14-24 or the 70-200 VR

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by bsd230, May 22, 2009.

  1. I just got my new D700 today and am trying to decide which lens I want to add to my arsenal. I know only I can make this decision. I could use them both and want them both, but can only afford one right now. I don't have a long lens or anything wider than 24mm. I currently only have to lenses a 24-60 Sigma 2.8 and a 50mm 1.4. I know the 14-24 is excellent with the FX sensor. They would probably get equal use. I would use the wide angle quite a bit, but the 70-200 would be great for outdoor photos of my son and dogs now that it is summer time.
    My question: Does the 70-200 work well with the FX sensor? How is the Image quality? How about with a 1.4-2.0 TC?
  2. Some people find that the 70-200's corner sharpness is a little too soft for them on an FX body. For most real-world shooting of subjects like kids/dogs, you'll never notice it or care.

    The 14-24 is a highly specialized lens. Big, delicate, and very, very wide. To me, the 70-200 would see much, much more use than the 14-24. I use a TC17EII on the 70-200, and take the reduction in speed and sharpness as being a workable compromise under some conditions. With the D700's ability to shoot cleanly at higher ISOs, you'd be able to stop that combination down a bit more, and really get past some of the sharpness issues brought on by using the TC.
  3. I agree, edge softness is not as big of an issue most of the time since my subject are usually in the center or around there. I am usually doing things to tone down the background anyway. I was also considering the 80-400 but I think the 70-200 would be better overall. I am sure the 400 would be sharper at 400mm but I will mostly be using it for the 70-200 range.
  4. I don't have the 14-24, but do have the 17-35, and also have the 70-200 and 24-70. The wide angle see's by far the least action and the 24-70 the most. I shoot mainly nature and landscapes. I do love the 70-200, but tend to have it on my D300 where it really provides reach and great IQ.
  5. Brian, I have both D300 and D700 bodies and the 24-70 and 70-200. On the D700, the 24-70 is my staple lense, and having added the D700 after owning the D300, I didnt know what 24mm was supposed to look like. Recently I have been in situations where I started to feel like I wanted to go a little wider, but by most accounts, the 14-24 is a specialized lens and not for everyone. So if you want to go wider than 24mm, the 17-35 may be a more usable range despite the overlap with your 24-60.

    So it really matters what focal range you tend to shoot in the most. For anything related to action, especially outdoors, I think the 70-200 would offer you more flexibility, especially given that you have 24-60 already covered. And for situations where you are focusing on a subject, I totally agree with Matt -- whatever edge softness, real or imagined, is probably not a issue. And I have used the 70-200 with Nikon's TC1.4 on the D300 and am reasonably happy with the results. Perhaps a tad soft when side open, but still very usable. The image quality is supposed to get better when you stop down as Shun has stated in numerous threads. I would guess that the same thing applies when using this lens combination on the D700, though I cant speak from experience here.
  6. Certainly the 17-35 and 24-70 would be options as well. I am still evaluating the 24-60 on this body to see if I like it or not. It seems to be pretty good so I may keep it. I'll shoot more this weekend and see how it performs. The 17-35 is very tempting and would be very wide on my FX sensor or at least it would seem wide to me. If I get the 17-35 I could sell the Sigma since I also have a 50mm 1.4. That would cover that range well enough. Decisions...
  7. You've already been steered towards the 17-35 which would be nice for you. I have the 14-24 & it's a wonderful & huge lens. :) but it is rather specialized on a FX sensor.
    As for the 70-200VR on the D700 - I have not tested mine yet. I think for fun summer shots you may enjoy a longer lens for those shots of your dog. But you may wish to consider a cheaper 80-200mm f/2.8 instead. Half the price & actually made for film so FX camera.
    Lil :)
  8. How bout getting both a long and a wide by looking into some cheaper options. You can get a brand new 80-200mm f2.8 AF-D for $1000. You can get a Sigma 70-200 f2.8, it's autofocus is very quick (not Nikkor 70-200 speed, but fast enough for anything) or the Tamron 70-200 f2.8 which has a slower AF (still plenty fast for most things) and absolutely stunning optics. The corner sharpness is better then the Nikkor.
    And because people will get mad at that statement: http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/widget/Fullscreen.ashx?reviews=19,17&fullscreen=true&av=3,3&fl=70,70&vis=VisualiserSharpnessMTF,VisualiserSharpnessMTF&stack=horizontal&lock=&config=/lensreviews/widget/LensReviewConfiguration.xml%3F3
    For a wide, you could try some primes or some slightly cheaper zooms. The 18-35 f3.5-4.5 is a very good performer, without the weight and the price of larger lens. The Tamron 17-35 f2.8-4 is also a splendid lens that many amateurs and semi pros swear by. Here are the reviews of a few dozen individuals: http://www.fredmiranda.com/reviews/showproduct.php?product=191&sort=7&cat=43&page=1
    The Sigma 12-24 f4.5-5.6 is a great performer and a very similar lens (in focal range and limitations) to the 14-24 f2.8. It's a rather slow lens, but it has very little distortion at 12mm which makes it fun to work with. It's also rather cheap for the sort of quality it offers.
    Don't discount thrird party lens just because they are third party lens'! You have equipment needs / desires and a budget to respect, find the best lens' you can afford that will alow you to get as many good pictures as you desire.
  9. I have no problem with 3rd party lenses. I have used a several over the years. I prefer Sigma's EX line for image quality and build. I feel the EX line is very close to the upper end lenses from Nikon. Not as good but pretty close at usually 1/2 the price.
  10. I LOVE my 14-24 and 70-200 on my D300... that being said, if I had the D700 I would kill for the 24-70.
    I shoot architecture, so the 14-24 comes in real handy, but on FX (as I can see thru my film cameras) it is very wide. So for your question, I suppose I would go with the 70-200. Keep in mind the 70-200 is quite big at first to be an 'everyday' lens.
    Perhaps the 85/1.4 instead? Perhaps with the 300/f4?
  11. Brian,
    Much depends on what you want to do but I was surprised recently to see that Bjorn (http://www.naturfotograf.com/index2.html) does not endorse the 70-200 on an FX. I was surprised as it is the only negative review I have seen of that lens and you may wish to consider it.
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    There are many threads and reviews about the 70-200's corner issue. To me, it is not a big deal since only small areas in the four corners are bad, but if you want corner-to-corner sharpness at 200mm, you won't get it from this lens: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00Rdrl
    Last month I tested a friend's sample, and as expected, it has the same corner problem as mine.
    DPReview: http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/nikon_70-200_2p8_vr_n15/page6.asp
    The Camera Hobby web site is maintained by NikonLinks.com maintainer Edwin Leong. He tested the 70-200 as part of his D3X review: http://www.camerahobby.com/Review-D3X_2.html
    Keep in mind that Edwin is only showing a tiny corner from the 70-200 and that part is not merely bad, it is down right ugly, while the Canon equivalent doesn't have that problem. But the area affected is rather small so that when you look at the whole picture (see my example in the first link above), it is not necessarily that big a deal.
  13. Another lens I was considering is the 70-300 VR. Even though it is slower, I think it would work with the high ISO performance of this camera. Just from doing some test shots around the house today, I can't believe the ISO performance. I was wondering if anyone has used it on an FX sensor?
  14. Apples and oranges.
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Brian, may I make a suggestion?
    You just got the D700, and you already have a couple of lenses. Why don't you use what you already have for 2, 3 weeks? You should discover the new capabilities of the new camera and also what is missing. Then you'll know which lenses you'll need.
    My view is that anybody who needs to ask this forum whether to get the 14-24mm/f2.8 or not should not get it. It is a highly specialized lens. If you really need something that wide, you'll know that by heart and won't even need to ask.
  16. I agree Shun. I really don't think the 14-24 would be right for me. I will take my time on these lenses. Just with the shooting I have done, the ISO will make lenses I would not have considered before a consideration now (i.e. 70-300 VR). I was going to sell my 24-60 with my old camera, but I have been shooting with it a little today and think I might keep it. I will do some shooting first before I decide on my next lens. As others have said the 17-35 would be a better all around lens and would be really nice on the FX sensor.
  17. Wow, I agree with Shun!
    I would simply like to add that many thousands of years ago when I started out with a 24mm, 50mm and a 80-200mm, it was the zoom that I upgraded first, after about 4 years. It was 2 years after that, but not before upgrading the 50mm and getting a teleconverter, that I went into the superwide range with a 17mm. Even though most of my photography now is in the superwide range with a Nikon 14/2.8 I would still be sure to cover the telephoto range first. I would not say that anything wider than 24mm on full frame is "specialized", nor would I not recommend it, but it certainly takes a great deal of commitment from the person behind the camera to learn how to use them effecively. Let's call it a "challenging" focal length range.
  18. Yes I think the 14-24 having thought about it and as others have said, it is probably too specialized for my needs. If I decide I need something wider I think it will be the 17-35. I can't believe I overlooked that lens, way more practical for me. I'll shoot for a while though and get used to the full frame and go from there.
  19. I do agree that you should play around with the lenses you have already and find out the gaps in your line and then fill them as needed. Though when you are ready I would look into the Nikon 70-300mm VR. It has great reviews and gives you that extra 100mm so you wouldn't have to get a teleconverter. I actualy bought a wideangly (12-24mm for by dx d200) before I got my telephoto and I would have to say that it may be the lens that I use the most. But it all depens on your technique and style. If you just plant on casual tele photos throughout the summer I would suggest the 70-300 VR. If you are more of a landscape/architecture I would suggest for the fx sensor the Nikon AFS 17-35mm f/2.8. JMO
  20. Brian,
    Remember that the 17-35 and the 14-24 serve different purposes. They compliment each other; one doesn't replace the other. The 17-35 has more reach and takes filters but has less corner sharpness. The 14-24 is the corner sharpness king, but is huge and doesn't take filters. If your love of ultra-wides grows, you'll want both, to work for different situations.
    As per your question of getting the 14-24 or 70-200, I'd get the 14-24. Why? Because the 70-200 is 'possibly' due for an over-haul or remake (see Thom Hogan's site) and you'll want the newest and hopefully sharpest version of that lens. The 14-24 is an exotic and it's price and value may very will increase over time, like the 28 f/1.4 did. Ultimately though, this is all speculation and it's anyone's guess. The best answer is to look at your own desires and get what you feel will fill the biggest void today, right now.
  21. I may even consider the 18-35, from what I have read it seems to be a pretty decent alternative to the 17-35. Going with the 70-300 VR and 18-35, kill 2 birds and save about $700
  22. I might be a little different here and recommend the 35 f2 and either 85 1.4 or 85 f1.8, or 35 f2 and 180 f2.8
    Ok I love primes, I personally don't miss the convenience of zoom lens. Although today most people do preffer zooms and with the newer lens quality there certainly is no reason not to want a zoom lens.
    Quite a few years ago I sold my push pull 80-200 afd because it was like a vacum cleaner sucking in dust and after a few cleanings by Nikon I sold it and went with an 85 f1.4 and a 180 f2.8 and after a small period of adjustments on my part my photos improved quite a bit, because of sharper lens and more concentration on what I was doing.
  23. I don't mind primes. I have one the 50mm 1.4 and love it. In fact, I like it more on the FF sensor.
  24. Brian,
    I have the 17-35mm and the 70-200mm VR and a 50mm normal lens to fill the gap in between.
    The 17-35mm is a fantastic lens. I usually use it in the 17-20mm range or at 35mm. I have never tried a 14mm lens, but find 17mm enough challenging compositional wise. Make sure you get a slim UV-filter to go with this lens to avoid vignetting. I very often use a circular polarizer and it works really well, even at 17mm despite what people on forums are saying. It needs some paying attention to light direction to avoid unwanted phenomenas on the sky. However, I usually shoot at 20mm to avoid vignetting. I tried to solve this problem by ordering a high end Nikon polarizer (4.6mm slim). However, the combination 17mm and this filter creates a strange corner issue (softness), which is very annoying. Image quality is nice.
    Corner softness @17mm with Nikon 77mm polarizer:
    The 70-200mm creates stunning results. I still get amazed when I open my files at home. Colour rendition and contrast are in my subjective opinion beautiful. Sharpness is very good. I believe you would miss the large aperture if you opt for the 70-300mm. I almost never close down beyond f/4. Remember, that is my style of shooting and it changes all the time. I love the beautiful out of sharpness rendition (bokeh). However, sometimes I miss the ability to use it for landscape work. The corner softness is incredibly annoying. It is clearly visible even without enlarging the images. That is the downside, you will miss shooting landscapes if you opt for 70-200mm VR. It is an action (sports, kids, animals) or portrait lens. The lens is very easy to use. Shooting moving objects, I use one focus point, to quickly get into range by pressing the shutter halfway . Then I adjust focus manually. AF-S is a very nice tool. It is a little on the heavy side for walking around. I hold the lens at all times, since I am worried to otherwise hurt the mount.
    I have never missed a zoom lens in between. My 50mm lens fills the gap for my needs. That is another advantage of the 17-35mm over the 14-24mm.
    Hope this was of any help!
  25. Brian,
    With my D700 I have the 70-300 VR, the 50mm f1.8 and this week I bought a 20mm f3.5 AI. Having been used to an 18-200mmVR on a D70, my primary purpose was to replace the longer range of the 18-200mm in the short term with the 50mm.
    In March I took a long trip to new Zealand with a short stopover in Hong Kong. Throughout all of this the 70-300mm was my walkabout lens using the 50mm in low light or close situations. I have been very happy with the results and I have been able to take photos where I know the D70 would have been struggling or unable to deliver. I am not saying it is my long term solution but I am so much happier with it than with my previous D70 set up. If you are interested, the Hong Kong photos are at http://www.flickr.com/photos/spockshots/ - look at those with a D700 number in the New Zealand 2009 set.
  26. I have the D700 and the 14-24 / 24-70 / 105micro and 300mm AFS F/4,
    Depends of what kinf of photo you are taking!! I' m 1000% happy with the 14-24, it's a magic lens, I use it a lot for landscape and for interior of Aircraft...
    The 24-70 is also very interesting!!
  27. I too went through the same problem.
    Go for the 70-200 first. No need to waste money on mid-ranger 24-70 as you already have 50/1.4.
    14-24 is a highly specialised beast. So take your time...I bought it but returned it after some use. I guess you will be better off with 17-35. But it is due for update. Hopefully, Nikon does this in 2009, along with giving us some fast primes like 28/1.4, 35/1.4.
  28. I think I will either go with the 17-35 or the 18-35. As far as the long end goes I think I will try to get away with the 70-300 VR. It seems that many people are using this lens on the D700 with very good results. I think the ISO performance of this camera makes it possible to use slower lenses with great results. Just shooting around the house I was amazed at good ISO 3200 looked. Probably as good as ISO 400 looked on my D200, maybe better.
  29. 14-24mm is the new lens but I going to buy the 17-35mm because it will fit my need best.
    Tele is good but, an all around lens is the 17-35.
  30. 70-200/2.8 VR PERIOD!
  31. Brian, I think you are making the right decision. Though Gurbally is correct in saying that the 17-35 is due for an update. Maybe hold out a couple of months to see what nikon does.
  32. You sound like me in your equipmet...I have both...you WILL have both...go ahead and get both...I love them both!
  33. I prefer Prime lenses. Get the 20mm f/2.8 and the 135mm f/2. If you buy them used, you can always sell them for at least what you paid for them - sometimes more! Plus, you will probably never sell them, since they are both such good lenses. You could get both of them for a lot less then you were planning to spend.
  34. I will definitely consider some primes. One of these days I'll pull the trigger and buy the 300mm f4. That is one prime I would love to have. I don't have a problem using primes myself. Zoom are convenient no doubt, but the image quality of a good prime is tough to beat.
  35. No the 70-200 does not work well with an FX sensor in my experience. Why the urge to buy a zoom lens? Why settle for second best when you can have a better option for less? You could get a short and a longer prime lens, either of which would be smaller, faster, lighter, and with better image quality. Do you feel you need more than one focal length wider that 24mm? What would you use the 14mm focal length for, in addition to the 17mm and the 20mm lengths that you would get with the zoom?
  36. I am fortunate to own the "trinity," 14-24/24-70/70-200 for my D700. The 70-200, which I've had for a while and used on a D200 is a great lens, with some minor limitations as noted, but it's HEAVY! Unless I know I'm going to be somewhere I'll need it, I often leave it home when I hike in the Columbia Gorge or on Mt Hood. Like many others, I wish Nikon made something similar to Canon's 24-105 f/4 so I could have a bit more than 70, but not necessarily all the way out to 200. The 24-70 gets most of my use, it is sharp and fast, but a bit too short on the long end, perfect on the short end. I realize that a 24-105 f/2.8 would likely be too heavy as a walk about lens, but an f/4 would be intriguing. Even though I have had Nikons in various incarnations since the 60's, I almost got a 5D with the 24-105 since it seemed almost a perfect combo at the time. The 14-24 is a genuinely amazing lens, REALLY wide, sharp, and did I say REALLY wide? I am not historically a wide angle photographer so I'm taking my time and learning how to use it. It can be a challenge but it is fun.
    You need to ask yourself which you'll use more, because you won't use them equally. Factor in the weight, the 14-24 is heavy too, 1kg but not like the 70-200, 1.5kg, and the balance is obviously different. Carrying all three is a challenge.
    Good luck.
  37. I wish Nikon would come out with more f4 "pro level" lenses like the Canon L series. I still miss my 70-200 f4 L. A 24-105 VR f4 would be a huge plus. Maybe it is in the works, who knows. With the high ISO performance of the D700 f4 would not be an issue. It has certainly made the 300 f4 even more appealing, use the 1.4TC and get 420mm out of it. I will probably buy the 70-300 VR for now until I decide what I want for sure. I can easily sell lenses like that on ebay and usually recoup almost all my money.
    I was surprised that the two most recent lenses released were DX lenses. I was hoping with 3 FX cameras on the market we would see some old lenses updated and maybe a few new range lenses for the FX sensor. I wish their price would get more in line with Canon as well. You can get a 24-70 2.8L for $1,275.00, that same lens for Nikon is $1,730.00. They need to focus on the gap between their highend 2.8 pro lenses and their cheap plastic consumer lenses.
  38. brian, just a thought: the tamron 28-75/2.8 will give you 90% of the IQ of the 24-70 nikkor at 1/3 the price.
  39. I recommend the 17-35 and 85/1.8.
  40. Hi Brian,
    Does your son play sports? If so, the 70-200 would be very useful for capturing sports action shots. The 14-24 would be all but useless for photographing people. The distortion inherent in wide angle lenses is very unflattering to anything with a face.
    Here are some pros and cons to keep in mind.
    70-200 f/2.8 VR G (NOTE: I own and use this lens)
    pros: excellent image quality; fast; VR works very well; great for sports and all low-light situations; virtually distortion-free; works well with teleconverters to extend its range
    cons: some edge softness (acceptable for most applications); manageable vignetting wide open (can be corrected in post processing); large and heavy; may be due for an update (but that might not come for years); 200 mm isn't particularly long on a full-frame camera
    14-24 f/2.8 (NOTE: I do NOT own this lens)
    pros: renowned optical performance; super-wide focal lengths
    cons: less useful range than the 17-35; exposed front element could be damaged easily; won't accept filters
    24-70 f/2.8 (NOTE: I own and use this lens for about 80 to 90 percent of my D700 shots)
    pros: somewhat sharper than the 70-200 (only noticeable if you compare the images side by side); very useful range for most situations; fast througout the zoom range
    cons: physically large for a midrange zoom; 70mm isn't that long (85 or 105 would have been more useful, i.e. less lens switching); noticeable barrel distortion at the wide end (fixable in post-processing, but disappointing for a lens in this price range)
    17-35 f/2.8 (NOTE: I do NOT own this lens but I wish I did)
    pros: good optical performance (but not up to the level of the 14-24); very useful range of focal lengths; accepts filters (although thin ones will be required at the wide end)
    cons: may be a candidate for an update (but that might not happen for years); expensive considering the age of the design
  41. I wish Nikon would come out with more f4 "pro level" lenses like the Canon L series.​
    I've never seen any indication that Nikon is moving in that direction.
  42. I realize that a 24-105 f/2.8 would likely be too heavy​
    I wouldn't mind the weight, because it would let me leave the 70-200 home more often. The 24-70 is already more than 100 mm in length and nearly as fat as the 70-200 mm. I don't see why that casing couldn't hold 24-105 mm optics. And if they tone down the distortion a bit, well that would make me really happy.
    Now it's time to wake up; I've been dreaming again. ;-)

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