AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f4.0G ED VR
We don’t generally consider branded lenses in this category because they’re only available in the one mount which means not everybody has the chance to enjoy a winning design.
However, Nikon’s latest version of its 24-120mm zoom is such an accomplished lens we just couldn’t go past it this year. The Nikkor 24-120mm has always been interesting, spanning ultra-wide to short telephoto in the one very handy lens, but in the early days it flirted with the edge of the envelope in terms of what was possible with the optical performance.
It’s telling that there’s nothing else like it in any other system – branded or independent – and Nikon has worked hard to improve both the performance and the capabilities.
So now we have this exceptionally flexible focal range, mated with a constant aperture throughout, Nikon’s latest version of its ‘Vibration Reduction’ optical image stabilisation (VR II), and an advanced optical construction with the ‘Nano Crystal Coat’ to minimise ghosting and flare.
The optical construction now employs three aspherical elements and two made from extra-low (ED) glass to deliver an exceptionally high degree of correction, not to mention much improved sharpness throughout both the zooming and aperture ranges.
The new 24-120mm does really make the most of its focal range, looking pretty much as good at 24mm and f4.0 as it does at 120mm and f22.
Every D-SLR owner yearns for a genuine all-purpose zoom with uncompromised performance; if you own a Nikon D-SLR with a 35mm-sized sensor now you’ve got it.
Innovative Imaging Product
Sirui TX-Series Tripods
You might think that it would be hard to improve on any aspect of the tripod’s design and operation given they’re pretty much set in concrete. Well, every so often somebody comes up with something surprising.
When we were first shown Sirui’s range of tripods, we pretty much had the same reaction as most people – What? Another brand of tripod? Then we starting trying one or two out and found that this Chinese manufacturer has indeed come up with something pretty clever indeed.
The TX-series of models are primarily aimed at the travelling photographer so compactness is a prerequisite, but with this has usually come compromise.
Sirui has dreamt up the idea of tripod legs which fold through 180 degrees so a folded tripod is exceptionally short indeed... yet the possible height extension isn’t significantly reduced.
For example, the T-1004X model is just 40 cm when folded, but extends to 140 cm.
It weighs 1.1 kilograms, but can support up to 10 kilograms of weight which is substantial.
This is because these tripods have carbon fibre leg tubes, but not just any old composite – Sirui is a rarity in that it makes it own leg tubes and these comprise eight cross-patterned layers so they are much, much stronger in return for a very minimal increase in weight.
Like most of the great ideas, Sirui’s 180-degree folding tripod leg is a simple one (it’s just really an extension of the variable-angle settings), but the benefits are real and tangible. So... Sirui, not just another tripod brand.