Nikkor AF-S 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR - Review / Lab Test Report
Lens Reviews - Nikon / Nikkor (APS-C)
Article Index

Review by Klaus Schroiff, published May 2006

Lens kindly provided by Horst Schneider!


The Nikkor AF-S 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 IF-ED VR is the latest incarnation of Nikon's highly successful 24-XXXmm zoom series that started with the 24-50mm back in the mid 90s.
The AF-S 24-120mm VR is a full format lens and as such usable on all Nikon SLRs that are compatible to G class lenses without aperture ring. However, 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 36-180mm (5x ratio). The 1.5x crop factor is a little unfortunate here because the lenses looses quite a bit of its sex-appeal by loosing the highly useful moderate ultra-wide setting but it can be still considered as a standard zoom with a pronounced tele range.

One key selling feature is, naturally, the VR (Vibration Reduction) mechanism. The camera motion is detected by 2 gyro sensors which measure the angle and speed of the shake. This information is used to shift a lens group off the optical axis (a forced decentering) to counteract this motion. The result is a significant improvement of handholdability under extreme conditions. The 24-120mm has a 1st generation VR and Nikon claims an extra potential equivalent to 3 f-stops.

The mechanical construction of the lens is closely related to the new AF-S 18-200mm VR (or vice versa). The build quality is decent but nothing to rave about due to the extensive usage of average quality plastics. Both the zoom and focus action feel reasonably smooth across the range. As you can see above the lens uses a duo-cam design to extend towards the long end of the zoom range and attaching the supplied petal-type hood adds a few cm. Thanks to an IF (Internal focusing) design the front does not rotate so using a polarizer is no problem. The lens features a silent-wave (ultrasonic) AF motor resulting in fast and near silent AF operations.

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 13 groups inc. 2 ED and 2 aspherical elements
Number of aperture blades7 (rounded)
min. focus distance0.5 m (max. magnification ratio 1:4.8)
Dimensions77 x 94 mm
Weight575 g
Filter size72 mm (non-rotating)
HoodNikon HB-25 (supplied), petal-shaped
Other featuresLens provides distance (D). VR (Vibration Reduction).