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Nikon 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 and 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lenses now shipping (UPDATED)

The recently announced Nikkor 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR and 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR lenses are now shipping in the US. Amazon currently has then in stock via third party resellers at a regular price:

Nikon D800E with the new Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lens:

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  • PAG

    Just waiting for the 18-300mm review to see if I want to replace my 18-200mm lens.

    • http://cdsharper.zenfolio.com CSharp

      Waiting for a replacement for my 80-400mm. I’d even be excited about a new 100-300 F4. I have a D800 so an improved mid sized zoom would be great as a go between my 70-200 and a 500 mm. In fact, I’d replace boith lens with the 100-300.

      • lolly

        some people can’t do without a 70-200 VR and they would think that you’re crazy to give it up. I see lots of togs around me at events with the 70-200 VR II but I get by with my humble 70-300 VR

        • http://StevenGeorges.com Steven Georges

          The 70-200 VR is standard equipment with photojournalist. I don’t know of a PJ’s who doesn’t have one. Expensive and bulky (compared) but essential for what we shoot.

          That said, the 18-300mm f/3.5-5.6 sounds intriguing. I wouldn’t mind playing around with one. If it’s sharp, it could be a winner with consumers and pros who want to travel light once in a while.

          • http://http//www.cdsharper.zenfolio.com CSharp

            Well the 70-200 is a great lens. I expect the 100-300 VRII with Nano Coating would also be a great lens. I’m a nature photographer (landscape & Wildlife) who accepts the slow frame rate of the D800 to get great images but I need great lens. My 80-400 is not a perfect match for the D800. Because I don’t shoot for a living yet, the 70-200 and 80-400 could be swapped out for a 100-300 F4

          • Tom

            Super Wide’s never are sharp and have piles of barrel distortion. That’s why you don’t see any gold rings on them.

            Physics is a bitch.

            • ActionJunky

              I think the 14-24mm F2.8 qualifies as a super wide. It is the widest current zoom lenses in the FX line. It has a Gold Ring. If you don’t like any distortion, that is your prerogative, but the images I have seen are plenty sharp and the slight distortion usually adds interest to the photo.

              Creativity is a art.

            • Tom

              Ho hum… such literal minds.

              Okay I meant to say super tele wides (or better yet, high zoom lenses).

              So you busted me, on leaving out a word. FFS. You *knew* precisely I was talking about lenses that zoom more than 2-3x .

            • http://photokaz.com Mike

              You meant to say super zooms, not super wides. Don’t be surprised when people jump on you for that. It isn’t a typo, so just deal.

            • Steve

              Vocabulary is a bitch.

            • Ben

              Don’t forget the 16-35mm f4. That’s more than 2x zoom and it’s a gold ring lens… but you’re right it’s not very sharp.

        • Jorge

          There is NOTHING wrong with that “humble” 70-300VR. I use both it and the 70-200 2.8 and the 70-300 is just amazing and produces decent bokeh. I usually attach the 70-300VR to my D300 giving me a 450mm on the long side at motorsports events, and my D700 has either the 24-70 in the pits, or the 70-200 out in the boonies. LOVE them both and will not ever part with either one.

        • pablo

          Hey guys I just bought a 70-200 2 months ago, and have used it for my daughter’s communion. frankly an angular change for the group photo and some in the restaurant combined with 50 1.4 d, indeed all about the D7000

      • PAG

        I also want an 80-400mm replacement, but the 18-300mm would be a good lens for non-birding travel. The 18-200mm is my fishing lens. I need the 18mm to shoot on board and the long end is great for jumping fish. Unfortunately it’s just too short for most birds that might fly by.

        I really want a 300mm f/4 update with VR as well. It’s tough for me to get consistently good shots when I’m hand-held with a TC1.4 below 1/1000.

        • PHB

          I have been waiting for the 80-400 but I think I am about given up. The 70-200 f/2.8 plus 2x converter is available now and does the same job plus its own.

      • Nikon Shooter

        100-300 f/4? Hasn’t this been solved already? You take a 70-200 f/2.8, add a 1.4 teleconverter and voila: ~100-300 f/4 ! Though I still think that the best televonverter that Nikon makes which doesn’t even result in a loss of a stop is the D7000.

        • http://www.pbase.com/jctangney John Tangney

          Many of us that are looking for an 80-400 update already have DX bodies as we are looking for reach. A 100-300F4 would be very welcome as it satisfies both the yearning for a 300 F4 VR, and with a 1.4 TC it becomes a 140-420 F4.8, or with a 1.7 TC a 170-500 (not 510) F6.3. If the hoped for D400, like the D4 allows focus at F8, then even a 200-600 F8 would be possible with it!

          So no, just using the 70-200 is not the answer!

          • PAG

            “A 100-300F4 would be very welcome as it satisfies both the yearning for a 300 F4 VR, and with a 1.4 TC it becomes a 140-420 F4.8, or with a 1.7 TC a 170-500 (not 510) F6.3.”

            I think you’re off a bit on your maximum apertures. I believe the TC1.4 adds a full stop, so the lens becomes a 140-420mm f5.6. I’m pretty sure the TC1.7 adds a stop and a half, so the lens becomes a 170-500mm f/6.7 which starts getting dicey in the AF department. Hopefully the new D400 will have multiple f/8 AF points allowing my 300mm f/4 and a TC1.7 to be used effectively.

        • Sebastian

          Actually, compared to an FX with the same pixel technology, changing to a DX is almost exactly one stop less light.

      • Geoff_K

        If you put a 1.4TC on your 70-200 you have a 98-280 f4 lens for far less than a 100-300 f4 would cost.

    • balaprabu

      Good information updated, thanks buddy!

  • Rahul

    Any news on D600 announcement?

    • Mike

      Adorama is taking pre-orders, for which they’ll take your money but tell you nothing about anyone, anytime, ever. Ken rockwell already thinks it is the “world’s best” but you only need .00001 MP anyway and all the rest is fluff, oh and every photo takes 75 adjustments to get right, and it’s built like a Leica and has incredible technology but he still thinks you should use a $18.99 lens on it even though it’s made in china and you only have to work for 15 minutes a day per US government spec, but you should still shoot film regardless, and then send it to developing for $30 a roll, to get back a month later and realize you should have used a different setting, but hey how many shots of yosemite does anyone really need since his itouch has replaced everything already anyway, except of course for the time when he really needs a 1920′s era camera made out of sequoia bark and uses a flash with actual gunpowder on a trowel which you hide behind a black cloak.

      • Jake

        bahahaha, this is so great. I’ve read every article of his that you’re referencing. He has good advice, especially for beginners, but the more you read, the more you realize he’s a dumbass. Now I just read his stuff for laughs.

        • PHB

          No Ken Rockwell flame is complete though if it doesn’t mention the need to feed his growing family.

      • PeterO

        ROFL. Thanks for the laugh and well executed run on sentence.

        • Mike

          Thanks for the kudos guys. I agree w/ Jake, I loved his stuff when I was a beginner, now to use his advice I would be going backwards to eventually get a camera circa 1905 with a lens made from a toilet paper roll and some saran wrap. His “best in the world” crap is what really started getting on my nerves. To be honest it’s now clear to me why he doesn’t allow comments on his blog, probably b/c people would write in and tell them how f-ing confused they are with his “advice.” And yeah I read it for laughs too and sometimes to help me take a shit when I’m constipated. The stuff about his family I can appreciate, however he seems to travel more, or he has more houses, than anyone I’ve ever met in my life.

          • Joe

            …Wait. The D-40 is still the worlds best DSLR right?

            • PeterO

              It was. He’s a Canon guy now and the 5D III is the best according to him.

            • http://www.flickr.com/photos/jan_f_rasmussen/sets/ Jan F. Rasmussen

              I thought it was the D800/E:

              “The D800 is the best DSLR ever made by anyone at any price. I’ve got a D800 already, and have a D800E on order. There is no comparison.”

              But maybe he already found a new favourite…

            • R!

              The 18-300 VR is the best zoom ever,this is great!!!!!

          • D600=$1499

            Mike, it was really good. Made my day.
            Though I read plenty of Mock Kenwell stuff, this was the best. :)

          • Mike

            There are no comments on his blog because it’s all individual HTML pages, and he doesn’t know how to program (or copy paste) a comments section.

      • Edubya

        Good stuff. Don’t forget that there is NEVER a need to shoot anything but JPG Basic with +17 saturation.

      • jorge

        LOL LOL LOL
        I love it. I’ve been reading his site since 2002 but sometimes it’s just too much BS.
        LOl

  • Jean Rene

    I can not wait for the D600.

    • Ben

      you will have to wait. you have no choice.

      • Phil

        LOL

    • Nikon Marketing

      No worries, it’s coming tomorrow!!

    • ActionJunky

      Then buy a D800 and be happy.

  • Mike Hammon

    Admin,

    There has been a lot of speculation that these lenses were possible kit lenses for the D600. Any updates on the D600 specs and its expected release date?

    • KT

      Doesn’t the 18-300 have a DX designation? how could it be a kit lens for the FX D600?

      • Mike Hammon

        OOPS, my mistake. I meant the 24-85mm FX only. Thanks for the catch.
        Mike

      • nuno santacana

        18-300 for D400
        24-85 for D600

        Mr. NRadmin, many of us would be very happy to know how are things (i.e. rumors) about both cameras, specially regarding announcement and release dates. Those posts would make explote this blog visits numbers (and the things that come after that…).

    • Mark V

      +1

      18-55 on a DX sensor translates to? yep, roughly 24-85.

      This is the new kit lens for the D600.

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

      I already posted the specs, the announcement should happen between now and September.

  • Ralph

    If that 24-85 is any good I will replace my 24-70, shooting landscape I stop down anyway. Cant wait to see the performance of the 18-300, be a miraculous bit of engineering if its close to the 18-200. I wonder if that means a 28-450 is also planned – scaling the 28-300,

    • Not Suprised

      It will not likely mean a 28-450. But it could foretell a 70-400, if Nikon is getting serious again about the 400mm range.

      • Chicken

        Wait… You want to replace your 24-70 2.8 with the 24-85 3.5-4.5? I feel like that’s a bit of a step backwards… Sure you may stop down with the 2.8, but that doesn’t mean the image quality suffers. With talks about the 24-85 being a potential kit lens, chances are the image quality isn’t going to be on par with your 24-70. I’d definitely wait for a review first.

        • Nikon Shooter

          Don’t sweat it. A person who actually owns a 24-70 would never say something like this. I mean why??? In any case, wouldn’t the 24-120 be the first logical choice anyway?

          • Don

            I used to own a 24-70mm but sold it as it was too big to keep in my bags most of the time. This lens is quite a bit smaller – if the IQ is close, I’d sacrifice speed for a higher chance of actually having the lens on me at a particular time.
            I think the vignetting on the 24-120mm (at 24mm) is pretty severe and many have said corner performance is poor – both might be an issue for a landscape photographer.

            • Patrik

              Well, as a past 24-70 owner (bought it twice!) I would say that the only thing I miss on that lens is f/2.8 on occation, and the speed of focus. I never found the bokeh to be all that good. The only thing one can say is that it had bokeh where an f/5.6 lens doesn’t…
              Now I happily carry around my 24-120, where the 24-70 didn’t make it in the bag too often. It has similar sharpness (less field curvature?), similar bokeh (not better, but not worse either), is smaller and lighter, has VR (partly makes up for the loss in light), and is MUCH sharper at 120mm (get the joke?). The only thing I think the 24-85VR might have going for it is price, and that is a serious one for many…
              YMMV

          • Ralph

            Clearly you re wrong, as I do own the 24-70. I also have the 14-24 and 70-200. I would happily replace all of them with slower lenses if Nikon would just build slower high quality lenses. Canon build a great 70-200 f4, why cant Nikon. I do landscape and usually stop down to f5.6 or f8 for DOF so I’m lugging around really fast lenses that I don’t need. I’m nearly 50 now and I find I just cant lug my 20Kg backpack around like I once did.

            Now I have my D800E I’m actually considering going prime. I have a 24PC-E anyway, which is my favorite lens, I have the 85/1.4 and just bought the 50/1.8, for macro I use a Sigma 150. All up I can probably get by with just primes now that I have the resolution to allow me to crop more. I would miss the 14-24 but I think I would get the Zeiss 15mm which at least takes filters.

            A light 24-85 would make a nice walk around lens, thats what my 24-70 is to me, the 24-120 is again a bit heavy. Waiting to see the weight and performance of the 24-85.

      • Actionjunky

        They make a 200-400 F4. What makes you think this is not good enough? Oh yes, the price. It is expensive. So, you really want a 100-400mm lens that costs less money, like Canon. No thanks. Sigma make s a 150-500 lens that is much less expensive and if you are trying to save money and willing to suffer a small bit of quality, I don’t see what is holding you back. You could probably cover the Sigma logo with Nikon, if that helps.

        • neversink

          Actually, the Sigma 150-500 is surprisingly good between 150 and 400. The only problem is the AF mechanism breaks down. There are tons of horror stories throughout the world wide web on the sigma failing. The glass is good – the craftsmanship is awful. And the bokah can be a bit hard.

        • ActionJunky

          I agree. Some of my best shots were taken with the older version of this lens. Barrel creep was a real issue when hung from your shoulder, but you get what you pay for. As for AF breakdown, I never had a problem, but it should be covered by warranty or insurance, right?

        • http://www.flickr.com/photos/jan_f_rasmussen/sets/ Jan F. Rasmussen

          200-400 is very nice, but I can not (no way) afford it, wish they did a straight 400/5.6 like in the old Ai-days, just with AF and VR added…

  • jetelinho

    sorry to comment, no offence, but:
    you would change f/2,8 for f/3,5 to – whatever?
    ANd the sense of having 15mm more on the tele/longer side for shooting landscape is what?

    Again – NO offence, am just wondering, I might have missed smtg, no doubt.

    And fin: the D600 anything anyone??

    • Donji hogfan

      if the performance above f/5.6 is comparable
      then for a landscape photographer the differences:
      55mm in length
      400gr
      and 1300$
      would make a strong argument for the 24-85.

  • Stew

    Ha, $599 in the states, so that should be close to £400 right? Nah, try £519 at Wex.. Take the piss much?

    • saas

      Hmmm, EU import tax, anyone ?

    • dgm

      £400 + Vat @ 20% = £480 … £519 is not that far off, is it ?

  • Squirt Chimp

    Wow, I just squirted myself! What awesome lenses! But I think I’ll wait for the Nikon D900 and 12-600mm pancake lens! Yeah baby! SQUIRT!

  • TWH

    This Nikon Rumors article is out of date. Amazon showed a few available afternoon of 6/26 US time and then went right back to “out of stock.” I put my order in on day announced, so hopefully will get shipped on 6/29 promised ship date.

  • Landscape Photo

    The 24-85mm VR can be bundled with D800 for $ 3400.

    • D600=$1499

      The bundle is coming for $2099. Body only for $1599. ;).

  • Kim

    Of coarse the 24-85mm is a good alternative to the 24-70 f/2.8!
    All lenses for it’s spesific use! When you don’t need f/2.8 in broad daylight, and need good depth-of-field, a 24-85mm at f/5.6-11 most likely is every bit as sharp as the 24-70mm, and smaller, lighter and cheaper! AND has VR! ;-)

    • Z

      Yes, of course!

      • Patrik

        No, not of course. If you want FAST focus, then your only choice is the 24-70, or maybe a used 28-70. No matter how good VR is, it will not fix an out-of-focus shot! If you deal with fast-moving and changing conditions, then the 24-70 is the only choice (if you can aford it). Not even the primes can compete with its focus speed.

    • ActionJunky

      One exception… If you still need that f/2.8 lens for low light conditions, shallow depth of field, or the ability to use filters while keeping the f-stop low, then you now have two lenses. I’ll stick to the 24-70 only. The 24-85 should be a great lens for less money, but I would not consider it an alternative, just a different lens for a different price point.

      • Phil

        Don’t forget that the 24-85mm has VR so should be be good in low light.

        • Dave

          Though not if you want a short exposure in low light.

          • babola

            Most of us rarely ever do ;)

          • Phil

            Though the 24-70 f2.8 isn’t good for taking longer exposures in low light….

        • Patrik

          Think about it. What is the problem with low light? You need to increase ISO or exposure (aperature is already opened right?). Now if its just your shakey hands that’s the problem, then VR can help. If its the subject that is moving, then the only option is to go to a high ISO….

  • Mike

    Would be nice if they follow it up with a compact 16-85mm f/3.5-4.5 for DX.

    I somehow suspect that after the D600/D800, they will replace the D5x00 and D7000 lines with D6000 and D8000, the first packing D7000 features in a D5100-size body, and the second being the D300 replacement. They will need some convincing lenses to market those against a cheap D600.

  • De Michel

    Alles Schrott!

  • Jean Rene

    Where is the D600?

    • DX2FX

      They are inside the Nikon factory in Thailand.

  • DX2FX

    Nikon has now begun with the even number DSLR model series: D800, D4, D3200, D600, D400…

  • FCHW

    the 24-85 could be a perfect lens for video with fixed aperture – let’s say 4.0
    but a 3.5-4.5?
    crap

    • Phil

      Well just set the aperture @ f4.5 which will be the same at all focal lengths…. duh.

  • Jolle

    I wanna see some full res pictures from the 24-85mm VR lens at different focal lenghts and apetures.
    Ohh and please let them be sharp in the middle wide open and from corner to corner at 24mm f/5.6 with little distortion and vignetting :)

  • http://carlosdavid.ca Carlos David

    Nikon D800E with the new Nikkor 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 lens:

    Oh cruelty, know you no bounds ?

    • http://cdsharper.zenfolio.com CSharp

      Well this will be the first varible aperture zoom lens that Nikon lists for the D800/800E. I recently checked and the list only included F2.8 and F4 Zooms.

  • frans

    size comparison is for boys

  • Ralph

    Why can’t Nikon just make their f2.8 key lenses in f4 as well? Christ how hard can it be? I dont want an extended range, just the same thing a bit slower and a lot lighter!! Leave out VR on all but the 70-200 and I would be happy and my back would be even happier.

    I just cant hike with these behemoths anymore.

  • Kim

    The new 24-84mm VR looks SO much bigger than the previous version from 2003 without VR! If it isn’t any better optically I will stick with my “old” and supersharp 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED :-)
    Chances are that the extra element, and aspherics, only are there to implement the VR. In which case optical quality could be roughly the same. I am looking forward to comparison tests!!!

  • Drazen B.

    Anyone noticed that D800 with the new 24-85 VRII mounted is now resting on the top end of the lens barrel?

    The lens mount on the new D600 is positioned even lover on the body, likely resulting in camera resting on an angle mostly supported by the lens.
    It won’t be a first, but still. .

    • Kim

      Regardless of where the lens-mount is positioned, you will get a tilt on the kamera depending on which lens you have mounted! Big lens, angle upwards; small lens, angle downwards. And of coarse with just the “right” lens, perfect straight ahead :-)

    • rocco si.

      Yes, I noticed that as well. It’s a big lens (IMO unnecessary large for the variable aperture budget zoom lens that covers 24-85mm focal distance) and will certainly sit deeper on a D600 so the tilt will be even greater.

      • babola

        Agree, even though the filter is 72mm, the lens feels like full-size 77mm. The D800 isn’t exactly what we would call a small camera, and the lens covers a good part of its front.

  • http://www.achterbergbv.nl Elbert

    Just received my copy of the 24-85 VR and did some quick tests on a D800E. Frankly I’m not sure it’s a keeper. Vignetting is clearly visible wide open at all focal lengths, does disappear at slower apertures. Centre sharpness is good at all focal lenghts/apertures. Corner sharpness at 24mm is horrible and doesn’t really improve at slower aperure. Purple fringing is clearly visible in the corners of the image. Corner sharpness improves significantly when zooming in. Of course I have no idea if this is just my sample. If I find the time I’ll post some test images tof lickr.

    • Kim

      Do you have the “old” AFS-version without VR also? Comparison-test!!! ;-)

      • Patrik

        Just from the description I would say it is miles better than the old 24-85AF-S. That one was horribly soft wide open at any focal length… on a D700! It had a bad tendency of blooming around any high contrast transitions (nice effect… sometimes) and had no corner sharpness wide. You could coax a sharp photo from it at medium aperture and focal length, but then you might as well use a SLOOOW fixed lens.

    • rocco si.

      Unless your sample happens to be a dodgy one, that’s not good news at all. :(
      On the other hand, we shouldn’t be expecting pro-lens level performance from the $600 ‘kit’ lens anyway.

    • http://www.achterbergbv.nl elbert

      Posted the images on flickr:

      http://www.flickr.com/photos/81438323@N04/sets/72157630327582770

      this was just a quick walk through the garrden to get an idea on the IQ of the lens. Let’s see how it compares to others.

      Kim: I don’t have the old version

      • http://www.achterbergbv.nl elbert

        D#rn,

        I thought the full resolution versions would go up on flickr. Apparently not, now I’ll have to post some 100% crops.

        • Jolle

          Thank you for sharing the pictures. Are the corners at 24mm the same even at f/11 or f/16 ? and how far do you have to zoom in before the cornes get better? are we talking 28mm or more?

          My copy should arrive tomorrow then I can test and see if my sample has the same corner sharpness as your sample does. (However I do only have a D700 so the problem won’t be as big in my pictures, but if it is the same as yours I should be able to notice it even without pixel peeping)

        • Pablo Ricasso

          It’s a lot sharper than the old tokina 28-85 I tried so long ago, and with similar colors. I really didn’t like that lens.
          I took similar brick shots a long while ago with my 35 – 70 f2.8 and they amazed me. What amazes me about yours is the distortion. On one frame you have some of the worst barrel distortion. Another frame appearing at first to be a similar distance shows an extreme amount of wavy pincushion. Obviously these were different zoom settings, and I usually don’t care much about distortion or even notice it, but wow.
          I notice also that one of the brick shots is very blurry and that some were slightly blurry. Was the VR on? Possibly the lens was closer to the wall than it was able to focus on the one shot…
          None of the shots of the wall approached what I could get from the 35-70 whether or not I was using the macro setting, regarding sharpness, color, contrast, or distortion.
          The two garden shots that were essentially the same probably best highlight the ability of the lens. Like many zooms it appears optimized for distance more than close up. You can get the 35-70 for under 300 bucks.

        • Pablo Ricasso

          The rapid fall off from the “in focus” zone relative to its focal length, the handling of details, and the colors remind me even more of my old tokina 20-35 3.5-4.5 lens. Are you sure you’re using a nikon lens? (you can get the tokina 20-35 for about a hundred bucks) The neat thing about that tokina is that you can render things out of focus much like you would with a longer lens like a 50 or more, making it essentially unique and reminding me of lenses produced before I was born. So I keep a copy despite the fact that the tamron 20-40 clobbers it at any aperture, keeping essentially the whole picture in focus.
          I have a hard time thinking that is a brand new lens that you used for those pictures.

        • Drazen B.

          Wow, those barrel distortion and pincushion are nasty…definitely not something you’d expect from a 3.5x zoom lens.

          The sharpness in the corners or lack thereof is also disturbing.

          Might give this one a miss :(

          • Booyah

            Likely doesn’t have the lens correction loaded on the camera yet.

  • D1000

    @ Admin

    I noticed that the MTF graphs on amazon for the 24-85 lens differ from those on nikon global website. On which site is the error?

    • rocco si.

      …and who do you think is right, brother?

      • Drazen B.

        LOL!

    • http://nikonrumors.com/ [NR] admin

      My guess on Amazon’s site

  • http://www.rainydaymagazine.com RainyDayInterns

    For those interested…we also did a quick physical comparison of the Nikkor 18-200mm and the new Nikkor 18-300mm DX VR lens:
    http://www.rainydaymagazine.com/RDM2012/Home/July/Week2/RDMHomeJul0912.htm#Nikkor18To300mmZoom_FirstLook

    Here are some images taken using the new Nikkor 18-300mm under typical usage conditions:
    http://www.rainydaymagazine.com/RDM2012/Home/July/Week2/RDMHomeJul1112.htm#Nikkor18To300mmZoom_FirstUse

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