Lens decision help, Tamron 24-70, Nikon 24-85, 24-120, 16-35

Started 6 months ago | Discussions
Solveik
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Lens decision help, Tamron 24-70, Nikon 24-85, 24-120, 16-35
6 months ago

Hi there!

I have some trouble deciding which lens(es) to buy, especially since my budget has limitations and the local store is not too keen on letting me try several lenses.

I shoot mostly children portrait in their natural habitat. This means I shoot indoor and outdoor without controlled lighting situations. I do shoot occasional weddings (2-5 a year).

I use a D700 body, thinking about adding a D610.
Lenses I use now: Nikon 50mm f/1,4 G, Nikon 85mm/f/1,8 G. Both lenses are fine, but moving back and forth is sometimes too slow and disrupts the situation. So I would like to have a zoom option on one body.

So here the questions:

-would you, for what I shoot, recommend something in the 16-35 range or 24-70 range?

- I'm pretty much decided on the Nikon 16-35 f/4,0 G ED VR if you don't have any suggestions that are way better and still affordable (the older 20-35 f/2,8 maybe?)

- now the other zoom range gives me headaches: the Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 VR comes as a kit with the D610, but is this any good compared to the Tamron 24-70/2,8 Di VC, Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR G or even Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR (I don't think I need that range). I left out the Nikon 24-70 on purpose since I think it is in a different league.

Any help and experience is very much appreciated.

chuhsi
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Re: Lens decision help, Tamron 24-70, Nikon 24-85, 24-120, 16-35
In reply to Solveik, 6 months ago

First, what focal length do you need to cover?

Second, what max aperture do you need?

Answering those two questions will determine which of the 4 lenses you should buy.

 chuhsi's gear list:chuhsi's gear list
Nikon Df Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G ED Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G +2 more
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schaf
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Re: Lens decision help, Tamron 24-70, Nikon 24-85, 24-120, 16-35
In reply to Solveik, 6 months ago

I would not look at 16-35mm on FX as a portrait lens unless you are after some specific wide angle effects. Which, these can be very nice in portraits if well executed.

I have no personal experience with the Tamron 24-70mm.

I own and LOVE the AF 24-85mm F2.8-4D lens and it is my go to zoom for people and portrait shots (on DX). I am sure it would do quite nicely on FX as well. You can often find these used in excellent condition for about $300. I use the Hoya Pro 1 Digital UV filter on it for the "modern" coatings that provide better resistance against flare and internal reflections (off the sensor) and the colors are simply beautiful. I use these filters on all of the AF-D lenses and they work as advertised.

I have no personal experience with the new AF-S 24-85mm, but there seems to be a lot of them on the used market now and relatively inexpensive. I don't think you would be happy with the maximum apertures for portrait work.

My dad owns the 24-120mm F4 and uses it on a D600. BEAUTIFUL combo, especially for a do it all, walk about lens. If you would be happy with F4 as the maximum aperture for portraits, it is an excellent lens.

Have you considered the AF-S 85mm F1.8G? The seem to get pretty high marks.

I myself an a bit biased towards AF-D lenses for the color rendering, especially for people shots, and am considering and AF 85mm F1.8D. These can be found used in excellent condition for $300 - $350.

Schaff

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ne beginner
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Re: Lens decision help, Tamron 24-70, Nikon 24-85, 24-120, 16-35
In reply to Solveik, 6 months ago

Solveik wrote:

Hi there!

I have some trouble deciding which lens(es) to buy, especially since my budget has limitations and the local store is not too keen on letting me try several lenses.

I shoot mostly children portrait in their natural habitat. This means I shoot indoor and outdoor without controlled lighting situations. I do shoot occasional weddings (2-5 a year).

I use a D700 body, thinking about adding a D610.
Lenses I use now: Nikon 50mm f/1,4 G, Nikon 85mm/f/1,8 G. Both lenses are fine, but moving back and forth is sometimes too slow and disrupts the situation. So I would like to have a zoom option on one body.

So here the questions:

-would you, for what I shoot, recommend something in the 16-35 range or 24-70 range?

- I'm pretty much decided on the Nikon 16-35 f/4,0 G ED VR if you don't have any suggestions that are way better and still affordable (the older 20-35 f/2,8 maybe?)

- now the other zoom range gives me headaches: the Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 VR comes as a kit with the D610, but is this any good compared to the Tamron 24-70/2,8 Di VC, Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR G or even Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR (I don't think I need that range). I left out the Nikon 24-70 on purpose since I think it is in a different league.

Any help and experience is very much appreciated.

There's been a lot of recent threads on these lenses if you do a search, or even scroll down a bit.

For low natural indoor light, moving subjects, VR is not going to help you too much.  You need a fast lens and a quick AF.

The 24-85 VR and 24-120 VR are essentially the same thing:  too slow, both in speed (f stop) and AF.  Those are nice when stopped down to at least f5.6 or greater, and VR only offsets your motion.  You're going to need faster shutter speed than either of these can give you.  Unless you have good indoor light.  Only you know that.

The Tamron 24-70 has VR, which is nice for somethings, but not so much for what you describe. But it is a fast lens. I have not used one, so you'll need to see what others say on AF speed.  From what I recall reading, the AF is not as snappy as the Nikon 24-70. I owned one of those, and it is fast. Same as the 70-200 VRII f2.8.

The best lens for what you describe is the Nikon 24-70.  The Tamron is as fast, just not as snappy in the AF.  Forget the 24-85 and 24-120 VR's.  Could you skip the 16-35 and get one lens?  The 24-70 Nikon?

If not, there is an older pre-24-70 f2.8 Nikon that many people like.  Another option is the Tamron 28-75 f2.8 The new one with motor built in is said to have a slow AF. I just bought the older non-BIM, and the AF seems about the same as the 24-120 \ 24-85 VR.  It's almost as sharp as the 24-70 Nikon or Tamron.  You don't need the VR.

 ne beginner's gear list:ne beginner's gear list
Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G ED VR
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DonHF
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Re: Lens decision help, Tamron 24-70, Nikon 24-85, 24-120, 16-35
In reply to Solveik, 6 months ago

Solveik wrote:

I shoot mostly children portrait in their natural habitat. This means I shoot indoor and outdoor without controlled lighting situations. I do shoot occasional weddings (2-5 a year).

forget the 16-35 for that type of photography.

- now the other zoom range gives me headaches: the Nikon 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 VR comes as a kit with the D610, but is this any good compared to the Tamron 24-70/2,8 Di VC, Nikon 24-120mm f/4 VR G or even Nikon 28-300mm f/3.5-5.6 VR (I don't think I need that range). I left out the Nikon 24-70 on purpose since I think it is in a different league.

These are really your choices:

Tamron 24-70/2,8 Di VC

Nikon 24-120mm f/4

Nikon 24-70 2.8

See what focal lengths, speeds and apertures you use most and base your decision on that.

The 2.8 Nikon is what is most commonly used but if in budget the tamron is fine too.

The 70-120 range is useful when you want to give space to the subject but still be close enough.

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Jon Ingram
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Re: Lens decision help, Tamron 24-70, Nikon 24-85, 24-120, 16-35
In reply to Solveik, 6 months ago

For a standard zoom, if you are eliminating the Nikkor 24-70, I would definitely recommend the Tamron 24-70 VC, without hesitation. Fantastic lens. It's fast at 2.8, it's sharp wide open (some say it's touch soft in the corners at 2.8, but for portraiture it doesn't matter and I've never had a problem with it). Finally, the VC does come in very handy, more handy in fact than I thought it would.

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calson
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Re: Lens decision help, Tamron 24-70, Nikon 24-85, 24-120, 16-35
In reply to Solveik, 6 months ago

For weddings I would never want any lens slower than f2.8. VR does not work for weddings where people are moving about and I need a minimum of 1/80s as my shutter speed to avoid subject motion blur in the pictures. The 24-70mm f2.8 would be ideal for both people and weddings.

For weddings you will want the 70-200mm f2.8 VR lens and this is also an excellent lens for portrait photographer where longer focal lengths provide more flattering perspectives.

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dave gaines
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Lens decision help, Nikon 24-70
In reply to Solveik, 6 months ago

The 16-35 f/4VR is not a people or portrait lens. It's too wide. It's also soft over 28 mm. The slower lenses you mention aren't going to work for weddings. VR is not going to help with subject motion. It's like putting the camera on a tripod and shooting slow shutter speeds. It will accomplish the same thing as VR but will not help with moving subjects.

Shooting wider than 28 mm for groups or 50 mm for individual and couple portraits is going to introduce distortion effects. Not good for people shots. Wider than 35 mm is probably not very useful for weddings and events.

The 24-85 f/2.8-4D might work but it's a stop slower than the 24-70 from about 50 to 85 mm. Read a couple of lens reviews, including test data on the Tamron 24-70 and see how it compares to the Nikon 24-70. I know from your list and your comment about the Nikon 24-70 that the 70-200 f/2.8 is not in your budget. If you get the D610 as a 2nd body then you can put the 85 f/1.8G on one body and the Nikon 24-70 on the other and have a wide range of options. Maybe a used 135 mm f/2.0D would be a good 3rd option for portraits.

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 dave gaines's gear list:dave gaines's gear list
Olympus C-8080 Wide Zoom Olympus E-330 Nikon D800E Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED +7 more
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kormendi_adam
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Here is what I'd do
In reply to Solveik, 6 months ago

I would rule out the 16-35 completely. For what you shoot, it is practically useless (except for e.g. the typical flower tossing shot).

I'd also forget about any variable aperture zoom, because, coming from a 50 and 85 prime, you really won't like the results. Those zooms are anything but portrait lenses, especially indoors.

Now, lets get to the point.

(1) If you have 1 camera body and you need a zoom, stick with the Nikon 24-70. High price but no headache. You might try other options but sooner or later you'll start to regret your choice (I'd also have the 85mm in my pocket, just in case)

(2) If you have 2 camera bodies, and you know how to use them both at the same time, forget about zooms. Use two bodies with two primes (e.g. 85mm and 35mm). Maximux IQ, versatility, freedom, bokeh... you name it. IQ way ahead of ANY zoom ever produced.

Good luck

 kormendi_adam's gear list:kormendi_adam's gear list
Nikon D700 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D Nikon AF Nikkor 85mm f/1.8D +1 more
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Westmill
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Re: Lens decision help, Tamron 24-70, Nikon 24-85, 24-120, 16-35
In reply to Solveik, 6 months ago

If you want a good portrait lens that is both good and fast without robbing the bank then get the Tamron 28-75 F2.8

 Westmill's gear list:Westmill's gear list
Fujifilm X-E1 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8G ED Sigma 50-150mm F2.8 EX DC APO OS HSM Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM +2 more
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ne beginner
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Agree ... I would get the Tamron 28-75 second to the Nikon 24-70 ...
In reply to Westmill, 6 months ago

Westmill wrote:

If you want a good portrait lens that is both good and fast without robbing the bank then get the Tamron 28-75 F2.8

Of all lenses mentioned, for me anyway, the Tamron 28-75 trumps the 24-120 and 24-85 VR's because it's faster, and stopped down to f4 it's sharper.

I'd pass on the Tamron 24-70 because if you're gonna spend that much you might as well go the extra mile and get the Nikon.

It defies logic why Tamron crippled the newer 28-75's by adding in the BIM.  Well, I guess if you figure they wanted to herd people towards their 24-70 VR it kinds makes sense.  It they were smart, they would have updated the 28-75, keeping the same small and light size, improved the AF speed in low light, and maybe taking it to 24 on the wide side.  If that meant ditching the VR, so be it.  Instead, they tried to go head to head with the Nikon 24-70, and ended up with slower focusing beast that offers no real solid benefit over the Nikon except a few hundred dollars in savings.

The 28-75 offers a unique benefit: size and weight, and optics only a few points behind the 24-70 Nikon. The Tamron 24-70 costs 3x, and only offers VR, which many if not most will say is nice but not essential in the FL.

 ne beginner's gear list:ne beginner's gear list
Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G ED VR
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AZ Steve
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Re: Lens decision help, Tamron 24-70, Nikon 24-85, 24-120, 16-35
In reply to Solveik, 6 months ago

If you can tolerate an f/4 maximum aperture the 24-120mm will not disappoint, and in the situations you mention the extra reach probably will sometimes be useful.  The image quality is fine:  many people including me use it heavily on the D800 series.

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Al Giordano
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Re: Lens decision help, Tamron 24-70, Nikon 24-85, 24-120, 16-35
In reply to ne beginner, 6 months ago

ne beginner wrote:

The 24-85 VR and 24-120 VR are essentially the same thing: too slow, both in speed (f stop) and AF.

The 24-120 is slow to auto focus?   Since when??  Maybe your version, but my version is sharp, has fast auto-focus, and built like a tank.  F/4 is not slow these days with HIGH ISO FX sensors.

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Nikon D700 Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR +10 more
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Al Giordano
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Re: Here is what I'd do
In reply to kormendi_adam, 6 months ago

kormendi_adam wrote:

I'd also forget about any variable aperture zoom

The 24-120 is a Fixed Aperture Zoom....

 Al Giordano's gear list:Al Giordano's gear list
Nikon D700 Nikon D810 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 16-35mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED Nikon AF-S Micro-Nikkor 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED VR +10 more
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ne beginner
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Compared to the the Nikon 24-70 f2.8 ...
In reply to Al Giordano, 6 months ago

... The two VR's, 24-120 and 24-85 are slower, especially in low light.  I have owned all three.  D800, D600. The f2.8 is the fastest, as fast as the 70-200 f2.8 VRII, which I also have owned.  Not saying any of these are slouches, just a tad slower.  All depends on what you need. For some, depending on what you shoot, that extra snap comes in handy.

There are no versions of the 24-120 VR f4, as far as I know. All are the same. The 24-120 and its sibling the 24-85 are built well, like the new f1.8G primes (which I also have); but none of these are "tanks", like the f2.8 zooms. You can crack walnuts in the rain with the f2.8's, and go on shooting. That's part of what you're paying for, the pro-grade build.

Sharp can be subjective. Stopped down, the 24-120 and 24-85 can come very close the 24-70. Wide open is not the case, nor should one expect that from these lenses.

All of these lenses are great at what they do; what it always comes down to is choosing what suits each of us best.

Al Giordano wrote:

ne beginner wrote:

The 24-85 VR and 24-120 VR are essentially the same thing: too slow, both in speed (f stop) and AF.

The 24-120 is slow to auto focus? Since when?? Maybe your version, but my version is sharp, has fast auto-focus, and built like a tank. F/4 is not slow these days with HIGH ISO FX sensors.

 ne beginner's gear list:ne beginner's gear list
Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G ED VR
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bocajrs
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Re: Here is what I'd do
In reply to kormendi_adam, 6 months ago

Yep..Tried and sold all mid-range zooms , ie, (24-120 F4, 24-85 VR 7 Tammy 24-70 2.8 VC) in favor of 28 1.8g & 50 1.8g primes. I haven't regretted yet and my only zoom is the 70-200 F4 which I really enjoying using

 bocajrs's gear list:bocajrs's gear list
Nikon D800 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR Nikon AF-S Teleconverter TC-17E II Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G
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ne beginner
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I kept one mid-range zoom ...
In reply to bocajrs, 6 months ago

bocajrs wrote:

Yep..Tried and sold all mid-range zooms , ie, (24-120 F4, 24-85 VR 7 Tammy 24-70 2.8 VC) in favor of 28 1.8g & 50 1.8g primes. I haven't regretted yet and my only zoom is the 70-200 F4 which I really enjoying using

Just for simplicity when I want to put a lens on and forget it, when don't know what prime I will need.

First bought a 24-120,  but that was too close in weight and size to my 24-70, and while a nice lens, just not (to me) worth the extra $1,000 over a 24-85 VR.  The 24-85 could give me the same end result, except the extra reach, in a small light weight package.  And like everyone else has said, performance wise the 24-120 is at its weakest out past 85mm, unless stopped way down of course.

Recently I decided to sell the 24-85 VR and bought a Tamron 28-75 f2.8, non-BIM. I'd rather have fast glass than VR, in this range, and the 28-75 is sharper at f4 than the 24-120\24-85 VR's.

But these new f1.8 G primes are unbeatable for sharpness and light weight.

 ne beginner's gear list:ne beginner's gear list
Nikon D600 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-85mm F3.5-4.5G ED VR
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jimoyer
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Re: Lens decision help, Tamron 24-70, Nikon 24-85, 24-120, 16-35
In reply to Solveik, 6 months ago

I primarily shoot a D7100, which is very picky about lens quality and really seems to magnify any flaws or weaknesses.  I can say without reservation that the Tamron 24-70 is one of the sharpest lenses I've used on my D7100.  It was, to my eyes and with the examples I compared, as sharp as the Nikon, with the added benefit of VC.  Even wide open it's extremely sharp.  It does not, however, come close to the Nikon 24-70 in build quality.  That's not to say it's not a well built lens...it certainly is, but it's just not in the same league as the Nikon.  That said, if I were choosing between the two....which I actually will be shortly.....I would choose the Tamron over the Nikon primarily for the VC advantage.  Bang for the buck, it's optically one of the nicest lenses I've used.

The only other lens that you mentioned that's really a "contender" in the choices, were I in your position, would be the 24-120, and as someone said above, it comes down to your priorities......range or speed.

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Panasonic Lumix DMC-G5 Nikon D7100 Panasonic Lumix G Vario 14-45mm F3.5-5.6 ASPH OIS Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6G IF-ED VR Panasonic Lumix G Vario 45-200mm F4-5.6 OIS +5 more
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Solveik
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Re: Lens decision help, Tamron 24-70, Nikon 24-85, 24-120, 16-35
In reply to jimoyer, 6 months ago

Thank you for all your replies.

I guess I can rule out the 16-35, maybe I can add a 24mm 1,4 G (or the cheaper 28mm f1.8G) if I robbed a bank in a couple of years and I really shoot a lot in this length with the zoom.

I have the 70-200 f2.8 in my mind as well but I seem to have more trouble with walls in my back - so that's lower priority. Maybe that is why I can rule out the 24-120 since I don't have any use from the longer focal length.

So this leaves me with the Tamron 24-70, Tamron 28-75 or the Nikon 24-70  for now. So I just have to decide how much money I want/can spend.

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