Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?

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jassyou Junior Member • Posts: 29
Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?
1

I am thinking to buy f2.8 lens for landscape photography and this lens is one of the options. the price also is affordable. I do not want to buy 12-24 because I cannot use filter. Is this lens still good or is there any options?

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Parry Johnson
Parry Johnson Senior Member • Posts: 1,938
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?

jassyou wrote:

I am thinking to buy f2.8 lens for landscape photography and this lens is one of the options. the price also is affordable. I do not want to buy 12-24 because I cannot use filter. Is this lens still good or is there any options?

This lens is still an excellent choice, especially if you plan to stay with a DSLR.  The range is quite good, you've got a nice large aperture when needed, and it even doubles as a decent normal zoom for DX bodies (providing AF is supported -- is this the AF-D or AFS version?)

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OP jassyou Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?

AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8D ED-IF

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Parry Johnson
Parry Johnson Senior Member • Posts: 1,938
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?
1

jassyou wrote:

AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8D ED-IF

That's the better of the two as it's compatible with more cameras, and all functions will work with Z cameras (and the FTZ adapter), in case you end up going that route.  (It's easier to resell, too.)

However, one thing to watch out for is the AFS motor.  I've never had a problem with any lens that way, but it might be a little hard to get repairs for older lenses like these because of parts supplies.  Chances are if it still works, it'll keep working for a few more years.

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afoton
afoton Senior Member • Posts: 1,768
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?
2

Parry Johnson wrote:

jassyou wrote:

AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8D ED-IF

That's the better of the two

It's the only one.

Michael Benveniste
Michael Benveniste Veteran Member • Posts: 5,555
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?
6

jassyou wrote:

I am thinking to buy f2.8 lens for landscape photography and this lens is one of the options. the price also is affordable. I do not want to buy 12-24 because I cannot use filter. Is this lens still good or is there any options?

A 17-35mm f/2.8 is not a substitute for a 12-24mm or 14-24mm lens.  It is possible, albeit clumsy and expensive, to use a 150mm filter system with those lenses.  Which filters are you thinking of using?

I just spent just under $600 to replace the AF motor on my 17-35mm f/2.8 and generally refurb the lens.  Since I do own a 14-24mm it was not an easy decision.  I certainly can't recommend spending almost $2000 for a new one.  Used copies are a lot cheaper, but there's a real chance that you too will face a eventual $600 repair bill.
In terms of optical performance, it's a solid step back from the Tamron 15-30mm, Sigma 14-24mm, or Nikon 14-24mm lenses.  Given that it's a 20-year old design, that shouldn't be a shock.  A brand new Tamron 17-35mm f/2.8~4 would have cost me the same, but I couldn't use it with my older film cameras.

For film cameras and full-frame early dSLR's, the 17-35mm was a great lens.  It's still good, but I can no longer call it great.  Despite the filter issue, I feel that the modern alternatives may be better for most users.  Nikon recently discontinued this lens and the only thing which surprises me is that it took so long.

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Reggie Stration
Reggie Stration Contributing Member • Posts: 607
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?

It’s a very useful zoom range, good for travel and PJ work. Keep in mind though that it was introduced back in 1999.
it’s not in the same sharpness category as the 14-24 for example and it also has noticeable complex “mustache” distortion that isn’t great for shooting things like architecture but probably not so noticeable in landscape images. The distortion is correctable in software.

It also takes normal 77mm filters which is handy.
It’s still available new from Nikon (Canada) at $2549.95 which is pretty steep considering that the 14-24 2.8 is $50 cheaper. It’s a good solid pro quality lens though and I still have one in my bag as well as the 14-24 for the times I need to use a filter or need the wider zoom range.

A bunch of years ago I did a few shots with my 17-35 and 14-24 to compare the distortions and to compare distortion correction software. Here is the shot I did with the 17-35 uncorrected. Guide lines added by me.

nznikon Regular Member • Posts: 128
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?

Michael Benveniste wrote:

jassyou wrote:

I am thinking to buy f2.8 lens for landscape photography and this lens is one of the options. the price also is affordable. I do not want to buy 12-24 because I cannot use filter. Is this lens still good or is there any options?

I just spent just under $600 to replace the AF motor on my 17-35mm f/2.8 and generally refurb the lens.

Where did you have the AF motor on your lens repaired? I have a 28-70 AF-S which I think needs the same repair and am trying to decide whether it's worth it to fix it (I was trying to sell it when the thing stopped autofocusing). I'm trying to decide whether to send it to APS or KEH for repair; I read that Nikon will no longer do the repair.

Michael Benveniste
Michael Benveniste Veteran Member • Posts: 5,555
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?

nznikon wrote:

Where did you have the AF motor on your lens repaired? I have a 28-70 AF-S which I think needs the same repair and am trying to decide whether it's worth it to fix it (I was trying to sell it when the thing stopped autofocusing). I'm trying to decide whether to send it to APS or KEH for repair; I read that Nikon will no longer do the repair.

APS: http://www.nikoncamerarepair.com/
Turnaround was astoundingly fast, even though I sent in my D800 for a CLA at the same time.  I'd suggest calling them and seeing if they have the needed parts.  The 28-70mm was discontinued in 2007, so the 10-year grace window has passed.

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OP jassyou Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?

Implan to use NISI Filters System..I am a bit worried when you said the lens will eventually not wordings dua to its age..it makes me think twice to have this lens..

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Parry Johnson
Parry Johnson Senior Member • Posts: 1,938
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?

afoton wrote:

Parry Johnson wrote:

jassyou wrote:

AF-S Nikkor 17-35mm f2.8D ED-IF

That's the better of the two

It's the only one.

Whoops -- right you are!  It's one of the oldest AFS lenses -- some of the original AFS lenses also had aperture rings like AFD.

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Timotis77
Timotis77 Contributing Member • Posts: 584
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?
1

jassyou wrote:

I am thinking to buy f2.8 lens for landscape photography and this lens is one of the options. the price also is affordable. I do not want to buy 12-24 because I cannot use filter. Is this lens still good or is there any options?

You could also look at the 16-35 f4 - As if you plan to use the lens primary for landscape, rarely would you be shooting wide open at 2.8 - In fact most likely stopped down to f56-f11 and anywhere in between!

If you want a 17-35mm maybe also look at the Tamron 17-35mm 2.8-4, its newer and a really good option, it has VC (VR) - though again in landscape you maybe shooting off a tripod and VC/VR isnt really a needed

lightandaprayer Senior Member • Posts: 4,166
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?

nznikon wrote:

Michael Benveniste wrote:

jassyou wrote:

I am thinking to buy f2.8 lens for landscape photography and this lens is one of the options. the price also is affordable. I do not want to buy 12-24 because I cannot use filter. Is this lens still good or is there any options?

I just spent just under $600 to replace the AF motor on my 17-35mm f/2.8 and generally refurb the lens.

Where did you have the AF motor on your lens repaired? I have a 28-70 AF-S which I think needs the same repair and am trying to decide whether it's worth it to fix it (I was trying to sell it when the thing stopped autofocusing). I'm trying to decide whether to send it to APS or KEH for repair; I read that Nikon will no longer do the repair.

If you want a top-notch professional repair APS is the place to go to.  Turnaround is quick and they know as much as Nikon when it comes to fixing Nikon gear.  I've used APS for over 25 years; I switched to them when I still had NPS membership.  In my experience APS is better than Nikon, hands-down.

paul-nm
paul-nm Regular Member • Posts: 181
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?
3

I'm still using the 17-35 AF-S I bought more than twenty years ago. In fact, I bought it about the same time I got the D1 (1999?).

In the 20+ years I've owned it I have had to send it in to have the focus motor replaced once, about four years ago. I use the lens for both landscape and Astro photography. I did have the opportunity to try the 14-24 F/2.8 and I liked it better for Astro but actually liked the 17-35 over the 14-24 for landscape. Stopped down to f/16 my 17-35 doesn't  seem to suffer diffraction. But the vignette on the 17-35 is more harsh than the 14-24 was. Also, the range of 17-35 seemed to fit my needs better. But, it's also what I'm used to using and composing. So...

And, since I already have an excellent working 17-35 it was hard for me to justify spending the $$ to replace it...

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dave gaines
dave gaines Veteran Member • Posts: 9,464
17-35mm f2.8 bokeh is harsh

I recently tested my Nikon 17-35 mm f/2.8 for bokeh and background OOF at wide open when focused on a close subject, a cluster of wildflowers. While the foreground, in focus flowers were sharp, the background exhibited harshness I did not like. I think close focus with a wide angle lens is an important use of any wide angle lens.

Compared to most of my other lenses (all 12 of them) the background OOF was worse.

I've only tested this recently and not many times. Your results may vary. I'd ask people here who like their 17-35 lenses to give this a try when focusing close with a background element in the frame. Let us know what you think.

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nznikon Regular Member • Posts: 128
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?

lightandaprayer wrote:

nznikon wrote:

Michael Benveniste wrote:

jassyou wrote:

I am thinking to buy f2.8 lens for landscape photography and this lens is one of the options. the price also is affordable. I do not want to buy 12-24 because I cannot use filter. Is this lens still good or is there any options?

I just spent just under $600 to replace the AF motor on my 17-35mm f/2.8 and generally refurb the lens.

Where did you have the AF motor on your lens repaired? I have a 28-70 AF-S which I think needs the same repair and am trying to decide whether it's worth it to fix it (I was trying to sell it when the thing stopped autofocusing). I'm trying to decide whether to send it to APS or KEH for repair; I read that Nikon will no longer do the repair.

If you want a top-notch professional repair APS is the place to go to. Turnaround is quick and they know as much as Nikon when it comes to fixing Nikon gear. I've used APS for over 25 years; I switched to them when I still had NPS membership. In my experience APS is better than Nikon, hands-down.

I've used APS in the past and think they do outstanding work. My only concern was the cost of repairing the lens since my intention (pre-autofocusing problem) was to sell it. With the added cost of the repair, I'm not sure if I'd be able to sell it for a reasonable price. I see on the KEH website that they have fixed prices for zoom repairs (less than what I think APS would charge) and was thinking about giving them a try, but haven't heard anything about their repair department.

Michael Benveniste
Michael Benveniste Veteran Member • Posts: 5,555
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?

nznikon wrote:

I've used APS in the past and think they do outstanding work. My only concern was the cost of repairing the lens since my intention (pre-autofocusing problem) was to sell it. With the added cost of the repair, I'm not sure if I'd be able to sell it for a reasonable price.

For parts or as a manual focus lens, 28-70mm f/2.8's seem to sell for around $200.  Fully functional, they sell for around $500-$550.  If you aren't using the lens, I doubt it's worth repairing.  Even at aliexpress, a new "Genuine" motor runs $250.  Had I not planned to use my 17-35mm, I would have sold it for parts.

If you have the skills and confidence (I don't), you might be able to repair it yourself.  Others such as Richard Haw might be able to give you some pointers.

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OP jassyou Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?

I might take your advice, f4 might be sufficient.

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OP jassyou Junior Member • Posts: 29
Re: Is 17-35mm f2.8 Nikon still good?

I had one 17-55mm 2.8 DX lens sent to Nikon Centre because it had issues with blades. I was informed that they no longer take the lens for repair/service since it is too old and the lens was discontinued. I am afraid, the same will happen to 17-35mm if I bought one.

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Michael Benveniste
Michael Benveniste Veteran Member • Posts: 5,555
Re: 17-35mm f2.8 bokeh is harsh
1

dave gaines wrote:

I've only tested this recently and not many times. Your results may vary. I'd ask people here who like their 17-35 lenses to give this a try when focusing close with a background element in the frame. Let us know what you think.

Quick snap of my living room with an OOC JPEG:

Yes, I know the EXIF is munged.  I've never figured out why.

And a 100% crop of the gumball machine and the bookcase:

If you take a look at the clock and the Law Dictionary, you can see why I consider the bokeh to be "meh."  There's some bright line and doubling evident, but I can't really call it harsh.

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