Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8D used vs. 16-35mm f/4G new

Started Oct 28, 2012 | Discussions thread
Teila Day
Teila Day Veteran Member • Posts: 4,470
fast aperture = better low light focus too

Ever try focusing on a running stream in the woods, a with a 6 stop ND filter on f/4 lens? Totally different to your eyes (and the camera) doing the same thing with a f2.8 lens instead. Its often the difference between seeing or not seeing through the lens at all. There are many real-world situations like this that people often don't think about. Remember that the lens remains wide open, and doesn't stop down, until you press the shutter- so you reap the benefit of having having a faster lens shooting wildlife, portraits, and nature a lot of times even if you've stopped the lens down to f8 or more. This is evident even on pro bodies with newer focus systems... let alone cheaper bodies with so-so focus systems.

One thing that I highly recommend people do, is shoot with fast glass, then drop down to slower glass with VR/IS and then it often becomes easier to understand what you're missing. It shouldn't have to be said that it depends on what you shoot.

Obviously if you shoot in-you-face portraiture at f/8 most of the time, then an f/4 lens makes sense. If you shoot in-you-face portraits in various interiors and on location where the background isn't always nice looking, then f2.8 starts to make sense very quickly. If you shoot child photography where you don't want other children and playground junk in your background, then it often makes sense shooting the fast glass too.

I love stabilized lenses. I don't buy a long lens without it. I would've paid extra for vr on the 17-35 if it had existed, but I wouldn't have (and won't ever) opt for vr over faster glass. I find the larger apertures really useful when shooting outdoors as I don't like having highly textured grasses and bushes in the background, I'd rather have them rendered nice and smooth and adding texture myself in post if I choose... but I like having the choice vs. being restricted.  Remember, VR allows you to lower your shutter speed, but it doesn't give you the latitude to increase it w/out raising iso which is often the breaking point when shooting events when you've reached your personal iso limitation.

Studio use, early morning nudes, etc.. there's times you don't have much light and the wider aperture helps indoors and out in that regard and often keeps you from having to use the modeling lights on the studio strobes or your speedlight assist, just so the camera can focus. The white assist light on some model cameras can quickly get on a subject's nerves.

The 17-35 can be used on Nikon, Canon (via adapter), and some other format bodies as well. It's an older lens but a good one. There's no replacement for it right now in the Nikon lineup. I love the colour/contrast (though I'd expect newer lenses to be strong in that regard as well), and the lack of flare that I get with the lens. It does much better controlling flare than my Canon 24-70 I, and pretty much all of my other Nikkor lenses as well. It takes filters, strong as a tank, and won't let you down...

As mentioned, Nikon did a lack-luster job on the focus motor on these lenses and they are prone to fail. Mine started squeaking and a long time after that loss autofocus completely. I haven't bothered to get it fixed as I've been using it as a MF lens with success especially on the Nikon pro bodies with a decent focus assist light and arrow system (hint to Canon?)

You can't go wrong with either, but if you want the ultimate options when shooting, the faster glass in a wide angle lens, will give it to you in all but the rarest of instances.

17-35 f2.8 is an easy winner between the two lenses for what I shoot.

Best in photography to everyone!

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