Smoking gun on 2.8 zooms?

Started 11 months ago | Discussions thread
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philip23
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Smoking gun on 2.8 zooms?
11 months ago

I have 35mm DX, 18-105mm DX, 55-300mm DX. I'm contemplating investing a lot more money in the hobby in the future. I want the 70-200mm f/2.8 or f/4 first, I might do the f/4 for weight reasons, to replace my 55-300. Then if I can swing it I was thinking of the 24-70mm/2.8 to replace my 18-105.  Then some distant day the 14-24mm.  This is maybe a 6 year project to get these 3 lenses, but still something to shoot for.  Or is it?

Before plunking down that much, I come back to the 18-300, which I don't have, it covers most of the range of all 3. I know absolutely it's an inferior lens, I compared the 18-300 and 70-200 on dxomark and I see the 70-200 wins across the board, by a lot.

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Lenses/Compare-Camera-Lenses/Compare-lenses/(lens1)/406/(lens2)/970/(brand1)/Nikkor/(camera1)/680/(brand2)/Nikkor/(camera2)/680

But still I'm looking for the smoking gun that says the 2.8 zooms are worth the price, that I'd be unhappy with the super zoom. Sample images or something, the specs and ratings just tell me someone can see the differences, but it doesn't tell me if I'd care about the differences, or how much those differences are worth to me. My concern isn't that the 2.8 zooms aren't way better, my concern is whether that that if the 2.8 zooms are lost on my at my level of photography.  Is the argument for the 2.8's like saying a Lamborghini is better than a Ferrari? Or is it more like a Lamborghini is better than a Dodge Dart?

And of course besides IQ there is the aperture range to consider, that is a huge one. Basically it means the super zoom will be useless is certain lower-light situations where the 2.8 will do fine? It's hard to know how to value that advantage, maybe it's even more important than IQ? And there is focusing speed, people talk about fast focusing lenses which are good for sports, but I've never seen any numbers on this.

And there are some intangibles, like just the joy of using high end equipment, even if it isn't really justified by the output. Like driving a 200mph car at 70mph is still a thrill.

Anyway I'm not doubting the higher quality 2.8 zoom will crush the super zoom in any number of ways, I'm just trying do figure out is the distinction lost on little old me, or should I really set aside $5k over the next few years for these lenses.  Obviously money is relative and no one can say that they are empirically "worth it", but I'm just trying to figure out for myself how high to set my sights.

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