Nikkor AF 24-85mm f/2.8-4 D IF - Review / Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published February 2007

Lens kindly provided by Michael Schmid!


The Nikkor AF 24-85mm f/2.8-4D IF is one of two 24-XXXmm zooms in the current Nikon lens line-up. The lens has obviously a priority on a large max. aperture whereas its cousin, the AF-S 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 VR has an emphasis on range. The Nikkor is a full format lens with an aperture ring and as such usable on all Nikon film and digital SLRs. Within the scope we'll have a look how the lens performs on the Nikon D200 (APS-C DSLR) where its field-of-view is equivalent to 36-128mm on full-frame cameras. Obviously it loses quite a bit of its interesting (moderate) ultra-wide character here but it can be still considered as a 3.5x standard zoom.

Despite the rather extensive usage of plastics the build quality is pretty decent for a consumer grade zoom lens. The focus ring operates reasonably smooth whereas the zoom ring feels a little stiff and not overly precise. As you can see in the product shot below the lens uses a duo-cam design to extends towards the long end of the zoom range. Thanks to IF (Internal focusing) the front element does not rotate so using a polarizer is no problem.

Typical for older AF Nikkors the lens has no internal AF motor and relies on a slotted drive screw operated by the camera. The moderately noisy AF is extremely fast and reasonably accurate thanks to the large aperture. The lens has two focusing modes - a standard mode where the lens can focus between 0.5m and infinity and a dedicated macro mode activated via a switch. The focus path within the "standard" setting is extremely short - all the focus action happens on a ~20 degree turn of the focus ring. This is good for the AF speed, less so for manual focusing which is quite delicate. The macro mode enables focusing down to 0.21m with a max object magnification of 1:2 @ 85mm - quite impressive for a standard zoom but you shouldn´t really expect the quality to be as good as with a native macro lens (the Nikkor has no floating system/CRC typically found in "true" macro lenses). Unfortunately the focus ring rotates during AF operations - this design is a little dated by today´s standards.

Equiv. focal length36-127.5 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/4.2-f/6 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction15 elements in 11 groups inc. 2 aspherical elements (hybrid + molded)
Number of aperture blades9 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.5 m (max. magnification 1:5.9)
0.21m in macro mode (max. magnification 1:2)
Dimensions79 x 83 mm
Weight545 g
Filter size72 mm (non-rotating)
HoodNikon HB-25 (supplied), petal-shaped
Other featuresLens provides distance information (D)