Nikon 24-120mm f/4G ED VR vs. Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR hands-on comparison

Nikon 24-120mm f/4G ED VR vs. Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR

This is my hands-on comparison between the Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR and Nikkor 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR lenses. I hope you will find it useful when deciding which one to buy.


The Nikon 24-120mm f/4G ED VR and Nikon 28-300 mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR lenses are considered to be "general walk around lenses". Standard accessories for both products are lens hood and soft lens case. On both lenses the zoom ring is located closer to the hood. The 24-120mm lens has Nano coating, the 28-300mm doesn't. The zoom ring on the 24-120mm lens is much smoother than the zoom ring on  the 28-300mm lens. Only the 28-300 has a zoom lock button. Both lenses have 77mm filter thread, the same size as many other popular Nikon lenses. My biggest complaint on the 28-300 lens is the hood - it "unlocks" itself very easily, especially when changing lenses. Also, when snapped, the hood is not locked tightly and was even vibrating in my car while driving. It could be that I had a defective piece - if you own the 28-300mm lens, I would like to hear your feedback. The hood of the 24-120 is very solid as you can see from this video:


The Nikon 24-120mm f/4G ED VR and 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR are almost identical in size without the hood. Once you add the hood and fully expand the lens, the 28-300mm lens is significantly longer. In the next slideshow, both lenses are compared also with the 18-200 DX and the 70-200 VRII:

24-120mm and 28-300mm boxes 24-120mm and 28-300mm with hood 24-120mm and 28-300mm without hood

both 24-120mm and 28-300mm lenses have metal mount 24-120mm and 28-300mm with hoods on 28-300mm compared with the 18-200 DX lens

28-300mm compared with the 18-200 DX lens (hoods on) 24-120mm and 28-300mm lenses compared with the 70-200 VRII 24-120mm and 28-300mm lenses compared with the 70-200 VRII


A quick comparison between the 24, 28, 120 and 300mm  on a full frame camera. On the wide angle side the difference is only 4mm, while on the tele side, the difference is 180mm (I did not add the vignetting). All images were taken with a Nikon D700:

24-120mm lens at 24mm

24-120mm lens at 24mm

28-300mm lens at 28mm

28-300mm lens at 28mm

24-120mm lens at 120mm

24-120mm lens at 120mm


28-300mm lens at 300mm


You can see from the comparison below that that there is not a big difference in the wide angle vignetting of both lenses (compared are the widest angles on both lenses: 24mm and 28mm):

Nikon 24-120mm lens Nikon 28-300mm lens

24-120mm at 24mm f/4

24-120 lens at 24mm f/4

28-300mm at 28mm f/3.5

28-300 lens at 28mm f/3.5

24-120mm at 24mm f/5.6

24-120 lens at 24mm f/5.6

28-300mm at 28mm f/5.6

28-300 lens at 28mm f/5.6

Barrel Distortion

The wide angle lens barrel distortion of both lenses is also almost identical (24mm vs. 28mm comparison):

24-120mm lens at 24mm f/4

24-120 lens at 24mm f/4

28-300mm lens at 28mm f/4

28-300 lens at 28mm f/4


A quick comparison between the boken of both lenses at 70mm and the max. focal length for each lens. All four images were taken at the maximum available aperture (images are not post-processed). The bokeh of both lenses is almost identical.

Nikon 24-120mm lens Nikon 28-300mm lens

24-120mm at 66mm f/4

24-120 lens at 66mm f/4

28-300mm at 70mm f/5

28-300 lens at 70mm f/5

24-120mm at 120mm f/4

24-120m lens at 120mm f/4

28-300mm at 300mm f/5.6

28-300 lens at 300mm f/5.6

And if you want further comparison, here is the same shot taken with the Nikon AF-S 85mm f/1.4:

Nikkor 85mm f/1.4

Nikkor 85mm f/1.4

Close ups

The minimum focal length of the Nikon 24-120mm f/4G ED VR is 1.5ft (0.45m) vs. 1.6ft (0.50m) for the Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR. Note that there is also 4mm difference on the wide angle side - you can capture a slightly wider frame with the 24-1200mm lens (both photos taken at the widest focal length and maximum aperture, no post-processing, click on image for larger view):

24-120mm lens at 24mm f/4

24-120 lens at 24mm f/4

28-300mm lens at 28mm f/3.5

28-300 lens at 28mm f/3.5

Sharpness (compared at 28mm, 50mm and 120mm)

The next series of test chart comparisons are 100% cropped from the original image. For each of the sets, the camera was positioned at the same distance from the test chart. Please note that I tried to keep the environment consistent, but there is still a margin of error when comparing test charts from two different lenses.


First, the 28-300 lens at f/3.5 (since the 24-120 starts from f/4 at that focal length):

28-300 lens at f/3.5 (28mm focal length)

28-300 lens at f/3.5 (28mm focal length)

28-300 lens at f/4 and the 24-120lens at f/4:

28-300 lens at f/4 (28mm focal length)

28-300 lens at f/4 (28mm focal length)

24-120 at f/4 (28mm focal lenght)

24-120 at f/4 (28mm focal lenght)

28-300 lens at f/5.6 and the 24-120 lens at f/5.6:

28-100 lens at f/5.6 (28mm focal length)

28-100 lens at f/5.6 (28mm focal length)

24-120 lens at f/5.6 (28mm focal length)

24-120 lens at f/5.6 (28mm focal length)

Based on those test chart images, I would say that at 28mm both lenses perform almost identical (the 24-120 is slightly sharper).


First the 24-120 lens at f/4 (since the 28-300 could only opens up to f/4.5 at that focal length):

24-120 lens at f/4 (50mm focal length)

24-120 lens at f/4 (50mm focal length)

28-300 lens at f/4.5 and the 24-120 lens at f/4.5:

28-300 lens at f/4.5 (50mm focal length)

28-300 lens at f/4.5 (50mm focal length)

24-120 lens at f/4.5 (50mm focal length)

24-120 lens at f/4.5 (50mm focal length)

At 50mm focal length and f/4.5 aperture I think the 24-120 performs slightly better than the 28-300mm lens. At aperture f/5.6 I could not see any differences between both lenses.


First the 24-120 lens at f/4 (the 28-300 could only open up to f/5.6 at that focal length):

24-120 lens at f/4 (120mm focal length)

24-120 lens at f/4 (120mm focal length)

28-300 lens at f/5.6 and the 24-120 lens at f/5.6:

28-300 lens at f/5.6 (120mm focal length)

28-300 lens at f/5.6 (120mm focal length)

24-120 lens at f/5.6 (120mm focal length)

24-120 lens at f/5.6 (120mm focal length)

At 120mm f/5.6 I could not see a difference in the test charts of both lenses. Just a note: the 28-300 test shots were actually done at 122mm, I couldn't fine tune the zoom to be exactly 120mm.

Here is a 100% crop of the same test chart taken with the Nikon 85mm f/1.5 lens at f/5.6 aperture:

Nikon 85mm @ f/5.6

Nikon 85mm @ f/5.6

100% crop

In this comparison, you can also see the power of the 300mm lens and all the details you can get at 100% crop (both pictures were taken at the same distance from the tree, no post-processing):

Nikon 24-120mm lens Nikon 28-300mm lens

24-120 lens at 120mm f/4

original image

28-300 lens at 300mm f/5.6

original image

24-120mm lens 100% crop at 120mm f/4

24-120 lens 100% crop at 120mm f/4

28-300mm lens 100% crop at 300mm f/5.6

28-300 lens 100% crop at 300mm f/5.6


Nikon 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR
Zoom ratio 5x 10.7x
Minimum Aperture 22 22 (up to f/36 @300mm)
Lens elements/groups 17/13 19/14
Diaphragm Blades 9 9
ED glass elements 2 2
Nano coating yes no
Minimum focus distance 1.5ft | 0.45m 1.6ft | 0.50m
Maximum reproduction ratio 0.24x 0.32x
Filter size 77mm 77mm
Dimensions 3.3x4.1in | 84x103mm 3.26x4.5in | 83x114.5mm
Weight 23.6oz | 670g 28.2oz | 800g
Price $1,299.95 (in stock now) $1,029.95 (in stock now)

Lens construction

Nikkor 24-120 lens construction

Nikkor 24-120 lens construction

Nikkor 28-300 lens construction

Nikkor 28-300 lens construction

MTF charts

The 24-120mm lens has obviously better MTF chart when compared to the 28-300mm lens (how to read MTF charts).

Nikon 24-120mm f/4G ED VR wide/tele:

Nikon  28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR wide/tele:


If I have to pick one of those two lenses, I would definitely go for the Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 ED VR. The Nikon 24-120mm f/4G ED VR will probably deliver slightly better results, but as you saw from all the comparisons, the difference in real life pictures is not significant. The longer zoom of the 28-300 lens is much more useful for a "general walk around lens" and the 4mm difference on the wide angle side is almost not noticeable in the pictures. Did I mention that the 28-300mm lens is also cheaper by almost $300?. The 240-120mm focal range overlaps with several other popular lenses in the Nikon's catalog (16-35mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm) and if you own some of them already, the 28-300mm will make more sense. I can also imagine that those two lenses could be interesting even for the DX crowd, especially the 28-300mm lens because of the 1.5x crop factor. The main issue I have with the 28-300mm lens is the hood, as shown in the video above.

Other related links

Disclosure: the reviewed product(s) were loaned from B&H who is an affiliate sponsor of
This entry was posted in Nikon Lenses, [NR] Reviews and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • nothing special, these lenses…

    • Agreed. If I want snapshots, I’ll use a MUCH smaller camera.

      • Although I am not a zoom fan I must say the new 24-120 surprised me. Didn’t expect it to be that sharp. I also tried the 28-300, but wide open it’s too soft for my taste. The 24-120 delivered impressive detail even on the D3x, so I’m considering it a carry-on lens right now.

    • robert

      That’s what I was saying. Nothing to see move, along, move along.

      • GlobalGuy

        A 28-300mm lens in your bag is about the same size/possibly smaller than an equivalent p&s and will deliver better results in low-light on your D700, etc.

        It makes no sense to say “move along”. The 28-300 is NOT perfectly sharp by any standard. And anyone who buys it thinking its sharp will be seriously disappointed. But it does extremely well as a “starter lens” and as a “walk-a-round” lens when you aren’t making art — but rather when you are practicing while making snap shots.

        That’s a philosophical understanding. I don’t use a p&s while making snap shots — I use my D700. The reason is to always be practicing. Many people can very easily say the price difference between this lens and a p&s isn’t justified. But i doubt it. The VR and blurry or processed shots of most long-range zoom p&ses are horrible.

        This lens is a great addition to anyone who likes walking about, snap shooting, and just practicing their art without being concerned about magazine publishing quality results.

        • GlobalGuy

          The VR is EXCELLENT in the 28-300, by the way. One thing that wasn’t emphasized enough. And it surpasses the VR in the 70-300VR, in my opinion. But the 70-300VR is a slightly slightly better lens.

          • Charles Andrews

            The problem with your remark is that you need to be 3x further away to take a wide angle picture. You don’t even need VR below 70 mm. You are just using your battery and degrading images as the. VR motors may actually introduce motion

        • robert

          I didn’t point out my comment is strictly about the 24-120. My mistake.
          I was thinking it in my head but my fingers didn’t type it.

          As I only use pro glass I was considering the 24-120 to use instead of the 28-70mm at times. I was hoping it would be on the same level the 16-35VR and seeing Nikon’s samples I’d realized it just won’t compare to Canon’s 24-105mm. Asking Nikon to produce a superb IQ lens with a larger focal range than 2.8x is too much. They just can’t do it.

          For $1300, either add the extra money and get the 24-70mm or buy a used 28-70mm and 85mm f/1.8. The 24-120 is nothing special. IQ Looks like the lens it just replaced only with an F/4 aperture.

          I couldn’t care less for the 20x 28-200/300 variations that keep getting released. Not for me.

          Again my comment is only on the 24-120. It was an impulsive reply.

          • miso

            that´s why i said ” nothing special”. my Canons are way way better and cheaper. nikon is so soft .

            • Heh

              And your trolling is too obvious

            • robert

              Not true at all. If it’s pro zooms or primes, then they are both on the same level. Pro WA zooms? Nikon dominates easily. No contest. I couldn’t care less about variable aperture zooms. Same ole, same ole. But they have to cater to that market as well.

              If it’s the Canon 24-105mm to Nikon 24-120, then I’m sorry to say that Canon wins hands down. I would have taken a 28-80/90 instead. I think they shot themselves in the foot trying to outdo Canon trying to better them by making the lens to 120mm.

              I have to give credit to Nikon though. They’re doing a good job of delivering nice gear. Specifically the D7000. They have still have some way to go, but they’ve finally woken up. If they can pull off a worthy D800/D400 dynamic duo, it will show me they mean business. OTOH, the pricing is off.
              85mm f/1.4 AFS- overpriced and underperforms. 70-200 VRII way overpriced. 24-70mm overpriced. I don’t need none of these products as I have the older versions but they are clearly overpriced.

            • what the fuck, somebody using my name!
              PS: i would never take canon to my hands, oh!

  • Greg

    A couple typos:

    “… 28-3o lens is also cheaper by almost $300?. The 240-120mm…”

  • dnerd100

    These reviews don’t really add anything that isn’t already on the web. I suggest finding a way to differentiate yourself rather than just doing what everyone else has already done.

    • chuck

      The reviews are something else to post while the rumor mill’s running slow.
      I enjoyed it.

    • Dobie

      Hey dnerd100, if you don’t like it, don’t read it. As for doing what everyone else has done, aren’t you doing this yourself by pretending to be more intelligent and witty than you really are?

      • preston

        Great advice Dobie! He should have predicted that he wouldn’t like the review and then chosen not to read it based on that blind prediction! Brilliant.

    • PHB

      What I would like to see is a side by side comparison of the 28-300 on the D700 and the 18-200 on the D300s. I would also be interested in a comparison of the 24-120 f/4 on FX against the 24-70 f/2.8 on DX.

      The comparison with the 24-300 and 24-120 on FX is interesting insofar as the 24-120 should be a lot better quality if it is going to justify its existence. But those are not lenses I would normally have considered as alternatives.

      At this point I am considering two higher end lens kits. One option would be to go the traditional route of the magic trio and a couple of good primes (50mm and 85). The other would be to buy the f/4 lenses instead and use the money saved to buy more primes.

      I don’t plan to go to FX until there is a compact 24MP FX camera. So the 28-300 superzoom is not so interesting to me. If I am going to be using a superzoom I probably won’t be expecting 24MP resolution or ultra-thin DoF.

      This result is suggesting to me that it makes rather more sense to think about the f/2.8 lenses than the f/4.

  • Alain2x

    From what I’ve elsewhere, it is the bokeh of the 28-300 that bothers me more.

    It makes this lens usable only closed down, to avoid out of focus ugly areas, and this, combined with a strong distorsion, makes me hesitating.
    Not very long, I guess.

    • Looks fine in these tests. But hey, you never really know until it’s in your hands and you feel out it’s limitations for yourself.

  • Lee Kay

    As a wide-angle buff, I’d like to see a small addition to this review (pretty usefull for most people as it is)- those meager 4mm at the wide end may seem like nothing much, but they are almost 10 degrees of viewing angle, which can be significant. Coupled with the slightly closer minimum focus distance, this can be the difference between a “nice” wide-angle shot and a “wow” picture. I know I felt the difference between 28mm and 24mm when I got my 24-85mm AF-S (now my standard walk-around lens).
    Would it be possible for you to add a near-far, extreme perspective shot to show us the real difference? frame a subject very close to one edge, at the near focusing distance, with a farther background receding out to infinity? I think that when framed correctly, you can show there’s a real differfence between the two lenses.

    Thanks for your review, and multiple thanks if you take time to oblige me (and all the rest of the wide-angle whackos who read your blog),

    • Fred

      I totally agree with you, the extra 4mm was a deal maker for me. As I recently bought a 28-85mm and the 28mm was simply not wide enough.

      You also never mentioned AF. I was playing with both in a local store, the AF on the 24120 was at the 24-70 quality the 28-300mm hunted a bit more.

      Also, never mention VF brightness, the 28-300 was noticeably darker than the 24-120.

      There are many other things I can mention here, but rather not.

    • MvandenB

      I was going to point out the same. The angles of view are 84 and 74 degrees for 24 and 28mm. That’s a very significant difference.

  • Victor Hassleblood

    I like the look of the two lenses …

    … in NR’s b/w shot.

    This is how Nikon’s lenses could look like if the writing on ’em was NOT in gold. Nice!

  • Gary

    Thanks for another great review, NR Admin!
    Your conclusion matches what others have also said, including….the famous Ken Rockwell 🙂
    I know that mention of KR will draw a lot of flames!

    • Even your gravatar is mad at you XD.

  • Anonymous

    I wonder how the new 24-120mm compares against old one, especially at corner sharpness (of course at optimum aperture, no one should expect a decent performance from such lenses wide open, most perform best at f/8-11 when the whole frame considered) Simply, will it be worth the price difference?

    I also wonder how the 28-300mm VR compares against 28-200mm G. Before the price comes into consideration, size difference is striking first. 28-300mm is too bulky for a walkaround lens. I own a 28-200mm G, and it is compact & sharp at all focals, throughout the frame (D700) at f/8. It has a flimsy build but who cares. Do I need any other walkaround lens? I doubt so.

  • badcyclist

    Interesting comparison– thank you.

    Don’t listen to negative comments from jerks. From reading some of the comments here, on dpreview, and elsewhere, you get the impression that photographers are among the whiniest, bitchiest, and most self-important people on the planet. Yeesh.

    We need more of this sort of information, not less. I didn’t exactly trust Ken Rockwell’s comparison, but perhaps I should have. If I had both his opinion and your more convincing review I might have been convinced. Your review was too late for me, because I’ve already gone with the 24-120– it arrives tomorrow. No regrets, but I hope that others find your review useful.

    • chuck

      Ken Rockwell recommends the D5000 as a serious prosumer/beginner professional camera.
      He is a camera troll.

      • Rob

        Sounds good to me, how much for a used D5000 these days?

        • Rob

          $325 on e-bay, refurbished with one year warranty. Not a bad deal considering image quality is better than a Canon & 7D which is 4 times the price. The D7000 is 4 times the price as well and you get slightly less high ISO noise and better video. Buy the D5000 and spend the change on a couple of primes…

        • PHB

          Remaining stocks of D5000 can be had for very little money at the moment. It is a much better camera than any on the market 20 years ago.

          My advice for anyone starting serious photography would be to start off with a cheaper body and put as much money into glass as they can. It will take at least a year to really master a D5000 and by then there will be much better options available at the high end.

          One of the things many folk on these boards miss about the Nikon line is that all their SLRs/DSLRs are at least prosumer quality.

  • meh


    The constant F4 is the deal breaker for me, as well as the wideness of a 24 mm focal length compared to a 28 mm. To get to 300mm, I already have my 70-300 VR lens.

    • Anonymous

      What’s so special with constant f/4 vs variable. Don’t you anyway shoot at min f/5.6 with a zoom for maintaining corner sharpness and to avoid vigneting. Wide open is only for occasional use afaik.

      • robert

        depends on many factors. I almost always shoot using apertures between
        f/1.4-5 . Never used f/8 or smaller.

        Variable lenses limit your exposure options. Some people like using apertures smaller than f/5.6 It’s not for everyone.

      • st r

        > What’s so special with constant f/4 vs variable. Don’t you anyway shoot
        > at min f/5.6 with a zoom for maintaining corner sharpness and to avoid
        > vigneting

        I always shoot at full aperture (indoor at relatively high speed, 200-250), and if I don’t get enough vignetting I have to add it in post processing to make the central subject stand out.

        It might be different with the wide end outdoors while shooting landscapes, but on the other hand it might not be. Your eyes see with built-in corner fuzziness.

        A uniformly sharp image (see Thom’s discussion about perspective hints) looks “artificial”, and likewise an image without vignetting does not look “subjective”. It looks like a copy of your subject, not how you saw it.

        Not everyone wants or needs the same things.

  • bod

    always good to have reviews so thanks for sharing your findings….

    17-35 and 28-300 seem a happy combo,…. the latter on dx sees you thru to 450… f8?

  • Thanks for the review. I am thinking of going with the 28-300 as a second lens for hiking to augment my 10-24mm. Once I go full frame, I think I want the 17-35mm to augment my 50mm and 70-200. Constant f4 is too much of a handicap.

    • PHB

      The 10-24 + 28-300 combo on a DX body seems like a very strong one to me as well. Two lenses gives effective coverage of almost the entire standard 35mm DSLR range.

      There is a small gap between 35mm and 45mm equivalent, but apart from that you can go all the way from 14mm through to 450mm. And if you ever go to FX you only have one lens to replace.

      I find it rather odd that Rockwell and the Admin both dismiss this lens out of hand on DX. It could well make a lot of sense for many people even if they aren’t thinking about later FX upgrade options.

      Rockwell seems to think that the 28-300 shows that Nikon are continuing to improve in their lens design capability.

      One point I did pick up from Rockwell’s review of the 85 f/1.4 is that it has better coma flare handling than the legendary Noctilux 55mm. That is huge news in my view since the Noct currently sells at $3000 plus and is almost impossible to find.

      If they have done that well on the 85mm, one has to wonder if there might be a 50mm revision in the works as well.

      • st r

        Why does everyone deem so important to avoid such small gaps?

        My “standard” “normal” “kit” 18-35mm zoom is almost always stuck at 18mm. Sometimes it goes to 35mm and once in a while to 55mm (but in these latter cases I usually change lens for a longer one).

        In my (amateur) opinion, real zooms are good for tele, where you actually need to compensate for your inability to get closer.

        For the normal range, I would really like to see a stepped zoom. A lens with 3 or 4 fixed positions. As fast and as geometrically optimized as a prime (say, f/1.4), but as inexpensive as a variable aperture consumer zoom.

        Nikon, are you listening?

      • Agree 100% – I mention that those lenses could be interesting for DX shotters for the exact same reasons – the DX 18-200 is “only” $300 cheaper than the 28-300mm lens.

  • grumps

    I’m glad you did this review and enjoyed it, thanks! A Good start.

  • DaveyJ

    Good review. I felt Ken Rockwell’s review was good too. I also concur with the thoughts a few have had on the 17-35mm as well. I use that a lot on D700 and FX. As to comments on only a certain lens will permit publication from a few critics here……! I’d take a wonderful subject with just the right lighting, motion, etc, the magic moment way over a high end lens shot of a humdrum subject. I also would like to add that I personally would go 17-35 Nikkor maybe a prime at around 50mm and go to a 70-300VR Nikkor which is a fantastic practical lens. Then lets assume Nikon really does the 80-400VR remake right this time. Now that is the NR review I am hoping for in the future!! Also I think most of us contemplating buying are almost always weighing tow choices so this review was set up well! I also would like to note that I am hearing more and more references to NR which in the past just did not exist. This site is really making progress.

  • DaveyJ

    Edit for above, we usually think of upcoming purchases on a two choices so this shoot out style review would be most useful. I wrote tow….instead of two which is what I meant.

  • I still want D800

    The biggest problem of the 28-300VR is it isn’t really 28mm. It is more like 29.5 or 30mm on the wide end to be precise. I was okay with the 18mm on the 18-200 VR . But the “28mm” on the 28-300 is really indeed too narrow.

    As a primarily wide shooter, the difference of 24mm versus 29mm is really a deal breaker.

  • The invisible man

    I want a review of the D900+AF-S 200mm f/2.8 VRII

    • The invisible man

      Actually I’ll also like a review of the new Lowepro “lens exchange” that come out on the 28th.
      I want to know if it worth the $38

      • st r

        I guess it is.

        I HATE having to place one lens somewhere while detaching the other, and it takes already a lot of time. Add the hard times in finding a suitable surface… This summer I was on a boat multiple times with my camera. You just can’t place a round object (a lens) on the seat of a rolling boat!

        If this case solves this kind of problem, then it is certainly worth it. I already have a medium-sized Lowepro backpack and it is very well designed and well built.

      • LOLOLOL

        I usually hold my camere body against my belly holding the lens (which is attached to my camera) in my left hand. In my right I hold my other lens (the one I want to change to). I then quickly take off the “old” lens with my left hand and quickly replace it with the lens in my right hand. I then put the lens I took off into a lens carrier (think tank 75). This reduces the amount of time I have the lens off (less dust). Having my camera (a D3s if you must know) on a neck strap helps you feel secure while doing this.

        That said, I think that product is a good idea and pretty well thought out.

      • robert

        I’m getting one. What a great idea. saves time and space.

  • RMT

    What I’m missing in all of these reviews is the differences between the lenses in AF speed and accuracy. Is weatherproofing of both lenes the same? And does the Nano coating actually do anything that the 28-300 can’t?

    NR Admin, could you extend your testing to include these issues?

    • I could not find an easy way of measuring and presenting this type of data. How do I test for weather sealing? I could have given my opinion, but it would not be based on facts. I guess I can try to time the AF speed next time.

      • RMT

        Dear Admin,

        We’re not expecting you to stand in a hurricane. But as you’ve noticed, about a few thousand people are depending on your rumors and opinions daily! Please just tell us whichever lens you would be more comfortable with using in the snow/rain and for the next 5 – 10 years.
        AF speed test/observation or even “feel” (don’t need to know in miliseconds) is welcome!

  • Nice reviews Admin! Keep up the nice work! 😀

  • Doug

    Based on two copies of the 28-300VR (one returned because it wasn’t sharp and the second one kept because it is WICKEDLY sharp!), the lenshood is annoying easy to bump off. However, it looks like your lenshood is a little worse than the two samples I tried. I would prefer the locking type like the 70-200VR II has. I always feel like I’m going to accidentally drop the lenshood and lose it (or get it crushed).

    By the way, in your sharpness examples, in most cases it looks like the 28-300VR is sharper, so I don’t quite understand your assessment. It may be because the 28-300VR images do have a little less microcontrast; however, I believe the resolution is there and the images respond to more heavy-handed PP fairly well in my experience so far.

    Thanks for the useful assessment. I admit that I was previously tempted by the 24-120 under the assumption that it would rival the 24-70 and 70-200 (and that it would murder the 28-300VR in the overlapping range).

  • Dave

    One thing the reviewer forgot to mention: The auto-focusing speed of the 24-120/4 is significantly faster than the auto-focusing speed of the 28-300/3.5-5.6!

  • Geoffrey4

    Thanks very much for all this trouble, good stuff!

  • Umo

    I was really looking for something similar to Canon 24-105, which quite an impressive lense. Last year, i opted for Tamron 28-300, which I tried so hard to get a good result from. The focus hunt is aweful. Lame contrast, noisy VR (or they call VC)
    when these two pieces announces, I was looking to buy nikon28-300. But after I was trying to compare both in harsh situations, I bought 24-120 which impress me more.

    • gobsmacker

      I own the 24-105mm lens. In terms of sharpness, my copy at first was no better than an ordinary P&S camera and so I sent it back to Canon for warranty service. It now performs a whole lot better, but IMO it is not all that outstanding. The optical design of this lens may indeed be excellent, but from my experience (several thousand photos by now) its performance is limited by its focusing mechanism, which does not appear to be all that accurate—which is why I am switching from Canon to Nikon.

  • Kevin

    admin, what’s the chart you use to test sharpness?

  • In most of the shots I preferred the colours from the 24-120, but it could have been the light changing between shots. I remember before I decided to go to Nikon, trying out a EF-S 17-85 v EF 24-105L on a Canon 30D and the difference in the colours was visible even through the viewer finder. I’m seeing the same thing on the images posted here, I just like the colours from the 24-120 to better, just as I liked the colours from 24-105L better.

    Also from what I’ve seen posted from the decent photographers on the web so far, I’m seeing that the colours look better from the 24-120. I’m still going to wait until February or so before I decided which one to get or a 105 f/2.8 VR instead.

  • Musicpark

    Hello, where is this lens made? I refuse to buy a lens made in China. Cheers!

    • Francesco

      I have bought a AF 50mm 1,4D made in china and it perrforms very well….were is the problem? Anyway, the 24-120 I have seen in a store was made in Thailand (like my D90); do you think it’s so much better than China?!?!? 😉

    • yes, both lenses are made in Thailand

      • Musicpark

        Thanks for looking it up! The reason why I’d stay away from made in China is because the principal of it… It costs Nikon much less to manufacture a lens there, yet they keep the price artificially high. I trust the Japanese manufacturing quality control *much* more. As for Thailand… dunno… Might skip this lens and get a 24-70 f/2.8 instead (although my back will hate me for it, as will my wallet)

        • Dhiraj

          I do not think we have control over where it is made. If it is made per Nikon’s Specifications, it should be enough. Buy from trusted source and you can not go wrong.

  • optimaforever

    Hello Peter,

    Thanks for this another great review!
    I thought the 24-120 f/4 VRII was supposed to be an answer to all these photogs who asked for f/4 series (the logical next step being 70-200 f/4) but now that Nikon answered, ther’s a lot of whiners ;-D
    Anyway, it seems that lot of people is comparing this 24-120 f/4 to Canon’s old 24-105L. Do you think this to be pertinent?
    I don’t own canon rig to begin with (as many people here I guess), so I don’t see the point.
    It’s not a race between stables, but some people will never be satisfied unless they read reviews everywhere assuring them “you were right, the lens you bought is the best” 😀

    I had read KR reviews as well and now after reading your version I think the 24-120 isn’t worth the bill if one already owns the 24-70… Yet the 28-300 is interesting because of the form factor and the relatively low weight (not to mention its price which could be lower but remains fair). Cool.

    I just miss the N on the 28-300, perhaps… 😀 and some scotch tape to fix that damned hood!

    • I did this review from the point of having a walk around lens. As you can see, some readers prefer to use p&s camera for walking around, others prefer the 24-70 f/2.8. My point is that if you want to go for max quality, get the 24-70 + 70-200 combo, if you want one lens to play around, get the 28-300. The 24-120 falls in the middle, which could be a good choice if you want to go with one lens only (but who buys full frame Nikon DSLR and uses it only with one lens).

  • Discontinued


    nice test and funny video on the hood. Could be turned into a piece of music, some kind of hood-percussion.
    Whatsoever, anything that leads to knowledge about strength’ and weaknesses of Nikon’s equipment helps and is highly appreciated. Reviews on NR really are a good idea.

    • Yes, did you hear me humming when I was trying to take off the hood of the 24-120?
      I was really surprised that Nikon did not include a better hood – I got few emails from readers that own the same lens and have the same loose hood (at least one reader said that his lens hood is better).

  • Thanks for these useful review. I appreciate as many ‘honest’ opinions as I can find before taking my own decision.

    It would be great to also see a comparison between the 28-300 and the 70-300VR, of course in their common focal range. Many people will already own the latter, as I do, so I am considering a 24-120 + 70-300 combo as my ‘travel’ kit, against a single 28-300.

    As for P&S alternative, I keep wondering whether I should move to a 28-300 for my D700, or keep my D300+18-200 for that purpose rather than to go all FF.

  • camaman

    I like these hands ons… 🙂

    I would love to see 100% test chart crops of these two lenses compared with 85mm 1.4…
    Like you posted in you last 55-300 hands on!

    Admin can you update with 100% crops? 🙂

    • I added a 100% crop of the test chart taken with the 85mm f/1.4 lens at f/5.6 – this is not a fair comparison, just FYI.

  • theTooth

    FWIW…(I am not a pro at all) I will say that I feel the 24-120 is a bit on the expensive side… but I really like it. Have had it for a couple weeks and it is a solid performer(for me at least). I like the range as a carry around lens. It feels very solid, the VR is super nice, that coupled with the low-light ability of the d700.. I am one happy camper.

  • Philip Lee

    Sharpness does seem to be comparable, though I think the 24-120 is noticeably sharper to the point where I’d subconsciously prefer it over the 28-300. That being said, the colors definitely look better on the 24-120 so to me it’s looks like it’s a choice between better contrast and color rendition over range.

  • lucho

    To [NR] admin: thanks for that comparison as complete and easy for an enthusiast eager to receive his body only D7000

  • Nikon’s 28-300mm is a great lens. And yes my lens hood “unlocks” itself very easily too.

  • Thank you all for the good feedback – I will try to go a little deeper with my next lens review. If everything goes well, I should be able to do a comparison between the new Zeiss 35mm f/1.4 and the new Nikon 35mm f/1.4, but this will take few months – the Zeiss lens is expected to be released in February 2011. Before that I will have a comparison between the Nikon D7000 and the D300s.

  • Matt

    I bought the 28-300mm VR to replace my 70-300mm VR & 18-200mm VR I am really happy with the new 28-300mm, it is a little bigger then the 18-200mm but I really like it. It is great for closeups, it focuses very close. My one and only complaint, I CAN NOT keep the lens hood on the lens, it falls off all the time, in my bag or if you barely touch it, the hood pops off. Very poor fit for a $1000+ Nikon lens……..

    • Matstar

      I have replaced my 70-300VR with the 28-300 aswell, and have not found the lens hood to fall off during my walkabouts. Matt, what is it that you are doing to cause this? Shooting while skydiving?

  • Matt

    Hey Matstar,
    If you just bump it at all it just falls off, Putting it in my camera backpack it usually will not stay on. I twist it on as it should go and it never really “clicks” into place. I talked to someone at a local camera store and they said that it is a common problem, and they have heard complaints about this. If you read the article that Nikon Rumors wrote, he said he had the same problem, did you see the video? I had the 18-200mm, 70-300mm and I still have a 70-200mm and a 28-70mm and have never had this problem with a nikon lens before. It’s not just me, read the comments, it is pretty common. Just FYI, some of the 28-300 lenses do not have this problem, so go ahead and take yours skydiving with you, I will just stay on the ground with mine, thank you….

    • Matstar

      Yeah it does come off as demonstrated. I still don’t treat my hood this way when using it. It was very odd for me not feel a click when first attaching but have since grown used to it. I have the 24-70, this has a killer lens hood with a release button that click tightly in place, so you have every right to feel this way!

  • n a

    both lenses are overpriced

    • John Ellis

      If you think th 28-300 is overpriced look at the Canon version.

  • nrhguy

    I have the 28-300 and the lens hood is just fine, nothing like what is shown on the video. I like the 28-300mm lens, very sharp at around f/8 and the VRII works great. I can shoot at the 300mm zoom range end at 1/30s, ISO 6400 and get sharp pictures. That lens offers a lot of value for the money.

  • nrhguy

    I’ve noticed that this review is a couple years old, Nikon must have changed the lens hood because mine snaps on perfectly fine. If you’re a pro I’d buy a couple more lenses but if you want one universal “super-zoom” then this is the lens. I’m a hobby shooter, using the 28-300 on a D600 FX-body and couldn’t be more pleased with that lens.

  • John Ellis

    I have the 28-300 and am generally happy. It focuses quick and I can even capture my dog running straight at me. The softness at 300mm focal length does not show up in my images especially if stopped down by 1 f stop. The hood is not as tight as I would like. Thanks for the review. The $300 sale on the 24-120 going on now is tempting me, but I’m not sure there is much bang for the buck since I already have a 28-300. Maybe I’ll wait for a 24-70 2.8 w VR or go for the Tamron.

  • alex007

    Hood of 28-300 is much longer. If you put your finger the same distance as at 24-120 close to lens then you will have same lever. Easy mechanic.

  • Charles Andrews

    I have both these lenses. I only use the 24-120 mm lens for long exposures as the Big Stopper filter doesn’t go up to 77 mm. The 24-120 is actually only 72 mm. The hood is clearly a problem on the 28-300 mm but only in high winds. (Torre del Paines with 120 km winds proved chalenging). The best aspect of the lens is its range. I do a lot of desert, and ocean photography. I have a 14-24 mm, 24-70 mm, 70-200 mm all f2.8 but you don’t want to be switching lenses in Patagonia, deserts, or in unstable Zodiacs, unless you want to do a lot of sensor cleaning, dry and wet.

  • iMak

    Ok, one of the factors which favored 28-300 over 24-120 is the price, what if I get both lenses with the same price, which one would you choose?

  • Back to top