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View Full Version : My comparison: 35-70 f/2.8 vs 28-70 f/2.8



Turo
10-26-2008, 04:20 PM
Up until this past weekend, my "walkaround" lens has been the Nikkor 35-70 f/2.8. This is a GREAT lens for the price, fast and sharp for very cheap (since it has been upgraded twice already, in the 28-70 and now the 24-70, it can be had for about ~$350 USD if you look around). I recently stumbled upon a great deal on a used 28-70 f/2.8 AF-S ($800 USD), so I decided to go ahead and purchase it and see how it stacks up against my 35-70 in hopes to help anyone debating a purchase of one of these lenses (because of the hefty price of the 24-70 f/2.8).

All images are 100% crops of the center of the original shot (except the last test, which is of the upper right corner). All shots were done with my D50 in fully manual mode, iso 200, on a tripod, with constant light (no flash), no filters.

First test at 35mm, f/2.8 (first image is the 35-70, second is the 28-70):
http://ww2.cs.fsu.edu/~donate/public/test/B_28_35.jpg

http://ww2.cs.fsu.edu/~donate/public/test/A_28_35.jpg

Second test at 70mm, f/2.8 (first image is the 35-70, second is the 28-70):
http://ww2.cs.fsu.edu/~donate/public/test/B_28_70.jpg

http://ww2.cs.fsu.edu/~donate/public/test/A_28_70.jpg

Third test at 50mm, f/11 (first image is the 35-70, second is the 28-70):
http://ww2.cs.fsu.edu/~donate/public/test/B_11_50.jpg

http://ww2.cs.fsu.edu/~donate/public/test/A_11_50.jpg

Fourth and final test at 70mm, f/11. Unlike the other tests, this one is a crop of the corner of the image rather than the center. (first image is the 35-70, second is the 28-70):
http://ww2.cs.fsu.edu/~donate/public/test/B_11_70.jpg

http://ww2.cs.fsu.edu/~donate/public/test/A_11_70.jpg

My conclusion: The 35-70 is a GREAT lens for anyone on a budget (for those with an in-camera focus motor). It even has a "macro mode" where it allows very close focus distances with razor thin focal length. But if you can afford the 28-70, there is no reason not to go for it. The focus is MUCH faster and MUCH quieter (thank you, silent wave motors!), it accepts 77mm filters (popular size), is a bit sharper in the center, and is MUCH sharper in the corners (from what I can see). Of course, I am sure the 24-70 is even better, but I can't afford that one so I'll leave that comparison for someone else. :)

Summary:

35-70:
pro's: sharp, fast, cheaper than 28-70 and 24-70, macro mode
cons: push-pull zoom, a bit heavy

28-70:
pro's: sharper (especially in corners), faster and quieter focusing, AF-S, cheaper than 24-70
cons: heavier than 35-70, no macro mode, more expensive than 35-70


Just thought I'd share! :cool:

rawpaw18
10-26-2008, 04:38 PM
Thanks for the study, was thinking about a used 28-70 since the new 24 70 came out.
At half the price! Then maybe just add a WA in for good measure.

dr4gon
10-26-2008, 05:06 PM
lol, you've made math so interesting! :D

Rooz
10-26-2008, 05:45 PM
great comparison, thanks for taking the time. :)

eddie_dane
10-26-2008, 05:57 PM
I have the 35-70 and was considering the 24-70, this is very valuable information to me. Thanks!!!

Visual Reality
10-26-2008, 07:07 PM
Was the accuracy of the focus tested to verify they were indeed focusing the same? One could be just a little bit off and make the lens seem "soft". Just a variable we need to account for.

Otherwise, obviously a big difference, good to know.

eddie_dane
10-26-2008, 07:12 PM
after some research, looks like you got a really good deal at $800. You did the right thing snatching that up.

Turo
10-26-2008, 08:22 PM
Thanks for the study, was thinking about a used 28-70 since the new 24 70 came out.
At half the price! Then maybe just add a WA in for good measure.

Search around on photography message boards, you can find some good deals if you have the patience. There's always ebay also.


lol, you've made math so interesting! :D

Its always been interesting! :D


great comparison, thanks for taking the time. :)

No problem! When I stumbled upon the 28-70 for that price, I tried to find a similar comparison but was unable to find anything. So I figured I'd help others out with this, while at the same time testing to see if I made a good purchase or not. :)


I have the 35-70 and was considering the 24-70, this is very valuable information to me. Thanks!!!

Glad I could help! From what I read, the 24-70 is supposed to be sharper still, with slightly better colors.


Was the accuracy of the focus tested to verify they were indeed focusing the same? One could be just a little bit off and make the lens seem "soft". Just a variable we need to account for.

Otherwise, obviously a big difference, good to know.

That was my first though when I did the last test. But I re-did the test several times, using autofocus and trying to refine the focus manually, but the results for the 35-70 never improved. I posted this thread on another forum and one person replied saying I may have had a bad copy of the 35-70 because he had both and saw improvements with the 28 over the 35, but not quite this large. So that could be one possibility, because I bought both of them used.


after some research, looks like you got a really good deal at $800. You did the right thing snatching that up.

Average going price is ~$900 so yes, I did get a good price on it. That's why I jumped on it, because I knew if I didn't like it that I could sell it and not lose any money. But in fact I love it so much that it will be replacing both my 35-70 as well as my 50 1.8.

eddie_dane
10-27-2008, 05:46 AM
I'm seeing one's in good condition on KEH for upwards of $1200!

Turo
10-27-2008, 09:51 AM
Keep an eye out on photography message boards such as nikonians.org and fredmiranda.com. Every now and then you can find some great deals there, but you will have to be patient. There is also ebay (if you don't mind using it), average price there is about ~950 to 1000 USD.

Classic96
10-27-2008, 01:02 PM
I picked one up for $900 several months ago and I couldn't be happier. Its the only lens I own right now even though I'd like a little more on the wide end for my DX body.