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  Reviews by: williamkazak  

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Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF AF

Review Date: Jun 8, 2006 Recommend? yes | Price paid: $560.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Great focal length-replaces a number of primes,fast F2.8 max. aperture,works indoors,macro mode.Great for film and digital.
Obvious flare difficulties with backlit people pics,bulky,fat twist to zoom,not push-pull.

I have been using this lens for about two years or more mostly for weddings.I love prime lenses and I have used them for years with my F3's but when I bought my D70 I wanted an AF zoom for my first venture into AF.I had heard zooms had come a long way and this lens does not disappoint.
I needed a fast zoom,not too pricey,hand holdable, reasonably sharp for people pics and with very usable focal lengths for weddings.This 24-85mm is just right for weddings,especially indoors on a Nikon F6 or F100.On my digital D70 and D70s it is even more usable inside the house and I use it for the bride getting ready pics with both fim and digital cameras.It becomes a 35-120mm for all practical purposes on the digital Nikons but still retains the F2.8-F4 which is very usable indoors at the bride's home.It is great for pulling details in like the bride's earringss or necklace or the invitation closeup pic.
I am not happy with the fat twist to zoom on this lens because I have small hands and I prefer push-pull zooms.Also,outdoors flare is a problem even with the enclosed huge lens shade which I always leave on this lens.Outdoors,especially at the beach,I use the Nikon 35-105mm F3.5-4.5-AF-D on a Nikon D70.That lens is a push-pull type and controls the flare better than this lens does.I cannot use the 35-105 indoors,however because it is too slow being F3.5-4.5 but I bought it used at a great price and consider it an outdoor companion to my 24mm-85mm which I love.
When I eventually bought my D70s I bought the kit lens 18mm-70mm AF-G zoom.I am selling that lens to a friend who prefers it for weddings because he likes the wider 18-70.I like the faster 24-85 and the slightly longer reach.
The primes that I use with the 24-85 are now all AF Nikkors.They are 180mm F2.8,105mm Micro F2.8,50mm F1.4,35mm F2 and the 2omm F2.8.It now seems weird that I bought all of these after the 24-85mm zoom but that goes to show you that a zoom does not do everything,at least not at a wedding.The 180mm F2.8 is the ideal companion to the 24-85.It is easy to hand hold and to carry and the balance is great even on a bracket.The 20mm F2.8 is the wide companion to the 24-85mm zoom making it a nice three lens kit.At the reception where it can get dark,I use the 50mm F1.4,35mm F2 and 20mm F2.8 three lens kit and I put my zoom away.The 105mm F2.8 pulls in bridal details at a comfortable distance without intruding on the bride's space like the 24-85mm zoom but it is not absolutely necessary when you have the zoom.
When I line up large group shots I trust those three lenses,(20,35,50) over the zoom for their better sharpness and lack of flare.The 20mm F2.8 has more flare than the other two but not quite as much as the 24-85mm zoom.Holding a hand above the 20mm and the 24-85mm becomes necessary in backlit situations even with the recommended lens shades in place.
To sum it up;the pics are very pleasing with the 24-85 overall except outside in backlit situations.AF is good,especially with the F6,can work on film and digital.It is a great people lens with 24,35,50 and 85mm focal lengths all built right in.The penalty is higher flare levels,some bulk and a softer image(you don't want to see the pores of her face).You can walk around town with this lens too!


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