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Does The Nikon 24-120mm f4 Need to Make a Comeback?


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Years ago, Nikon had a wonderful lens. the Nikon 24-120mm f4. It offered a massive zoom range and a ton of convenience. No one else created anything like it. Indeed, every other camera manufacturer has focused on the 24-105mm and 24-70mm ideas. But in truth, a 24-120mm f4 would be more useful. We wonder why it won’t return. Here’s why I think it needs a comeback, but in a much bigger way.

Look at the state of lenses right now. The only ones making really innovative lenses are Sony, Canon, Fujifilm, and Leica. Nikon is just trying to catch up. There isn’t much they have that’s really unique. A 24-120mm f4 would be very unique to just them. But, the problem is that it could be easily duplicated by other brands. So, you’d need to take the Sony approach of finding a way to one-up them in that case. 

For years, Nikon was known and loved for the 14-24mm f2.8. Then Sony made a 12-24mm f2.8. Obviously, Sony is the king of that game now. Back in the DSLR world, Nikon won the war with a 24-120mm f4. No one else ever made one.

So what do we propose? Well, why not the idea of a 24-105mm f2.8 or a 24-150mm f4? You’re immediately saying that these lenses will be huge. And while that’s quite possible, I trust Nikon to actually make them fairly small and well built. Canon has a 28-70mm f2: a huge lens. But it’s understandable and manageable. So why can’t Nikon create a lens that’s got an edge? More importantly, why can’t they make a whole series of lenses like that?

If this idea sound impossible to you, then you’re thinking along the same lines that have unfortunately kept Pentax in an awkward corner. The truth is that anything is possible. But is it probable? Maybe. If so many companies can create more innovative lenses, then Nikon should certainly be able to do so as well. 

Why would they need a lens like 24-120mm? Here are some great reasons:

  • Travel: a Weather sealed 24-120mm f4 S lens would be able to handle anything you throw at it.
  • Photojournalism: Combine this with using a flash, and you’ve got a great camera system.
  • Photowalking: So many folks would pick this lens up just for leisure.
  • Every day shooting needs: Nothing more needs to be said about this.

But let’s say Nikon doesn’t do this! Let’s say that instead, they give us the Nikon Zf that we’ve been asking for instead. Then we should get small, manual focus lenses with a super-fast aperture like the Noct. But, the lenses shouldn’t be anywhere near as large as the Noct. Instead, they should be super small and the type of lenses that you’ll want to bring with you everywhere.

Do you think I’m just dreaming here? I think Nikon needs to do a whole lot more to make itself stand out from the rest of the pack. For example, their Creative Profiles should be applied to their RAW files if you wish. Their image quality would then completely stand out.


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