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Archive 2013 · Help - Nikon 24-120 or 28-300

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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Help - Nikon 24-120 or 28-300

Hey Nikon Shooters,

I'm looking for the opinions of those who have used or own both the Nikon 24-120 f/4 and the 28-300 f/3.5-5.6.

I recently purchased the 24-120 f/4 and I do like the lens as a walk around lens. It is pretty sharp, I can get excellent photos with PP and it performs fairly well. I'm just a bit conflicted wondering if I should have went with the 28-300 for the added reach (I have wanted the added reach on several occasions while out).

My dilemma is I read conflicting views between both lenses. Some reviews says their about the same performance as related to sharpness, color, bokeh and contrast. Then I read reviews that the 24-120 is much better than the 28-300, then I read the 24-120 is not that great of a lens (but I think it is fairly good).

The lens will be used as a walk around vacation lens (zoos, cityscapes, amusement parks, international travel), sometimes I will use it for events where I can use flash and for family gatherings during the summer which will be in house and outside.

With the $300 rebate it brings the 24-120 to the price point that many people believed the lens should have been priced at originally. With the rebate on the 28-300 I can save another $100 over the 24-120.

For my studio, event and wedding work I only use primes so I have the Sigma 35 1.4, Nikon 50 1.4D, Nikon 85 1.8G and occasionally I use the 80-200 2.8 AF-D (Push-Pull). BTW, I shoot with D3S and D800.

So with more of you having experience with both of these lenses can you make a recommendation for me if I should keep the 24-120 or go with the 28-300 and enjoy the additional reach and not give up much more.

Much appreciation in advance for your help.


Mar 29, 2013 at 06:18 PM
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Help - Nikon 24-120 or 28-300

I have the same question too but with my limited use of both lens, I prefer the constant aperture of the 24-120 and to me I think the 24-120 have slightly better color and sharper. I maybe crazy, I'm trying to use 16-35 only for business trip, I will see how that goes in May.

Mar 29, 2013 at 06:37 PM
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Help - Nikon 24-120 or 28-300

I used both and currently have the 28-300. Both are very similar but there seems to be copy variation since some complain about the 28-300 sharpness. Mine is very sharp even at 300mm. The 24-120 is a great lens as well.

I would base my decision on my needs, not performance since they are very similar. Do you need further reach or constant aperture and wider end?

Here's a 100% crop of the 28-300 at 300mm

Mar 29, 2013 at 07:06 PM
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Help - Nikon 24-120 or 28-300

I had the 28-300 for a short period early last year thinking it would make a great walk around lens.

At the time I shot with a D700 and D300s and my primary glass in that range (AF-s 28-70 and 70-200 G, with a 1.4 TC when I need to reach 300mm) all out performed the 28-300 which for me was to much of a compromise just to have one walk around lens.

The other thing to pay attention to is any full size prosumer body with a 28-300 on it is a lot to walk around and for that task I now carry a Nikon V1 with a 10mm (27mm equivelant) and a 30-110mm (roughly 80 to 300m) which perform adequately.

Since then I've added a D800 body and recently a 24-120 G and I have to say I am very happy with that lens / body combination as my FX walk around kit, especially when I can crop in to get an equivalant crop of a 300mm lens if I need too.

Keep in mind I have not shot with the two lenses back to back, either with a 12MP sensor (D300s and D700)or a 36mp one (D800,) so my opinion may be more biased to the D800's sensor size.


Mar 29, 2013 at 07:57 PM
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Help - Nikon 24-120 or 28-300

Both are similar in size, the 28-300 is a tad heavier. Of course the 70-200, 28-70 will perform better.

Mar 29, 2013 at 08:39 PM
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Help - Nikon 24-120 or 28-300

Nikon P520. Goes 24-1000MM. Weighs littles compared to the big lenses. Much smaller and less obtrusive than the big lenes. Plus, you can get 2 for the price of a 24-120, even with the Nikon sale.

Mar 30, 2013 at 02:53 AM
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Help - Nikon 24-120 or 28-300

KR prefers the 28-300, which is good enough reason for most of us to prefer the 24-120

I think that the 24-120 has a slight focus problem that varies with distance, aperture and focal length, so that different reviews that chart resolution against focal length usually show it is a bit iffy at one end or the other. At longer distances it seems to do reasonably well with 3D subjects (meaning that even a slight focus error results in most of the subject in focus).

I do get better results more often at apertures smaller than f/4 but sometimes even f/4 does as great job.

Another "issue" is that AF fine tuning is required but of course you can only do that for one focal length and one focus distance at a time. It would be feasible, if you knew that you were about to consistently use other distances and other focal lengths, to store a different AF tune value in the camera.

I did not get the 28-300 for three reasons: Some sample shots that I saw on the web indicated that the 28-300 was too soft for my liking at the 300 end; I preferred the wider 24mm of the 24-120; and I figured that whenever I want 300mm I really want 400mm even more, and then I'd rather have a revamped 80-400 or 100-400VR. The new 80-400 is now out there but I have to see a detailed review. I am hoping that the 24-120 and 80-400 will make a nice hand-held combination when I cannot carry much gear.

Although I like and use the 24-120 quite a bit when shooting hand-held and in poor light, I prefer the IQ of the 24-70 in better light where VR is not required.

- Alan

Mar 30, 2013 at 01:25 PM

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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Help - Nikon 24-120 or 28-300

I like the 24-120mm thats my vote.

Mar 30, 2013 at 11:30 PM

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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Help - Nikon 24-120 or 28-300

I was in your shoes not too long ago and decided to pull the trigger on 28-300. My reasoning behind it is really my usage. Both would make a great walking around lens--which was my primary need. I had a D300 w/ 18-200 that I took everywhere with me on vacations so I wanted something with similar reach in FX. Having two toddlers, I also appreciate the extra reach when compared to the 120mm.

As far as image quality, I have no complaints.

Although, it is a heavy beast so be prepared. I recently added 28mm 1.8g and coupled with the 28-300mm, thats pretty much my vacation setup for all indoor/outdoor needs.

Really cant go wrong with either.

Mar 31, 2013 at 02:00 AM
Steven Park
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Help - Nikon 24-120 or 28-300

I can't speak about 24-120/f4 VR since I have no experience with the lens. However, I chose 28-300 VR because I wanted the reach since I already have all 2.8 zooms. Sure the quality of 28-300 is no way near 24-70 but it is darn good for consumer lens.

Mar 31, 2013 at 06:02 AM
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Help - Nikon 24-120 or 28-300

I had both, like 24-120 more
Better images, better balance on D800
My travel lens now, highly recommended

Apr 01, 2013 at 05:17 PM
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Help - Nikon 24-120 or 28-300

I second the suggestion to pick on need and not performance.

Need wider than 28 - then the 24-120
Need longer than 120 - then the 28-300

If you feel you need both wider and longer, but want to minimize lens changes, a 28-300 plus a 20mm prime is a lot lighter than a 24-120 + any long prime 200mm or more.

I personally went with a 24-120 simply because I prefer to have 24mm in my one-lens kit, and will throw in a 35 as a low light option.

Apr 02, 2013 at 01:00 AM
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Help - Nikon 24-120 or 28-300

I just went through the same scenario...

Just came back from a trip to Aruba yesterday.

I took the 28-300... the way I see it, both lenses are a serious compromise compared to a 1.4 prime or 2.8 zoom. The versatility of the 28-300 range is more important to me than the either the 4mm on the wide end or the fixed F4. I used the 120-300 end a lot more often than I thought I would. Most of the time a travel zoom will be used in good enough light to be fine at 5.6. I took the 28-300 and the Sigma 35mm F1.4. I had the 28-300 lens on the camera almost 100% of the time.

Apr 02, 2013 at 01:15 AM
Kerry Pierce
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Help - Nikon 24-120 or 28-300

Thanks to all who participated in this thread. After reading this and another like it on the cafe, I decided to order a 24-120. It just arrived this afternoon, so I'm looking forward to checking it out. I'd do some pics, but it's still in the shipping box.


Apr 02, 2013 at 09:28 PM

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