Nikon 24-70 versus 17-55

Started Jan 6, 2008 | Discussions thread
Phil Youngblood Veteran Member • Posts: 9,541
Re: Midrange zoom optimised for DX best on DX

Joseph Lab wrote:
OK -- where was I before I was so rudely interrupted?

Back to IQ, one vs the other:

The 17-55 is just brutally truthful, for lack of a better term. As I have said before, if you are ugly, your pic is going to be ugly -- and brutally sharp. The 70-200 is also brutally sharp on people but only stopped down. When shot F4 and wider, it gives people pics a very nice quality. The 28-70 does the same thing even when stopped down more plus having the extra FL to help blur distracting backgrounds. I'm thinking the 24-70 will also give people pics a certain quality and that holds true from the portrait type shots I have seen. All that said, the 17-55 serves me VERY well as a wedding and event lens and those are ALL people shots. I just have to study them close with a possible eye towards softening some of them. About the only thing that gets on my last nerve about the 17-55 is the boke. Given the right set of circumstances, it can be down right ugly. I had some outdoor shots I would have loved to shoot F4 to F2.8 but didn't dare because of what the background may have looked like. If you get just the right conditions, even a big application of gaussian blur won't fix it. I have a feeling the 24-70, much like the 28-70, would not have that issue.

It may be a crazy thought, but the conventional wisdom is that an FX
lens will perform even better on a DX camera and outperform a lens
specifically designed for that format. I am not sure that this is
true in the midrange zoom category. It is much easier to correct for
aberrations over the smaller image circle for a lens that goes from
wide-angle to moderate telephoto.

I try my best to not get into the mystery that is optical design. It's just so much magic dust and chicken blood to me. I hinge all my bets on look and feel and in that respect, all the "pro level" lenses do very well on DX.

If I had the 24-70, I would be far more tempted to buy the 12-24, so
buying the 24-70 will certainly be an expensive choice. I could buy
the 17-55 and the 12-24 for almost the same money. I could instead
throw in the 70-300 and have change in my pocket to put towards the
D300. With regard to the latter, I am waiting for the beta testing
to end and the prices to fall a bit. I have learned not to be an
early adopter. With a pro lens from Nikon, I might just consider it.

I've got my eye on a D300, as well. These wedding shoots let me know I need two WORKING bodies, not one working and one backup like my D70 is now. With my tendency to shoot from the hip, I simply need more than 6MP for cropping. A 200/17-55 on one shoulder and a 300/85 1.4 on the other would make me feel better about things.

just may be that it is easier to design a crop 17-55 of given quality
than a FF 24-70. I think that so far the superiority of the 24-70 in
terms of mage quality on DX is unproven.

Oh, there is NO doubt in my feeble mind the 17-55 is BY FAR the most useful single lens on DX, bar none. It's just that siren call of new glass has my attention right now. Even when I get a 24-70, I'll guarantee you the 17-55 will still be my most used. A look at the stats from my shoots tells me that.

Do you know of any good portraits taken with the 24-70? If you have
links, it would be much appreciated. There was nothing much on pbase.

Mostly what I have seen are those on the Nikon site with the D3. Those are absolutely amazing. Hopefully some forum buds will have some up before long.

With regard to the portraits missed with the the 85, I suppose I am
wondering whether you could have come close with the 24-70 and still
got most of your other shots without a lens change. The isolation
and bokeh of the 17-55 just misses, the 24-70 may just do it.

Nope -- no way in h*ll. Sorry, but nothing -- and I do mean NOTHING -- will touch properly executed portrait shots from the 85/1.4. Especially any newer glass loaded with ED elements. Oh, there are some other older design lenses like the 105DC that would serve very well but none of the newer stuff. There's just too much harsh contrast and in-your-face feel to the images -- not the sharp but smooth of the 85/1.4.

I'm with you on the open box deal. If I'm going to drop that much cash on a lens, I'd better be the first to let out the factory air in the box.

Good luck on your decision. Lens decisions drive me crazy -- everything is a compromise.


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