Great Nikon lens deals

I got an email from Amazon this morning – some good news for all of you Nikon shooters in the USA: a lot of the lenses on my recommended list appear to be offered at a discount, and a lot of the discounts are healthy. At these prices, the official USA versions are not only cheaper than the gray imports, but also often cheaper than their predecessors. It might be a bad time for the industry, but it’s certainly a good time to be a lens buyer. So, if you’re interested in any of the following, I suggest ordering before prices go up or stocks run out…too bad I live in Malaysia and they won’t ship internationally. MT

AFS 24-70/2.8 – $200 off
AFS 24-85/3.5-4.5 VR – $100 off
AFS 24-120/4 VR (currently my general-purpose lens) – $300 off
AFS 28-300/3.5-5.6 VR (reviewed here) – $150 off
AFS 70-200/2.8 VR II – $300 off
AFD 80-400/4.5-5.6 VR – $350 off

AFS 24/1.4 G – $200 off
AFS 28/1.8 G (reviewed here) – $100 off
AFS 35/1.4 G – $200 off
AFS 50/1.4 G – $100 off
AFS 50/1.8 G – $20 off
AFS 60/2.8 G micro (reviewed here)
AFS 85/1.4 G (highly recommended if you’re not shooting a D800; if you are, get the 1.8G version below) – $200 off (reviewed here)
AFS 85/1.8 G (reviewed here) – $100 off

AFS 18-200/3.5-5.6 VR II – $250 off
AFS 18-300/3.5-5.6 VR – $300 off
AFS 16-85/3.5-5.6 VR – $100 off

Full disclosure: these links will take you to Amazon, and if you purchase something, a small percentage of the price goes to me as a referral fee. It doens’t cost you any more, but it does help keep the site running (and keeps me in gear to review).

Edit: I now have a B&H affiliate link! It’s here.


Visit our Teaching Store to up your photographic game – including Photoshop Workflow DVDs and customized Email School of Photography; or go mobile with the Photography Compendium for iPad. You can also get your gear from B&H and Amazon. Prices are the same as normal, however a small portion of your purchase value is referred back to me. Thanks!

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Images and content copyright Ming Thein | 2012 onwards. All rights reserved


  1. Ming – DXO just posted ratings of lenses on the D800 which is the camera I am using. I had the 24-120 mm f/4 lens in my Amazon cart (via your link) ready to buy when I saw this new post. I am trying to find out if how these numbers translate into real world experience. They show the 24-70 to be quite a bit better than the 24-120 though neither anywhere close to the 28 mm G f/1.8 you have reviewed and which has produced great photos for me. How would you say the 24-120 does in terms of sharp crisp images like those achieved with the 28 mm G f1.8 and how would you compare it to the 24-70? I am now wondering which zoom to get or if I should just use the pair of 28 mm and 85 mm primes though this often results in too many lens changes. Thanks.

    • Really simple answer: go by what you see, not what the number say. I use the 24-120 quite a lot more than I expected. Resolution isn’t the weak point, it’s CA and distortion – both of which ACR can correct automatically. The primes come out if I need shallower DOF or the light is lower.

  2. Thanks for the pointers Ming… just picked up the 24-70 for my main lens, replacing the kit 24-85. It’s big and heavy, and wish it had VR, but already seeing improvements over the kit lens (may keep it for lighter/compact travel)… Great job on the new site design- look forward to supporting you as you support us!!

  3. Ming,
    Could you comment on the fine tune adjustment of the 24-120 mm lens on a D800? I ask this because my 70-200 f/2.8 VRII adjusts to -12 at 200 mm, 0 at 135 mm and +8 at 70 mm per FoCal software testing on my D800. I cannot get sharp images at varying focsl lengths if I only use one single fine tune setting for the entire zoom range. I tried 4 copies of this lens on my D800 and all had huge microadjustment ranges from one end of the zoom to another though the actual settings varied greatly from one lens to another. The result is that I now pick a focal length and set the correct fine tune adjustment and shoot at one focal length, essentially now using my zoom as 3 different prime lenses defeating the functionality of having a zoom lens, I wonder if given a different focal length range of the 24-120 zoom and the fact that there is greater DOF with the 24 mm might result in a smaller micradjustment/fine tune range for the 24-120 on the D800. I have the 28 and 85 mm f1.8 G prime lenses you previously advised and they are terrific. It would be convenient to have a zoom for this range though. As always, thank you for your guidance

    • The ability to AF fine tune for different focal lengths of a zoom is one of the key things that’s missing with the AF system. Fortunately, my 24-120 is pretty consistent throughout the range; -10 is optimum for 120mm, and -5 for 24mm – I pick -7 because it’s nearly there for both, and in any case I shoot this lens mostly stopped down where DOF tends to cover any focusing errors. I have to be honest, focusing issues of zooms are one of the reasons why I’m pretty much all-prime these days. Out of about 20 lenses, 24-120 and 100-300 (for the OM-D) are the only zooms I own.

      • I’m really on the fence about this 24-120. On the one hand I enjoyed my Canon 24-105 and would like to reproduce something like that on my D800e to allow me to use the Nikon as more of a walkaround rig. Currently I’m swapping primes (28, 50, 85) or making do with my 70-200. On the other hand I read very few impressive things about the lens’ performance. Are there other factors I should know about optimize my results with a lens such as this? Even at $1000 this lens seems expensive. I paid $800 for my Canon version for example. Ming, it would be great if you reviewed this lens.


        • It’s in the plan, but may be some time coming. In the meantime, this should tell you enough: I bought one, and use it more than I expected to. Just make sure you use ACR’s lens profile to correct for distortion and CA, and you’ll be quite surprised by the results even on the D800E.

    • Ming,
      My Nikkor 24-120 f/4 lens which you recommended arrived after being purchased via your link to Amazon. Got to tell you, I was nervous about doing the AF microadjustment after all the bad copies of other zooms I tried before and to my utter amazement and glee the lens adjusts to -5 at both 24mm and 120mm! I am so excited to have a zoom I can use as a a zoom unlike my 70-200 which is -12 at 200 mm, 0 at 135 mm and +8 at 200 mm which makes it so I essentially use at one focal length since I can’t micradjust for every quick change in focal length. Thanks for your encouragement in the 24-120 lens. I look forward to taking my first images with it tomorrow. Thank you.

  4. Check the title listing on the 60/1.4 G micro (I was like, “wait a minute… how have I never heard of this lens!”)… 🙂 If I pick one up, I’ll definitely use these links, Ming. Thanks for all your outstanding material on this site.

  5. I bought the 70-200 f/4 just a few weeks ago… but I must say the 85mm f/1.8 has me tempted 🙂

  6. No love for Canon. 😦

  7. I have often wondered why amazon don’t do sales/discounts for local market i.e Malaysia?

  8. You recommend the 85 1.8 over the 85 1.4 for the D800? Is there a blog post about that?

  9. Andy Parker says:

    Ming – Thanks for the links and heads-up on these deals. I really enjoy your website. I have been long considering the 24-120 for my D800e as a walk around lens. Are you happy with yours? Any idea how image quality compares to the 24-70 Nikon? I am currently shooting with the 35/1.4, 85/1.8 and 70-200/2.8 all Nikon and would like to add a midrange zoom. Best – Andy

    • Thanks Andy. It works for me, but you’ll need to ensure distortion correction and CA removal is enabled in ACR – otherwise you’ll have fun with both. I think they’re comparable in terms of resolution, but the 24-70 has a slightly higher T stop even at f4.

  10. Hi Ming, does your Amazon tag also work on If not, maybe you would want to create one. Cheers, Bojidar

  11. B&H have got some special deals on Nikon lenses too – and they DO ship internationally.

  12. Thanks Ming, i was debating all week on the 70-200 VR II, the coupon sent me over the edge, cheers

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