Two bad samples of each - Nikon 24-70/2.8 and 70-200 2.8 VRII zooms!

Started Aug 19, 2012 | Discussions thread
Martin_MM Regular Member • Posts: 142
Re: All zooms are compromise, get real

I´ve owned both the 24-70 and 70-200 since January. Before I got them, I had spent quite a lot of talk about sample variations, quality control etc. (BTW, I remember RBFresno + some other guys were very helpful and nice people).

Before I made my purchase, I tested 3 copies of 70-200 first. Yes, based on my personal experience I can confirm too that there are sample variations even here in this heavy-pro category. But... 1) I remember the area around the centre was about the same in terms of sharpness/resolution 2) differences were on borders only 3) the differences were not in the "shocking" category, however, were definitely visible when viewed at 100% 4) may be pleasing to hear that all three samples of 70-200 were centered well. Also please note that I ONLY tested at 200mm/f2.8 at about 3 metres and infinity.

As for the 24-70, I kept the first copy (just for the sake of being lazy & tired from the testing, actually). The thing is I quickly compared its sharpness to the best copy of 70-200 at 70mm/f2.8 and it was about the same in the central area. The borders were definitely a bit softer towards borders with 24-70 but all reviews (IMATEST measurements) show that anyway. At 24mm and 35mm/2.8 it seemed just "sharp enough" to me without any suspicious softness etc. I also checked the centering and my copy of 24-70 was ok too. As for the mechanical part, RBFresno´s experience gave me a real fearful shock but some other reports stated that the mechanical flaw has been already repaired by the time of my purchase so I just risked it (...uph, so far so good, knock, knock, knock...).

I´m not a owner to be able draw valuable conclusions regarding lenses´ flaws and variations but I get the feeling almost every lens "has something". And with every fast mass production, which is possible also due to looser so called "tolerances", we probably have to forget about any sort of rigorous quality control. Of course you should check that you get reasonable quality for your money - you have full right to do so - but maybe just check you don´t get a downright lemon. Searching for a "really perfect copy" (esp. in any zoom category) seems rather pointless to me, too. If you want to approach the "ideal solution" (with definitely less sample variations by default), you should really stick with primes like the colleague above said.

BTW, I know a kind of insane Leica pixel-peeper who said to me that he tested and saw slight sample variations with Leica prime glass too. Well, I wasn´t here but still.... what is perfect, then?

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