As previously mentioned, I have found that there is no getting around having to have the midrange zoom lens. The path that I have chosen with my lenses has been to be ready for full frame; therefore, any midrange zoom that I choose has to be at full frame lens as well. Before I go further perhaps I should explain what I mean by full frame in case you’re not familiar.
The short version is that the old film cameras that many people are familiar with used 35mm film. Each rectangle on that film had the dimensions of 36 x 24 mm. This size is what’s referred to as full frame. Relatively speaking, that’s a rather large area and when digital cameras first appeared, the sensors were so expensive that it was not very practical to have sensors the same size as the old films. Because of that the new sensor sizes were called AP-C and were 23.6 x 15.7mm in the case of Nikon, Sony, and Pentax. Smart people who have done the math say that this is 1.5 times smaller than the film cameras. In the Nikon cameras this is referred to as a DX sensor. So FX is a big sensor, and DX is a small sensor.
This means that any given focal length used on a DX camera, will up here to be one and a half times magnified. It also means that if you use older lenses designed for FX cameras, there is a lot of glass that is being wasted as is covering a smaller area. Because of that, camera manufacturers designed DX specific lenses with smaller circle glass which meant lighter and cheaper lenses.
A few years later, due to popular demand from professional photographers, camera manufacturers started to produce digital cameras with FX sized sensors. In Nikon’s case that was the flagship D3 and the smaller D700. After that Nikon released the D3s and the D3x which are still in the $5000 range. The benefit here is that because of the bigger sensor, pictures come out looking better with less noise especially in lowlight. Of course, these cameras are very expensive and as such so are their lenses. Putting a DX specific lens on an FX camera can result too heavy the vignetting on the edges of the picture so while using an FX lens in many cases makes sense on a DX camera, the reverse is not true.
But anyway I digress. One of these years I plan on going full frame and I already want to collect full frame lenses for that time. As mentioned however, full frame lenses are pretty expensive – or at least the good ones are. Since I already have a very good wide and telephoto lens, I didn’t want to spend much money on getting a professional grade mid-range zoom and thought I would get something more practical. I briefly thought about getting the 35-70 mm f/2.8 AF-D lens which at one point was a workhorse professional lens, but they are still in the $400 and range and I am hesitant to get a midrange zoom that starts at 35mm. And since the lenses are over 10 years old now, it’s a hit or miss to try to find one in good shape without scratches or fungus on the glass.
After searching, I came across some reviews for the 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-S lens pictured below. As you can see, it’s a plasticky lens that extends out and looks kind of stupid. In comparison, my 80-200mm lens is a solid hunk of metal and while it takes great pictures, after an hour of using it, fatigue starts setting in. according to all the reviews, despite its small size, this is a very sharp and underrated lens. Usually, when I need to use a fast lens, I need my telephoto or ultra-wide-angle so I can live with this lens. There are many times where I just want to grab the camera and go for a walk and this lens is much less intimidating and easier to carry so I think it will be a good fit.
Please note that this is not my picture and I am not the copyright holder of it. It seems to be floating around the Internet So I borrowed it here.