New 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR or 24-70mm f/2.8 ED for D600?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by miguel_lecuyer, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. Hello. I recently purchased a new Nikon D600 and I'm trying to make a decision on a lens. It's between the new new Nikkor AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED VR which is billed as the 'kit lens' or the Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G ED. Obviously, the latter is a quality lens and a standard piece of glass for most working photographers, however, it comes with a hefty price tag new. I've been reading some good things about the kit lens which would save me alot of money, but still provide me with a good versatile lens. I currently have a 50mm f/1.8G. I shoot mostly documentary, street, and portraiture. I've dabbled in fashion and may do more home studio work eventually. If I went for the 24-85, I could have some extra money to get another prime. Maybe an 85 1.8G. I realize the 24-85 is a slower lens, but the D600 has good ISO and the lens also has VR which buys me some stops, right? I'm still relatively new to shooting (as of the last year), so any advice would be appreciated.
  2. while i can't speak to the 24-85, i can confidently say that the 24-70 is one amazing lens. if you can afford it, and don't mind the added heft, i think it's a no-brainer. i will also say, you'll probably find yourself wanting an mb-d14 battery grip to balance it out a bit on the d600, but that's a very personal thing. the difference between 70 and 85 on the long end wouldn't be enough to make me get the kit lens, i would prefer just taking a few steps closer and having the higher quality, faster glass. i also don't think VR is needed at that focal length, but again, a personal thing based on your style and preferences. i will say this, i have bought a few kit lenses in the past and every one of them is collecting dust (or sold) while my "pro" lenses are always attached to my camera. it's a pretty rare thing to buy the better lens and wish you went with the kit lens. but like most things, money talks. oh yeah, at the end of the day, it doesn't really matter as no lens will make you a better shooter, that ultimately rests in your eye and your creative vision...and of course your mastery of lightroom and photoshop :) have fun, don't stress, make the call, take some pictures.
  3. " If I went for the 24-85, I could have some extra money to get another prime" - Seems like initial symptom of sickness called NAS (Nikon Acquisition Syndrome)...:)
    For lenses quality is more important than quantity.
  4. I cannot tell which one is better for you, but maybe my point of view could help you to make a decission.
    The main issue with the 24-70 is the big size and weight. It use to happen that at f8, differences between lenses are too small. Unless you were looking for the maximum quality and speed for each aperture, a smaller and lighter lens is always desiderable in my experience.
    I don`t have the new 24-85 -but the previous version- and a 24-120/4. The 24-70 is a better lens overall, and is f2.8 at all focal lenghts, but for casual shots and everyday use I lately take the 24-120 simply because is lighter, a bit more compact and with a longer range. F4 works fine for me, f4.5 is "only" one third of a stop away. The VR is great for trips, museums, architecture (indoors), etc. My 24-70 is almost relegated to assignments where I need to have faster apertures and highest quality along the whole range.
    Personally, it`s both the bulk and the speed of the lens. If you choose the 24-85, you could miss a faster lens for that "creative" shots, while if you get the 24-70, you`d miss a smaller lens for relax... you already have a 50AFS so you are fine here.
    Think that VR helps you to hold the camera, it doesn`t freeze action... a flash head freeze action.
  5. I have never tried the 24-85, but I own the 24-70, and it is a fantastic lens. However, it is quite heavy, something you might take into consideration if you want to carry it all day doing street photography...
  6. For documentary, street and portraiture I'd go with a trio of f/1.8 AF-S primes: 28-50-85. But that's me. I owned 24-70 and I parted with it because, despite being a great lens optically it is bulky and heavy which makes it inappropriate for my needs. Also for me "versatility" of a leans means the freedom to pick creative apertures up to at least f/1.8 which is more important than zooming in / out.
  7. While the 24-70 is no doubt a quality lens, it's the size and weight that prevented me from buying it - and I never regretted that either - slowly turned a primeshooter anyway.
    So, I'd check for yourself what you generally prefer - are you fine with primes and not using the flexibility of a zoom all too much, then the 24-85VR and additional prime(s) make more sense; else the 24-70 is a better bet.
  8. Hi Miguel,
    My D300 broke few weeks ago and I'm on the way of replacing it with the new D600. I own the Nikon 16-85 that I use as midrange zoom walk around lens, 85mm 1.8, 50mm 1.4 and the 70-300 VR.
    Having to replace the 16-85 I am myself with the same kind of trouble, buy the kit lens or get the 24-70 and never look back. I basically do the same kind of photography with an addition of travel photography (check out my website and I find that my best shots were all taken with the 85mm 1.8
    The 16-85, that is probably the same quality of the 24-85, that means good overall but excellent at nothing. Especially the bokeh of the 16-85 I find it extremely poor and I guess it is the same with the 24-85.
    The problem is that the 24-70 is very very heavy and pricy.
    I am considering the 24-120 VR as well. I wish there was a 24-105 2.8 VR for 600 gr. Nikon, am I asking too much?
  9. Tamron used to make a 28-105/2.8 for
    film, if I recall correctly. The problem
    with these extended range zooms is that
    they tend to soften towards the long end
    esp. wide open. I use the 24-70 Nikkor
    and am very happy with it. Personally I
    think the 24-85 VR is good value
    whereas the 24-120/4 VR is a bit pricey
    for the quality (but with a good feature
    set and range).
  10. I have the 24-85 and can attest that it is a very high quality lens, with its limitations being optical speed and some geometric distortion. The VR is a very big plus, and probably makes it competitive with the 24-70, which does not have VR.
    While I have never owned the 24-70, I have owned its predecessor, the 28-70/2.8, which I sold. THey are both big honking lenses. IMHO, the 24-85 is, hands down, the better choice for the D600.
  11. I'd ask myself this: do I need the shallow depth of field that a f/2.8 lens can provide? If yes, go for the 24-70, otherwise, choose the slower, cheaper lens. The D600 is so good at high-ISO -- I've had mine for a week and a half -- that the extra stop won't matter in the aperture/ISO/shutter speed sense, but DoF is an important artistic tool.
    As for the better quality of the 24-70...I'd ask myself if a) I am savvy enough to tell the difference, and b) I am skilled enough to exploit the difference? For me, the answer to both is no. Only you can answer for yourself.
  12. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    In my case, the size and weight for the 24-70mm/f2.8 does not bother me much, but since I already have the earlier 28-70mm/f2.8 and didn't feel like spending another $1500 a few years ago (but more like $1900 now).
    I do have the 24-120mm/f4 and prefer its extended range, and I tested the new 24-85mm/f3.5-4.5 AF-S VR recently, and it is a very good lens on the D800/D800E. I am sure it will do fine on the D600. In fact, currently I have a second 24-85 VR on loan from Nikon along with the D600:
    However, not having f2.8 does mean slower AF and other limitations under dim light.
    If you don't need f2.8, by all means get the 24-85 VR and more lenses for versitility.
  13. I am almost in your situation. I just got my D 600. I already have the 24-70mm f 2.8 that I use with my D 700. If I did not already own it, I would have bought the kit lens given the kind of photography you do. It gets very good reviews. I do not like the size and weight of the 24-70mm f2.8. Other than that it is a good lens, however, not as fantastic as others say.
    Joe Smith
  14. i would just get the 24-70 and forget about it. it's that good.
  15. The thing is that the 24-70 by Nikon ain't any perfect lens and its selling price is as if it was. If the issue was pay 1900 US and you get
    what you want (VR, 600 gr and less distortion) I think it would have been no brainier.
  16. You can get the 24-85 plus 50 1.8 and 85 1.8 for less than the 24-70 f2.8
    add in the 28 1.8 and you STILL only spend a little bit more than the 24-70.
    With those lenses you have a light weight zoom walkabout, choice of light weight prime walkabout, or professional prime trio.

    The only reason I could see choosing the 24-70 would be if you shoot weddings or events professionally, for a living; where you need fast aperture, rapid focal length changes, AND the highest lens quality...
  17. For documentary, street and portraiture, I think I'd take the 25-85, 50 and 85 over the 24-70 and 50. You'd save money,
    have the primes for the portrait and fashion shooting, and in decent light the new 24-85 is a great lens for the street and
    documentary uses.

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