Thoughts on the 24-70mm f/2.8

Started Aug 21, 2011 | Discussions thread
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undercrimson Regular Member • Posts: 161
Thoughts on the 24-70mm f/2.8

I just thought I'd offer a personal review of the 24-70mm f/2.8 lens. I realize there are plenty of reviews on it, but still I wanted to offer my own thoughts. This might help people make some purchasing decisions. Personally, I later sold the 24-70mm f/2.8 and replaced it with a 24mm f/1.4G and 85mm f/1.8D combo.

Here is the review with images:

The text is below, cheers.

I've been wanting to comment on this lens for a while now. My conclusion is that I'd recommend it only for professionals. It's considerably large and heavy - your shoulders will ache just carrying it around. Carefully consider your options:

-a small 35mm f/2D prime
-a small 50mm prime
-a pair of 24mm and 85mm primes
-a point-and-shoot camera (like the S95)
-a smaller zoom like the Tamron 18-270mm.
-and for the "real pros": go all out and dual-wield DSLRs with primes.

This lens reminds me of the even more massive 70-200mm f/2.8G telephoto. But categorically, they are similar. There is certainly a time and place for it. But for most casual shooters, there are other tools that will get the job done more elegantly.

I also want to note that f/2.8 is fast but not that fast. For covering dinner parties, concerts, and any evening event, you're still going to want a faster prime lens. The difference between f/1.4 and f/2.8 is 4x light. This 4x factor has to be made up for somewhere, such as by going from a usable ISO 800 to a grainy ISO 3200, or by going from a usable 1/40s shutter speed to a blurry 1/10s. When bystanders comment on how amazing the lens is, I often don't have the heart to tell them that a prime lens half the size would be able to take a photograph 4 times better.

The 24-70 is more of a specialty lens than one might imagine. It's probably not a good choice if you're looking for a general "travel lens," since it's so heavy. It's also not great for capturing candids, since it's large enough to be intimidating to people. For certain low-light event photography, it's not quite fast enough.

Nevertheless, this is arguably still an essential lens for event photography and photojournalism. The image quality is unquestionably good - sharp and contrasty. The build is metal and durable. The 24-70mm zoom excels in decently-lit fast-changing scenes where it's okay to be conspicuous. You'll just have to ask yourself though, what your intended purpose for this lens is and if that matches this len's characteristics.

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