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View Full Version : Lens Question 17-35 vs 24-70



eddie_dane
10-20-2008, 07:42 AM
Hey guys, I've got myself into a bit of over analysis concerning my new setup. Currently, I have the D200 & D50 bodies. Lens-wise I have the Sigma 70-200 f2.8, Nikkor 50 f1.8, Nikkor 35-70 f2.8, Nikkor 12-24 f4,Tamron 28-75 f2.8. I do a lot of event photography, mainly concerts. The venue always wants to have overall shots of the venue which is where I use my 12-24, usually with a tripod. During the concerts, I generally use my Tamron 28-75 and Nikkor 50.

Here's my problem. I'm buying a new kit which includes a new D700. I HAD planned on purchasing a used Nikkor 20-35 f2.8 but they all got gobbled up online in the span of about 2 weeks. I've been looking at the 24-70 and the 17-35 but budget limits me to one or the other right now. I already have two midrange lenses but not sure how well either is going to perform on the D700. Plus, there's the whole "why get a D700 if you are going to use discount glass" argument. Not that the 35-70 is shabby, just a little old and I'm not sure how fast it will focus with moving subjects in the dark.

Should I use my existing midrange lenses and get a quality wide in the 17-35 or get the 24-70 and sell my existing ones?

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Rooz
10-20-2008, 02:43 PM
eddie, my take on the 17-35 is that on a d700 its your WA lens, the 24-70 is your regular walkaround. i tested the 17-35 extensiely cos i'm going to FX next year and both the 24-70 and 14-24 blow it out of the water in everything from AF speed to resolution to handling.

so my view is...unless budget is a real constraint, leave the 17-35 and pick either the ultrawide 14-24 or the walkaround 24-70.

btw, thats not to say the 17-35 is a slouch, its not. great lens. but compared to these two new ones whch ae easily the 2 best zooms on the market bar none inthat range, its not in the same ballpark.

erichlund
10-20-2008, 02:46 PM
The 17-35 is an outstanding lens, and probably the better choice here. Your current f2.8 lenses will continue to give good service, though you will lose the crop boost to the focal range. You may find yourself using the 70-200 more than you used to, especially if you were using the long end a lot on the Tamron.

None of this is to say that the 24-70 is not a good lens. It's just that you already have two in that range, and the 12-24 will only work in a small part of it's range (18-24, I think) on the D700, so that's the thing most begging for replacement.

Of course, that's just my opinion. If you are OK with the lesser range on the 12-24, then you should probably give both a rent and see which is more useful.

Rooz
10-20-2008, 02:56 PM
you will also lose half resoultion on the 12-24 cos you will have to shoot in cropped DX mode. sell it while you can cos in 12-18months the value of this kind of DX lens will drop by 30-40% imo.

eddie_dane
10-20-2008, 04:33 PM
Rooz, I really appreciate your input. I agree with you about the role of the 17-35. WA is the largest hole in my lineup. While I love the 14-24, I find it a little extreme, mainly from the filter standpoint and the range is a little more on the wide end than I normally deal with.

Since I have the two lenses in the mid-range I'm leaning toward a wide lens.

eric, I hear what you are saying about using the 70-200 more than I do now. With FF, it won't be as tele as I am accustomed to. It's funny you bring that up too because my original agenda was to sell my Sigma 70-200 and replace it with the nikkor version. What's keeping the Sigma with me (for now) is that I already have the 1.4x teleconverter and to replace the whole setup with nikkor stuff pushes my budget out.

I guess that's where my disorientation lies, it's hard to anticipate how the focal ranges are going to change. I can do the math but I'm such a visual thinker, I need to see it.

BTW. I am keeping the 12-24 for now to use on my D200 which will be my backup. I'm really not considering using DX lenses on the D700 (corrected). I think you are right, if I do go with the 17-35 or 14-24 and it turns out the right decision, I will probably get rid of it.

I do like the abilty to switch to the D200 for extra reach when I need it but it will start making some of my kit redundant.

Visual Reality
10-20-2008, 04:43 PM
I guess that's where my disorientation lies, it's hard to anticipate how the focal ranges are going to change. I can do the math but I'm such a visual thinker, I need to see it.
Here you go:

http://www.tamron.com/lenses/learning_center/tools/focal-length-comparison.php

erichlund
10-20-2008, 11:35 PM
I believe you can override the cropped mode on the FX cameras. The 12-24 gives full coverage from 18-24mm, IIRC, so in that range, it can be used as an FX lens. Still, sounds like a PITA to make it work.

I was surprised that the 17-35 was only a little less than the new 14-24. I would have expected a bigger gap. I guess the ability to use filters counts for something.

Rooz
10-21-2008, 01:35 AM
I believe you can override the cropped mode on the FX cameras.

where did you see that cos i didnt think that was possible ? i'm interested.
is it only with the 12-24 or ny DX lens ?

rawpaw18
10-21-2008, 04:02 AM
I Think I read that somewhere too, we have a couple owners that may chime in.

rawpaw18
10-21-2008, 04:23 AM
This was from page 4 of DPReviews review of the D700, this is what I remember reading.

If you attach a DX format lens a box appears in the viewfinder to indicate the cropped area (rather than the grey mask used on the D3). Optionally you can also manually select the shooting format (FX: 36 x 24 mm or DX: 24 x 16 mm - the 5:4 format has been dropped from the D700). Since the speed advantage of the DX crop format has been lost there seems little point using it unless you're actually using DX lenses.

erichlund
10-21-2008, 10:14 AM
where did you see that cos i didnt think that was possible ? i'm interested.
is it only with the 12-24 or ny DX lens ?

Under the image area menu, you can turn Auto DX off, then select the image area you want to use. Page 58 of the D700 manual. RTFM :p

Classic96
10-21-2008, 10:56 AM
Don't forget about the older, but still great quality Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8. They are going for pretty cheap used these days.

eddie_dane
10-21-2008, 11:43 AM
Don't forget about the older, but still great quality Nikon 28-70mm f/2.8. They are going for pretty cheap used these days.

That really is a great lens but it could only help me if I sell my current two mid-range lenses and replaced it with that and I would still have a significant hole at the wide end.

Classic96
10-21-2008, 01:28 PM
Sorry I must have misunderstood. I thought you were considering the 24-70 already which is why I mentioned the 28-70. My mistake.

eddie_dane
10-21-2008, 02:03 PM
Actually, I was but as this discussion evolved, I determined that I needed to address the wide end more than the middle. You give me something to think about.

What I will probably do is:

Get the 17-35 now.

Sell my 12-24DX and Sigma 70-200 and get the nikkor 70-200 (I was really hoping nikon was going to announce a replacement so I could get a bargain but I guess not)

Then down the line, perhaps sell my two mid-ranges and get a solid/newer one like the 28-70 or the 24-70 depending on funds at hand.

LR Max
10-21-2008, 02:27 PM
I have and use a 17-35 on a regular basis. Now I am using it on crop sensor cameras but its fine.

I find myself at wide angle a lot and this lens is excellent. If you are looking for an FX wide angle, it is a great piece of equipment. This lens is always attached to my D300.

On the other hand, for 500 bucks more than the 17-35 you could have the 14-24. Now that lens is ABSOLUTELY AWESOME. That is, if you are looking for a wide angle.

I also have a 35-70. In reality, I don't use the mid-range a lot but it is nice to have it. In low light the focus isn't "as fast" but it isn't bad. The focus has more to do with the on-board stuff than the lens itself. I had some focusing problems last night while taking a photo of the cat. That is the first time the 35-70 has "hunted" for focus. Even still it was extremely fast and not too much of a problem.

I used my 35-70 lens recently at the Buck Cherry concert. Shinedown and someone else opened for him. The 35-70 was all I ever used while I was in the pit. The 17-35 rolled around in the camera bag. No focus problems during the concert, it just worked.

The macro on the 35-70 isn't too shabby. I sold my macro lens about 6 months ago and last week I finally needed macro capability. The 35-70 is somewhat macro capable and it did the job.

For 300 bucks, why not have a 35-70? Sounds like you are getting pretty serious about photography. If nothing else, the 35-70 is a cheap, lightweight backup.

Rooz
10-21-2008, 03:28 PM
Under the image area menu, you can turn Auto DX off, then select the image area you want to use. Page 58 of the D700 manual. RTFM :p

i dont have it yet so i cant read the manual ! lol
i still dont really understand this to be honest. if the image circle of a DX lens is smaller, how can an FX camera use it in full res ?

zqfmbg
10-21-2008, 03:52 PM
i dont have it yet so i cant read the manual ! lol
i still dont really understand this to be honest. if the image circle of a DX lens is smaller, how can an FX camera use it in full res ?

It can't. You'll end up with dark regions in the FX image where light wasn't projected.

Rooz
10-21-2008, 04:03 PM
thats what i thought. just wondering what eric/ Rich are talking about then. i assumed you lose 50% of the image due to that circle, (whether its projected in the VF or not), so whats the point ? dont get me wrong, i think its awesome you can still use a DX lens on an FX camera, but i'm sure you must lose the majority of the image you see in the VF.

erichlund
10-21-2008, 04:46 PM
The 12-24 is one of several DX type lenses that project a full size (ie. FX) image circle in part of their focal range. In the case of the 12-24, I recall this to be 18-24mm. So, yes, you can. I will leave it up to the reader to do the research on this. I have seen it written several times, but not for some time now, so I don't really know where the references are. I suspect that if you go to the Nikonians site and look up the old super wide comparison article, you will find the information in there. I do recall mention of some film users using the 12-24 as a poor man's ultra wide on their F-whatevers (If you can define a $900 [US] lens as "poor man's".)

As for the manual, you can download it from the Nikon USA site. Perhaps your regional site as well. I certainly don't own the camera. Without a serial number, you can only download a non-printing copy.

erichlund
10-21-2008, 04:59 PM
OK, I looked up the Nikonians article: they claim minimum vignetting:

"... Because this lens has a “DX” design, the image circle is too small to cover the frame on a 35mm body at all focal lengths, but you’ll get minimal vignetting at 18-24mm on a 35mm body."

Somewhere else I've seen more evidence, but I don't recall where.

erichlund
10-21-2008, 05:02 PM
And, from Thom Hogan:

"But wait, there's more. At 24mm, this lens may be as sharp as the 24mm f/2.8 Nikkor, which I think is one of the sharpest wide angles Nikon has made. Even at 20mm it rivals the 20mm f/2.8 Nikkor in almost every performance aspect. Wow!

That "wow!" is even more interesting in that the 12-24mm can be used on a 35mm body from about 18-24mm. At 18mm there is a clear light falloff at the corners, but at 24mm this is no worse than the 24mm f/2.8 Nikkor at the same apertures. In short, if you shoot with an APS-sized sensor and a full-frame sensor as I do (D100 and Pro 14n when I wrote this article), you can leave the 17-35mm or fixed wide angle primes at home.
"

erichlund
10-21-2008, 05:07 PM
From Bjorn Rorslett:

"However, the 12-24 DX can be mounted on any camera with an "F" bayonet, and indeed will illuminate the entire frame of 24 x 36 mm of my F5 when the focusing control is set between 16 and 24 mm. Any wider than this with a full-frame camera and you'll get dark corners, very large and dark by 12 mm in fact."

Shall I continue?

eddie_dane
10-21-2008, 06:49 PM
I have and use a 17-35 on a regular basis. Now I am using it on crop sensor cameras but its fine.

I find myself at wide angle a lot and this lens is excellent. If you are looking for an FX wide angle, it is a great piece of equipment. This lens is always attached to my D300.

On the other hand, for 500 bucks more than the 17-35 you could have the 14-24. Now that lens is ABSOLUTELY AWESOME. That is, if you are looking for a wide angle.

I also have a 35-70. In reality, I don't use the mid-range a lot but it is nice to have it. In low light the focus isn't "as fast" but it isn't bad. The focus has more to do with the on-board stuff than the lens itself. I had some focusing problems last night while taking a photo of the cat. That is the first time the 35-70 has "hunted" for focus. Even still it was extremely fast and not too much of a problem.

I used my 35-70 lens recently at the Buck Cherry concert. Shinedown and someone else opened for him. The 35-70 was all I ever used while I was in the pit. The 17-35 rolled around in the camera bag. No focus problems during the concert, it just worked.

The macro on the 35-70 isn't too shabby. I sold my macro lens about 6 months ago and last week I finally needed macro capability. The 35-70 is somewhat macro capable and it did the job.

For 300 bucks, why not have a 35-70? Sounds like you are getting pretty serious about photography. If nothing else, the 35-70 is a cheap, lightweight backup.

That's so strange. I worked the same show in Clemson, SC LOL. I tend to use my tamron 28-75 for the shows because it goes a little more wide. I got the 35-70 for a steal. Once I get the D700 in my hands and can test each lens, I will probably ditch one or the other. I suspect I will probably keep the nikkor just from a build quality standpoint.

eddie_dane
10-21-2008, 08:44 PM
Ok, after doing some research and reading your feedback, I'm looking at the 14-24 and with a decent filter on the 17-35 (I'm a compulsive uv/clear filter user) I can get the 14-24 lens but I'm not really into ultra-wide and that front element scares the hell out of me and working at rock concerts, hitting that element on something hard and metal is realistic.

The sharpness to edges stepped down really intrigues me, it really seems to be a monumental lens.

Set aside the focal range, the 17-35 seems to be more of a "working" lens and the 14-24 seem to be a more artistic lens for lack of a better term.

eddie_dane
10-23-2008, 05:51 AM
Well, I did it. I pulled the trigger and just ordered the D700, 17-35 and (much to my surprise) the 70-200 VR. The wife said "we'll just make that your Christmas"

!!!

Of course that was after I told her that I would be selling my 12-24 f4 and Sigma 70-200 and 1.4x teleconverter (and now maybe my 18-200 VR) so it's almost a wash.

Thanks for all your input, I really appreciated it.

Rooz
10-23-2008, 02:44 PM
you are gonna freak out at the IQ you are about to achieve. congrats. :)
now you can try out the 12-24 and tell me wht the hell that DX on FX thing is all about !

eddie_dane
10-23-2008, 05:32 PM
you are gonna freak out at the IQ you are about to achieve. congrats. :)
now you can try out the 12-24 and tell me wht the hell that DX on FX thing is all about !

LOL, yeah, I'm dying to try that out. I'll let you know what I find, maybe some actual test shots are in order.

eddie_dane
10-30-2008, 05:30 AM
you are gonna freak out at the IQ you are about to achieve. congrats. :)
now you can try out the 12-24 and tell me wht the hell that DX on FX thing is all about !

Well slap me down! I turned off the autocropping and mounted the 12-24 and it does work! Like it was mentioned before, it has heavy vignetting at 12mm (you can see the full circle) by around 18-20mm it goes away and higher than that, you have the full FX screen covered. I don't think this lens is particularly useful on the FX sensor but it is good to know that in around half of your focal range you can more than double your resolution. I was testing this in my house at night so I have no idea how good the resolution/sharpness is. I'll try to do some tests in daylight here soon.

BTW, the 17-35 is pretty incredible. I can see this being the lens that stays on my D700 most of the time. I didn't really consider myself a wide-shooter but I find myself shooting at 17mm all the time now.

Now to learn the menu system on the D700, it's a little overwhelming compared to the D200. It took me about 30 minutes to find the auto-iso setting where on the D200 I could get to in in seconds.

erichlund
10-30-2008, 08:05 AM
Well slap me down! I turned off the autocropping and mounted the 12-24 and it does work! Like it was mentioned before, it has heavy vignetting at 12mm (you can see the full circle) by around 18-20mm it goes away and higher than that, you have the full FX screen covered. I don't think this lens is particularly useful on the FX sensor but it is good to know that in around half of your focal range you can more than double your resolution. ... snip

BTW, the 17-35 is pretty incredible. I can see this being the lens that stays on my D700 most of the time. I didn't really consider myself a wide-shooter but I find myself shooting at 17mm all the time now.

snip

I'm not sure what you mean by doubling your resolution. On DX the 12-24 is equivalent to an 18-36mm. On FX, using the useable range, it's an 18-24. Still, if you have the 17-35, then the 12-24 is not much use to you.

As far as the 17-35, yeah, I've heard nothing but good about it. It's nice to get pro quality glass out front. It opens up your eyes a bit when you realize how much easier it is to get a good photo with good glass.

eddie_dane
10-30-2008, 09:26 AM
I just meant that at 18-24, where it doesn't vignette on the full FX sensor, you can shoot at 12mp as opposed to the standard DX crop of 5mp. You are right, for me it's moot since I now have the 17-35.

erichlund
10-30-2008, 10:18 AM
OK, I was just being a little thick. I really shouldn't interact with humans before I have my breakfast. ;-)

e_dawg
11-03-2008, 02:56 AM
btw, thats not to say the 17-35 is a slouch, its not. great lens. but compared to these two new ones whch ae easily the 2 best zooms on the market bar none inthat range, its not in the same ballpark.

... except if the ballpark requires using filters, in which case the 14-24 has a handicap of sorts. Some people use filters with their WA lenses; it's a big problem if you can't use a filter when the situation calls for one.

I assume you're referring to them being easily the best zooms on the market for Nikon-mount... Olympus' 7-14 is definitely in the same ball park as the Nikkor 14-24, and Sony's Carl Zeiss 24-70 is as good as or better than Nikon's. Sony also has a Zeiss 16-35/2.8 coming down the pipe in a couple months.

Rooz
11-03-2008, 03:18 AM
olympus and sony ? do they still make dslr ? ha...go figure.

tcadwall
11-05-2008, 09:10 AM
I know this thread has died down, but I just got my rental gear in from lensrentals.com... yesterday.

D3, D300
17-55mm f/2.8 (Likely stay on for D300)
24-70mm f/2.8
70-200mm f/2.8
105mm f/2.8

I will also have around (likely not on neck) my D70s with 50mm f/1.8

Just wanted to mention this in light of the thread, and the mention of being visual, and apparently also having a chance to shoot with... This might be a great way to try a couple out.

Rooz
11-05-2008, 02:09 PM
the 17-35 has now officialy been discontinued btw. there is quite the cult following for that lens so who knows what that could do to the price.

VTEC_EATER
11-05-2008, 03:24 PM
Ehh, I hear the 17-35's SWM is a piece of crap. Often seizes, and breaks. Not cheap to fix either.

Nice lens otherwise.

eddie_dane
11-05-2008, 06:20 PM
well I just got mine but, so far, I'm very impressed. It was the workhorse of photojournalism for years. I don't regret it at all, it's the lens I use most so far on my d700. I think it fits my needs more than the 14-24 or 24-70 that I was debating.

Rooz
11-05-2008, 06:42 PM
Ehh, I hear the 17-35's SWM is a piece of crap. Often seizes, and breaks. Not cheap to fix either.

Nice lens otherwise.


It was the workhorse of photojournalism for years.

lol i was about to say the same thing. often siezes and breaks ? i think not. that lens is one of the most used PJ lens in the world under the worst conditions.

XaiLo
11-06-2008, 05:01 AM
eddie_dane, congrats on the new equipment and happy holidays :)

eddie_dane
11-06-2008, 05:29 AM
thanks XaiLo