be good at all, with its variable aperture (especially towards 85mm, probably at f/5.6 after 40-50mm mark). But this lens is not designed for good bokeh in first place. Flare resistance should be good as well.

  3. 3
    ) William Jones
    June 14, 2012 at 6:05 am

    Nasim, I would please request that when you review, you do a side-by-side comparison with the 24-120. I am looking at the specs on Nikons’ website, and noticed the following differences (24-85 listed first):

    Nano Crystal Coat: NO to YES
    Lens Elements: 15 to 17
    Lens Groups: 11 to 13
    Diaphragm Blades: 7 to 9
    ED Glass Elements: 1 to 2
    Aspherical Elements: 3 to 0 (I find that interesting!)
    Minimum Focus Distance: 1.25 ft to 1.5 ft
    Filter Size: 72 mm to 77 mm (can always use a step-up ring to get to 77 mm)

    I left off weights and other such obvious differences.

    Questions:
    How will the differences in Diaphragm Blades effect bokeh?
    Benefits (if any) of having Aspherical Elements?

    Thanks, WEJ

    • June 16, 2012 at 9:30 am

      William, yes, that’s the plan – to compare it with the 24-120mm, 24-70mm and maybe some other lenses with a similar focal length.

      As for diaphragms, I see very little difference lately between 7 to 9 diaphragms and that’s because Nikon has been using “rounded” ones. If you were to compare an old lens design with 9 straight blades with the one with 7 rounded blades, I would say the latter looks very good in comparison, sometimes even better when the lens is stopped down a little. As for aspherical elements – it is always nice to have them, but don’t be fooled by them either. Some lenses like 18-200mm have 3 or 4 aspherical elements and they are there to correct optical problems – it does not really mean that the lens will be superb (the 18-200mm is far from superb). For example, there are some very expensive pro-level lenses that do not have a single aspherical element – so it all depends on the lens design.

  4. 5
    ) bisho
    June 14, 2012 at 7:10 am

    hello Nasim, can we deduce any information about resolution of this lens from the MTF chart (compared to 24-120) ?

    • 6
      ) KSPGM
      June 14, 2012 at 7:17 am

      bisho,

      if you compare the recommended price for this lens ($600) with that of the 24-120 that should tell a lot of the story …. so my guess is that the 24-120 will be better in every aspect given that it is around twice the price.

      • 7
        ) bisho
        June 14, 2012 at 7:39 am

        KSPGM,
        I am not 100% convinced with your guess. This price difference is due to the constant aperture, bigger focal range, and maybe better construction of the 24-120.

      • June 16, 2012 at 12:13 pm

        I don’t agree either – some cheaper lenses outperform the more expensive pro-level glass. From what I see right now, the 24-85mm is going to be a very good performer in terms of sharpness and it might be a little weaker in other things like colors, flare resistance, etc.

    • June 16, 2012 at 12:11 pm

      Bisho, yes, reading the MTF chart, the wide-open performance of the 24-85mm at 24mm is about the same as on the 24-120mm in the center, but better in the corners. At telephoto focal length (85mm), the 24-85mm is better in the center and about the same in the corners, however this is 85mm compared to 120mm. The bad news is that MTF charts do not show the full performance of a lens – only wide open and only on the shortest and longest focal lengths. Some lenses are very strong at shortest and longest focal length, but weak in the middle – the MTF chart would never show that. That’s why a comprehensive analysis at various focal lengths is needed to tell the full story :)

      Overall, I expect this lens to be a champ.

  5. 8
    ) William Jones
    June 14, 2012 at 7:49 am

    Nasim, another question comes to mind. The difference in focal length between the 24-85 and the 24-120 is only 35 mm. Therefore, how many feet forward would you have to move to make up the difference? My guess is approx 17 feet, however it would be interesting to know for sure.

    Thanks, WEJ

    • June 16, 2012 at 12:16 pm

      William, measuring the distance is not that easy, since it depends on where you are focusing – close or far. Some lenses have a focus “breathing” feature, which changes the focal length significantly depending on where you stand in relation to the subject that is in focus. 35mm difference is actually pretty small in terms of field of view.

  6. 9
    ) Richard Lewis
    June 14, 2012 at 10:16 am

    Nasim, Nikon lists this lenses compatibility as: FX/DX. Can I use this on my D7000 (DX)? Comment please…
    Thanks!
    RL

    • 10
      ) shibo
      June 14, 2012 at 10:27 am

      yes but on the wide end it will be equivalent to 36mm on FX so you’re better off with the DX lens 16-85 which on the wide end is equivalent to 24mm on FF.

      • 11
        ) Chris
        June 14, 2012 at 10:49 am

        When I shoot with 18-55 or 18-105 I find 18 mm to be too wide.
        I love the 24mm focal length even on the DX.
        I even use the 35mm 1.8 and shoot some no-so-wide landscapes but they come out tack sharp.
        I understand I lose DOF by going to larger focal lengths but 35mm is so sharp I do not miss 18-35mm for some scenes.

        Honestly 18-24 mm on DX is not that big a deal for work I do.
        For architecture 18mm might be good but I do not shoot in that area.

        • 14
          ) Nelson
          June 14, 2012 at 8:01 pm

          1. You never loose DOF because a focal lenght is wider, never!

          DOF is dependent of aperture and magnification. magnification is dependent of focal lenght and focusing distance.

          Problem is that most people link a higher magnification with a longer focal lenght.

          2. Lens performance is it’s worst at the ends, i.e. performance at 24mm on this should be it’s worst, like the 18mm is the worst of the 18-55.

          • 20
            ) Chris
            June 16, 2012 at 9:20 am

            Thanks for the feedback.

            1. What I meant about DOF is that if I am shooting landscape. My DOF for 10mm going to be larger at F11 than shooting at 35mm at same aperture.
            It is very evident when you create bokeh at 250mm shooting portraits.
            Try it out. Keep everything same and increase focal length from 12mm to 35mm
            http://www.dofmaster.com/dofjs.html

            I agree the composition changes and sometimes 35mmm is the right composition but 12mm would have greater DOF.

            2. Agree.

          • June 16, 2012 at 12:19 pm

            Nelson, agreed on #1, but #2 is not always true – some lenses are very strong at the shortest focal length and very weak at telephoto end. A lot depends on the optical design of the lens and which focal length it is optimized for.

            • 35
              ) Stefan
              June 16, 2012 at 1:36 pm

              totally agree with Nasim here. example the 16-85 dx lens. it’s extremely sharp at 16mm, but quite softer at 85mm

            • 36
              ) Nelson
              June 17, 2012 at 9:57 am

              Yes, it’s true, but 90% zooms do better at mid-range.

              For example, the 16-85 DX is sharp at 16mm, but the distortion is the most at 16mm, and also is the CA.

              I prefer exchange sharpness for CA.

            • 44
              ) Randy
              June 26, 2012 at 3:45 pm

              Well, perhaps. But it’s rare when a zoom that goes from wide angle to telephoto isn’t at its worst at the wide end–and when this does happen I suspect it’s because they made the range too long (24-120 vs. 24-70, or the Canon zoom which stops at 105mm). When I see a zoom lens that starts at 24- or 28- the first thing I do is go to the shortest focal length and look at the corners. Of course, it’s entirely different when a zoom is strictly telephoto and most 70-200 lenses are great at all focal lengths.

    • June 16, 2012 at 12:17 pm

      Richard, yes, you can use this lens on any Nikon DSLR, including the D7000.

  7. 12
    ) Chris
    June 14, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Has anyone pre-ordered this lens?
    If it has same quality as 24-120 for half the price it might be sold out for long time.
    Especially if D600 comes out as body-only, people will be lining up for this lens.
    So it might be better to get in line if you have plans to buy D600.

    • 17
      ) Stefan
      June 15, 2012 at 8:46 am

      I did. I’m going to use it as a “walkaround” for my D800, but looking at the MTF charts I’m not sure if I’ll keep it – it looks to be soft for such sensor.
      If you plan to use on DX, I highly recommend 16-85mm. I had it before (on my D7000) and it’s very sharp lens.

      • June 16, 2012 at 12:33 pm

        Stefan, the 24-85mm should do just fine on the D800. If you are very critical of sharpness (pixel-peeping at 100% view), then the price for the “pro” choice gets astronomically higher. The 24-85mm is going to be excellent value for its price. And the 16-85mm is excellent in a very similar way…

    • June 16, 2012 at 12:21 pm

      Chris, judging by how good the old model was (the one discontinued in 2006), I expect this one to be better, so it should be either on par with the 24-120mm or better in terms of sharpness. Now I can’t speak for other optical characteristics yet – bokeh, flare, ghosting, colors, etc – those have to be analyzed and compared in detail.

  8. 15
    ) Nelson
    June 14, 2012 at 8:02 pm

    Nasim, isn’t this lens astigmatism a bit hight at the wide end?

    • June 16, 2012 at 12:35 pm

      Nelson, a little, but that’s quite normal for a zoom lens like this…either way, it will be better than any of the superzooms out there for sure.

      • 41
        ) Nelson
        June 19, 2012 at 5:45 pm

        Thanks for the reply ;)

  9. 16
    ) Stefan
    June 15, 2012 at 8:43 am

    Why everyone starts with “Nasim,..”
    Give the person a break.
    Yes, he and his team always try to respond to this comments section, but face it guys – as the site is getting bigger and more popular, more people are visiting and there are hundreds of posts here.
    Nasim doubtfully can respond to each of them, despite his desire.
    So, please do your comments, let the talk goes on and I’m sure Nasim will answer where he can or consider to be necessary.

    @ Nasim: We all appreciate when you respond to each individual post, but I realize that’s virtually impossible as the site grows. Please do your primary job an give as your wonderful reviews (hopefully more videos). Thank you for all your work on this site!

    • 18
      ) Nimbus
      June 16, 2012 at 2:53 am

      I’m sure if Nasim needed a spokesperson he would have had one already. It’s you who should give it a break.

      • 19
        ) Stefan
        June 16, 2012 at 6:52 am

        Hey, I’m not trying to be a jerk here, so you don’t be too.
        How many responses from Nasim you saw recently? He is a very nice guy and my point is that we should try not to overwhelm him with our thousands of questions. But I can’t stop you doing so. It’s just my personal opinion anyway.

      • 22
        ) Chris
        June 16, 2012 at 9:28 am

        Stefan has a point. The more time Nasim has to spend on trivial questions the less time he will have for other projects including writing in-depth articles.
        But at the same time this website is for everyone including beginners and they should feel welcome to ask anything without any concerns.

        I understand some questions can be very annoying (there was one guy asking Nasim to teach him and I answered saying he should read the several articles first and get help from local clubs or forums).

        To help with this some of us need to click the reply button more often and answer some questions.
        I know the person who asked the question would have more faith in Nasim’s answer.
        But if two people give same answer or Nasim himself validates the answer, the person would be happy.

        • June 16, 2012 at 12:41 pm

          Chris, that’s why I am trying to focus more on articles than comments – it is too hard to do both. I always try to answer reasonable questions, but like you mentioned, some people demand answers to repeating questions – things they can easily find simply by reading through the articles posted earlier. Again, our purpose is to build a friendly community here so I will still try to respond to as many queries as possible. However, as we get bigger and more popular, it will get tougher and tougher to manage the communication :(

    • June 16, 2012 at 12:37 pm

      Stefan, appreciate the concern. To be honest, I cannot catch up with comments anymore. I have been responding to my last articles and I simply do not have the time to go back to the old ones and reply there. I get anywhere from 50 to 100 comments a day :(

      • 34
        ) Stefan
        June 16, 2012 at 1:31 pm

        That was exactly my point, Nasim. I realized that as the site and the popularity grows, you just won’t have to personally respond to each post. that’s why I asked the other guys to not address so many questions to you, so you have more time to write valuable articles and videos.
        we all trust you and value you’re opinion and will be happy to get answers from you, but it’s a little bit selfish, to require that from you in every post reply.
        thanks again for ask your work on this site.

  10. 37
    ) Adnan Khan
    June 17, 2012 at 2:22 pm

    This 24-85mm wasn’t a much demanded lens in older models anyway ,has been always a mediocre or usually first zoom lens but now with one ED and 3 aspherical glasses might be slightly better than the older models , I do think that it might be a kit lens for D600 and D600 might not have a motor.But this range is very useful.

    The 18-300 is about $250 to $300 expensive than the 18-200 , might be even better in sharpness as the 18-200 is, but it’s a fantastic range for DX and it’s going to be super hit all in one lens for most people like the 18-200 ,though we’ll see at the 300mm range how well it performs.Be ready to carry it all day with your camera if you are on vacation with good healthy muscles :)

    BOTH LENSES WILL WORK ON ALL DX CAMERAS BUT 18-300 IS ONLY FOR DX (will cut corners in FX as to small image circle)

    Having said that there might be a G version with VR replacement coming up for the 200 AF-D F4 Micro IF and it is going to be above $2200 !

    Nikon’s secret plan is to convert all lenses to G models :)

    Adnan

  11. 38
    ) Drazen B.
    June 17, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Some great ‘first-look’ samples from the brand new Nikkor 24-85 f/3.5-5.6 VRII lens…judging by those photos this is sure to become one of the best selling entry-level walkabout FX lenses, IMO.

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/nikondigitallearningcenter/discuss/72157630065573047/

  12. 39
    ) Nicholas
    June 19, 2012 at 1:53 pm

    Hi Nasim, I would love to see a comparison of the new nikkor 24-85 to the tokina 24-70 f2.8. My interest is All about sharpness as i dont necessesarily need the f2.8. Also im planning to use it on a D7000, thinking it will improve corner sharpness and light falloff? Thanks for a wonderfull site and and well written comments!

    • 40
      ) Nicholas
      June 19, 2012 at 2:25 pm

      My bad….of course I mean the Tamron 24-70 f2.8, NOT tokina

  13. 42
    ) Pete
    June 21, 2012 at 11:40 pm

    For my purposes the VR will help a lot, I will order this lens for Run n Gun video – and pair it with the 105VR.

  14. 43
    ) Wochomi
    June 25, 2012 at 9:55 pm

    Any benefit to pair this lens with my D90 and replace the 18-105mm kitlens?

    • 45
      ) Drazen B.
      June 29, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Wouldn’t think so, unless you’re after that particular zoom range and you’re willing to loose some focal distance your current 18-105mm DX lens gives you. Don’t forget the 24-85mmG ED lens is FX lens.
      You’ll loose few mm at the wide end and about 30mm at the zoom end, compared to your current DX lens.

  15. 46
    ) Vipul Kapadia
    July 5, 2012 at 2:23 pm

    What is the recommendation from our forum experts on using this lens on Nikon D7000 (which is has a DX body)? I don’t mind losing that extra 18-24mm wide-angle reach. I don’t shoot wild life either so looking for a smaller walk-around lens that offers very good sharpness and constract. I had 18-200 VR II and I think it was an OK lens. I got fed up with the zoom creep and figured I rarely used anything over 100mm. I am investing in FX lenses hoping I might be able to use them in future if I upgrade to an FX body. Besides, I am thinking I may have the “sweet spot” advtange of the FX lens in a DX body since the DX sensor will use the center of the FX lens. Is my thinking flawed? Any recommendation would be highly appreciated. Thank you.

  16. 47
    ) Thomas
    August 1, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Hi Vipul….I have a D7000 that I absolutely love. My favourite ‘everyday’ lens is the Nikkor 16-85 VR. Very good sharpness, fast focusing, and going down to 16mm is very helpful. I would think that this lens will do a better job for you than the 24-85 FX lens as you will lose a lot on the wide angle end…your field of view will be similar to 36-128 when used on a DX so it will become more of a medium zoom rather than being a ‘walkaround lens’ like it is on an FX body.

    I also shoot with Nikkor 10-24 DX, 70-300 VR FX, 35 1.8 DX, and Micro 85 VR DX. This combination, along with my 16-85 VR DX allows me to address a wide range of situations quite well for client work…both stills and HD video.

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