Sat 01-Dec-12 01:41 PM | edited Sat 01-Dec-12 01:43 PM by benveniste
I travel and hike a lot and nowadays I mostly use my Panasonic GX1 for that, but when I am at home I prefer my Nikon for events like weddings, parties, concerts, ice hockey games and portraits.
Welcome to Nikonians!
I own and like the 24-120mm f/4, but I use it primarily for more casual shooting opportunities. It's quite rare for me to take along both the 24-120mm and 70-200mm for the same outing. I'm far more likely to pair the 70-200mm with a 17-35mm f/2.8 and use a 50mm to "fill the gap." If you think you'll continue to carry the 70-200mm regularly, I suggest you choose the Tamron over either of the Nikkors you are looking at. That way, you could switch lenses mid-shoot and still use the same apertures and shooting style.
But if you find yourself either skipping outings or cutting them short due to the weight and bulk of the 70-200mm, then I'd choose the 24-120mm f/4 because it gives me more options for candids. I can say that with some certainty because I chose a non-VR 24-120mm f/3.5~5.6 over a non-VR 24-85mm f/3.5~4.5. I haven't tried the 24-85mm VR, but I would assume that the optical performance would be roughly on a par with the 24-120mm. Especially for handheld shooting with VR, random "real world" variance would dominate any underlying optical differences.
I also own a Sigma 28mm f/1.8. While I used the wider apertures on my D200, I tend to use smaller apertures with film or my D800. Although the Sigma isn't at its best wide open, my choice mainly because of the subjects I shoot at 28mm. I haven't had much luck attempting the type of dance shot you describe.
So from an objective point of view, I can make a good case for any of the three options. If possible, I suggest trying and buying the lenses locally so you can decide which feels best to you "in hand."
One of the biggest mistakes a photographer can make is to look at the real world and cling to the vain hope that next time his film will somehow bear a closer resemblance to it. - Galen Rowell