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Author Topic: Is there a good quality 28 - 70 mm (or more) zoom lens for Nikon full-frame DSLRs?  (Read 20428 times)
thomashoven
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« on: January 20, 2009, 03:34:11 PM »
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What lens?


Availability of a good & reasonably compact normal zoom lens (28 - 70 mm minimum) governs my choice of camera. 3 alternatives I consider:

1. Sony A900 to get the Zeiss 24-70mm F2.8
2. Canon 5D MKII to get the 24-105mm f/4L IS (Alternative the 24-70mm f/2.8L)
3. Nikon D700 to get what versatile and reasonable normal zoom starting at 28 mm or wider?

The Nikon D700 has features I appreciate that the Canon 5D MkII and Sony A900 doesn't, but I don't know about a good zoom similar to what Canon and Sony has. Cost is not a major issue. Versatility, quality and size is.

I am primarily looking for lens experiences, not camera body tips. Anyone out there that knows about a good zoom for Nikon full frames? Is the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED the best choice? How does it compare to the Canon and Zeiss lenses mentioned above? What about Nikkor 24-85 f/2.8 - 4? The Nikkor 24 - 120 f/3.5 - 5.6 has received some less good reviews and is not considered.

Presently, I own a cheaper Nikon SLR with a disaster of a zoom lens (optically and mechanically). This will be discarded. An older Canon compact has been great on picture quality (considering what type of camera it is) and has taken extreme beating over years without failing. That's an argument for Canon.


Thomas
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petermarrek
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« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2009, 03:47:28 PM »
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Have used a 28-80 nikon for over 4 years, great lens, not very compact but the quality is outstanding. Peter
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ddk
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« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2009, 04:30:38 PM »
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Quote from: thomashoven
What lens?


Availability of a good & reasonably compact normal zoom lens (28 - 70 mm minimum) governs my choice of camera. 3 alternatives I consider:

1. Sony A900 to get the Zeiss 24-70mm F2.8
2. Canon 5D MKII to get the 24-105mm f/4L IS (Alternative the 24-70mm f/2.8L)
3. Nikon D700 to get what versatile and reasonable normal zoom starting at 28 mm or wider?

The Nikon D700 has features I appreciate that the Canon 5D MkII and Sony A900 doesn't, but I don't know about a good zoom similar to what Canon and Sony has. Cost is not a major issue. Versatility, quality and size is.

I am primarily looking for lens experiences, not camera body tips. Anyone out there that knows about a good zoom for Nikon full frames? Is the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED the best choice? How does it compare to the Canon and Zeiss lenses mentioned above? What about Nikkor 24-85 f/2.8 - 4? The Nikkor 24 - 120 f/3.5 - 5.6 has received some less good reviews and is not considered.

Presently, I own a cheaper Nikon SLR with a disaster of a zoom lens (optically and mechanically). This will be discarded. An older Canon compact has been great on picture quality (considering what type of camera it is) and has taken extreme beating over years without failing. That's an argument for Canon.


Thomas

Take a look at the Tamron 28-75/f2.8, on the whole I'm not a fan of zoom lenses but I really like this one, its wonderfully compact and light, easily pocketable. IQ is excellent even wide open, definitely on a par with the last generation of equivalent Nikkor and the price is a bargain too.

PS. The Tamron is available in all different mounts as well.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2009, 05:27:15 PM by ddk » Logged

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aaykay
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« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2009, 05:26:33 PM »
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Quote from: thomashoven
1. Sony A900 to get the Zeiss 24-70mm F2.8

As a former Canon shooter, who shot with the 24-70 f/2.8L and also the 24-105 f/4L IS, and currently shooting with the A900+CZ24-70, I can vouch for the quality of the Zeiss Vario-Sonnar in the Alpha mount.   The Zeiss is head and shoulders better than the Canon for corner to corner quality on Full-frame.  

The downside to the Zeiss is that it is not weather-proofed like the Canon lens, although I personally would break out the rain cover than rely on the weather-proof-ness of a $1000+ lens.

Obviously, only on the Sony mount is the 24-70 f/2.8 stabilized.
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Lisa Nikodym
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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2009, 05:42:34 PM »
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Bjorn Rorslett has a great, and quite comprehensive, series of Nikon lens reviews.  You might visit his site and look ones in the range you're interested in:

http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html

Click on the link above, then go to the "Lenses" link on the left hand side.

Lisa
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gss
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« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2009, 06:08:56 PM »
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The Nikon 24-70 2.8 is quite respectable.  If you have a hankering for the Nikon camera, I would go with that unless you really need a smaller lens.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2009, 06:11:44 PM by gss » Logged
Ray
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« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2009, 08:30:41 PM »
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There does appear to be a problem here, no doubt due to the fact that Nikon has been concentrating on DX lenses for the past few years. It's a pity they can't repeat the performance of the excellent 14-24/2.8 at greater focal lengths.

I've already got the 14-24/2.8. I'm reluctant to duplicate focal lengths that I already have in the Canon mount, unless they are significantly better lenses. (My 14-24/2.8 is significantly better than my Canon-mount Sigma 15-30). I'm not keen on the 24-70/2.8 because it doesn't have VR and I already have the Canon 24-105/F4 IS, which I think is probably a more useful lens because it has IS and has a greater range.

I've considered getting the Canon 70-200/F4 IS, but never got around to it. I would therefore consider the Nikkor 70-200/2.8 VR as a useful addition to my lens repertoire, but I wonder if this lens is as good as the Canon 70-200/2.8 IS or the lighter and therefore preferrable Canon 70-200/F4 IS. Bjorn makes a few criticisms of the Nikkor 70-200/2.8 on the FX format, although on balance it gets the thumbs up.

I'm surprised that at F2.8 it's no sharper than at F22, at 70mm and 200mm, but maybe that's also the case with the Canon 70-200/2.8. It's times like this when I wish there were really thorough MTF tests available along the lines of Photodo, but with charts for a few more f stops than F8 and full aperture.

I might just settle for the 14-24/2.8 and an el cheapo Nikkor 50/1.4. For all other focal lengths I would use my Canon gear.
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NashvilleMike
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« Reply #7 on: January 20, 2009, 09:20:11 PM »
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Quote from: thomashoven
What lens?

I am primarily looking for lens experiences, not camera body tips. Anyone out there that knows about a good zoom for Nikon full frames? Is the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED the best choice? How does it compare to the Canon and Zeiss lenses mentioned above? What about Nikkor 24-85 f/2.8 - 4? The Nikkor 24 - 120 f/3.5 - 5.6 has received some less good reviews and is not considered.

Thomas

This one is actually a pretty obvious answer IMO - the Nikon 24-70 is an *excellent* lens - it is not perfect (it's weaker at 24mm than I'd like it to be, in the corners), but in the rest of the range, particularly from about 30mm on up, it is about as good as it gets for a zoom, and quite competitive with many prime lenses, even beating some of them in terms of sharpness. One doesn't usually hear about it outside of the Nikon user community (where it is very highly regarded by most every respected Nikon lens reviewer) because the (justly famous) 14-24 gets all the press and attention, but the 24-70 is one heck of a lens and you'd be hard pressed to find a lens in that zoom range that's better - the only competition is the Sony/Zeiss 24-70, and there it's more a matter of subtle trade-offs in terms of which image quality parameters matter more for you (the Nikkor, for example, has considerably better bokeh/OOF rendering than the Sony/Zeiss). Research the various Nikon reviewers and perhaps rent one through one of the online lens rental sites and see for yourself - the latter being the best way to evaluate this sort of thing.

-m
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Colorado David
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« Reply #8 on: January 20, 2009, 09:29:07 PM »
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Too bad you didn't buy the Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 yesterday.  The price increases went into effect today.  Bummer.
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Ray
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« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2009, 10:42:46 PM »
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This one is actually a pretty obvious answer IMO - the Nikon 24-70 is an *excellent* lens - it is not perfect (it's weaker at 24mm than I'd like it to be, in the corners),

This seems to be a common problem with any modern Nikkor lens, weak in the corners on FX, excluding those leses that are designated DX, which one expects to be weak in the corners on FX.

Quote
the 24-70 is one heck of a lens and you'd be hard pressed to find a lens in that zoom range that's better - the only competition is the Sony/Zeiss 24-70,

The Sony/Zeiss will also have the benefit of the anti-shake sensor in all Sony DSLRs. The Nikkor 24-70 has no VR.

Now, I know the Canon 24-70/2.8 does not have IS, also, but we expect more as technology progresses.
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happyman
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« Reply #10 on: January 20, 2009, 11:07:42 PM »
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Quote from: Ray
This seems to be a common problem with any modern Nikkor lens, weak in the corners on FX, excluding those leses that are designated DX, which one expects to be weak in the corners on FX.

I wonder if you read about that or did a testing by your own.

I have both Nikkor Zoom lenses 14-24 and 24-70 and there is nothing soft in the corners.

I hope you donīt mean shooting a brick wall at f2.8. This has nothing to do with photography.

Switching from Canon last year at least only these two lenses are worth the trouble of selling and buying.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #11 on: January 20, 2009, 11:14:04 PM »
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Quote from: thomashoven
I am primarily looking for lens experiences, not camera body tips. Anyone out there that knows about a good zoom for Nikon full frames? Is the Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G ED the best choice? How does it compare to the Canon and Zeiss lenses mentioned above? What about Nikkor 24-85 f/2.8 - 4? The Nikkor 24 - 120 f/3.5 - 5.6 has received some less good reviews and is not considered.

The most rigorous lens test I know of are those performed by the French magazine Chasseur d'Image. Recently they have been testing as a combo with a body.

Their Jan issue had a comparison of all the pro zooms for different mounts:

- The Nikkor 24-70 f2.8 on the D700 got the best absolute mark,
- Followed closely by the Canon 24-70 f2.8
- The Sony Zeiss on the A900 was a rather distant third. Their comment was that it was excellent on the A700, but clearly weaker than both Nikon and Canon offerings in the corners when used on the A900.

Another important downside of the Zeiss deisgn compared to both Nikon and Canon is that the lens hood is mounted on the central barrel that moves when zooming in and out. On the Nikon and Canon, the hood is fixed and the front element moves relative to the hood so as to offer more flare protection in the long end, a truly brilliant design.

Sample variations might impact a bit, but there is no doubt that the Nikon 24-70 f2.8 is one of the very best mid-range zoom ever produced.

I personnally own the lens, and its image quality is excellent, but I hadly ever use it. I might in fact never have used it after the first month. I tend to prefer lighter and smaller primes but the image quality is very hard to distinghuish. I keep it because it came be really handy in some situations but it is my least used lens.

Cheers,
Bernard
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« Reply #12 on: January 20, 2009, 11:29:19 PM »
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I can add  my voice to the chorus in favor of the 24-70 f2.8 - it's one of the sharpest lenses I have ever used, and that's on a D3x (which is very hard on lenses, because it's both full-frame and high-resolution). The 24-70 is not a small lens, and it has no VR, but it is clearly the sharpest zoom I have used across 20 years and multiple systems (I don't yet own the 14-24). The only lenses I've used (out of an eclectic bunch that by no means includes everything out there - notably no exotic long glass, and few small-format non-macro primes) that compare favorably in sharpness are some of the Zeiss primes for Hasselblad and perhaps a macro lens or two. It's clearly sharper than the Canon 24-105 f4 L, to name a fairly comparable lens I'm familiar with.

                                                      -Dan
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Ray
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« Reply #13 on: January 21, 2009, 01:57:14 AM »
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I wonder if you read about that or did a testing by your own.

I read about it a couple of posts ago, by NashvilleMike, to quote:
Quote
the Nikon 24-70 is an *excellent* lens - it is not perfect (it's weaker at 24mm than I'd like it to be, in the corners)

Nevertheless, many lenses are soft in the corners, especially at wide apertures, so I can forgive that. It's the lack of VR that stops me buying it, because this is the sort of lens I would use on my 'soon to be delivered' D700 as a 'walk around'.

Quote
I hope you donīt mean shooting a brick wall at f2.8. This has nothing to do with photography.

So shooting a brick wall at Pompei or at the ancient Pyramids of Egypt, or at Angkor Wat has nothing to do with photography? I didn't know that.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #14 on: January 21, 2009, 02:04:09 AM »
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Quote from: Ray
this is the sort of lens I would use on my 'soon to be delivered' D700 as a 'walk around'.

Have I read that correctly, you have a D700 on order???

Or is it "soon" like in "in some distant future - probably never at the earliest"?

Cheers,
Bernard
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Ray
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« Reply #15 on: January 21, 2009, 02:22:32 AM »
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Quote from: BernardLanguillier
Have I read that correctly, you have a D700 on order???

Or is it "soon" like in "in some distant future - probably never at the earliest"?

Cheers,
Bernard

Bernard,
I'll get the D700 in a day or so. It's ordered. On the strength of their 14-24/2.8 lens, Nikon have succeeded in persuading me to buy a Nikon body, but that's as far as it goes at present. The partnership is now a D700 and Canon 50D, instead of a 5D and 50D   .
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NikosR
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« Reply #16 on: January 21, 2009, 04:52:31 AM »
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Quote from: Ray
I read about it a couple of posts ago, by NashvilleMike, to quote:

Nevertheless, many lenses are soft in the corners, especially at wide apertures, so I can forgive that. It's the lack of VR that stops me buying it, because this is the sort of lens I would use on my 'soon to be delivered' D700 as a 'walk around'.



So shooting a brick wall at Pompei or at the ancient Pyramids of Egypt, or at Angkor Wat has nothing to do with photography? I didn't know that.


Ray,

In your usual style you take comments out of context and you use a particularly selective style whilst doing that...

1. That the 24-70 weak link according to the poster is the corners at 24mm does not mean that they are 'soft' not does this mean they are softer than the competition. (BTW I had limited exposure to the lens but I find its a spectacular one for its class with its weaker point being some larger than 'usual' field curvature at some focal lengths). It would have been better if you had not commented at all since you have nothing to add lacking personal experience with this or the competitor lenses. Instead you just generalised making an equally invalid general statement about Nikon lenses..

2. Yes, shooting brick walls at f2.8 with an f2.8 lens in Pompei or any place in the world has little to do with photography. Hint: f2.8 plays an important role in the previous sentence...Still the 24-70 performs as good as any competitive lens (probably better) even at that test.

Sometimes it looks to me like you're posting just to increase your already huge posting rate in this forum.

PS. To the OP: The Nikon 24-70 is considered by most seasoned Nikon reviewers and prominent pros to be an excellent lens, marginally better than its predecessor the 28-70 (nicknamed The Beast) which was already an excellent lens. Bjorn Rosrslett includes it in his Best-of-the-Best list of Nikkor optics with the adjective 'state of the art'. If you need to trust Bjorn or Ray I would advise you to trust the former.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2009, 05:02:07 AM by NikosR » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: January 21, 2009, 05:08:51 AM »
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Quote from: Ray
This seems to be a common problem with any modern Nikkor lens, weak in the corners on FX, excluding those leses that are designated DX, which one expects to be weak in the corners on FX.

Curious. What is your source for that? These reviews are pretty consistent with other experiences including my own:

http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html
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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2009, 05:10:51 AM »
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Quote from: Ray
I read about it a couple of posts ago, by NashvilleMike, to quote:

NashvillMike posted ONE experience. Your statement was that Nikon lenses in general had an issue with edge sharpness. So what was your source?
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Ray
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« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2009, 05:22:27 AM »
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Quote from: NikosR
Ray,

In your usual style you take comments out of context and you use a particularly selective style whilst doing that...

1. That the 24-70 weak link according to the poster is the corners at 24mm does not mean that they are 'soft' not does this mean they are softer than the competition. (BTW I had limited exposure to the lens but I find its a spectacular one for its class with its weaker point being some larger than 'usual' field curvature at some focal lengths). It would have been better if you had not commented at all since you have nothing to add lacking personal experience with this or the competitor lenses. Instead you just generalised making an equally invalid general statement about Nikon lenses..

2. Yes, shooting brick walls at f2.8 with an f2.8 lens in Pompei or any place in the world has little to do with photography. Hint: f2.8 plays an important role in the previous sentence...Still the 24-70 performs as good as any competitive lens (probably better) even at that test.

Sometimes it looks to me like you're posting just to increase your already huge posting rate in this forum.

PS. To the OP: The Nikon 24-70 is considered by most seasoned Nikon reviewers and prominent pros to be an excellent lens, marginally better than its predecessor the 28-70 (nicknamed The Beast) which was already an excellent lens. Bjorn Rosrslett includes it in his Best-of-the-Best list of Nikkor optics with the adjective 'state of the art'. If you need to trust Bjorn or Ray I would advise you to trust the former.


You seem to be so sensitive and so vulnerable, you've blown my comments out of all proprtion. As I've already mentioned, a bit of softness in the corners, especially at the short end is to be expected. The Canon 24-70 might be no different. The major weakness for me is that the lens does not have VR. I will also add that, after looking at Bjorn's site, I see soft corners as a weakness in quite a few Nikkor lenses. There are a number of lenses that get excellent results on the DX format but are a bit lacking on full frame, just are there are Canon lenses in the same category.

You should understand, I'm in the situation where I would not be interested in any Nikkor lens unless it was substantially better than the Canon full frame equivalent, which the Nikkor 14-24/2.8 clearly is. Even though the Nikkor 24-70/2.8 might be the optical equal of the Canon 24-70/2.8, it needs to be better for me to consider it. I'm not in the process of swapping Nikkor lenses for Canon lenses. I buy Nikkor lenses only because they are clearly better in some respect than the Canon equivalent.
« Last Edit: January 21, 2009, 05:23:52 AM by Ray » Logged
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