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Thread: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

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    Senior Member atanabe's Avatar
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    Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    I am looking at getting a new walk around zoom lens in this range. Hands down, the 24-70 out specs the 24-120 in all of the reviews and has the speed advantage. I will be using it on a D700 so I could crank up the ISO to compensate for the aperture. My main objection to the 24-70 is the overall size!

    So this is for those who have or shot with both, is there a night/day difference? Or is is incremental?

    Thanks for your comments

    Al
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Al,

    The difference is night and day. The 24-120 is not a very good lens. (sharpness, micro-contrast, etc... lack)

    Best,

    Ray

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    The 24-70 is a very good lens (for a zoom).
    The 24-120 is, charitably, a consumer lens
    -bob

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    One alternative to check out would be the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. Cheap, sharp and very compact. Not the build quality of the Nikkor 24-70, but absolutely comparable to the 24-120, and optically somewhere between the two.

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    One alternative to check out would be the Tamron 28-75mm f/2.8. Cheap, sharp and very compact. Not the build quality of the Nikkor 24-70, but absolutely comparable to the 24-120, and optically somewhere between the two.
    HI Jorgen
    Are you sure that the 28-75 will be alright on full frame? I tried one on my D3, and the corners were as soft as a feather mattress.

    As someone who has just returned a 28-300 as it was garbage on the A900, and who has owned the D3 and the 24-120, I'd say that all these lenses which one is tempted by as 'walkarounds' are simply going to turn out as a disappointment - especially on full frame.

    Al - I reckon you'd get less frustrating results from a compact like the LX3!

    I should say at this point that I thoroughly approve of zoom lenses, and I'm right up for cheap zooms if they do the job (like the 12-24 sigma on my A900 for instance).

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Sigma's 24-135 may be a cheaper alternative to Nikkor's 24-70, but there will be a compromise in sharpness and focusing speed. Still, there are times that I do not wish to carry a bulky lens around; then I am content with what I get.
    Regards,
    Osman

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    AL

    I have looked at this in the past and don t believe you have a good alternative for a walk around zoom. The 24-70/2.8 is provides truly excellent image quality and while not up to some prime alternatives.....allows you to carry one lens and have reasonable coverage. The issue as you noted is size. I am looking at short hood alternatives but with the movement of the front element inside the Nikon Hood ...haven t found one yet.

    I don t think you would be happy with the 24-120 image quality and the slow aperture would be quite limiting (no real way to limit depth of field).

    With that said the 24-70/2.8 is the zoom I went for. If i really need something ..I would rather work around the size .

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI Jorgen
    Are you sure that the 28-75 will be alright on full frame? I tried one on my D3, and the corners were as soft as a feather mattress.
    I'm never sure about anything The copy I tried, a number of years ago, on a Canon 1Dsomething, seemed sharp, but there are sample variations.

    I'm trying out the Sigma today btw., on a D700. Borrowed camera and borrowed lens, from different sources and no time to try them out, so this will be interesting

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Thank you all for your replies. Looks like I am going have to eat my Wheaties everyday! It is too bad that Nikon chose night and day for their zooms. Canon had an excellent 70-200 f4 L as a low cost (and weight) alternative to the 2.8 which equaled in image quality. I may just get a used copy of the last "Nikon King" the 28-70 and wait for the next generation of "walk around" zoom from them. I know that I will get rid of a heavy lens in a heartbeat if a lighter one does the job so I will limit my losses up front. My issue here is the weight of the lens, getting by with a lighter alternative while still maintaining quality is my primary focus.

    I will check out the Tamron and Sigma zooms to see what they are all about.

    Once again, thank you for your comments and observations.

    Al
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Quote Originally Posted by atanabe View Post

    I will check out the Tamron and Sigma zooms to see what they are all about.

    Once again, thank you for your comments and observations.

    Al
    The Tamron 24-135 isn't too bad, but it does suffer from zoom creep, and the zooming puffs dust on to the sensor . . . .
    The Tamron 28-300 is good but suffers from bad CA

    erm. You can see that I'm with you in spirit, as I've tried out all of these damn lenses!

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    The Tamron 24-135 isn't too bad, but it does suffer from zoom creep, and the zooming puffs dust on to the sensor . . . .
    The Tamron 28-300 is good but suffers from bad CA

    erm. You can see that I'm with you in spirit, as I've tried out all of these damn lenses!
    Jono,
    Thank you for the review of the Tamron lenses. The thought of getting a good lens in a light package is what I am after. The chore of carrying a heavy camera/lens combo gets old very fast in my book. That is why I like shooting with the Ms which in one form or another always traveled with me. I picked up the D700 for the high ISO and longer focal length (>90mm) work. This shorter zoom will be a back up to the M8.

    Thanks,
    Al
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Quote Originally Posted by atanabe View Post
    Jono,
    Thank you for the review of the Tamron lenses. The thought of getting a good lens in a light package is what I am after. The chore of carrying a heavy camera/lens combo gets old very fast in my book. That is why I like shooting with the Ms which in one form or another always traveled with me. I picked up the D700 for the high ISO and longer focal length (>90mm) work. This shorter zoom will be a back up to the M8.

    Thanks,
    Al
    Hi Al
    Best thing I can suggest is to actually go to a dealer and try out their demonstration lenses one after another - when you find one that's sharp(ish) in the corners, get that (the demonstration lens).

    But, as the guy in the store said to me when I recently returned the Tamron 28-300:
    "You pay 1/4 price, for a lens which is 1/3 weight and 3 times the focal length range , then you put it on a full frame camera. . . . . and you expect it to be good enough?"

    On the other hand, it IS possible, The 12-60 (24-120) lens on my Olympus E3 is sharp from corner to corner at all focal lengths, and all apertures. Maybe you forget the Nikon and get yourself an Olympus E620 with a 12-60 lens for walking about.

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    On the other hand, it IS possible, The 12-60 (24-120) lens on my Olympus E3 is sharp from corner to corner at all focal lengths, and all apertures. Maybe you forget the Nikon and get yourself an Olympus E620 with a 12-60 lens for walking about.
    That is actually not a bad idea. The price of that combo isn't more than a top quality zoom lens from Nikon or most other suppliers.

    My Tamron 24-135 doesn't creep btw. From what I hear, it's good on full frame. Not so good above 80mm on DX though.

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    Senior Member atanabe's Avatar
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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Sometimes I think we expect too much from our gear and in turn become a slave to it. I personally like prime lenses, maybe it is just old memories of the first zooms.
    Jono, you brought up a good point about trying out lenses at the dealer. I used to do this when my lively hood depended on it and found differences in quality then. Sometimes, you find a bargain made by XXX manufacturer as well. I bought a Sigma 70-210 zoom for $199 many years ago to use when I went fishing. It was at a low enough price that I would not risk life and limb to save it. But it turned out to be a very good lens! So it shows that you don't have to pay through the nose all the time, just most of the time!
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Quote Originally Posted by atanabe View Post
    I bought a Sigma 70-210 zoom for $199 many years ago to use when I went fishing. It was at a low enough price that I would not risk life and limb to save it. But it turned out to be a very good lens! So it shows that you don't have to pay through the nose all the time, just most of the time!
    Quite right - I'm no lens snob - like many other full frame people I'm using the cheap, light, excellent sigma 12-24 instead of a much more expensive Sony/Nikon equivalent.

    Use what works, not what costs! It's just that miracles are hard to come by

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    I am in the process of acquiring a 24-70 to complement the 70-200 I just picked up from the same source. In the meantime, a friend of mine was rummaging through his closet and found a pristine Nikkor 28-80 f/3.3-5.6 G which I am currently sporting as a walkabout lens. Not very fast but takes a decent enough shot.

    Carlos Echenique | Carlos Echenique Photography |Olympus OM-D E-M1 MK II | Olympus Pen-F - M.Zuiko 17mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 25mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 45mm f/1.8, Rokinon 12mm f/2 NCS, M.Zuiko 75mm f/1.8, M.Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8 PRO, M.Zuiko 40-150mm f/2.8 PRO

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Carlos,
    That 28-80 has a nice look to it. Impressive how a lens that costs less used than a Leica UV/IR filter can render so nicely.
    Jono, I shot the 24-70 and the 24-120 at my local camera store today and started to pixel peep the results at home. Yes, the 24-70 has great detail and pop but unless I start to routinely print 16x20, doubt that I will really gain that much. I may save some money here and get the 24-120 as this would be my secondary camera in this focal length, the primary being the M8. Take the savings from that lens and apply it to an 18mm for the M8.

    Thanks again for all of your opinions and suggestions.

    Regards,
    Al
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    The 28-105 f3.5-4.5 has always been rated. maqy be worth considering if you live without 24mm.
    I've also heard good things about the 24-85 f3.5-4.5 some say it's better than the f2.8-4 but both my options are discontinued but still around.
    Bjorns always good to look at for nikon lens reviews
    http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html
    David

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    I'm trying out the Sigma today btw., on a D700. Borrowed camera and borrowed lens, from different sources and no time to try them out, so this will be interesting
    There are two versions of Sigma's 24-70/2.8 - the revised model shipped in the last few months. It's also significantly more expensive (so it better be good).
    Monochrome: http://mochro.com

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Have you considered the Nikon 28-70mm f2.8? Even though it is out of production, many mint examples are available.

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    I am open to all lenses Tamron, Sigma, Nikon, my main goal is to be portable. Now the 28-70 and 24-70 are at the top of the pyramid when it comes to image quality out of a zoom but in a very large package. I would like to keep the physical size down for two reasons, fatigue and intimidation. If the camera/lens combo is so large and heavy that you dread carrying it for extended times then it sits in a bag. If the camera/lens combo is so large that women and children run and hide, then it becomes a liability. I think the nickname for the 28-70 was "The Beast". So as with everything in life there is a balance between form and function, will I give up some image quality for portability? Yes, in a heart beat because if I don't carry a camera, I couldn't take the picture. This is why they make different cameras for different situations, Leica M8 & 28 Cron for everyday, Hassey CFV for still life and high detail work and now the D700 & ?? for walk around medium and long lens and high ISO. Now if the M8 had great high ISO and I could use it with longer focal lengths then this would be a moot exercise.

    Thanks!
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    I haven't used the 24-120 but at one time I owned both the Nikon AF 28-105/3.5-4.5 and AF-S 24-70/2.8 for use on the D700. The 24-70 is a fantastic performer but large and heavy. The 28-105 was plenty sharp for my purposes (people photography) and has impressively low distortion. Eventually I sold it because the bokeh rendering was not to my taste. In fact, bokeh was the main reason I preferred the 24-70 to the 28-105.

    I now use only primes with the D700, but if I were going to try another standard zoom, it would be the Tamron 28-75. I've seen many wonderful photos made with that lens on full frame.
    -Amin Sabet

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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Quote Originally Posted by Mango View Post
    Have you considered the Nikon 28-70mm f2.8? Even though it is out of production, many mint examples are available.
    I own this lens and use it often on the D700. It's become one of my favorites, and I'd highly recommend it!

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    Senior Member atanabe's Avatar
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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Thanks for all of your replies. After playing with several options, 24-85 AF-S (like looking through a funhouse mirror) pincushion to barrel distortion. The 24-120 VR AF-S and the 24-85 AF-D macro are viable but not desirable. I know I would be supremely happy with the optical performance on the 24-70 or 28-70 AF-S zooms, but after looking at the options my just get a 50 1.4 AF-S and carry the M8 with the 28 Cron for everyday. The weight of the 24-70 or the 28-70 is more than the M8 alone.

    Once again, thank you!
    Al Tanabe my website https://www.altanabe.com

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Al Thats a good option. I have been using a 28/2 zeiss on a d700 and the 50/2 zf on my D3....its a sweet combination. The D3 is too big but its better for sports with the longer lenses. I don t find the D700 and a wide/normal prime as much different from the M8.

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Re: Lens Advice: 24-120 vs 24-70

    Wise move, Al. The AF-S 1.4/50 G is surprisingly sharp even wide open and it only weighs 280 g.

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