Nikkor AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED - Review / Test Report - Analysis
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
Article Index
Introduction
Analysis

Distortion

The AF-S 24-85mm IF-ED shows the typical distortion characteristic of a standard zoom lens with pronounced barrel distortion at 24mm (2.4%) changing to moderate pincushion distortion (1.1%) at the long end of the zoom range. At 40mm distortion is marginal.

Move the mouse cursor over the focal length text marks below to observe the respective distortion
24mm 40mm 85mm

The chart above has a real-world size of about 120x80cm.

Vignetting

The AF-S 24-85mm IF-ED is a full frame lens so it can take advantage of a sweet spot effect on an APS-C DSLR. Vignetting is very well controlled indeed with less than 0.5EV at wide-open aperture throughout the range. This is already rarely field-relevant and even less so at medium aperture settings.

MTF (resolution)

The lens showed a very pleasant resolution characteristic within the APS-C image circle. The center performance is excellent and the borders follow quite closely on a very good level. The sweet spot is at 40mm but the differences to the other two tested focal lengths is quite marginal.

Below is a simplified summary of the formal findings. The chart shows line widths per picture height (LW/PH) which can be taken as a measure for sharpness. If you want to know more about the MTF50 figures you may check out the corresponding Imatest Explanations

Chromatic Aberrations (CAs)

CAs (color shadows at harsh contrast transitions) aren't all that rosy at 24mm @ f/3.5 with a peak of 2.6px on the average at the image borders. However, stopping down to f/8 helps to reduce the problem to an acceptable degree. At 40mm and more so at 85mm CAs aren't overly relevant anymore.
Please note that lateral CAs can be corrected quite easily via various tools such as ACR, RawShooter or Debarrelizer.

Verdict

The Nikkor AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G IF-ED is a very decent standard zoom. The resolution characteristics is very good throughout the zoom range and vignetting is very well controlled whereas distortions are about average for a lens in this class. CAs are a weak spot at 24mm only. Mechanically it is good quality consumer lens with a fast and near-silent AF. All-in-all a pretty harmonious package but probably not all that attractive anymore on APS-C DSLRs where a wide-angle setting of 24mm already tends to be a little too long for a standard zoom.

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