14-24 vs 16-35

Started May 5, 2013 | Discussions
razor123
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14-24 vs 16-35
May 5, 2013

I'm about to buy one of the above Nikkor lenses. Both seem excellent. Most of my photography is travel so I like the reach of the 16-35 and the VR. 14-24 seems like it will be a bit bulky to lug around. On the other hand, the 14-24 seems to be superior optically with less distortion. So I have to weigh between portability and optical quality. The difference in cost is not a factor in my decision. Which would you choose?

fft81
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Re: 14-24 vs 16-35
In reply to razor123, May 5, 2013

razor123 wrote:

I'm about to buy one of the above Nikkor lenses. Both seem excellent. Most of my photography is travel so I like the reach of the 16-35 and the VR. 14-24 seems like it will be a bit bulky to lug around. On the other hand, the 14-24 seems to be superior optically with less distortion. So I have to weigh between portability and optical quality. The difference in cost is not a factor in my decision. Which would you choose?

I use 14-24, but no one can tell you what is the right choice for you. If for you 14-24 is too heavy and it ends up staying home, what good is it? As far as i know the 14-24 is the reason why there exist nikon to cannon adapters. Fourteen to 24 is so good that cannon shooters buy it to use in fully manual mode on their cannon bodies.

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anotherMike
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Re: 14-24 vs 16-35
In reply to razor123, May 5, 2013

This topic gets discussed frequently here; try the search function and you can ready yourself silly

A few notes from having owned both of the lenses (still own the 14-24, sold the 16-35 a while ago):

a) Neither lens is THAT MUCH heavier or lighter than the other. BOTH are bulky, just in different ways. The 14-24 is top heavy or front element heavy, but the 16-35 is actually quite long for a wide zoom. Neither fits a backpack as nicely as, say, a 28/1.8G prime or even a Nikon 24/1.4G or Sigma 35/1.4 lens. So I honestly think you have to completely remove this bulky fear from your analysis.

b) Neither lens is perfect, but both lenses have a strong zone of focal lengths where they are really nice. Assuming you completely have thought through the lack of filters on the 14-24 (which if filters are important, you'll go to the 16-35 anyway), it depends on YOUR favorite focal lengths. The 14-24 is strongest from ultra wide through about 20mm - I look at mine as a 14/15/18/20mm lens - that's it's strong zone, and I feel it's best at around 15mm. The 16-35 is best between 20 ad 28mm, and is at it's very best at 24mm. It's also noticeably weak IMO at 35mm and it's distortion, flare character and corner issues at 16mm are pretty bad. So right there, if you're thinking "Hey, I'll buy the 16-35 because I can go to 35 and I expect to go to 35 a lot", it's the wrong choice, because the 16-35, out of any possible option you can mount on a Nikon DSLR at the moment, is the weakest 35mm choice. You get a 16-35 because you need VR in some situations, want filters, or want really great 20-28mm performance (which happens to be in the smack dab middle of the typical wide angle lengths). You get a 14-24 because you are an ultrawide shooter (14-18mm roughly) and want the best or near best there is at those lengths. If you shoot mostly 35mm, you're vastly better off with a prime or the 24-70. Also take a look at the new more affordable 18-35G Nikon has come out. Unfortunately I've not been able to get my hands on one for evaluation, but early reports are quite positive, and it's smaller than either the 14-24 or 16-35 options.

-m

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ajendus
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Re: 14-24 vs 16-35
In reply to razor123, May 5, 2013

I have no experience with the 16-35mm but it does have a nice focal range. I can't tell you that the 14-24 is a better lens for you but here are my thoughts.

1) The 14-24 is optically one of the best zoom lenses out there (bar getting a cinema lens or something that cost $10,000's).

2) It is heavy but it is my go to lens if I don't know what to take. If I had the 24mm 1.4 or the 35mm 1.4 I might take on of those instead, but the 14-24 is my first choice of what I have.

3) The 14-24mm is faster. This is really important to me. I like running around a city at night shooting. The 16-35, for me, wouldn't cut it.

4) But, if the 16-35 were as fast and optically awesome as the 14-24, I would grab it in a hot second mainly because of the extra reach.

5) It has surprisingly low distortion. And by low, I mean less than I was expecting when I first bought it. But it isn't astonishing. The 16-35, as I understand it, is quite a bit distortion heavy on the wide end.

6) It is a wild lens to shoot with. Of the "Nikon Trinity," it is the most fun to shoot with.

My rule of thumb is 'take the right lens'... if it is heavy and bulky, so be it. But I can safely say that given its size, you are always aware of it; in a bag, in your hand or on your shoulder, it is heavy and big. This isn't a lens to take lightly. No pun intended. 

Some are also concerned about damaging the front element. I have found that given the price and the aforementioned size/weight, and because you can't forget it is there, you'll take extra special care of it. I also haven't really read or heard of any major mishaps except one years ago where someone dropped the lens and the hood, that is built in, fractured and a part broke off. I seem to recall that the lens otherwise was fine.

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-A

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emax
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I'd Choose the 18-35 G
In reply to razor123, May 5, 2013

No text.

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douglas d
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Re: 14-24 vs 16-35
In reply to anotherMike, May 5, 2013

Excellent reply.

I use the 16-35 and carry the Samyang 14 mm for ultra wide.

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Doublehelix
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Re: 14-24 vs 16-35
In reply to razor123, May 6, 2013

I am in the same exact boat, trying to decide between the two. My biggest concern with the 14-24 is the lack of filters. The size does not thrill me, but I used to do a lot of sports shooting running around with the 70-200, so the 14-24 will seem light by comparison.

I was in my local store last week and tried both out on my D800, and I have to agree the comments about about the 16-35 at 16mm... there seemed to be an excess of barrel distortion compared to the 14-24 at 14mm. Probably easily correctable in PP, but it scared me a bit.

The VR might be a nice touch, but I am used to not having it on the 24-70, so that is not a deal killer I suppose.

There have been rumors out for a while that the 14-24 and the 24-70 were both due for upgrades and would be adding VR... not sure if that is just Internet gossip running amok, or if someone really knows anything.

I am personally leaning towards the 14-24, but still undecided.

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GregWCIL
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Re: 14-24 vs 16-35
In reply to razor123, May 6, 2013

razor123 wrote:

I'm about to buy one of the above Nikkor lenses. Both seem excellent. Most of my photography is travel so I like the reach of the 16-35 and the VR. 14-24 seems like it will be a bit bulky to lug around. On the other hand, the 14-24 seems to be superior optically with less distortion. So I have to weigh between portability and optical quality. The difference in cost is not a factor in my decision. Which would you choose?

I can't speak about the 14-24, but I can explain why I chose the 16-35.

First, I wasn't concerned about distortion. I run 100% of my shots through Lightroom and it corrects any barrel distortion. I can't really imagine someone buying this quality equipment and not post processing.

Filters were a high priority for me. I often use a circular polarizer. There is no substitute in post-processing for the clarity and depth of colors it sometimes creates. I haven't done much yet with Neutral Density filters or graduated ND filters, but they often are used with a wide angle for landscape shots.

I use the 16-35 more than any other lens I have. And the VR lets me shoot indoors with natural light--better I think than with my 50 mm 1.8.

Maybe if I had the 14-24, I'd be singing it's praises. One thing I have found out: I use the wide end of the lens by far the most. Maybe I'd like the extra width of the 14mm even more.

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M35G35
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Re: 14-24 vs 16-35
In reply to razor123, May 6, 2013

Like the OP I have been sitting on the fence and decided to lean towards the 16-35. Most important was the ability to use filters. However, I might be on the fence again because the 18-35 seems to be getting great reviews. Here is a review of the 14-24/16-35

http://www.mattk.com/2012/07/09/my-new-favorite-wide-angle-lens/

Good luck!

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ShelNf
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Re: 14-24 vs 16-35
In reply to douglas d, May 6, 2013

douglas d wrote:

Excellent reply.

I use the 16-35 and carry the Samyang 14 mm for ultra wide.

I chose the 16-35 over the 14-24 for the use of filters, but am now considering getting the Samyang for night photography, as I don't think F4 is fast enough for that. Other than that i'm really pleased with the 16-35.

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sd40
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Re: 14-24 vs 16-35
In reply to razor123, May 6, 2013

For me, it comes down to these factors:

1.)  Walking through the woods, all it takes is for a branch to snap back or for me to fail to see something sticking out, and suddenly you wish you had a filter on the lens.  A lens with a lens cap on it all the time is a paperweight.  Offsetting its ability to take a filter, the 16-35's length makes it more likely to bump into something when walking through the forest.  I've done it already.

2.)  VR is a real advantage shooting handheld in low light.

The dilemma is real.  One lens specializes in the 14-20mm range, the other in the 18-28mm range.  One can go to f/2.8, the other has VR.  Neither does both.

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JOrmsby
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I'd choose the 18-35 G too...
In reply to razor123, May 6, 2013

razor123 wrote:

I'm about to buy one of the above Nikkor lenses. Both seem excellent. Most of my photography is travel so I like the reach of the 16-35 and the VR. 14-24 seems like it will be a bit bulky to lug around. On the other hand, the 14-24 seems to be superior optically with less distortion. So I have to weigh between portability and optical quality. The difference in cost is not a factor in my decision. Which would you choose?

I was just at my local camera store this weekend, trying to decide between the 16-35 and new 18-35. I took shots with both on an SD card and brought them home to look at. Viewed at 100%, the 18-35 was sharper across the frame at all focal lengths except the widest, where the 16-35 had a slight advantage in the corners. At 18mm, the 18-35 was still slightly shaper in the center than the 16-35 was at 16mm.

The 16-35 got noticeably less sharp as you zoom in closer to 35mm. I also preferred the feel of the zoom and focus rings on the 18-35 better. Less play, just felt more solid. If you travel, the 18-35 is much lighter too. Looks like a winner, I'm going to get one in a couple weeks.

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Photo Pete
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Re: I'd choose the 18-35 G too...
In reply to JOrmsby, May 6, 2013

razor123 wrote:

I'm about to buy one of the above Nikkor lenses. Both seem excellent. Most of my photography is travel so I like the reach of the 16-35 and the VR. 14-24 seems like it will be a bit bulky to lug around. On the other hand, the 14-24 seems to be superior optically with less distortion. So I have to weigh between portability and optical quality. The difference in cost is not a factor in my decision. Which would you choose?

I was just at my local camera store this weekend, trying to decide between the 16-35 and new 18-35. I took shots with both on an SD card and brought them home to look at. Viewed at 100%, the 18-35 was sharper across the frame at all focal lengths except the widest, where the 16-35 had a slight advantage in the corners. At 18mm, the 18-35 was still slightly shaper in the center than the 16-35 was at 16mm.

The 16-35 got noticeably less sharp as you zoom in closer to 35mm. I also preferred the feel of the zoom and focus rings on the 18-35 better. Less play, just felt more solid. If you travel, the 18-35 is much lighter too. Looks like a winner, I'm going to get one in a couple weeks.

There's a big difference between 18mm and 14mm. The 18-35 serves a different purpose to the 14-24 so I'd work out which focal length you want most.

The 16-35 I found ok, but distortion and fall off of sharpness at edges and corners at the extreme focal lengths turned me off it a bit. It also seemed to stop down less well than the 14-24, which appeared to retain better definition... important for maximum depth of field in landscape shots. My 24-70 can also cover the 24-35mm range that the 14-24mm misses, but nothing else I have can cover the 14-16/18 range that the 16-35 or 18-35 miss.

Filters at 14-24 focal length? Not many I would use...not a polarizer due to variation in the degree of polarization over the angle of view. Grads I have largely done away with since HDR/ exposure blending. The only filter that is missed is a heavy ND filter... if you use one a lot (blurred water effects etc) then the 14-24 will be a bit of a pain. Otherwise the filter issue is more a theoretical problem than a real one.
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Henrik72
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Re: 14-24 vs 16-35
In reply to GregWCIL, May 6, 2013

Doesnt VR more than make up for the difference in maximum aperture when it comes to low light shooting?

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douglas d
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Re: I'd choose the 18-35 G too...
In reply to Photo Pete, May 6, 2013

I shoot landscape only and for how I use the lens I get stellar results with my 16-35, though I tend to use it almost exclusively from 16 to 30 and most often at the wide end. I also use a polarizer all the time with it. You don't have to take my word, check out my gallery, most everything there was shot with the 16-35 and many of them using a polarizer. I have found 16 mm is not wide enough sometimes and for that I use the Samyang 14 mm.

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jsr4522
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Re: 14-24 vs 16-35
In reply to razor123, May 7, 2013

When I was debating this purchase I demoed both and found that the 14-24 is a great 14-20ish lens and the 16-35 is a great 20-30ish lens.  I do some ultra wide landscapes/seascapes and found the 14-24 to be better for my style of shooting.  Love the way you can emphasize foreground elements with this lens - makes a small field of flowers looks like it goes on forever.  I also prefer f/2.8 for some night shooting and astrophotography.  Lack of filters was not an issue for me.  The lee filter for the 14-24 is expensive.  If I need a filter, I will use the 24-70 or 24 f/1.4 with a neutral density to slow the movement of the water.  If I need to go ultrawide with a filter, I will stitch a few images together.  For me it came down to the optical quality and added creativity afforded by 14-24 being the deciding factor.

razor123 wrote:

I'm about to buy one of the above Nikkor lenses. Both seem excellent. Most of my photography is travel so I like the reach of the 16-35 and the VR. 14-24 seems like it will be a bit bulky to lug around. On the other hand, the 14-24 seems to be superior optically with less distortion. So I have to weigh between portability and optical quality. The difference in cost is not a factor in my decision. Which would you choose?

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JoshRtek
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Re: 14-24 vs 16-35
In reply to jsr4522, May 7, 2013

I've used both, and while each lens is very good, the 14-24mm, despite being heavy, having an exposed front element, and a smaller range, is optically the better lens, hands down.

When it comes to ultra-wide-angle photography, I've gotten more keepers with the 14-24mm when shooting side-by-side with the 16-35mm.

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Photographer124
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I also DID choose the 18-35mm G
In reply to JOrmsby, May 7, 2013

Sharper than 16-35 at overlapping range... very light. VR not very useful for landscape. If you need wider than 18mm, shoot 24mm and stitch.

the 18-35mm has almost no distortion ( or very easily correctable) at 24mm.

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slimandy
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Re: 14-24 vs 16-35
In reply to razor123, May 7, 2013

The range of the 16~35, the filter thread and the weight would make it my choice over the 14~24, though having used all three my actual preference was for the 17~35mm f2.8.

If you want the widest or the best @ f2.8 the 14~24 is the only option.

For travel I'd take the new 18~35. Much smaller and lighter than any of the above.

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eths
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Re: 14-24 vs 16-35
In reply to razor123, May 7, 2013

I have the 16-35 and am very happy with it.

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