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Lens review

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR

27 August 2012
Arkadiusz Olech

8. Vignetting

Such factors as a moderately wide focal range, medium aperture fastness and a full frame design might suggest that vignetting on a small sensor of the Nikon D200 wouldn’t be bothersome. The real results can be assessed by looking at thumbnails below.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR - Vignetting


At a difficult combination of the shortest focal length and the maximum relative aperture the vignetting reaches a noticeable but not especially bothersome level of 29% (-0.98 EV). The aberration decreases by just 3% after stopping down to f/4.0. By f/5.6 the problem becomes insignificant as the vignetting is just 18% (-0.57 EV). What’s interesting on further stopping down you can’t observe any decrease of this aberration.


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In the middle of the focal range the vignetting is just slightly higher. At the maximum relative aperture it amounts to 27% (-0.91 EV) and it decreases to 16% (-0.50 EV) by f/5.6. Further stopping down reduces the vignetting just by 1% so within the margin of error it remains the same.

A slightly different situation can be observed at the maximum focal length. When the aperture is wide open the brightness loss in the frame corners is 25% (-0.84 EV). Here the stopping down is more efficient because by f/5.6 this aberration is reduced to 13% (-0.55 EV) and by f/8.0 it decreases to a practically imperceptible level of 10% (-0.31 EV).

However the real challenge for lenses of this type is always the full frame. Let’s check how the Nikkor AF-S 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR fared there.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR - Vignetting


You can notice at first glance that there are a lot of problems and our measurements confirm it as well. At the combination of 24 mm focal length and f/3.5 aperture the vignetting reaches a very high level of 54% (-2.26 EV). On stopping down the aperture to f/4.0 you see just slight improvement because the vignetting is still 48% (-1.87 EV). Using f/5.6 allows you to reduce that aberration to 33% (-1.15 EV). By f/8.0 the vignetting still remains noticeable, amounting to 25% (-0.84 EV). On further stopping down you can’t notice any measurable changes.

In the middle of the focal range the problem is a bit less acute. At the maximum relative aperture the light fall-off in the frame corners gets to 36% (-1.28 EV) and then it decreases to 26% (-0.88 EV) by f/5.6. On stopping down by the next 1 EV you can reduce the level of that aberration to 19% (-0.61 EV); on further stopping down you can gain only 1% at most.

The vignetting increases at the maximum focal length once again. In that case using the maximum relative aperture will cause a brightness loss in the corners of as much as 43% (-1.65 EV). The vignetting decreases to a value of 33% (-1.16 EV) and 19% (-0.61 EV) by f/5.6 and f/8.0 respectively. Only after stopping down to f/11 you can reduce this aberration to the perceptibility border (12%).

Once again, the comparison of the tested lens to its 24-120 mm cousin is rather unfavourable. Despite a wider focal range and a better fastness in the bigger part of the range (the 24-85 mm model has f/4.0 aperture already from 31 mm focal length) the vignetting of that lens didn’t exceed a level of 46% at the shortest focal length and 37% at the maximum focal length.

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR - Vignetting

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR - Vignetting

Nikon Nikkor AF-S 24-85 mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR - Vignetting