Best superzooms for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Nikon 24-120mm f/3.5-5.6G AF-S VR - £560/ $860

Almost exactly the same size and weight as Nikon's 18-200mm DX VR lens, this FX counterpart is appealing, with an impressive 24mm wide-angle and modest 120mm telephoto. While the 5x zoom range only just edges the lens into the superzoom category, the widest focal length is an effective 36mm on DX bodies. Meanwhile, the telephoto length translates to 180mm, making it a viable superzoom for cameras such as the D3100 or D7000.

One advantage of this lens over Nikon's 18-200mm is that it doesn't suffer from any zoom creep. This is handy if you want to use a tripod for shooting at extreme angles. However, VR is a generation older, only gives a three-stop benefit and lacks an 'Active' mode for moving platforms.

Performance

Sharpness is great at the wide-angle end, excellent at mid-range and only drops off a little at the longest focal length. There's much less distortion at the wide-angle end, compared with several lenses in the group.

Sharpness

Sharpness can be lacking at the largest available apertures, but performance is good if you make a one-stop reduction.

Lab test at f/8
Sharpness at wide angle: 2279
Sharpness at mid range: 1479
Sharpness at telephoto: 1141

Best superzooms for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Fringing

Resistance to colour fringing is good and remains constant throughout the entire zoom range.

Lab test at f/8
Fringing at wide angle: 0.43
Fringing at mid range: 0.41
Fringing at telephoto: 0.44

Best superzooms for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Distortion

Barrel distortion is quite restrained at 24mm, switching to a slight pin-cushion effect at middling and longer zooms.

Lab test at f/8
Distortion at wide angle: -2.58
Distortion at mid range: 1.03
Distortion at telephoto: 1.02

Best superzooms for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Image quality verdict

This often-overlooked lens works well on full-frame and DX bodies alike, consistently delivering high optical quality at a good price.

Best superzooms for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Taken at 24mm (min)

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Best superzooms for nikon dslrs: 8 tested

Taken at 120mm (max)

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