Nikon 24-120mm

The arguably best DSLR – Nikon D850 already made it’s way to the first happy customers. We have seen pictures of the box, the camera, unboxing videos, and happy owner’s faces all over the internet. We’ve also seen the first images coming from this amazing camera. ISO comparisons, and samples of its capabilities, especially when coupled with a good performing lens. Speaking about good performing lens, we are coming to today’s question. Why Nikon keeps pushing this mediocre performing lens (24-120mm) as a kit lens for it’s pro cameras?

Is it a good match?

24-120mm f/4 is not a bad lens in any means, but it is far away for being a good match for high resolution cameras. I would say everything above 24mpx. Of course, all this is arguable but there are thousands reviews out there, as also image samples, which confirm my words.

In recent video, the guys from “The Camera Store TV” compared it with 16-35mm f/4. You can see the result on the image below.

16-35mm vs. 24-120mm

Image screen captured from ‘The Camera Store TV” video: 16-35mm vs. 24-120mm

Keep in mind that 16-35mm is not Nikon’s sharpest lens either. I personally owned both. I sold my 16-35mm, once I purchased the D800, as it suddenly felt so soft, comparing it to my previous 16mpx camera. I gave the 24-120mm few more chances, considering its useful range, but it was sold as well, after I edited the pictures from several trips I took with it. Here is a comparison from DxoMark between the Nikon 24-120mm, Nikon 16-35mm and Sigma 24-35mm. We can see how much sharper the Sigma is.


Nikon 24-120mm vs. Nikon 16-35mm vs. Sigma 24-35mm

Of course, sharpness is not everything but the 24-120mm definitely shows it’s age when mounted on the D850. However, Nikon keeps promoting this lens, sometimes offering deep camera + lens rebates, like the recent examples with the D810 and D750. If you wait for certain time of the year – usually around Black Friday or Christmas, you can get this lens for half of it’s price. I wonder – how much it really costs to Nikon so they continue to push sales of it?

I would really like if Nikon replaces this lens VERY SOON. The 24-120mm was released in August, 2010, so I’m sure even if they keep the current zoom range, they will be able to improve it a lot to match Nikon’s modern cameras with high resolution sensors. I will soon create a list of lenses I consider due for replacement. Definitely 24-120mm will be in my top three recommendations there.

What is your opinion?