Nikon Introduces A Pair Of Light-Shy Zoom Lenses


Zoom? Zzzzz.

Nikon has made two new lenses available for your photographic delectation. One is a dim superzoom for DX (crop-sensor) cameras — the 18-300mm ƒ3.5-5.6G ED — and the other is an equally dim short zoom for full-frame bodies, the 24-85mm ƒ3.5-4.5G ED VR.

I was put off zooms years ago, because while they’re undoubtedly convenient, they’re also dark. All that glass inside means that you start off from somewhere like ƒ3.5 and things get worse from there. Modern zooms certainly don’t have the image quality problems of those in the past, but for throwing backgrounds out of focus or just shooting in low light, primes are still the way to go.

There are zooms which stick at, say, ƒ2.8 throughout the range, but they’re uniformly huge and expensive.

And these new chunks of glass from Nikon aren’t so cheap, either. The 18-300 is a whopping $1,000 (available June), and the 24-85mm is $600 (late July).

If you’re interested, here’s my lineup (although I currently lack a Nikon body to hang them on). A 24mm ƒ2.8, a 50mm ƒ1.8, an 85mm ƒ1.8 and an old 28-105mm which I use so seldom I don’t even remember the aperture range — it’s something like ƒ3.5-5.6.

Source: NIKKOR 20mm

Source: NIKKOR 24-85mm

Thanks: Geoff!

  • TheKnightWhoSaysNi
    Modern Zoom lenses are amazing. Image stabilization and the high ISO performance of modern cameras make them useful in situations where a primes were necessary 7 years ago. For sports, shows or other situations, where you can’t freely move towards or away from your subject, zooms are de rigueur. It is also easier to carry one zoom than a bunch of primes, and safer not to have to change lenses in dusty or wet situations.
  • nikon_fan

    for a beginner, skip the 18-300 and grab the sigma 18-250, probably not as good, but only costs $400.  zoom lenses are required for working photographers and convenient for amateurs.  prime lenses are usually great, but you’re not going to take every photo at 1.4 or even 2.8.  if you just want shallow depth of field a zoom will deliver great bokeh as well.