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Thread: 24-70mm v 50mm

  1. #1
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    24-70mm v 50mm

    So I had a little spare time on my hands yesterday (understatement) and started taking some shots with my 24-70 (set at 50mm) and the 50mm.

    First of all, the 50mm wide open (f1.8) is soft. We probably knew that. Doesnt really get sharp until around 2.8.

    However, what surprised me was that the 50mm was sharper and had better contrast than the 24-70mm from 2.8 to f5.6. This was far from a proper
    test, but SOOC, at 100% the 50mm beat the 24-70!

    I also saw an article about primes versus an all rounder (the 24-70) and it was
    a D700 with a 20mm, 35mm, 50mm and a 85mm I think.
    They thought the primes were better optically. I thought the 24-70 would have probably won that contest too!

    Admittedly you have the convenience of never taking the lens off and not
    carrying around all the other primes, but for such an expensive zoom lens
    I think I was surprised. I havent tested against other primes (dont own any
    anymore!), so cant confirm that article.

    Just an observation and wondering what you guys think.

    Cheers
    Nikon D700
    Sigma 70-200 F2.8
    Sigma 85mm F1.4
    Sigma 15-30 F3.5 - 4.5



    http://www.philipduartephotography.com

    "It's better to be hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie"

  2. #2
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    The 14-24 will best the 20mm prime but then its primes all the way in terms of IQ.
    _______________
    Nikon D3, D300, F-100, 10.5 Fisheye, 35 f/1.4, 50 f/1.4, 85 f/1.4, Zeiss 100 f/2, 105 f/2.5, 200 f/4 Micro, 200 f/2 VR, 300 f/2.8 AF-S II, 24-70 f/2.8, 70-200 f/2.8, SU-800, SB-900, 4xSB-800, 1.4x and 1.7x TC
    (2) Profoto Acute 2400 packs w/4 heads, Chimera Boxes

  3. #3
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    Even though the 24-70 is so expensive, I do not find it surprising that primes can beat it since primes are a lot less complex to design.

    Having said that, personally I was never that impressed with the sharpness of the 50 f/1.8. I only use it wide open, though, so that's probably why. I have never felt that the 17-70 is lacking in sharpness (not on a 6mp camera, anyway), especially beyond 24mm, so I never put the 50 on my camera unless I need 1.8. Now that I have the 35, I hardly put the 50 on the camera at all, because the 35 is so much sharper wide open and the focal length is much more convenient for my purposes.

    To compare only the sharpness will not give a complete view, obviously. Just compare focus speed, bokeh when stopped down (especially when comparing it with the 50 f/1.8), build quality, versatility and the wow-factor, and you'll see why you paid so much for the lens.
    Nikon D-50
    // Nikkor 70-300 f/4-5.6 VR // Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8
    // Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 ...// Nikon SB-600
    // Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6......// Nikon Series E 135 mm f/2.8
    // Kiron 105 f/2.8 Macro....// Manfrotto 190XPROB + 488RC4
    // Nikkor 35 f/1.8..........// Sigma 500 mm f/8

    My website: http://www.dennisdolkens.nl

  4. #4
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    I always thought primes were supposed to be sharper than zooms at the same focal length and aperture.
    Nikon D90, D40 Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 | Sigma 50-150mm f/2.8 | Nikkor 35mm f/1.8
    Vertical Grip, SB-600, SB-24, Sunpak 433D, Metz 40AF-4N, Alienbees CyberSync Triggers

    R3G Media | Flickr

    "You're pulling some awesome action shots with a cam and lens that are supposed to be rubbish ! " - Rooz

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Prospero View Post
    Even though the 24-70 is so expensive, I do not find it surprising that primes can beat it since primes are a lot less complex to design.

    Having said that, personally I was never that impressed with the sharpness of the 50 f/1.8. I only use it wide open, though, so that's probably why. I have never felt that the 17-70 is lacking in sharpness (not on a 6mp camera, anyway), especially beyond 24mm, so I never put the 50 on my camera unless I need 1.8. Now that I have the 35, I hardly put the 50 on the camera at all, because the 35 is so much sharper wide open and the focal length is much more convenient for my purposes.

    To compare only the sharpness will not give a complete view, obviously. Just compare focus speed, bokeh when stopped down (especially when comparing it with the 50 f/1.8), build quality, versatility and the wow-factor, and you'll see why you paid so much for the lens.
    You are spot on with the 50mm being soft wide open. I thought it was camera shake at one point...

    And you are right regarding the rest of the criteria. The bokeh is beautiful on the 24-70 and focus speed lightning fast. It is heavy though which is why the 50mm on my camera is quite appealing!

    Quote Originally Posted by r3g View Post
    I always thought primes were supposed to be sharper than zooms at the same focal length and aperture.
    Yes they usually are, but I had heard differently for this lens. I am by no means a pixel peeper, and yesterday was the first time I actually bothered to check!
    Nikon D700
    Sigma 70-200 F2.8
    Sigma 85mm F1.4
    Sigma 15-30 F3.5 - 4.5



    http://www.philipduartephotography.com

    "It's better to be hurt by the truth than comforted by a lie"

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by herc182 View Post
    You are spot on with the 50mm being soft wide open. I thought it was camera shake at one point...

    And you are right regarding the rest of the criteria. The bokeh is beautiful on the 24-70 and focus speed lightning fast. It is heavy though which is why the 50mm on my camera is quite appealing!



    Yes they usually are, but I had heard differently for this lens. I am by no means a pixel peeper, and yesterday was the first time I actually bothered to check!
    Yeah, the 50/1.8 is really soft wide open. Too much coma at f/1/8. In fact its next to impossible to get a tack sharp image wide open. It gets much better however at f/2, and is deadly sharp at f/2.8.

    I have found shooting at f/2 gives much more acceptable results and the depth of field difference is hardly field relevant.

    Regarding the 24-70 I hear its great, has very sharp photos, is a wedding photographers dream, yada, yada, yada but it doesn't surprise me that a fast prime stopped down to f/2.8 beats it.
    Nikon D300 | MB-D10 | Nikkor 12-24/4 | Nikkor 50/1.8 | Nikkor 70-200/2.8 VRI | Sigma 18-50/2.8 | SB-800 | SB-80DX (x4) | Radiopopper JrX Studio |

  7. #7
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    This thread is a set up for Rooz to come in and rave about all his expensive fast primes isn't it. :-)

  8. #8
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    Hmmm, that's odd. I thought the 24-70 was supposed to be pretty darn sharp.
    Months back I was talking gear with Joe McNally over here in Charleston and he pointed out that the lens was one of his favorites for its sharpness. He raved more about the 14-24, but the 24-70 still got plenty of time in our discussion.
    I guess when I get one I'll test a couple out just in case there's sample variation.
    US Navy--Hooyah!

    Nikon D700/D300|17-35 f/2.8, 24-70 f/2.8, Sigmalux, 80-200 f/2.8, 16 f/2.8 fisheye,

    Lots of flashes and Honl gear.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by TheObiJuan View Post
    Hmmm, that's odd. I thought the 24-70 was supposed to be pretty darn sharp.
    Months back I was talking gear with Joe McNally over here in Charleston and he pointed out that the lens was one of his favorites for its sharpness. He raved more about the 14-24, but the 24-70 still got plenty of time in our discussion.
    I guess when I get one I'll test a couple out just in case there's sample variation.
    The 24-70 is a great lens as zooms go and other than the 14-24 I don't know of any zoom that can match IQ with good primes. That said, I've yet to take a photo with the 24-70 and then think to myself how much better the image would have looked had I shot it with a prime.
    _______________
    Nikon D3, D300, F-100, 10.5 Fisheye, 35 f/1.4, 50 f/1.4, 85 f/1.4, Zeiss 100 f/2, 105 f/2.5, 200 f/4 Micro, 200 f/2 VR, 300 f/2.8 AF-S II, 24-70 f/2.8, 70-200 f/2.8, SU-800, SB-900, 4xSB-800, 1.4x and 1.7x TC
    (2) Profoto Acute 2400 packs w/4 heads, Chimera Boxes

  10. #10
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    I did a comparison back when I bought my 24-70 between it, the 50mm 1.8, and the 50mm 1.4D (not the G). On my D700, I found that at 2.8, the 1.4D was sharpest, closely followed by the 1.8, then the big zoom trailing both primes. At f/4 however, my copy of the 24-70 had a slight advantage over both primes, and by f/8 the zoom was significantly sharper.

    I think I have all the test images in my computer still, if I find them I'll post them.

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