Was the Nikon 24-120 a bit soft....?
Naw. I just made a rookie mistake. I spent the morning is the JW Marriott Hotel documenting various parts of the Freescale Semiconductor FTF show and I (like most Texans) luxuriated in the arctic quality air conditioning. It's been rainy for, like, 5,000 days straight and now that Summer is heating up it's humidity soup outside. I walked around in the 60 degree (f) air conditioning enjoying the minus 15% humidity in the lushly carpeted hallways of this new hotel and then, when I stepped out of the hotel with my camera on a monopod, slung over my shoulder, the front element of my camera's lens condensed over like a cold can of Lone Star beer on a blazing hot day. For a few minutes the condensation was as thick and opaque as a lens cap but left alone for ten minutes it began to clear.
I took the image above, of the Computer Science Corporation building, to remind me of what happens to the gear with sudden changes in temperatures and atmospheric wetness. I did resist the temptation to swab at it with a shirt tail or old piece of burlap.....
I'm sure people want to know how I liked the Nikon 24-120mm lens so here goes: Don't try to use this lens for anything with straight lines while shooting raw unless you are certain that you'll be using the latest revision of Lightroom or Photoshop with the included lens profile for this item. The uncorrected distortion is almost psychedelic. One click makes the lens as straight and true as a German macro lens. The combination of the software and the high inherent sharpness of the lens is a good team and I was well served. The nano crystal lens coating seems miraculous and resisted any flare; even when pointed directly into spot lights.
Have you noticed that there is a panel within the basic lens correction menu in Lightroom that gives you auto corrections for vertical perspective and other kinds of geometric user errors? It's called "Upright" and it is suggested that you first enable profile corrections and then choose from: auto, level (yes, it levels things in your image), vertical (one dimension) and full.
So maybe you tilted your camera backwards to get in the top of a sign you are photographing. Now the sign keystones. One click on the "auto" correction gets you back to normal straight lines. I used this control set 226 times today to make small but noticeable corrections to files of signage, decor and room shots. It was fun, quick, efficient and charming. Much, much faster than trying to do the same thing manually with "transform."
You probably already knew it was there. I am a slow learner...