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Thread: Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

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    Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

    Every time I think about selling my Nikon 24-70mm f2.8-- I do a few comparison shots and get so torn. There are times when it is not practical to bring all the primes-- the 24-70mm and 70-200/4 VR make a decent landscape kit. Consider throwing in the zeiss 18mm prime (which i know has mixed reviews here but I like), and perhaps a Nikon 85mm PC -- which will double as a macro lens.

    My 24-70mm is pretty good on the wide end especially f4 to f8. THe edges and corners are the weakest regions but not bad for a zoom. With the zoom and all the pixels on the D800/810 can always frame a bit more liberally and crop. The distortion, which I do think is a bit of an issue cleans up nicely with standard software clicks these days.

    Ok but then what about when just want to walk around and take some snaps--- well the Nikon 24-120 is good but when i compare to the 24-70 especially at the wide end-- well the 24-70 is considerably better in the 24-35mm range. The 24-70mm lacks image stabilization technology and is heavier as a walk around lens. Plus when walking around don't want to be changing lenses all the time. So lets leave the 24-120 out of the equation. It comes when i plan to do some walk around shooting.

    Then I consider if i am going to be serious -- e.g. travel with a tripod my primes would include the Zeiss 18mm (more important now that the 24mm zoom is gone), Nikon 28mm/1.8, (maybe the Sigma 35mm ART), Sigma 50mm ART, Nikon 85mm PC, and the 70-200mm/4 (or if I expect wildlife might substitute the 80-400mm). Anyhow--- I am basically replacing the 24-70mm with the Nikon 28 and Sigma 50mm. So in terms of weight close enough but now I trade the ease of the zoom for the potential of a bit better IQ.

    In reality, I rarely use my 24-70 but just cannot let it go. What is wrong with my logic and reasoning here?

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    Re: Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

    I would sell the 24-70 and keep the primes

    Unless you are a wedding photographer, who needs to switch from mid zoom to wide quickly. But sound like you are not.

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    Re: Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

    Mark, whether Nikon, Canon L or Sony ZA, Mmbma is right IMO … a 24-70/2.8 is a staple for weddings, parties and event work, but little else. It is my most used lens at a wedding, and gets almost no use otherwise (as a lazy convenience maybe for some occasional snaps of family and our doggies around the house or picnic).

    At the widest end it can't compare to my ZA24/2, as a portrait lens it is not quite long enough, (ZA85/1.4 is my go to lens for portraits), and it is useless for any commercial tabletop work. Out of idiotic habit and impatience while waiting for FE AF wides, I got a FE24-70/4 for my A7R, which I just sold for lack of use.

    One trick I learned to do when evaluating lens use is to go back and use PS Bridge to study the exif data on zoom lenses to see what focal lengths and apertures I favored most. Based on that, I sold my 70-200/2.8, and have never replaced it. I found most use was at 90 to 140mm. In most cases the ZA135/1.8 was the better lens (faster, better viewfinder brightness, better IQ), so the 135/1.8 and a ZA85/1.4 was all I really needed. Same for Canon when I shot it, same for Nikon when I shot that.

    Why these midrange zooms have to be so big and awkward escapes me. It isn't like they deliver exemplary IQ, or a really useful zoom range like 25mm to 100mm, or all that fast max aperture. I guess it is a given since all three companies offer the same level of awkwardness, bulk, and slowness at breathtaking prices ($1,900 for AFS Nikon, $2,000 for Sony ZA, and $2,299 for Canon's EF 24-70/2.8-II? … Really?).

    - Marc

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    Re: Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

    I have, or have had, most of those lenses. For the convenience you want, keep the zoom because it is good enough, in the middle regions of its range. The Nikkor 28 and Sigma 35 are good but tricky, both have issues with field curvature. The sigma 50 is astonishing but frankly, for landscape, you need f5.6 and at f5.6 and 50mm the zoom is very good indeed and there's no Bokeh to consider in your use case.

    The 24-120 has it's strengths but basically is useful for its convenience of size and range: centre sharpness is inconsistent across the frame and the lens is prone to asymmetry.

    I come back to the 24-70 again and again on the Nikon but honestly, for walkaround and if budget allows, the Sony A7r and FE 24-70 OSS is an almost unbeatable combo - and will perform as usefully as most primes for landscape and travel use between 35-60mm.

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    Re: Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

    I have read these responses 3x now… I keep going back and forth. I agree for weddings perhaps the 24-70 2.8 is a good choice but I do not do weddings… For shooting family party snaps, could go with the 24-120mm. There is one other scenario beside the issue of my own convenience that I can mention where the 24-70mm f2.8 might be handy. Maybe this will resonate with others. I was in China for about 8 days and half the time for work and the other half some colleagues took me to some nice scenic areas. We hiked up some 800 year old rice fields (5000 ft). On this trip since i knew there was going to be a lot of flying within the country, I really wanted to keep my luggage to carry on so I brought my Sony A7r and no tripod. I had no idea where they were going to take me in between work events. During my shooting time-- I did some landscape and street photos. I took the Sony 24-70/4, Leica WATE, Sony 35mm and 55mm, and Leica 135/3.4. Going back over most of my shots -- most of the landscape photos were taken with the zoom. The reason is that when hiking with other folks --- did not always have time to switch between lenses.I guess in such a scenario-- I will more than likely have my Sony and not Nikon in hand.

    Interestingly, when i was alone and walking the streets-- I used my Sony 55mm almost as much as my zoom. Here having the wider aperture really was nice. However, trying to be discreet when street shooting, changing lenses is not always simple. However, might have used my 75mm Voigt a bit if i had brought that one.
    Now i sound like a gal trying to decide which pursue and shoes to wear…

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    Re: Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

    Mark,

    Sounds like you might benefit in the travel situation with two bodies each with a different lens...no need to change and both are ready to shoot as you need them...and with the A7 series cameras not a lot of weight or size is involved.

    So 35/75 or 35/55 or 55/135 as you approach your destination...

    I like zooms when the pixel count is somewhat limited...your crop is in lens not post and you resolve most of your pixels ... otherwise with a 24 or 36 you have enough room to spare.

    If you are set on a zoom then Tim's suggestion of the F4 zoom...with an A7S where ISO is not a major impediment.

    My dislike of zooms tends to be that you never ever know when a lifetime shot will present itself...and you end up with a meh photo rather than one you will remember forever.

    Bob
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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

    Quote Originally Posted by mark1958 View Post
    I have read these responses 3x now… I keep going back and forth. I agree for weddings perhaps the 24-70 2.8 is a good choice but I do not do weddings… For shooting family party snaps, could go with the 24-120mm. There is one other scenario beside the issue of my own convenience that I can mention where the 24-70mm f2.8 might be handy. Maybe this will resonate with others. I was in China for about 8 days and half the time for work and the other half some colleagues took me to some nice scenic areas. We hiked up some 800 year old rice fields (5000 ft). On this trip since i knew there was going to be a lot of flying within the country, I really wanted to keep my luggage to carry on so I brought my Sony A7r and no tripod. I had no idea where they were going to take me in between work events. During my shooting time-- I did some landscape and street photos. I took the Sony 24-70/4, Leica WATE, Sony 35mm and 55mm, and Leica 135/3.4. Going back over most of my shots -- most of the landscape photos were taken with the zoom. The reason is that when hiking with other folks --- did not always have time to switch between lenses.I guess in such a scenario-- I will more than likely have my Sony and not Nikon in hand.

    Interestingly, when i was alone and walking the streets-- I used my Sony 55mm almost as much as my zoom. Here having the wider aperture really was nice. However, trying to be discreet when street shooting, changing lenses is not always simple. However, might have used my 75mm Voigt a bit if i had brought that one.
    Now i sound like a gal trying to decide which pursue and shoes to wear…
    I think that answers your question - the A7R with 24-70 F4 is the about the best combination of quality, versatility and form factor available anywhere...

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    Re: Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

    Mark,

    What is wrong with my logic and reasoning here?
    You know subconsciously that your 24-70mm is perfectly adequate?

    Your 24-70mm performs well at apertures normally associated with landscape photography. Field curvature is reduced upon stopping down. While residual field curvature may exist at apertures normally associated with landscape photography, by definition you are not shooting planar subjects.

    Presumably you purchased a 36MP camera for, amongst other features, its resolution. Use of a prime will normally require you to crop the image. Cropping disproportionately discards pixels. For example, a reduction in frame width of 30% will return in a 50% reduction in resolution, assuming a 3:2 aspect is preserved. So-called 'zooming with your feet' will change perspective and is not a viable alternative.

    The increase in acuity of a prime over a zoom, all else being equal, is diminsihed significantly at apertures normally associated with landscape photography. A difference visible on screen when viewed at 100% will be less obvious when compared in prints side by side. Comparing prints side by side is not normal behaviour for anyone other than testers of photographic equipment.

    The finest lens in the world will make not the slightest bit of difference to those who would purchase your images if the composition is not strong. Conversely, many world renowned images exhibit technical flaws.

    Enjoy what you have.
    Rob
    www.robbuckle.co.uk
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    Re: Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

    Bob True but I have missed shots while changing lenses too..

    Quote Originally Posted by docmoore View Post
    Mark,


    My dislike of zooms tends to be that you never ever know when a lifetime shot will present itself...and you end up with a meh photo rather than one you will remember forever.

    Bob

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    Re: Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

    AreBee and TAshley and Bob.. I do appreciate the responses. Reading and thinking things through again-- I start to consider taking two formats the Sony A7r with the zoom and the Nikon with a few primes. Perhaps that is the best strategy in some situations. Too much redundancy and nothing perfect. Leaning towards letting the nikon 24-70 2.8 go..

    Quote Originally Posted by AreBee View Post
    Mark,



    You know subconsciously that your 24-70mm is perfectly adequate?

    Your 24-70mm performs well at apertures normally associated with landscape photography. Field curvature is reduced upon stopping down. While residual field curvature may exist at apertures normally associated with landscape photography, by definition you are not shooting planar subjects.

    Presumably you purchased a 36MP camera for, amongst other features, its resolution. Use of a prime will normally require you to crop the image. Cropping disproportionately discards pixels. For example, a reduction in frame width of 30% will return in a 50% reduction in resolution, assuming a 3:2 aspect is preserved. So-called 'zooming with your feet' will change perspective and is not a viable alternative.

    The increase in acuity of a prime over a zoom, all else being equal, is diminsihed significantly at apertures normally associated with landscape photography. A difference visible on screen when viewed at 100% will be less obvious when compared in prints side by side. Comparing prints side by side is not normal behaviour for anyone other than testers of photographic equipment.

    The finest lens in the world will make not the slightest bit of difference to those who would purchase your images if the composition is not strong. Conversely, many world renowned images exhibit technical flaws.

    Enjoy what you have.

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    Re: Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

    'Let it go.... Let it go....can't hold it back anymore...
    Let it go... Let it go... Turn away and slam the door..
    I don't care .....what they are going to say.....'



    S
    Steve Brickles

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    Re: Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

    Mark

    I can only talk from my own experiences but I've gone from a huge amount of glass down to just a couple and compose and take shots through the viewfinder, often going out with just a single body and lens and working that way, it's a really great way of working, maybe it's worth a try? I have 3 primes on 2 bodies and there's no more wondering which lens to use or thinking I should have used something else, i just take the shot! I've gone from 11 lenses to a 21, 50 and a 135 and that's it, I'm actually taking better shots for it in my opinion, it's possible to have too many options! Just an alternative view.

    Mat
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    Re: Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

    This question comes up a lot on the workshops, albeit from a slightly different perspective: Do I even need a zoom? Since most of our workshops are landscape based, most of the photographers have and use primes. However, most all have zooms too. What they learn quickly on our workshops is that they can make a plethora of great images with just a few primes. So how does this relate to travel or event use?

    The EXIF strategy is a great one, and what we recommend. Take a set of images from a trip or shoot where you used the 24-70 extensively. Now without looking at the EXIF, assemble a set of images you would use in a slideshow for that event; IOW these are your better images, not all wall-hanger worthy, but clearly a set of your better images. Now look at the EXIF. Invariably folks find they use their zoom at 2 primary focals. Which ones depends on the shooter, but invariably 1 is at an extreme end of the zoom and the other is somewhere between. (Personal sidebar. When I had the 24-70, I found two things out quickly about it: when I used it, virtually every good image was at just off 24, or around 26 and nothing much from other focals; and then the real whammy for me, I rarely ever bothered carrying it because it was a one-focal lens that was too darn big!)

    I use the 24-120 when I want the convenience -- my walk-around day lens when traveling with family or casual snapshot lens. (Yet it is still surprising how many great images I make with it considering it is easily the worst lens I own.) I use primes when I want to do serious work and if traveling, there is usually 1 on camera and 3 in the bag. My 28 or 50 are on the camera and account for most of my images by a large margin, like 80%. Then comes my super-wide, which in my case is currently a 17-35 simply because it is a very decent lens at 17 and not uncomfortably large AND AF's, which I use maybe 10% - 15% of the time, and finally an 85 or 105 depending on the trip which gets used surprisingly only about 5%-10% of the time -- and so when I want to go light, it gets left in the hotel room. Recently I have added a 180 prime and it will likely replace the 105 for travel. (Another personal side-bar: I used to carry a 70-200 but quickly learned I either used it just off the wide end at around 85 or at the long end -- and why I don't even bother owning one now.)

    Two final reinforcing comment about primes. The first is I find zooms make for lazy photography, meaning photographers that use them become resistant to changing lenses. As an example, you have a 24-70 on and a really nice 90-ish image presents. You don't bother swapping to your 70-200 to get it and instead just shoot at it at 70 because that's "close enough," and equally invariably never even give that capture a second look on the editing table. (You all know you've done that more than you care to admit! ) The other which was mentioned above: if you have a prime you like, you will learn to "see" more images that fit it.

    In conclusion, my two take-away pieces of advice regarding lens selection: 1) Spend less time worrying about having the exact perfect focal on the camera at any given moment, and spend more time seeing images with the lens you do have mounted (or with one handy in your bag). 2) Your worst lens is still capable of making great images; a great image need not be technically perfect.
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
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    Re: Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

    Jack.. You should write a book… All of these points resonate with me…. I am guilty too. OK so now I am getting ready to let it go…

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    Re: Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

    I sold mine. It was a really good lens for all kinds of things I almost never did. The autofocus was fast and silent. It was great for people pictures. It was really great at closer focusing distances ... I used it for some truly awe-inspiring ebay photos of junk I was unloading.

    But I just never found myself using it for my serious work, which tends toward urban landscape, industrial, big tripod and live-view focusing. I sold it to buy a 14-24 and haven't looked back.

    If it cost half as much and were half the size, it would be in a totally different category and I'd consider it perfect.

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    Re: Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 Dilema

    Folks I have way too many state of the art "serious" lenses and am in the market for a mint 24-70 (probably my fifth one). If anybody is interested please let me know. Robert

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