17-35mm f/2.8D Update?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by miguel_lecuyer, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. Any thoughts about this lens being updated by Nikon anytime soon? AF-S Zoom-Nikkor 17-35mm f/2.8D IF-ED. I'm thinking of picking it up.
     
  2. If Nikon updates it, it will just be way more expensive ... If you can use it now, buy it (I am going to get one in a couple of weeks for myself :)
     
  3. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The 17-35mm/f2.8 AF-S was introduced back in 1999 to accompany the original D1 DSLR. That was the beginning of the DX era and the 1.5x crop factor was new to pretty much everybody. 17-35 would give you the equivalent of 25mm on the wide end for the D1.
    The 17-35 has been a solid performer during the first decade of this century. However, with the current 24MP and 36MP FX-format DSLRs, the corners are weak near 17mm. I have never really used the 16-35mm/f4 AF-S VR; as far as I can tell it is also weak at 16mm, but if you can avoid the widest couple of mm, you may be better off with the 16-35, which is also considerably cheaper, but you lose f2.8.
    Nikon just announced the 18-35mm/f3.5-4.5 AF-S last month. That plus the 16-35mm/f4 AF-S VR introduced back in 2010, at least to me, it seems unlikely that Nikon will introduce another AF-S wide zoom in the next couple of years.
     
  4. at

    at

    Love my 17-35 f2.8! On DX and FX bodies. Just a side note. The 17-35 tends to
    "sqeek" if not used for a while. No harm in the sqeek but its been mentioned
    here and there. Mine has been doing if for over a decade. It goes away after the first
    or 2nd AF attempt. Dont let that discourage you from buying it. It just a high pitched noise that goes away quickly. If you use it regularly it tends to stay away. Doesnt affect anything else in any way.
    AF is still fast, spot on and very quick.
     
  5. I think Nikon "should" release a 17-35 update anytime soon. The 14-24 is not a substitute to this lens.
    BTW, Canon has up to three updates from his f2.8 wide angle zoom line (I start with the 20-35), while Nikon just have one, the current 17-35 (f4 and variable aperture lenses aside).
    Canon doesn`t have a extreme or super wide angle zoom like the 14-24, so I think, after checking the market distribution, that they know a 16/17-35 have higher sales.
    What makes me think that Shun could be right is that they have released the wide angle lenses as they use to release... first the expensive "specialized" ones, then the consumer and cheaper ones in an exasperating long period. So they could have relegated this update to the next "update lot"... or not. Who knows.
    There was a time where the superwides had to be primes, then they changed to zooms.
    14/2.8 - 2000...
    18/2.8 - 1994 to 2006
    20/2.8 - 1989 - 2006
    I take the 14-24 as a substitute for the previous superwide primes;
    14-24/2.8 - 2007...
    ---
    They "tried" to leave a zoom as a substitute for the 18/20mm lenses;
    20-35/2.8 - 1993 to 2001
    17-35/2.8 - 1999... a very successful lens. It was the first "real", "substitute" for everything wide.
    (Data taken from R. Vink`s site).
    So I think there is a clear gap in the current lens line. Also, I assume the new Sigma 35/1.4 "Art" will break a lot of sales, specially to Nikon (with its super-expensive 35/1.4AFS version). I don`t know if the financial situation force Nikon to take a while for new releases, or whatever... of course they can "force" their users (as usual with Nikon) to stay with current 17-35 and 14-24, or to buy a 16-35/4... but the gap is there.
    The issue here is that it is not just a few "millimeters" gap, but a gap in a very useful kind of "pro" lenses, designed for specific kind of tasks.
     
  6. Canon has up to three updates from his f2.8 wide angle zoom line (I start with the 20-35), while Nikon just have one, the current 17-35 (f4 and variable aperture lenses aside).
    Nikon had the 20-35/2.8, then the 17-35/2.8 and now the current one is the 14-24/2.8 (the focal lengths of the wide angle zoom have been shifted down over time as people's preferences have changed, and the standard zoom has been following to avoid a gap: 35-70, 28-70, and now 24-70). The 17-35/2.8 is only available new in some countries while discontinued in others.
    Canon doesn`t have a extreme or super wide angle zoom like the 14-24, so I think, after checking the market distribution, that they know a 16/17-35 have higher sales.
    If we for the moment assume that the data in Roland Vink's Nikon lens serial number database are indicative of lenses made, then the 14-24 is at 179777 copies, whereas the 17-35 is at 142922 (total). In the 2006-> series of the 17-35, the serial numbers span only 36649 units; no doubt this is in part because it is now available only in some markets, but if someone really wants to get one in their hands, they can just order it from one of the US online stores. So from the serial numbers of known lenses, one could say that probably the 14-24 is more popular. Lenses that I've seen out there in use would suggest that as well. Canon probably don't make a 14-24 because they don't know how to make one that would challenge the Nikkor (Nikon had to develop a new method of manufacturing aspherical elements to make the lens; see http://imaging.nikon.com/history/scenes/25/index_02.htm) and they have the 17mm TS-E which serves many of the same applications (interior photography and landscape photography, in particular.) The Canon lens has the advantage of tilt and shift and the Nikon lens has the advantage of excellent image quality already at f/2.8, and the zoom feature, and of course autofocus. I'm very happy that Nikon makes this lens as it is very practical to use to photograph interiors of e.g. museums and cathedrals without having to use a tripod or asking people to leave the area as the shutter speeds can be high at moderate ISO to stop people in their tracks, due to the maximum aperture of the lens and even illumination across the frame. With the 24 PC-E I have to use extremely high ISO or a tripod (usually forbidden in these places during public opening hours) as the lens needs to be stopped down to f/8 especially if shift is to be used.
    So I think there is a clear gap in the current lens line.

    I do not follow. There is no gap between 14-24 and 24-70. If you would like to have Nikon make intermediate range f/2.8 lenses to cover the switching points between the existing zooms on both sides, why not extend this thinking and make a 50-135/2.8 or 35-105/2.8 as well (in between 24-70 and 70-200), and a 150-300/2.8 (to sit between 70-200 and 200-400).
    Also, I assume the new Sigma 35/1.4 "Art" will break a lot of sales, specially to Nikon (with its super-expensive 35/1.4AFS version).
    The Nikon 35mm f/1.4 AF-S is a really nice lens; in as far as I've been able to tell from people's experiences reported online, the Sigma 35/1.4 seems to sacrifice bokeh to an extent for increased sharpness; for me an important application for the 35mm is full body portraits and the rendering of the 35 Nikkor (both in focus areas, and transition to out of focus) is extremely nice for this application. For more affordable lenses, Nikon makes the 28/1.8 and 50/1.8 AF-S which are both very good lenses, so someone who wants to buy a fast Nikon wide angle and doesn't have the budget for the 24/1.4 or 35/1.4 they can get the 28/1.8 (and some might prefer it irrespective of budget, though the mechanical quality isn't as nice as with the 35mm Nikkor). The Sigma may put some pressure on Nikon to reduce the price of the 35/1.4 but in as far as the optical design is I wouldn't change a thing in the image quality. I would like to have Nikon work on better autofocus with fast wide angles but I think it's limited by the amount of light recorded by the AF sensor at least to some extent, as in normal daylight the autofocus with the 35/1.4 (at least on D3X) is excellent. In low, candle light, the autofocus seems to be quite unreliable, but I think it is something more universal for wide angle autofocus in extremely low light, and not specific to the particular lens.
    The issue here is that it is not just a few "millimeters" gap, but a gap in a very useful kind of "pro" lenses, designed for specific kind of tasks.
    Ok, so you like a specific zoom range which is not the 14-24 or 24-70. What is your application for this lens? I think maybe this may lead to the answer. I would like a 35-105/2.8 so that I can get the most typical people photography focal lengths under one zoom without sacrificing quality (the quality tends to suffer when the focal ratio increases past approximately 3x, so a 35-105 would be close to ideal).
     
  7. while Nikon did file some patents for a 16-35/f2.8 lens recently, with them, who knows what is coming down the pipeline. Its not like they put out a road map like some other manufacturers. Besides, after doing the DX 18-??? zoom range to death, now that they are so committed to FX, they have to do the 24/28-??? range as well. That would be Nikon's lens priority. Before a 17-35 upgrade, I would prefer they did the 80-400.
     
  8. Well, we`ll never know how many copies a Nikon 17-35 "G" would have been sold, nor we`ll never know how many Canon users would have switched to a 14-24 "EF" lens... :)
    Ilkka, I agree that user`s preferences change, the 35/28/24-70 is an obvious sample. The 50-135 you mention is another one, although they are probably due to technical advances, too. But I wonder if it is the same matter with the 17-35... What is my application for this lens? Just everything about people photography indoors, or at a very close distance. But it`s not only me.

    The Canon 16-35 is a lens that is so easy to identify with its smoothly shaped petal hood, and it is never missed in press conferences and street interviews. I have seen them together with 17-35 Nikkors, but I cannot recall about any 14-24s... maybe I`m wrong and it is just that the Nikon/Canon ratio is so favorable to Canon around here. Maybe it`s Canon that rely on that ranges, so they also have a 17-40. I`d like to know what pro PJs think about it.
    With a 14-24 I do almost everything I can do with a 17-35, except to have that "normal" look a 35mm provides... the perspective distortion is not that "hard" when filling a frame with people and/or faces. It also permits the extremely practical "two lens combo" (16/17-35 & 70-200). And with the 14-24, many times I`m forced to carry another lens, usually the 24-70, "just in case".
     
  9. I think so as the 17-35 f2.8 was discontinued for a short period - then put back into production. In my opinion, having tested it against the 16-35, I would prefer it over the 16-35 as well as the 14-24. In fact, it out performs the 14-24 at 24mm. More importantly, the 14-24 is highly susceptible to flare - especially with landscapes - and becomes very cumbersome when any type of filter holder is added as it will not take screw-ins. This was a problem with me as I like to use ND filters. The 16-35, however, is very weak in the corners at 16mm. That leaves the OLD standby, the 17-35.
    I have had and used all 3 lenses at one time.
     
  10. Miguel - I wouldn't look for Nikon to update the 17-35/2.8D any time soon...Nikon already 'updated' it with the 16-35/4, with a slower aperture (and therefore dimmer viewfinder), more bulk, and horrible distortion on the wide end of the zoom range. The 16-35 has VR, but I could care less about VR on a WA zoom. YMMV. The upshot of the 16-35 'update' is that the 17-35 is still being made and sold for about $700 more. I think the 16-35 disappointed a lot of us who wanted to see a 17-35/2.8 update with AF-S, nano coating, and a little bit sharper corners. We're still waiting.
    In the meantime, I happily shoot my 17-35/2.8D with a D700. It's not as wide as my 14-24/2.8, but the zoom range is more useful and it takes standard filters, which means it works with a standard Lee holder, which is important to me. I do shoot my 14-24 - just not very often.
    I think the 17-35 corner softness thing is overplayed by the internet forum parrots. No non-photographer has ever remarked "gee, that looks soft in the corners" when I showed them a decent image taken with the 17-35. Come to think of it, neither has any photographer (they're usually laughing at my photo instead). If the composition is good, you don't notice the corners. If you need to make a poster sized print from a 24-36 mp file, maybe a 14-24/2.8 or a good WA prime is the way to go. I think you'd really like the 17-35.
     
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    In the meantime, I happily shoot my 17-35/2.8D with a D700.​
    D.B. Cooper, that is the key part of your discussion. Needless to say, the D700 is a 12MP FX-format DSLR.
    And this was what I wrote earlier:
    The 17-35 has been a solid performer during the first decade of this century. However, with the current 24MP and 36MP FX-format DSLRs, the corners are weak near 17mm.​
    I bought my 17-35mm/f2.8 AF-S back in 2001. It was great until I used it on the D3X back in 2009; near 17mm, the corners are clearly soft. Of course, at $8000, the 24MP D3X was never a popular camera. However, starting from a year ago (2012), 36MP and then 24MP DSLRs are a lot more affordable, and the entire situation is now different. See the samples on this thread and make up your own mind: http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00aU7B
    I am well aware that the 16-35mm/f4 AF-S VR is not ideal on its widest setting, and that is why I don't own one.
     
  12. The corners of my 17-35 f2.8 nikkor are comparable to the corners of my zeiss 21 f2.8. Usually the corners are not the most important part of the image. I do try to stay off of 17 mm on the 17-35 but sometimes that is the best option. The 17-35 is still a nice lens on the D800.
     

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