Sorry, I didn't provide a complete picture. I also have a 28-105/f3.5-4.5 AFD in inventory already; also I have a fairly complete set of Micro-Nikkors: 60 AFS, 105 AFD, 200 AFD. And I have fast telephoto primes: 135/f2 and 180/f2.8. So really all I need is a high quality VR zoom and a fast wide angle.
As far as the price of the 24-120/f4 vs its quality, the quality is good enough for my purposes. I know plenty of pros or serious amateurs that use the 24-120 (Jon for example!), and besides I'm of the opinion that sharpness is overrated anyway. There are very few situations where the 24-120/f4 isn't good enough AND the primes are not flexible enough, and very, very few of even that small set is actually addressed by the 24-70/f2.8. There are also few situations in which an f/4 with VR is not good enough low light, and in those cases I'm not willing to spend the extra $$$ and weight for the f/1.4 versions of the 24 and 85.
Would I go for the 24-85VR if I didn't already have a 28-105? Quite possibly, particularly at this moment when the 24-85 is about to suffer from a supply glut.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
My gallery is online. Comments and critique welcomed any time!