Hi I have just dropped and damaged by beloved 24-85 1.8 and need to buy a replacement . I have a D800 and my other travel lenses I carry are a 14-24 and a 70-300 so something in the mid-range. I would appreciate your advice. thanks
VR is best though of as a partial substitute for a lens support. It will allow you to get reasonably sharp handheld pictures at slower shutter speeds than you could with a non-VR lens (even a slightly faster one), but does not help freeze subject motion nor does it give you the same amount of control over depth of field as a faster lens.
"There is no real magic in photography, just the sloppy intersection of physics and art." — Kirk Tuck
Tue 19-Mar-13 11:58 AM | edited Tue 19-Mar-13 12:00 PM by JPJ
If you can give up the 71-85mm range on your mid-range zoom I can highly recommend the Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 VC. Image quality and IQ are basically on par with Nikon's 24-70 (a fraction more distortion and vignetting but Lightroom has a lens profile that auto corrects it), however it is significantly cheaper and it has VC which will buy you 3-4 stops. It is also smaller and a little lighter.
If you don't need a constant f/2.8 lens II also like the 24-120 f/4 VR - very good lens with a really functional zoom range.
I have and really like the Nikon 24-70. A VR upgrade would be nice, but will likely come with a price increase to $2400 or so.
The next best alternative is probably the Tamron 24-70. It's had some very good reports, has VR, and is very sharp. The weak areas are a little softness with f/2.8 at the longer end of the zoom, and a little vignetting. I don't think the distortion is a big issue - especially when you compare it to other similar lenses.