Nikon 24-120mm VR Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 24-120mm f/4G ED VR lens that was released in August of 2010. The constant maximum aperture, mid-range Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR zoom lens is a major update to the Nikon 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G VR that was released back in 2003. The older, variable-aperture 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 had some optical problems that did not make it a popular lens among photographers, so Nikon decided to address those problems by releasing this highly-anticipated Nikon 24-120mm f/4.0 lens. Why highly-anticipated? Because the 24-120mm focal range is very useful for photographers who use full-frame cameras like Nikon D700/D3s/D3x and who find the 24-70mm f/2.8 either too short on the long focal end, or too heavy for everyday use. In addition, having VR on a mid-range lens like the 24-120mm is crucial for low-light photography, even on the wide end.

Nikon 24-120mm f/4 ED VR

Did Nikon address all problems the Nikon 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G had in this new f/4 update? How does it compare to the legendary Nikon 24-70mm and the new 28-300mm lenses? Is it really on par with the 28-300mm when it comes to performance, making it a worse buy than the 28-300mm like some of the reviewers stated? In this review, I will do my best to provide a detailed analysis of the lens’ performance, including sharpness tests and comparisons against other mid-range lenses and answer the above questions.

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Nikon 55-300mm VR Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR lens that was released in August of 2010 together with three other lenses – Nikon 85mm f/1.4G, Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G VR and Nikon 24-120mm f/4.0 VR. The Nikon 55-300mm VR lens is a major update to the existing Nikon 55-200mm f/4.0-5.6G ED VR lens that was released in 2007. Just like the 55-200mm VR, it is designed to be used with the Nikon 18-55mm DX VR kit lens to provide expanded focal range for telephoto shots. Nikon 55-300mm is currently the cheapest way to get to true 300mm focal length in Nikon’s current line of lenses, with a little more shorter range to work with than the Nikon 70-300mm VR lens.

Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

It is an ideal lens to be used for family events and vacations to capture distant subjects, and the use of Vibration Reduction (VR) technology makes it easier to get sharp photographs at slower shutter speeds, especially when shooting at 300mm. Similar to the Nikon 28-300mm VR lens, the Nikon 55-300mm VR comes with two Extra-low Dispersion (ED) Elements, which due to less air bubbles and glass deformities within the glass elements help minimize chromatic aberration and deliver sharper images at large apertures. The Nikon 55-300mm VR lens is only designed to work on Nikon DX (cropped) sensors and has an equivalent field of view of approximately 82.5mm-450mm (in 35mm equivalent), which makes the lens particularly good for reaching distant subjects. Autofocus is practically silent, thanks to the Silent Wave Motor (AF-S) within the lens.

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Nikon 28-300mm VR Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR lens that was released in August of 2010 along with the Nikon 85mm f/1.4G and 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR DX lenses. It is no secret that Nikon released the 28-300mm largely due to the popular demand of the 18-200mm lens. The large zoom range of the Nikon 18-200mm and its generally good performance made it a lens of choice for those, who wanted to have a good lightweight travel lens or only wanted to use one lens on their DSLR cameras. Despite the fact that the lens suffered from some serious issues such as lens creep, heavy distortion and sharpness issues beyond 105mm, some photographers and reviewers praised the 18-200mm so much, that the demand increased significantly, resulting in heavy lens shortages around the world. During this time, Nikon had a hard time keeping the lens on the shelves and the only way to obtain it was to either pay a premium and buy it from Ebay, or order and wait for months until Nikon sent another batch to retailers. I remember this period of time very well, since I had to wait for 3 months to get my copy of the lens. Ever since Nikon released the FX full-frame sensor, more and more photographers have been switching from DX to FX. Since Nikon 18-200mm is a DX lens, an FX camera would fall back to DX mode, giving less than half the resolution – a problematic situation for most photographers that use the current 12 megapixel cameras. Therefore, photographers that made the switch from cropped sensor cameras to full-frame, ended up selling or trading their DX lenses for the above reason, including the much loved Nikon 18-200mm.

Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR

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Nikon 200mm f/2G ED VR II Announcement

It surely has been a busy year at Nikon, with a total of 9 lens releases, which is quite high for the company. A large number of the released lenses are prime lenses, certainly a good move by Nikon, since prime lenses are quite popular among professionals specializing in different types of portraiture work. The Nikon 200mm f/2G is no exception – it is a popular lens among portrait and sports photographers that need to work with fast apertures and isolate their subjects from backgrounds with soft and creamy bokeh. Similar to the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II lens, the Nikon 200mm f/2G ED VR II is a minor update to the legendary Nikon 200mm f/2G VR lens.

Nikon 200mm f/2G ED VR II

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Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR DX Announcement

NOTE: A full review of this lens can be found in my Nikon 55-300mm VR Review article.

The last announcement from today is the Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR DX lens, an update to the existing Nikon 55-200mm f/4-5.6G IF-ED VR DX lens that was announced back in March of 2007. The lens was announced together with the Nikon D3100, because it is a DX lens and will most likely be a part of the future two lens kit for the D3100.

Nikon 55-300mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR

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Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II Review

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This is an in-depth review of the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G ED VR II lens that was released in December of 2009, along with the TC-20E III teleconverter. When it comes to telephoto lenses, the Nikon 300mm f/2.8 line of lenses has always been a metric of sharpness, contrast and acuity. The Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II is no exception – it sports top of the line optical design and technology that are capable of resolving tons of details, delivering outstanding results for any kind of long-range photography. The Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II was released as a minor update to the existing Nikon 300mm f/2.8G IF-ED – the optical design stayed the same, with the exception of Vibration Reduction II (VR II) technology and a new A/M focus mode. In this review, I will not only provide general information about the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II and its performance, but also how it works with all current Nikon teleconverters (TC-14E II, TC-17E II and TC-20E III) and how it compares to other telephoto lenses of similar and lower classes.

Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II

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Telephoto Lens Focal Length Comparison

Although I have already done a focal length comparison from 12mm to 500mm focal length before, I decided to do it once again for telephoto lenses. I receive quite a few emails from our readers, asking about telephoto lenses and focal lengths, specifically whether a focal length of a lens is going to be sufficient for bird and wildlife photography. The below images should give you a pretty good idea about field of view when using particular focal lengths, from 70mm all the way to 1200mm:

70mm-400mm FoV

600mm-1200mm FoV

The above images are not cropped in post-production and represent equivalent focal lengths relative to 35mm. The longest field of view of the 1200mm shot was captured with the Nikon 200-400mm f/4.0 + TC-20E III TC @ 400mm (800mm effective) on a DX body, which is equivalent to 1200mm. The shortest focal length was captured with the Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II at 70mm.

Best Nikon Lenses for Wedding Photography

What are the best Nikon lenses for wedding photography? This question comes up so often via comments and emails from our readers, that I was first going to include it in our Photography FAQ section, but then decided to write a separate article and elaborate on the subject a little more. Specifically, I want to not only write about what lenses I think are the best for weddings, but also why and in which cases we use a particular lens. Please keep in mind that the information I present below is a personal opinion based on my experience so far. If you have a favorite lens of yours for wedding photography that is not listed below, please feel free to add a comment on the bottom of the page with some information and pictures (if you have any that you would like to share).

1) Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S

The first on the list is my (and Lola’s) most favorite lens for wedding photography – Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S. We like it for four main reasons: it is sharp, colorful, lightweight and the bokeh it produces is outstanding.

Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S

Nikon 50mm f/1.4G AF-S

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Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II + TC-20E III

NOTE: I have recently posted the detailed Nikon 300mm f/2.8 VR II Review.

I have been super busy performing tests on over 12 lenses (more on that later), including the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II and the new Nikon TC-20E III. It was very painful to find the TC-20E III, but I got one on my hands and I have been extensively testing it with the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II and Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II. I have also been comparing the results with my Nikon 200-400mm f/4.0G VR, so I will soon publish some very interesting findings for those, who are interested in high performance telephoto gear for sports and wildlife photography.

For now, here is a sample of the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II with the TC-20E III at 600mm:

Coyote

And here is a 100% crop:

100% Crop

Amazing sharpness and contrast, I am truly impressed. Here is the same coyote caught in action with the same lens combo:

Coyote eating Vole

More to come!

Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II for Birding

I’m currently testing the new Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II and doing as much bird photography as possible to see how it performs in various situations, especially with teleconverters. I received it a couple of weeks ago, but my schedule went hectic and I have not received the new Nikon TC-20E III, which I really wanted to test this lens with. The Nikon TC-20E III is nowhere to be found at the moment and I was able to get a copy by renting it through LensRentals.com for now. I also needed the TC-20E III to complete my Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8G VR II review and wanted to test it with all of my telephoto lenses after hearing so much about its great performance. The TC-20E III is arriving at the end of this week, so I am planning to get out and shoot as much as possible during the weekend and next week.

So far, I’m in love with the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II. It is so sharp and full of contrast, that I don’t even see a reason to shoot it without teleconverters. The Nikon TC-14E II is unnoticeable on it and the Nikon TC-17E II performance is just superb – that’s what I have been shooting with and I am more than impressed with this setup. The TC-17E II makes the Nikon 300mm f/2.8G VR II a 510mm lens and the new VR system helps me keep the lens stable while hand-holding it. I do not have an arca-swiss mount for the lens yet, so I have not used a tripod once so far – only hand-held shots.

Burrowing Owl Chick

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