Nikon 24-70 2.8 or nikon 24-120 4 + 85 1.8g

Started Apr 17, 2013 | Discussions
Juz10
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Nikon 24-70 2.8 or nikon 24-120 4 + 85 1.8g
Apr 17, 2013

So here I am with the available funds to buy either a 24-70 f/2.8 or a 24- 120 f/4 PLUS an 85 1.8g and I am really not sure what to do.

I have always wanted the 24-70 as it is the top of the nikon game and I want to push my images to their limits but at the same time I've heard a lot of good from the 24-120 f4 which is only 1 stop slower and I love my 50 1.8g and would like another prime and have again heard alot of good from the 85 1.8g.

I would be using these lenses on a full frame d600 and mainly for weddings.

I understand the pros and cons of all 3 lenses but I would just like some honest opinions from users of these lenses whether you have either or both.

Thanks

Nikon D600
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Chad Gladstone
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Re: Nikon 24-70 2.8 or nikon 24-120 4 + 85 1.8g
In reply to Juz10, Apr 17, 2013

Juz10 wrote:

So here I am with the available funds to buy either a 24-70 f/2.8 or a 24- 120 f/4 PLUS an 85 1.8g and I am really not sure what to do.

I have always wanted the 24-70 as it is the top of the nikon game and I want to push my images to their limits but at the same time I've heard a lot of good from the 24-120 f4 which is only 1 stop slower and I love my 50 1.8g and would like another prime and have again heard alot of good from the 85 1.8g.

I would be using these lenses on a full frame d600 and mainly for weddings.

I understand the pros and cons of all 3 lenses but I would just like some honest opinions from users of these lenses whether you have either or both.

Thanks

This particular lens quandary is the subject of considerable debate here.  To be perfectly honest, neither zoom is really worth the money...but for weddings, you definitely would benefit from the extra stop.  The 24-120 is probably not fast enough in some critical circumstances and the depth of field may be constricting (but you would gain 70-120mm and VR).

With that being said, I would get the 28g and the 85 1.8g and the 24-85 VR (along with your existing 50g) as a starter wedding kit for the cost.  If I had to choose one of the two zooms you are considering, it would be the 24-70.  It is a great lens (it is just over priced)  The 24-120 is a really good lens but it is aggressively priced as well.  Others may attest the virtues of the 24-120, but for the cost, the 24-85 is a better value (but neither will substitute for the 24-70 for weddings).  The 85 1.8g is sharp but prone to flare and suffers from some chromatic aberrations.  It does not focus very close either, but for the money, it is an overachiever.

If you are shooting weddings professionally, it is a rite of passage to own and use the 24-70.  You will also benefit greatly from using the focus assist from one of the speedlights (even if you are not employing a flash).  I have been to many weddings over the years and I have not been to any in the past 5 years where the main shooter did not have a 24-70 and a flash mounted.

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chuhsi
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Re: Nikon 24-70 2.8 or nikon 24-120 4 + 85 1.8g
In reply to Juz10, Apr 17, 2013

I would be surprised if you could get away with a 24-120 with a wedding since it's an f/4. But I don't shoot weddings. Also, are you going to be using this lens combo on one or two bodies?

I shoot with a D7000 and was in the same lens debate situation. A 24-120 2.8 would be perfect for me. Since that doesn't exist, I decided that I needed 2.8 more than the extra focal length for the indoor no-flash pictures I like to take. f/4 wouldn't cut it for me.

I still may buy an 85 1.8g to complement my 24-70.

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slimandy
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Re: Nikon 24-70 2.8 or nikon 24-120 4 + 85 1.8g
In reply to Juz10, Apr 17, 2013

I went for the 24~120 because I find it a more useful lens at events. I found 70mm was too limiting on FX because I wanted more reach for candids and for a longer perspective for portrait. It has been a good lens for family holidays too.

When I have the luxury of being able to change lenses I also use an 85mm prime, but my preference is for the Sigma 85mm f1.4 HSM.

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pipee
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Re: Nikon 24-70 2.8 or nikon 24-120 4 + 85 1.8g
In reply to slimandy, Apr 17, 2013

Get the 85 1.8g, then with the remaining funds, buy a D3200 with 18-105 kit lens and speedlight.

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ohcello
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Re: Nikon 24-70 2.8 or nikon 24-120 4 + 85 1.8g
In reply to pipee, Apr 17, 2013

I tried all 3 on my d600... I kept the 24-120 and 85g. The 24-70 was excellent, but my color was not much better than the 24-120mm and i just does not have enought reach on FX.  I also didnt want my primary lens that long and heavy, which the 24-70 is both.  And for what it's worth, I can shoot 24mm landscapes at 1/6 shutter with the VR of the 24-120... which equates to about a 2-2.5 stop advantage over the 24-70.

Finally. I also tried the $550 sigma 24-70mm HSM and it was just as sharp as the nikon 24-70 that I had... Maybe sample variation is at play here but still the sigma was very good

The 85g is excellent also.   Sharp wide open and very accurate AF

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Snapshott
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Re: Nikon 24-70 2.8 or nikon 24-120 4 + 85 1.8g
In reply to Juz10, Apr 17, 2013

If you always wanted the 24-70mm f2.8 get that lens. If you get anything else you will always question your decision to go with something else.

I just got the 24-120mm f4 because I always wanted that range but thought the lens was too expensive. I picked it up under the recent $300 rebate. I don’t shoot weddings. My intended purpose general walk about lens and events that I shoot. Most of my event shooting is done with flash so the f4 work for me.

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paulski66
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Re: Nikon 24-70 2.8 or nikon 24-120 4 + 85 1.8g
In reply to Chad Gladstone, Apr 17, 2013

Chad Gladstone wrote:

With that being said, I would get the 28g and the 85 1.8g and the 24-85 VR (along with your existing 50g) as a starter wedding kit for the cost.

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Chad Gladstone

For a personal kit, I agree 100%. However, if I were a wedding photographer, I would get the 24-70 in a heartbeat.

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Rich Rosen
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Re: Nikon 24-70 2.8 or nikon 24-120 4 + 85 1.8g
In reply to Snapshott, Apr 17, 2013

Exactly. The 24-120 f4 is the best lens for all around event photography (Nikon world). A very large percentage of my wedding reception work is done with flash. The extra reach of up to 120 along with the use of flash, covers such events perfectly. The 24-70 is a great lens, but it has its limits. I have both the 24-120 and the 28-70 2.8, bought years ago. The 24-120 is now on my primary camera. I also have an 85 (1.4D) which I have in my bag for events.

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CFynn
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Re: Nikon 24-70 2.8 or nikon 24-120 4 + 85 1.8g
In reply to Juz10, Apr 17, 2013

Juz10 wrote:

So here I am with the available funds to buy either a 24-70 f/2.8 or a 24- 120 f/4 PLUS an 85 1.8g and I am really not sure what to do.

I have always wanted the 24-70 as it is the top of the nikon game and I want to push my images to their limits but at the same time I've heard a lot of good from the 24-120 f4 which is only 1 stop slower and I love my 50 1.8g and would like another prime and have again heard alot of good from the 85 1.8g.

I would be using these lenses on a full frame d600 and mainly for weddings.

I understand the pros and cons of all 3 lenses but I would just like some honest opinions from users of these lenses whether you have either or both.

Thanks

The range of the 24-120mm f4 is very useful - and the VR, which is really good, more than makes  up for the 1 stop difference in a lot of situations.
When you really need a wide aperture, switch to a prime.

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sfnikon
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Re: Nikon 24-70 2.8 or nikon 24-120 4 + 85 1.8g
In reply to Chad Gladstone, Apr 17, 2013

With that being said, I would get the 28g and the 85 1.8g and the 24-85 VR (along with your existing 50g)

For personal use this is exactly what I would recommend instead.   However for weddings...

(but neither will substitute for the 24-70 for weddings).

If you are shooting weddings professionally, it is a rite of passage to own and use the 24-70.

The 24-70 would be your workhorse at a wedding and IMO no substitute.

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Cultured Vulture
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Re: Nikon 24-70 2.8 or nikon 24-120 4 + 85 1.8g
In reply to chuhsi, Apr 17, 2013

chuhsi wrote:

I would be surprised if you could get away with a 24-120 with a wedding since it's an f/4. But I don't shoot weddings. Also, are you going to be using this lens combo on one or two bodies?

I shoot with a D7000 and was in the same lens debate situation. A 24-120 2.8 would be perfect for me. Since that doesn't exist, I decided that I needed 2.8 more than the extra focal length for the indoor no-flash pictures I like to take. f/4 wouldn't cut it for me.

I still may buy an 85 1.8g to complement my 24-70.

Photographers "got away" with  f/2.8 when they couldn't shoot much faster than ISO 400. With a current FX camera they can easily shoot with great results 2-3 stops faster. Really more since weddings were typically shot at ISO 200 or less in film and the early days of digital. For my money a 24-120 F/4 is a much more flexible lens for a wedding with its increased reach. The VR is very useful at the longer end since much of a wedding is not that fast moving. In this scenario you would also have the 85G when you needed a faster lens. The 24-70 f/2.8 is a great lens but it is very limited in its range and flexibility.

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JR

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M Lammerse
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Re: Nikon 24-70 2.8 or nikon 24-120 4 + 85 1.8g
In reply to Juz10, Apr 17, 2013

Hi Juz,

i'm a long time 24-70mm user, and it's an excellent lens for press and reportage, usage, Mine sees almost daily usage . Very well build, extremely fast focusing, very good image quality, especially wide open to F/4 focusing at subjects within 5 meters,.

I could test the 24-120mm when it came out for an article. Its a very good lens as well,  but it has a different usage and user in mind. The longer focal length and the added VR might be an absolute plus. The build is not the same, its not as fast and wide open the quality is not comparable.

Question is do you need a lens for daily usage, which can stand a fair amount of physical abuse and environmental punishment. If not i would personally not hesitate to buy the 24-120 mm, the longer reach and VR is a big plus.

The 85mm f/1.8G is another plastic fantastic, i just finished some comparison testings on a D800 (can send you some samples) and it is well worth the money. The relative low price makes it a no brainer even if you have not much usage for it.

Michel

Juz10 wrote:

So here I am with the available funds to buy either a 24-70 f/2.8 or a 24- 120 f/4 PLUS an 85 1.8g and I am really not sure what to do.

I have always wanted the 24-70 as it is the top of the nikon game and I want to push my images to their limits but at the same time I've heard a lot of good from the 24-120 f4 which is only 1 stop slower and I love my 50 1.8g and would like another prime and have again heard alot of good from the 85 1.8g.

I would be using these lenses on a full frame d600 and mainly for weddings.

I understand the pros and cons of all 3 lenses but I would just like some honest opinions from users of these lenses whether you have either or both.

Thanks

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ohcello
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Re: Nikon 24-70 2.8 or nikon 24-120 4 + 85 1.8g
In reply to M Lammerse, Apr 17, 2013

Yes, to also confirm the AF on the 24-70 is LIGHTNING fast... much faster than the 24-120.  And it is built like a tank.  The 24-120 seems very consumery with it's build, but still for a hobbyist like me... more than good enough with both AF And build...

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Intence
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Re: Nikon 24-70 2.8 or nikon 24-120 4 + 85 1.8g
In reply to ohcello, Apr 17, 2013

How much do you need the range of the 120?  From all the reviews I've read, considering price differences, I'd go for either the 24-85mm along with some primes, or get the 24-70mm.  The 24-70mm is older (my only concern) but it's build like a tank with image quality in mind.  As for price, Canon's revised 24-70mm is now pricier than Nikon's and still doesn't have IS/VR.

The 24-120mm seems great, but for the price (especially now that the rebate is gone) seems a bit pricey.  The 24-70mm will always be considered a "top-of-the-line" lens.  The primes route is great, so it really depends what you're shooting.  The 28mm 1.8 or Sigma 35mm 1.4 + 50mm 1.8g + 85mm 1.8g are a great combo and far better than any other choices, but at events, swapping lenses constantly is simply not practical.  For me personally i'd take 2.8 over the extra length and VR, and eventually grab some primes.

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