Nikkor AF 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6D IF - Review / Lab Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
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Review by Klaus Schroiff, published May 2006

Lens kindly provided by Dirk von der Ehe!


The Nikkor AF 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 D IF is the predecessor of the current Nikkor AF-S 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR and as such only available from very old stock or on the used market. At its time it was a highly popular lens thanks to the attractive 5x zoom ratio and the unusually wide 24mm setting. However, within the scope of this test we'll have a look how the lens performs on the Nikon D200 (APS-C DSLR) where its field-of-view is equivalent to 36-180mm so it looses quite a bit of its original scope at the wide end of the zoom range.

The mechanical construction of the lens is good though the tested sample has obviously seen some hefty usage over time. The focus ring felt quite sticky but I think this was more related to sand rather than the principal design. The zoom ring operated a little uneven which probably originates in the very long extension via inner duo-cams (see product shots above). Nikon states that this lens has an IF (internal focusing) design but this may be debatable. Technically the front element does not rotate when focusing but it does so during zooming (about 70 degree). Therefore a polarizer isn't really fun to use and the design also requires a rather ineffective barrel shaped lens hood (rather than petal-shaped). 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 quite fast thanks to a focus path of only 45 degrees.

Equiv. focal length36-180 mm (full format equivalent)
Equiv. aperturef/5.3-f/8.4 (full format equivalent, in terms of depth-of-field)
Optical construction15 elements in 11 groups inc. a molded and one hybrid aspherical element
Number of aperture blades7
min. focus distance0.5 m (max. magnification ratio 1:4.8)
Dimensions79 x 80 mm
Weight550 g
Filter size72 mm (rotating)
HoodNikon HB-11 (supplied), barrel-shaped
Other featuresLens provides distance (D) information.