AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G or AF-S Nikkor 24-120mm f/4.0G VRII lens for events?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by studio460, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. I can't believe I've started a, "Which lens should I get?" thread. But, I can't seem to decide. I'm about to garner my first pro client, a PR agency. They produce events for entertainment-industry oriented clients. Every photographer I've ever seen on a red carpet typically has an AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G plastered onto his/her primary FX body (and, they all have two FX bodies!). But, lately, I've been seeing more and more of the slower, 24-120mm f/4.0 lens as well. I own zero short FX zooms, since I prefer fast primes instead for all of my personal work--but now, duty calls.
    Most of the event shooting will be with an on-board SB-800 flash, so speed isn't essential, but I was hoping to expose for the ambient whenever practical to lend as much texture to boring event photos as possible. Since I own a D3s, I suppose I could live with a higher ISO without a problem, and get the 24-120mm f/4.0, instead of the industry-standard 24-70mm f/2.8G. Also, most event shooters don't shoot wide-open (even though I would like to in order to better isolate my subjects), since they often have to shoot groups, so the f/4.0 maximum aperture isn't as much as a handicap as it may appear. Plus, I love VR!
    Thoughts?
     
  2. Ralph,
    Are you saying that you only have one camera body or only one FX camera body?
    If you like shooting primes, why not shoot 35/85 and offer a different style of photography to the PR agency. I assume that's why they hired you in the first place?
    If it has to be the 24-70mm f/2.8 or 24-120mm f/4, I'd have to go with the 24-70mm I own this lens and it's phenomenal. For shooting events, I wouldn't trade it for any other zoom in Nikon's line-up.
    RS
     
  3. I owned both for two months at the same time and I think the 24-70 (which I have used for 3+ years) gives clearer
    images and does so consistently. The 24-120/4 is very convenient but I did not like the image quality it produced
    asmuch as that of the f/2.8 zooms and primes.
     
  4. Thank you for your quick replies, Richard, Ilkka! Surprising--I thought most would favor the 24-120mm f/4.0 for its lighter weight and bulk (and price!), given that with a D3s, a one-stop hit shouldn't be that big of a deal.
    Richard--I only have one FX body, the Nikon D3s. I also own a D7000, but I wasn't considering working it as a second body. The D3s' images are far superior in low light, plus, the even greater issue is that I only own one SB-800, and my SB-600s can't accept a high-voltage input from my Quantum Turbos (and no one's gonna hang around for a shot while my SB-600 recycles on just 'AA' batteries).
     
  5. this is a silly question. a 24-70 at f/4 will produce better images than a 24-120 @f/4, and in general, is more suited for events.
     
  6. Richard said:
    If you like shooting primes, why not shoot 35/85 and offer a different style of photography to the PR agency. I assume that's why they hired you in the first place?​
    Actually, it's interesting that you say that. I would like to try shooting an event that way. I just need to pick up a second SB-800, and I'll be good to go.
     
  7. Eric said:
    this is a silly question. a 24-70 at f/4 will produce better images than a 24-120 @f/4, and in general, is more suited for events.​
    Why is it silly? Don't both lenses have their merits? Although I've never used or researched either lens (never had the need, nor the interest), I had no idea the 24-120mm was "bad." And why do you say the 24-70mm is generally more suited for events, if shot at equivalent apertures? (I'll likely only be shooting at f/4.0-f/5.6.)
     
  8. a 24-70 at f/4 will produce better images than a 24-120 @f/4, and in general, is more suited for events.​
    The 24-70 will produce slightly better images, but we're talking event photography, not fine art. I find the 24-120 very convenient, allowing better candids because of the reach. It's also lighter and has VR, making it quite a good choice for events.
     
  9. Eric said:
    this is a silly question.​
    Well, I did some some quick checking. The 24-70mm apparently is commonly agreed upon to be a vastly superior lens in both IQ and build quality. Have to re-think this now.
     
  10. Charles said:
    The 24-70 will produce slightly better images, but we're talking event photography, not fine art.​
    Thanks for your comments. That's kinda what I was thinking, too.
    I find the 24-120 very convenient, allowing better candids because of the reach. It's also lighter and has VR, making it quite a good choice for events.​
    Yes, again, I also thought these seemed to be good arguments in favor of the 24-120mm f/4.0.
     
  11. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I actually prefer the wider zoom range of the 24-120mm/f4 AF-S VR. We are talking about shooting mostly indoors, frequently under dim light, hand help and mostly high ISO. There is no way you'll get extremely sharp images anyway.
    The image of Ryan I posted to this week's Wednesday thread was captured with the 24-120mm/f4 AF-S VR @ 75mm, f4, 1/50 second and ISO 800 on the D700. I am more than happy enough with the sharpness. If I want absolute sharpness, I'll lock the camera on a tripod, use a smaller aperture at base ISO 200, but I'll miss a lot of these captures.
    The thing is that if you shoot a lot under very dim light, f2.8 will give you better AF and sometimes that extra stop is useful. A 24-120mm/f2.8 AF-S VR would be ideal; I just don't know how big that lens would be and how much it would cost.
    [​IMG]
    00ZETm-392395684.jpg
     
  12. we're talking event photography, not fine art
    Why should event photographs be any worse than fine art?
     
  13. Why should event photographs be any worse than fine art?​
    Event photos usually end up in magazines and on the web, not reproduced as fine art prints. The need for sharpness is just not as demanding.
     
  14. I don't think it's a silly question. The 24-120 has a longer zoom range, and it has VR - there are going to be situations where some shot you'll want to take will come out better if you were using the 24-120 lens than with the 24-70. Then there are weight and cost differences. I could easily envision a scenario where somebody wanting to shoot an event would choose a 24-120 over a 24-70.
     
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I could easily envision a scenario where somebody wanting to shoot an event would choose a 24-120 over a 24-70.​
    Absolutely. Count me in as one of those.
    I have used 6 different copies of the 24-70mm/f2.8 AF-S but actually don't own one, but I have both the older 28-70mm/f2.8 AF-S and now the 24-120mm/f4 AF-S VR. I frequently bring both lenses and pick the one that is "better" for the situation.
     
  16. "...given that with a D3s, a one-stop hit shouldn't be that big of a deal" Lower ISO still gives better overall IQ than high ISO even with the D3S. If you are shooting often in low light, and it sounds like you are, I think the better choice is rather obvious.
     
  17. Well, thanks for eveyone's replies, and thanks for posting those examples, Shun. I'll have to shoot the event this evening with my existing primes. It's a fairly low-key event, so I should be fine. However, changing lenses with a single body is certainly going to be slower than shooting with a short zoom. Gonna take four lenses: 24mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4, 85mm f/1.4, and a 60mm Micro-Nikkor for product shots.
    Now that I've viewed the client's corporate site, I see that the environment is quite stylized, and I will definitely want to expose for the aritificial interior lighting, in addition to flash. So it looks like I'll be leaning toward the 24-70mm f/2.8 for a future purchase. I was hoping, the lighter, slightly stealthier 24-120mm could work, but I probably do need the added speed which the 24-70mm provides. Plus, as Shun mentioned, the faster lens will provide for improved AF acquisition. Thanks again, for everyone's input!
     
  18. The 24-70 will produce slightly better images, but we're talking event photography, not fine art.
    Event photos usually end up in magazines and on the web, not reproduced as fine art prints. The need for sharpness is just not as demanding.​
    i would disagree strongly. the more artistic your photo, the more likely it is to be print-worthy, even if its originally published online or in a publication. OTOH, taking a shot with an inferior lens kind of guarantees it'll never be fine art.
    sure, shun's pic illustrates that the sharpness of the 24-120 is acceptable wide open, but f/4 on the 24-70 is one click down and thus even better than 2.8, which is already very good. plus, the 24-120 can't 'stop up' to 2.8. if you look at the background in that shot, the bokeh is kind of 'meh' compared to the unquestionable superiority of the 24-70 in that regard. not trying to start a flame war, but we're comparing a pro lens to a consumer lens here. c'mon now.
    so, ralph, is it a question of being able to get away with using lesser glass, or needing to use the best glass available for that application? i own a number of consumer lenses, some of which are pretty decent optically, like the 70-300 VC. but if i'm shooting a paid event, i break out the 24-70/70-200 II combo since i know they can deliver. if i need 300mm, i can always put the 70-200 on a DX body. and, usually, i use two bodies anyway in those situations, so the wider range of the 24-120 is a totally moot point, as is VR (mostly) since you're not shooting non-moving subjects.
    in any event, i'm not sure why any event photographer would want to put themselves at a professional disadvantage in a highly-competitive field by choosing a slower, less-sharp lens when the competition is using the best performer in this category. for nikon FX users doing event photography, the 24-70 is a total no-brainer. that's why i said its silly to even think about this too much.
    i happen to have a shot of the 24-70/D3s combo taken at f/4. here it is.
    00ZEuX-392843584.jpg
     
  19. full image
    00ZEua-392843684.jpg
     
  20. tight crop.
    00ZEue-392845584.jpg
     
  21. Eric said:
    . . . we're comparing a pro lens to a consumer lens here.​
    Thanks for sharing your example photos. Yes, I was completely unaware of the 24-120mm lens' more "consumer-ish" status, since I've never before been in the market for a short zoom. On the surface, both appear to be very "pro" looking, and both seem to have "pro" price-points.
    . . . as is VR (mostly) since you're not shooting non-moving subjects.​
    True. As much as I would like to have VR capability available to me if needed, I'm not planning to shoot static subjects with this lens. People will be moving.
    . . . so, ralph, is it a question of being able to get away with using lesser glass, or needing to use the best glass available for that application?​
    It was more a case of trying to "get away" with a lighter lens, with a shorter profile (and saving $500). But I think you're right--the job calls for the 24-70mm f/2.8, for the reasons you, and others, have stated. Thanks again for your comments.
     
  22. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    You need to keep in mind that my Ryan image sample was captured with the D700 at ISO 800, 75mm, f4, and hand held at 1/50 sec with VR on. Camera shake is definitely an issue.
    Do you notice that his right eye (to our left) is sharper than his left eye? Even at 75mm, f4, depth of field is still shallow from fairly up close. Therefore, I wonder whether you really want to use f2.8 or wider unless you shoot straight from up front. Moreover, and ISO 800 is going to rob you some sharpness. I could have cranked up the ISO; in that case I could have bumped up the shutter speed a bit to further stabilize the camera, or I could use a smaller aperture to increase lens quality and depth of field, but I would have to pay for the higher ISO. All in all, I am quite happy with the exposure I chose, which is always a compromise.
    I have printed that image to 8.5x11 and it looks great to me. For these images, my main objective is capture the expression as Ryan was enjoying his honey stick. I know very well that his eyes are not critically sharp, which is perfectly acceptable for this image. The worst part of that image is the chair in the background.
    But again, even though you don't shoot at f2.8, having f2.8 around will give you better AF under dim light.
     
  23. Well, that was my original reasoning, Shun. That I would likely not shoot at anything wider than f/4.0 anyway. We'll see how I feel about it after tonight's shoot. Thanks again for your comments.
     
  24. personally, i like shun's shot. i think it's a good candid capture. the thing is, there's room for error when you're taking that type of shot, less so with a paid gig.
    my Ryan image sample was captured with the D700 at ISO 800, 75mm, f4, and hand held at 1/50 sec with VR on. Camera shake is definitely an issue.​
    hmm, camera shake shouldn't be an issue at 1/50 and 75mm w/ VR on. i think you're right about slightly shallow DoF, but that could also be motion blur at that shutter speed.
    I wonder whether you really want to use f2.8 or wider unless you shoot straight from up front.​
    IMO the 24-70 is really good wide open; certainly better than tamron 28-75 (which is not a bad FX budget option otherwise, btw). and 2.8 remains the pro standard because it's a critical stop in terms of light-gathering.
    The worst part of that image is the chair in the background.​
    agreed, but you can also see some slightly jittery bokeh in that bkgrnd. the 24-70 is much better in this regard, but it's also not what i would carry on a casual family outing.
     
  25. I returned from the event a couple of hours ago, and am now doing the edit. I only used two lenses: the 24mm f/1.4 and the 85mm f/1.4. I shot both available light-only, and flash, balanced with ambient. I shot as wide open as f/1.6-f/2.2. For non-time sensitive events, such as this one, a single body, and just these two lenses are fine. Two bodies, both with each lens mounted, would be ideal, but, I would be loathe to drag around two, heavy FX bodies, plus two multi-pound lenses.
    If I do decide to go for the short zoom, it may have to be the 24-70mm f/2.8 for its speed, since I did shoot a lot of balanced flash + ambient shots. However, I found that my 85mm often felt too short for some shots, and angling for a shot at a party is often difficult--in this respect, I would've been happier with the 24-120mm for its greater reach. I suppose that's why every photographer I see wears both a 24-70mm, and a 70-200mm. That's a LOT of glass!
     
  26. Sample shots from this evening:
    [​IMG]
    AF-S Nikkor 24mm f/1.4G
    ISO: 100; f/13 @ 4 sec.; available-light.
    [​IMG]
    AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G
    ISO: 800; f/1.4 @ 1/160th; SB-800 @ -3.3 EV + Ray Flash + CTO + 0.3 ND + existing practical lighting.
     
  27. i like the second shot, ralph. very nice bokeh.
     
  28. It is a painful question as posed. When I got my 5D in 2006, I got the EOS versions of the 24-70 2.8 and the 70-200 2.8 You can cover quite a range of activities with those two. Neither Nikon nor Canon makes the 24-70 in a VR or IS version, but the 70-200 by both companies comes with the image stabilization/vibration reduction option.
    Moral: It is darned hard in this world to survive with one lens, no matter what it is. Two zooms might not be ideal, but it is amazing what one can do with them if one can afford them. BUT IF I HAD TO CHOOSE ONE LENS IN THE NIKON LINE-UP FOR A FULL-FRAME BODY, IT MIGHT WELL BE THE 24-120. The 70mm end of the zoom range is sometimes just not going to be enough.
    I still like the 24-70 better, though. Howzat for a really decisive answer?
    --Lannie
     
  29. if you are shooting events, pro zooms are the way to go. when i went FX, i got the 24-70 and the 70-200, figuring that would cover 85-90% of my shooting needs. supplementing that with primes depending on situation is a good approach, but IMO getting the primes first is slightly backwards thinking, since you will eventually want/have to get both zooms anyway. now that i've got that covered, my next lens will probably be the 85.
     
  30. Hi,
    Just a point, besides you've the primes for large aperture and to play with DOF the extra stop of the 24-70 can be of interest to isolate a subject in a better way than the 24-105 without changing lenses.
    Another point regarding the 24-105 - it's length is not fixed when you zoom, so the "slightly stealthier"effect may end up not being as real as that.
    But if you consider 85mm a bit short sometimes, you have to weight all theses aspects, including if 120mm fulfills your needs or if you do need a tele-zoom.
     
  31. I think you shoot what you are comfortable with and produces the results you were hired for and forget what anyone else uses.
     
  32. getting the primes first is slightly backwards thinking, since you will eventually want/have to get both zooms anyway.
    Why do you think it's backwards? You should first buy what is most important to you (of the options available to you). I have all three FX f/2.8 zooms and they're not the be-end do-all of photography. In fact I'm probably going to sell the 14-24 since I don't really need it and carrying it on travels (where I could use it for interiors) is a pain. I prefer the 24/1.4 for that anyway, and I can stop people on their tracks in indoor lighting and keep a low ISO. The 24-70 and 70-200 II are very useful (and I certainly wouldn't sell them; in fact sometimes I think I should have two 24-70's as the quality of construction of these zooms that increase in length sometimes leave me wondering) but as Nikon updates their prime lineup to AF-S I seem to be using the zooms less. Not because they're not good - they are, but I prefer the aesthetics of the images from the fast primes. For some time I used to shoot about 50-60% of my images with the 24-70 and 70-200II but now it's down to about 30%.
    I think you shoot what you are comfortable with and produces the results you were hired for and forget what anyone else uses.
    True. However, it's also important to make images that you are pleased with and not just those who are paying for it. Otherwise a personal style won't develop itself. (But I guess you could put that under the "you are comfortable with").
     
  33. Eric said:
    i like the second shot, ralph. very nice bokeh.​
    Thanks!
     
  34. Landrum said:
    BUT IF I HAD TO CHOOSE ONE LENS IN THE NIKON LINE-UP FOR A FULL-FRAME BODY, IT MIGHT WELL BE THE 24-120. The 70mm end of the zoom range is sometimes just not going to be enough . . . I still like the 24-70 better, though. Howzat for a really decisive answer?​
    I agree!
     
  35. Eric said:
    . . . but IMO getting the primes first is slightly backwards thinking, since you will eventually want/have to get both zooms anyway. now that i've got that covered, my next lens will probably be the 85.​
    Geth the 85mm. It's gorgeous. I couldn't be happier with my set of primes, and much prefer shooting fixed-focal length lenses over zooms (with the exception of telephoto zooms). I do also own an AF-S 70-200 f/2.8 VR I, but it's my least-used lens. I bought all-new AF-S f/1.4 short primes to shoot personal work, and never intended to shoot events. Paying upwards of $1,700 for a lens I don't even want pains me to no end.
     
  36. Antonio said:

    Another point regarding the 24-105 - it's length is not fixed when you zoom, so the "slightly stealthier"effect may end up not being as real as that.​
    Good point! Thanks for your comments.
     
  37. John said:
    I think you shoot what you are comfortable with and produces the results you were hired for and forget what anyone else uses.​
    Thanks, John! Well, that's certainly what I'm aiming for. I'm very particular about how my gear "feels," and nothing feels better on my full-frame body than an ultra-fast, short-to-medium focal-length prime. I was actually quite comfortable shooting with my 24mm/85mm combo, but it did slow me down, and likely made me miss a few shots due to lens changes.
     
  38. I agree with Richard Snow - why throw away image quality by having to bump up the ISO. Use two bodies, which you would have anyway, and use the classic 35mm and 80mm type primes rather than slowish f2.8 lens or worse.
     
  39. Ty said:
    . . . why throw away image quality by having to bump up the ISO. Use two bodies, which you would have anyway, and use the classic 35mm and 80mm type primes rather than slowish f2.8 lens or worse.​
    Yeah. On second thought, I don't think I'll be wanting to quadruple my ISO to compensate for a slow lens. As a self-admitted speed-junkie, I hope to stick with f/1.4 primes whenever possible. However, if shooting strobe-lit, red-carpet arrivals only, I would need to be shooting at smaller apertures anyway, for increased depth-of-field, when photographing groups and/or couples. In this case, the 24-120mm f/4 would totally suffice.
     
  40. I guess I did shoot several shots wide-open--this one at f/1.4:
    [​IMG]
    AF-S 24mm f/1.4; ISO: 800; f/1.4 @ 160th
    So, I may end up getting the 24-120mm f/4, but use it exclusively for straight, blast-the-flash-at-f/5.6-to-make-sure-everyone's-in-focus kinds of shots, but will have to take the time to switch to faster primes for ambient exposures. For example, in the shot above, to achieve the equivalent exposure with the 24-70mm, I would've had to crank the ISO to 3,200. With the 24-120mm, 6,400.
     
  41. Why do you think it's backwards?​
    Ilkka, this snippet is a little out of context. i'm specifically referring to event photography shooting paid events. in that context you really do need zooms. for other stuff, eh, maybe not so much. if you're just shooting for personal use and/or have time to study composition and/or just need a lower profile or fast aperture, then primes are great. but when you're trying to cover a fast-moving event where you need to quickly shoot from different focal lengths, primes become inconvenient. if you get the zooms first, you can then add the primes according to what FL you shoot more--just as Ilkka does. it doesnt work the same the other way.
    I bought all-new AF-S f/1.4 short primes to shoot personal work, and never intended to shoot events. Paying upwards of $1,700 for a lens I don't even want pains me to no end.​
    yeah but paying $1200 for another lens you dont even want isn't that much better. i guess you have to ask which one is more useful in the long run. IMO, the 24-70 is kind of a no brainer for event photography on FX, despite its high cost, since it really is quite good. if you just can't swing it b/c of the price, so be it. but once you have it, you realize why it costs so much. btw, ISO 3200 on a d700 is doable. i just dont see the 24-120 really being anything other than a compromise... and if you keep doing this kind of stuff, you will want the 24-70 eventually. but if you're on a budget, you could also consider the older 28-70/2.8 AF-S or the tamron 28-75.
     
  42. I think I've got the solution!
    I'm going to try find my "white box" AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G VR kit lens that "came" with my D7000 (I've never even opened the box, and I'm not even sure where it is). Pop that onto my now, mostly unused, D7000 body, and use that as a second body for "arrival shots" only. They'll be lit by bright, overpowering, on-camera flash, at optimum ISOs, so I won't be too worried about the DX-sensored body's higher noise floor. Plus, I'll ensure adequate depth-of-field for group shots and couples. Sure, my background will go pitch-black, but I can shoot all the "arty," available-light stuff with the D3s, and my fast primes. Sounds like a plan, doesn't it?
     
  43. Here's how I got out of spending $1,700:
    1. Nikon D7000 + AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G VR + SB-800 + Quantum Turbo
    2. Nikon D3s + SB-400
    This actually works better than I thought. Laugh all you want at this consumer "kit" lens, but I just tested it, and it looks pretty darned sharp. I set the D7000's ISO to 400, for rapid recycle times with the Quantum Turbo. For the D3s, at high ISOs (e.g., ISO 1,600), with the on-board SB-400 dialed down to -0.7 EV, even with just 'AA' batteries installed, the SB-400 manages to keep up with the D3s' rapid-fire shutter, even in continuous-high mode. This was a happy surprise, since I love the low profile of the SB-400. Plus, it puts the source closer to my lens' optical axis.
    That said, if and when I get a second FX body, I think I've decided to pop for the 24-120mm f/4, instead of the otherwise excellent 24-70 f/2.8, since I realize I really do want/need the extra reach provided by that lens. "Consumerish" or not, it should totally do the job.
     
  44. Low-budget, DX-alternative to an FX short-zoom:
    [​IMG]
    Nikon D7000 + SB-800 @ -0.7 EV + AF-S Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G VR @ 105mm
    ISO: 400; f/5.6 @ 1/320th
    [​IMG]
    100% crop (unedited)
    Pros: Inexpensive (already owned it as part of a kit), compact, lightweight, surprisingly fast AF, and sharp.
    Cons: Difficult to focus in low light, low maximum aperture, variable-aperture.
     
  45. Fast-aperture, fixed-focal length FX:
    [​IMG]
    Nikon D3s; AF-S Nikkor 85mm f/1.4G + SB-400 +0.3EV
    ISO: 800; f/2.0 @ 1/250th
    [​IMG]
    100% crop (color-corrected)
     
  46. Eric, I have shot events including weddings with primes only. Using the 24-70 for time-critical parts of it and for
    portraits is less stressful but then you lose the ability maintain low or intermediate ISO in some of the indoor coverage
    and some opportunities entirely such as using cell phones and projector screens to light people. Of course your D3s is
    better than my older D3 but still there are situations where the 1.4's do their magic. As I said I would not want to be
    without my 24-70 but if I could not afford both, the fast primes would be what I would get first. But that may be
    because the winter in Finland is very dark so since I do not want to only use my camer in the summer, I need the fast
    glass first. ;-)

    Ralph, I think using the D7000 and 18-105 is a good idea. But small apertures will mean hard light - look at the
    difference in the skin between your f1,4 examples and the 18-105. The hard light with all the specular reflections
    seems pretty standard in red carpet shots but do you want to settle for what is standard, or separate yourself? I have
    access to the 18-105 at work and it's good value. It is what I recommend to people who are starting out with DSLRs
    since it is so cheap and quite nice. The 24-120 is sharper but I think its price is not in proportion to quality. Anyway I
    think since you have the fast primes you can now experiment with the diffent looks and see how you and your clients
    like them.
     
  47. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ralph's last two examples were captured with fairly high shutter speeds (for flash photography), thus ambient light plays little role in the overall exposure. Had he used 1/30 or 1/60 sec as we typically do in event photography, the result would be quite different. Moreover, I would bounce those flashes (difficult with the SB-400, of course).
    Another issue is that the image from the D3S is under-exposed. That is why it gives people a different impression. Attached is the histogram for that image.
    00ZFdQ-393595784.jpg
     
  48. This actually works better than I thought. Laugh all you want at this consumer "kit" lens, but I just tested it, and it looks pretty darned sharp. This actually works better than I thought. Laugh all you want at this consumer "kit" lens, but I just tested it, and it looks pretty darned sharp.​
    Ralph,
    I think nobody has a reason to laugh at you due to it. If you think this kit will do the job and is good enough to please your usual costumers you can have your problem solved for a while. Ar the end we have two sides of the story, the "pro" concepts and the hardware geeks assumptions and on the other side your costumers and something we can call "perceived quality", and this is an important point because no matter what equipment you buy when your work reaches this "perceived quality" level your costumers will be happy and demanding no more that you actually supply them, so the marginal increase of quality you get for a more expensive gear will not translates into increased revenue or costumer satisfaction.
    Another point is the size of pictures you sell to them, and most likely you don't go to enlargements that can be compromised by the DX kit or even the 5.1 Mpx you can get from the D3s if you occasionally use the DX lens on it and your primes on the D7000, to get 2extra fast focal lengths (36 and 127.5mm equivalents).
     
  49. the D3S is under-exposed. That is why it gives people a different impression.
    It looks like you showed the histogram of the image shot at f/2 (Aug 28, 2011; 03:57 a.m.) I was referring to Ralph's earlier images shot at f/1.4 (Aug 26, 2011; 05:06 a.m. and Aug 27, 2011; 08:01 p.m.), which do not have specular reflections. The ambient light in this case is so low that to get this level of soft lighting using the 18-105, you'd need to shoot at 1/10s f/5.6 ISO 400.
     
  50. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ilkka, so far all of Ralph's images on this thread are captured under different circumstances. Comparison between any two of them is meaningless anyway.
     
  51. It'd be an easy choice for me. I can't handhold steadily enough for a lens like the 24-70/2.8 to do me any good, unless Nikon develops in-body stabilization. I wouldn't buy another zoom without image stabilization. I was satisfied with the earlier 24-120/3.5-5.6 VR, so the new 24-120/4 VR would suit me fine. Photographer-induced motion blur would offset any gains from a faster, technically superior lens, at shutter speeds under 1/250th.
     
  52. Hey, Lex! I'm with you--I wish every lens had VR.
     
  53. What's wrong with the AF Nikkor 24-85mm f/2.8-4.0D?
    Hey, thanks for everyone's continued comments! I was just cruising B+H's site for additional DX or FX alternatives . . . what about the old-school, AF Nikkor 24-85mm f/2.8-4.0D? It's nearly one-third the price of the 24-70mm at only $600. Seems like a good deal. I get a fast aperture at 24mm, plus I get slightly longer reach at the long end. This lens seems like a great budget-minded option!
     
  54. I asked:
    What's wrong with the AF Nikkor 24-85mm f/2.8-4.0D?
    Well, according to some guy named "Ken," it's a dog, and he recommends the 24-85 AF-S version instead. I assume he means the discontinued AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G. I might just pick one of these up used since they go for about half the price of the f/2.8-4.0 version.
     
  55. The Final Decision:
    First, thanks for eveyone's comments! All were helpful in arriving at this decision. After much thought, I've decided on the AF-S 24-120mm f/4.0 VR II. The consumer AF-S 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G VR DX lens, mounted on my D7000, will tide me over until I buy the 24-120mm FX zoom. My primary reasons:
    1. Mainly, the extended reach of the 24-120mm f/4.0 zoom, over the 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom--70mm is simply too short for singles for my tastes. I'll rarely shoot arrivals at anything approaching 200mm, so this will eliminate the need to also carry a heavy 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom (which I do already own).
    2. Size and weight.
    3. The constant-aperture of the 4.0 zoom, over the lesser AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-5.6mm consumer FX zoom (now, discontinued).
    4. VR II.
    5. Price ($500 less than the 24-70mm zoom).
    The "slow" f/4.0 maximum aperture of the 24-120mm zoom won't be a hinderance. I just shot some portraits Sunday night using an AF-S 85mm f/1.4G. Since these were editorial portraits for publication, I wanted to be sure I had both eyes in focus. So, even though I had a fast lens, I shot the portraits at f/4.0. They came out nice and sharp--both eyes. So, I'll likely shoot all of my arrivals at no less than f/4.0 anyway. I know many professional event photographers (e.g., WireImage, Reuters, AP, etc.) who shoot as high as f/5.6-f/11 at arrivals for red-carpet events, so at f/4.0, I'll still be more open than most.
     
  56. Good choice, Ralph, and for all the right reasons. Even the earlier 24-120's were actually quite useful and practical lenses, albeit much maligned by pixel-peeping Internet pundits who didn't use them for what they were, and instead, insisted that because they were a bit soft at the edges at 120mm, any self-respecting photographer shouldn't dirty their hands with one. ;-)
    Tom M
     
  57. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    The older 24-85mm AF-S zoom was a f3.5-4.5, not quite constant aperture but quite close. It is not as slow as f5.6 on its long end.
     
  58. Well, to each their own. In indoor people photography, I stay away from small apertures like the plague. Here is an illustration why. It is at night, and there is no other light in the room than the monitor light. At f/7.1, there is effectively no monitor light in the image - it's a bounced flash shot. The other image is at f/1.4, and the monitor light is now significant and reduces the harshness of the lighting by introducing a secondary light source into the picture. The f/1.4 image has much more clean appearance whereas my friend appears "rough" and untidy in the image shot with flash only. Needless to say the appearance of roughness would be far more severe if I had shot with direct flash like you're planning to do. I would not want to post such an image anywhere even to illustrate my point.
     
  59. Here is the f/7.1 image, shot with the D3100+18-105 VR.
    00ZGGH-394217584.jpg
     
  60. And this one is at f/1.4.
    00ZGGI-394217684.jpg
     
  61. pixel-peeping Internet pundits
    To achieve sharpness is trivial. I never felt that the main problem with lenses like the 24-120 was sharpness, but achieving a clean look to the image.
     
  62. ilkka, i actually prefer your d3100/18-105 shot. i see what your saying about less harsh light but its also sharper.
    As I said I would not want to be without my 24-70 but if I could not afford both, the fast primes would be what I would get first. But that may be because the winter in Finland is very dark so since I do not want to only use my camer in the summer, I need the fast glass first. ;-)​
    matching your kit to your shooting environment is very much what this thread is about, IMO. it's all about finding a solution that works for you. me personally, i wouldn't get the 24-120/4 for use at pro events, period, but that's just me. i'm not ralph and i dont have the 35/1.4 G or the 85/1.4 (yet). i do think that if money were no object, the 24-70 is the clear choice, but if that extra $500 is out of the question, than get what works for you. illka's shot illustrates the 18-105 with flash is plenty sharp when stopped down on DX, so if that works for you, i wouldn't sweat the rest of the details too much.
     
  63. let's also remember that ralph isnt doing random artistic shots but "events for entertainment-industry oriented clients." this type of shot actually tends not to be available-light, but bounced or off-cam flash indoors and direct flash outside.what's interesting in that situation is, a) there's little advantage to using the $1200 24-120 over the $300 18-105; and b) a two-body solution is indeed a solution, allowing the shooter to handle the bulk of the shoots with the DX zoom and the specialized shots with the fast primes. iMO using 2 bodies in different formats is another reason to consider the 24-70, which becomes a fast-focusing 36-105/2.8 on DX.
     
  64. D3, 85/1.4G at f/1.4, bounced SB-700 in the same orientation.​
    ilkka, did you shoot that flash in manual? if so, what setting?
     
  65. FWIW, I have just returned from a one month trip, first two weeks with the 24-120/4, and the two following weeks with the 24-70.
    I`m always debating myself with this two lenses, because I like the range and VR on the 24-120, and the image cleanliness, handling and robustness of the 24-70.
    My plan was to use the 24-120 all the time, but I switched to the pro zoom looking for cleaner, maybe sharper images. I then missed the longer range and the VR.
    I have been having a look to the resulting images; most shot at f8, portraits, full body to closer distances. I can guess a slightly higher overall contrast on the 24-70.
    The 24-120 at 70mm looks right, turning softer up to 120. It is good enough to my taste, but certainly not as sharp as the 24-70 at 70mm or as the 70-200VRII.
    ---
    Image wise, I see the 24-120/4 a good choice for event shooting. At working apertures (f8) and specially with flash, it seems good enough to my taste. Certainly not at the same level of a 24-70 + 70-200 combo, but way more practical and confortable when shooting weddings.
    Construction wise, the 24-70 is a better solution for intensive use to my taste. Only the hood is worth the lens, it keeps the tool safe under many awkward situations, making myself more relaxed. One more time I rarely used the cap, even without a protective filter. In the other hand, I had to have that filter permanently attached to the 24-120, to use the cap, to check for the zoom position and even to remove the hood (if attached) everytime I left the camera anywhere.
     
  66. Eric said:
    . . . matching your kit to your shooting environment is very much what this thread is about, IMO. it's all about finding a solution that works for you.​
    Yes, I totally agree, Eric. Keep in mind that event photography may only be an occassional assignment, and it's not something I necessarily care to specialize in. So, it follows, that it's also not something I care to invest a substantial amount of money in either. In fact, my first "event shoot" actually just served as an introduction to the "real gig," an interior design shoot which occurred two days later in the same space.
    let's also remember that ralph isnt doing random artistic shots but "events for entertainment-industry oriented clients." this type of shot actually tends not to be available-light, but bounced or off-cam flash indoors and direct flash outside . . .​
    True. I'm actually doing all of this just so I can get the opportunity to shoot those "random artistic shots" (and, of course, these would all be shot with fast primes).
     
  67. Jose said:
    FWIW, I have just returned from a one month trip, first two weeks with the 24-120/4, and the two following weeks with the 24-70 . . .​
    Thank you for that detailed, and informed report!
     
  68. Eric, I used TTL-BL -1/3 on the D3 because it was quicker to switch to TTL than adjust the required manual setting over so many stops. I was using manual flash on the D3100 because I get a lot of eye blinks when using this camera with TTL preflashes especially if the room is fairly dimly lit and the aperture small. I will try to see what is causing this - I suspect there is a greater delay between the preflashes and the main flash on the D3100 than my own cameras (the D3100+18-105VR belong to my employer).
     

Share This Page