New Nikon - Walk or Waltz?

on June 18, 2012
The phrase " walk-around lens " has been used for years in the press. Sometimes I get the feeling that it is a dismissive term - used to imply that the writer only uses fabulous glass and would not be satisfied with whatever is under review. Let me state emphatically at the start of this blog that this is NOT my opinion. I think this is exactly what 99% of us need 99% of the time. In my case probably more so.

Walk around means that you are going to be out and about and you need gear that works so well that whatever you see can be dealt with. This is also the design philosophy with the Adams and Dean .455 revolver, and I think it is admirable - should you encounter a tiger, thuggee, or old university chum, you are prepared.

You might also say this about heavier gear - the f:2.8 zoom lenses that each manufacturer makes. I'm thinking about the 24-70 types that we see with big front elements, big filter sizes, big lens hoods. Weighty glass. Superb performance, and excellent results for weddings, commercial, sports, studio portrait, etc. But try carrying one of these all day on holiday - all day around the theme park or through the stinky temples. See how much you want to haul that same heavy weight the next day through the next tourist trap...Maybe just leave it at the hotel for the morning...

Okay, you're a better traveller than that, but you still can capture most of what looks good with the new Nikon 24-85 AF-S VR G lens, whether it is on DX or FX. And now you have the VR mechanism giving you 3-4 stops of steadiness to boot. If you consider the low-light capability of the new Nikon D800 combined with this lens you can see the logic. It is a lens you can carry all day and use for damn near everything. We'll be seeing more of these lenses in the next few months - indeed we hope to see more of the new camera bodies as well - and I think it will prove to be an ideal combination for lots of people.

Walk or waltz? You'll know at the end of the day when you see how you feel.