Replacement options for 24/2.8D

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by raczoliver, Jan 12, 2012.

  1. Hello everyone!
    I have been using the Nikkor 24/2.8D lens for the past seven or eight years (on a D80 since 2006, and an F80 before that). I just recently started noticing how bad it was performing compared to my other lenses (50/1.8D, 85/1.8, and recently a Voigtlander 40/2, all of which are optically very good performers). My technique may not be perfect, but with the same technique, I get much sharper pictures with all my other lenses than the 24/2.8D, so I am starting to like this lens less and less, and would like to replace it with something else, and possibly fill in the gap between 24 and 40mm.
    It needs to be FX. An upgrade to an FX camera is imminent for me. I have been using different film formats before I finally bought into digital in 2006, but somehow the DX format never grew on to me, and if the D700 successor is suitable for me, I'll buy that, if not, I'll go for a used D700.
    I think my only options are zoom lenses (I cannot afford the 24/1.4. I would prefer something more versatile and not necessarily so fast, and of course cheaper), which may not be a bad thing, as long as it performs better than my current lens. F/2.8 aperture is a plus, but I would mostly be using this lens on a tripod or in daylight, so not really a requirement.
    I have been considering the following lenses:
    AF-S 16-35/4, very good on my D80, but I'm not sure I need the wide end on an FX camera. A bit of a waste if I only use the longer end.
    AF-S 24-70/2.8, may be a bit too big for me, and frankly, still slightly on the expensive side, but if it is much better than anything else, I will consider it.
    AF-S 17-35/2.8, used to be very popular, but an old construction by today's standards. Not sure how much better it performs than my 24/2.8D.
    AF-S 24-120/4. I am very interested in this lens, I hear very little about it, and I feel like this may be very suitable for me as a walk-around lens, but again, I barely know anything about it, apart from the fact that it exists.
    Any third party lenses that I should be aware of?
    Thanks for any insights and suggestions.
     
  2. Tokina 17-35 f/4
    I would also consider the AF-S 28-70 f/2.8 and there is nothing wrong with the AF-S 17-35 f/2.8. It is still a very good lens.
    I still use the AF 35-70 f/2.8 D on my D700 and still gives great results even though it's older. 35 is not wide enough but I
    have that cover with the 24 f/1.4 which is really a great lens.
     
  3. Oliver,
    I have an old AiS Nikkor 24mm/2.8 and it's a very good performer on my D700. The AFS 14-24 is better (my favorite wide-angle-lens) but the weight and bulk of this outstanding zoom are over the top for most users. The 24-70 AFS is a fantastic performer too. The 17-35 AFS is reported to be a stellar lens too. If you don't mind manual focusing a good used AiS 24/2.8 would be my first choice.
     
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    You are trying to buy a lens for a potentially unknown camera. I have little doubt that the D700 will be replaced within 2012. The problem is that at least I have no clear idea what its replacement will be like. The D700 is not that deamdning on lenses, but if its successor has 24MP like the D3X or perhaps even more, a lot of lenses will not look good. For example, my 17-35mm/f2.8 AF-S is perfectly fine on the D700; even the 28-300mm/f3.5-5.6 AF-S VR super zoom is quite decent on the D700. My 24mm/f2.8 AF-D is also ok on the D700. Once you reach 24MP or more on FX, it'll be a very different game. At 17mm, my 17-35mm/f2.8 is very poor in the corners even down to f8 on the D3X.
    If you are not in a hurry, I would say add lenses as you know for sure which camera you are getting. Make sure that you have sufficient budget for the whole package, not just for a nice camera body.
     
  5. I'm not a big fan of Sigma lenses overall, but their AF 24mm f/2.8 gets good reviews. I have one and it appears to perform well against my MF Ai-S 24mm f/2.8 Nikkor, although for some reason I haven't done any head-to-head tests of the two. (Darn, another little project to add to the list!)
    I'm afraid I can't agree with Shun that the D700 isn't demanding of lens quality. There are very few lenses that actually perform well from corner-to-corner on this camera, and it easily shows up the shortcomings of any below-par glassware. So I'm not convinced that simply adding more pixels will automatically result in better IQ in the D700's successor.
     
  6. There is no substitute for the 24/2.8AFD. The new f1.4 version is huge and expensive, zooms are even bigger, or slower, or anything... don`t know the Sigma version Rodeo mentions (it happens that I used to have this lens, sold it in my first release years ago).
    I have both AiS and AFD versions; although theoretically are the same design, I guess my much more recent AFD is a better performer. I used it quite often on the D300 with so-so results; on the D700 is not so impressive, too (although I don`t use it as much as in DX).
    If you hate your lens, I`d probably get the 35/1.8DX (I use the 50AFS on my D700 as a walkaround lens). It`s not the same, I know...
     
  7. I WOULD WAIT ON THE Tokina 17-35 f4. Both samples i tried had decentering issues - whereby the left side of the frame was noticeably less sharp than the right side. And this was on the smaller DX sensor! Tokina needs better quality control on the manufacturing process of its otherwise acclaimed wide angle zooms.
     
  8. Rodeo Joe -- Shun didn't mean more megapixels will improve results; he meant that a 24mp sensor is going to make an inadequate lens look even worse than the D700s 12mp sensor might. It will demand even BETTER lens performance than does the D700, which you think already shows up your 17-35 but which he -- and many others -- say works fine with the 17-35. I've probably only made things less clear now....
    Meanwhile, Oliver: you've been working with primes. The transition to a gigantic f/2.8 zoom seems anomalous. The next generation Nikon FX with the 24-70/2.8 will certainly be a very high image quality system -- Shun says you never know, but with that particular lens, I think we DO know. On the other hand since you say you can't get your budget around the 24/1.4 I don't know how you'll do the 24-70 as it's virtually the same price, at least on B&H. You're not going to find a cheap way out, such as the AI or AIS lenses because they're no better than the AF 24mm D. Nikon's greatness lay in its normals and teles and they really broke ground in the tele zoom department but the wides were medium-good at best (exceptions the 28/2 and 28/2.8 AIS lenses, and by reports -- I haven't had one -- the 35/1.4). UNTIL the 28/1.4 and the 24/1.4. This last lens is a magnificent thing. I'd go for that over the zoom and stick with your style, using the 50 and 85 with the 24. A classic set up.
     
  9. While I'm more likely to shoot at 28mm on a FF camera than at 24mm, and while I have a 28mm f/1.4 AF-D lens to use in low light off of a tripod, I really like the 16-35mm f/4.0 EDNASPHVRIISWMIF Nikkor. It is quite sharp from center to corner on a D700 in the lens' sweet spot, f/8.0-11.
    To Shun's concern, given that the lens is a newish design and boasts all the coolest Nikon feature abbreviations, I'll be super-pissed if I get a 24MP D700 replacement and the 16-35mm's images fall apart. Of course, that assumes that Nikon will replace the D700 while I'm still young enough to lift a FF camera body.
    Seriously, though, the 16-35mm f/4.0 is a very reasonable size for a FF zoom lens that has VR, a constant f/4.0 aperture and a 16-35mm range. That said, the 16-35mm is ginormous in comparison to a 24mm f/2.8 AF-D lens. If the 24-70mm f/2.8 Nikkor is on the large side for your tastes, you're really going to want to hold and play with a 16-35mm on a FF body before you buy one.
     
  10. To Shun's concern, given that the lens is a newish design and boasts all the coolest Nikon feature abbreviations, I'll be super-pissed if I get a 24MP D700 replacement and the 16-35mm's images fall apart. Of course, that assumes that Nikon will replace the D700 while I'm still young enough to lift a FF camera body.​
    You should check out the photozone.de results for the 16-35/4 AFS and the 17-35/2.8 AFS. I really like my 17-35, but was shocked at how well it compared with the 16-35/4 at equivalent apertures. Makes me glad I kept my 17-35/2.8 AFS.
    Regarding the 24/2.8D - I searched for a long time trying to find a used one to replace my 24/2.8 AIS and could not find one that was as good as the MF lens, even though they supposedly have the same optical formula. Every copy I tried either was less sharp overall or decentered badly.
    I don't have a 24mm prime anymore as I got the 17-35 AFS and the 24-85 AFS (which was actually a bit better than my 24/2.8 AIS at 24mm - except at f/2.8 of course).
    John
     
  11. On a tripod in daylight, I am assuming that you don't shoot a f/2.8 too much. Stopping down, the lens should be fine, so you might need a service call to get things straightened out as that lens should be a fine performer past f/4.
     
  12. Thanks everyone so far.
    Shun: Yes, I understand that it does not make sense to plan for unknown cameras, but I am pretty sure I will get an FX camera within the year 2012, be that a D700 or its successor. I kind of want to cover myself with a lens that will work fine with anything that is likely to come out this year. My 85/1.8, 24/2.8D, 50/1.8D have been serving me well for 7, 8, and 9 years respectively, and apart from one Voigtlander lens, I haven't made any substantial equipment-related purchase since I bought my D80 almost 6 years ago (ok, I also bought a Panasonic DMC-LX5 compact camera, but that's a separate thing). Although I have been contemplating upgrades/additions, I always came to the conclusion that I did not really "need" them. I definitely do not suffer from NAS, but I think this year I can justify a little upgrade of my whole system. I am also considering swapping my other two Nikkor lenses for their new AF-S versions.
    Vince: You are right in that the 24-70 costs almost as much as the 24/1.4. However, for my purpose it is a more versatile lens, albeit somewhat bigger and heavier. I think the 24/1.4 is as expensive as it is due to the f/1.4 aperture (and because Nikon can get away with it), which is not really necessary for me, and I definitely get a more all-around lens with the 24-70.
    Jose: I don't really "hate" my lens, I just noticed its shortcomings. I can never get such sharpness and detail as I get with my other lenses. Before I used to consider my D80 and 24/2.8D the walk-around kit, now I just tend to reach for my compact camera when I don't want to carry the whole SLR gear. I need something to "re-impress" me about the superiority of an SLR. I am not really considering the 35/1.8 because I have a Voigtlander 40/2, and because it is a DX lens, and like I said, the purchase of an FX camera is most likely going to happen this year for me. I am not really in a hurry, but I want to do a minimal planning in that I don't buy a lens that I am not going to use in a couple of months (although I have considered buying a 35/1.8 and stick it more or less permanently on the D80 when I buy into FX).
    Does anyone have experience with the current AF-S 24-120/4 by any chance?
     
  13. I too have the 24-120/4... it`s a very different thing. The perfect "travel zoom" for FX cameras, IMHO.
     
  14. You may find interesting the thread linked below, 24-70 vs 24-120/4. About my comments there, I had just returned from a one month trip, using both lenses.
    http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00ZERg
     
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Shun: Yes, I understand that it does not make sense to plan for unknown cameras, but I am pretty sure I will get an FX camera within the year 2012, be that a D700 or its successor. I kind of want to cover myself with a lens that will work fine with anything that is likely to come out this year.​
    Oliver, there is precisely where you problem is. Nobody is sure what the D700's successor is, and since that is not available for testing, nobody can tell you which lens will work well on it. Back in 2008, almost nobody was able to guess that Nikon would simply transfer most of the new technology on the D3 onto the D700 after the D3 was merely on the market for 7 months. (Nikon started shipping the D3 around November 30, 2007 and the D700 was announced on July 1, 2008.) Who is to say Nikon won't do that again with the D4/"D700 successor" combo? Or Nikon could put 20MP, 24MP or more on the new camera. Those different configurations will have very different demand on lenses.
    If you want to cover yourself under all circumstances, simply get the best optics available, but that means more money. It doesn't sound like you have a huge budget. And how do you know that Nikon won't announce some 24mm/f2 or f2.8 AF-S later on this year? They just added an f1.8 economy version of the 85mm AF-S.
    If you don't need it immediately, I think it pays to wait for more information. I still recall that back in 2006, 2007, some people bought the 28-70mm/f2.8 AF-S in anticipation of a full-frame Nikon DSLR. It turns out that Nikon indeed announced the D3 in August 2007, but they also simultaneously introduced a 24-70mm/f2.8 AF-S. The nice lens those people bought ahead of time immediately became the old version and wasn't so nice any more.
     
  16. Just a though........
    Everyone keeps talking about the cameras to come..... D400 / D800
    Well, What about IF there are no upgrades to the D300s and D700 and all we'll have from now on is just D4 and D7000???
     
  17. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Well, What about IF there are no upgrades to the D300s and D700 and all we'll have from now on is just D4 and D7000???​
    In that case Nikon will continue to have two huge holes on their product lineup for the Japanese home market since they can't sell the D300S and D700 in Japan any more. I can't imagine that can be tolerated for much longer.
     
  18. When I first bought into Nikon, there were only 3 cameras to choose from: D40, D80 and D200. That was just 3 models and they were all cropped cameras.
    Now we have..... How many cameras is it? D4, D700, D300s, D7000, D5100, D3100 and Nikon 1..... Seems like too many cameras to choose from.... As I said, What IF they wanna make it simple again, 1 FX, 3 DX plus the baby one..... That would cover most of the market in Japan.
     
  19. I also wonder, how many D3/D3s' they didn't sell coz they had a D700??????
     
  20. Probably very little... people could be willing to spend up to a certain limit.
    And I suspect it all depends on the competitors; Nikon have to cover the market with products to fulfil every demand. They work to increase their share (benefits). If not, they loose.
     
  21. Nikon doesn't have really modern wide angle primes for FX apart from the 24/1.4 and 35/1.4 which are very expensive, and the 24mm PC-E which is also expensive and special purpose.
    Of the wide angle zooms the 14-24 is the best quality optically but its zoom range is very extreme which limits its application. The 24-70 has a very useful zoom range and it consistently produces high quality results (just a little less spectacular than the 14-24). I didn't like the 24-120/4 - it was very tempting to pick up and shoot with but I wasn't satisfied with the consistency of the output. Sharpness was excellent at 50mm but declined towards 120mm and there was heavy vignetting at 24mm and generally a high level of distortion through much of the range. For a standard zoom for FX I recommend the 24-70. For a 24mm lens specifically, well, it depends, as the 24-70 at 24mm at long distances can be a little soft. At longer focal lengths (35-70mm) it's near perfect and at 24mm at shorter distances (2m) it's also quite good (just a little bit behind the 14-24 and 24/1.4).
    I tested the 16-35/4 a little but the 14-24 was sufficiently better at distances of 2-3m that I took the latter instead. The 16-35's sharpness was good in the center but the edges of the FX frame were softer than with the 14-24 or 24mm PC-E and there was quite a bit of vignetting with the 16-35 so I figured I'd be safer to get the 14-24. It turned out a mixed decision: optically, the 14-24 has always delivered truly outstanding results, but it's so big and heavy that I rarely carry it with me. I think the 16-35 has much nicer range and it may be better in practical use in some scenarios. For example for travel photography I think the 16-35 would be a good choice. I have seen many quite nice results printed from it so ... it's not always about the best technical quality. I have not shot with the 17-35 since it hasn't been available new since about 2007 in my country.
    I would not worry about the future FX cameras and how many pixels they have. Sharpness in particular will always improve if you switch to a higher resolution camera of the same format; the improvement will be bigger if you have a really good lens than with a mediocre one. So you get more return for the investment and dealing with the large files if you use good glass than you would with so-so glass, but you can safely expect improved sharpness on all lenses with a higher resolution camera. I don't think it's even possible that a higher resolution camera would yield a lower resolution image unless there is some weird optical incompatibility with that particular sensor and a particular lens, which is quite unlikely. In fact Bjorn Rorslett has said his 24/2.8 Ai-S is better on D3X than D3 ... but he also comments that the 24/2.8D AF may have subtly different optics. I think there may have been changes in the microlenses which make the D3X more compatible optically with the 24mm, can't say for sure since I don't have that lens personally. My experience with the D3X has been that all lenses produce sharper images (than with D3/D700) but some lenses stand out more than others, of course. The only issues I have with the D3X is that it has quite poor tonality at ISO 800 and above (compared to 12 MP FX), and of course the huge files which slow down post-processing considerably. I would expect a future FX camera to be improved in the high ISO aspect compared to the D3X, but unfortunately the trend is toward higher pixel counts so we may have to spend more money on computers and storage space, and also spend more time waiting for our computers to finish the tasks. (The D3X can also be slower at the shooting stage if you take many frames, which is due to the large files also and it's funny way of making 14-bit captures, but this doesn't affect my style of shooting since I rarely shoot that many frames rapidly. A future high pixel count camera is unlikely to have this problem since Nikon has a new Expeed 3 processor which is faster, and there is also faster memory card technology available.) Also if you want to make the most out of the large files you will have to stop down the aperture more as the pixel level depth of field is very, very shallow. But this does not mean the sharpness is worse - it is better, just that the utilization of the full potential of the camera and files (maximizing the sharpness of the images) is more difficult. Personally my choice of a camera would be something around 18 MP FX, as the efficiency of shooting and post-processing and image quality could be in better balance. The D3X can be great but it can also be limiting. In any case whatever the follower of the D700 is, I don't think you should worry about your lenses being worse on it than they are on the current D700 - but you can get more return for your investment if your lenses are really good.
    So to summarize I think the 24-70 is very practical and high quality (and the lens I would recommend), the 14-24 is impractical but extremely high quality, for the 16-35 and 17-35 my experience with using them is insufficient to help you decide regarding them, but you will find plenty of people online who have used them and have posted many comments. The 24/1.4 is excellent optically but has very finicky autofocus and has to be used with great care to avoid the lens focusing on something unexpected (I can't tell you how many times this has happened to me, but it is still one of my favorite lenses). Future lenses may provide different compromises for your consideration.
     
  22. My personal experience. It is a bit more than 2 years ago now. I went to the store with 5 G's in my pocket. I wanted to get the D3s but at the store I handle them both and I bought the D700. Why? It was smaller and half the price BUT if there was no D700 I was gonna pay for a D3s. I know people usually has a budget BUT most of the time NAS is stronger and people will pay for what they want. This is a rule I know very well..... I use it every day.... I sell Japanese carp (koi) and with the money you buy a D4 you can not buy 1 fin of a koi. And it doesn't matter how cheap the Euro is. If someone wants something he/she will pay for it.
     
  23. Never had one myself, but those Koi carp must taste really delicious for people to pay that sort of money Rene.
     
  24. Rene', I have thought about that myself, there are too many cameras to choose from. I think four would be enough, but I would make it two FX and two DX, because I really need that more affordable FX:) Trust me, I wouldn't go for the top category if the one below that (D700 and possible successors) did not exist. Like I said, worst case scenario is, I'll buy a D700, and I bet a lot of non-professionals would much rather do that than pay for the D4.
    Ilkka, I have also noticed that unfortunately there seems to be no modern, affordable wide angle prime. They have both pro-grade and more affordable versions of the 35mm, 50mm, and now 85mm AF-S primes, but not the 24 yet. That, and a 70-200/4 zoom are the most obvious "gaps" that I see now, although I'd have little use for the latter.
    Shun, yes, I should probably wait for a little while, and I probably will before I make any purchase. I like making plans in advance, and perhaps now this whole digital camera technology is not advancing as fast as it did 10 or even 5 years ago, so it is a little easier to more or less predict the next step. I think Nikon absolutely must use the technology of the D4 in the D700's replacement, otherwise it will be barely any different from the D700. Sure, we don't know whether it will be 20+ megapixels or less. I would personally prefer around 16 or so, otherwise I'd also need a new computer, and that's when I'll start thinking whether I should just look for a lightly used D700.
    At this point I think the 24-70/2.8 seems to be the optimal solution, but then I have to keep in mind that photography is just a hobby for me, and I'll have to give it more thought whether I want to spend that kind of money.
     
  25. When I first bought into Nikon, there were only 3 cameras to choose from: D40, D80 and D200.​
    You seem to conveniently forget that at that time there were also a D2Xs and D2Hs. And in your list of current cameras, you are forgetting the D3X. In terms of sales volume, all the FX cameras don't even come close to that of the DX cameras.
    ...how many D3/D3s' they didn't sell coz they had a D700??​
    A good deal less than they would have sold D300 cameras instead.
    ...BUT most of the time NAS is stronger and people will pay for what they want​
    Only up to a certain limit. Granted, there may have been quite a few people that choose a D700 over a D3. But I think that most D700 buyers made a choice between a D300 and a D700 - and choose to pay the $1000 extra; the jump to a D3 would have been $2400 or thereabouts at the time and another $1000 once the D3S succeeded the D3. That's enough money to buy one or two excellent lenses with a D300/D300S.
    Unless I was shooting sports or in extremely low light all the time, I see no reason to choose a D3/D3S over a D700 for an amateur photographer.
    To the OP - you could opt for a Zeiss 25/2 or 25/2.8...
     
  26. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I came fairly close to buying a D3 in September 2008. Earlier that year, I had a test sample for a month and wrote the review for photo.net, so I was quite familiar with the D3 already. However, as soon as I saw the D700, I decided to get the smaller body and also saved some money.
     
  27. Me too... just arrived the D3 I asked for one, thinking to sell the D300 as soon as possible. After one week I decided to return the D3. Too big, too heavy, and the main reason, too expensive. The pics I took with the D300 were almost indistinguishable to those with the D300...
    Lately with the D700 I learnt that the "only difference" was at 1600ISO.
     
  28. DIETER..... Well, not really conveniently, at that time I didn't know the D2Hs and D2x excited...... so they just din't come to mind.... and yes! I forgot the D3x, sorry.....
    OLIVER.... There you are... 2 FX bodies, D4 and D3X......
     
  29. D4 and D3X​
    $6000 and $8000, respectively - quite a lot of money for a hobbyist to spend on a camera body.
    I hope we never have to experience the furor that would be unleashed if Nikon cut back their camera bodies to 2 DX and 2 FX - especially if the price differential would amount to some $4000 between DX and FX. Unless they drop the low-end DX cameras altogether - but wasn't the D3100 the best selling DSLR in Japan last year? Maybe in a few years, the mirrorless will have replaced the low-end DSLRs (and maybe the entire DX camera field is mirrorless by then). Maybe there is then a 36MP FX camera at $2000 that one could use with good results even in DX mode.
     
  30. The 24-70mm F2.8 AFS is a fantastic lens, no matter what camera I use it on, F4, D200, D700 - or for that matter any FX camera that Nikon introduces in the foreseeable future. Since acquiring this lens, new, two years ago, I have not had the slightest inclination to use any of my AIS lenses covered by this zoom. The 24mm AIS lens is excellent on the cameras mentioned but with the 24-70mm, why bother?.....maybe it is the Nano coating???
     
  31. Getting back to lenses, rather than cameras (I've been lurking on this thread until now), I don't believe anyone has suggested the 24-85mm AFS. I see where Ken Rockwell is quite enthusiastic about it. I know, I know, some don't feel he's a good reference. I think he's quite thorough and detailed, well worth reading. He feels the 24-85AFS is very sharp and has excellent AF accuracy. It's discontinued, so one would have to buy it used. It is more compact than the 24-70/2.8, and, I imagine, cheaper.
    Any comments, opinions, or flames?
     
  32. The 24-85 AF-S is very soft at the 24mm end and has quite substantial barrel distortion. It is quite good towards the 85mm end, but the OP is looking for a 24mm.
     
  33. OK I knew about the barrel distortion, but I didn't think Rockwell made it sound like it had softness problems at the wide end. Well, so much for that!
     
  34. Hey, wait a minute. Rockwell does say the 24-85 is soft wide open. But it's the original 24-85, which he takes care to point out is inferior for that reason. The one he recommends, and the one I was referring to, is the 24-85 AF-s G, which replaced the original. Ilkka, I didn't realize you were thinking of a different lens, or I would have pointed that out to begin with.
     
  35. Also Thom Hogan rates the AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G (NOT the AF 24-85m f/2.8-4D, that's a different lens altogether) quite high: http://www.bythom.com/2485lens.htm.
    However, the AF-S lens is no longer available new, while the AF-D lens is....
     
  36. True. He does like everything about it, criticizing only the lack of an aperture ring--it's a "G" lens, after all. He also rates the 24/2.8 AF N--the subject of this thread--very highly, commenting on its superb corner to corner sharpness; while several here have not been able to agree, based on their own results. I finally tried a practical test with mine (until then I'd always just shot with it, not tested it). I "tested" it handheld, since that's the way I generally shoot with it. I tested it with shots of a bridge here in St. Louis, the Eads bridge, that has hundreds of closely spaced steel members in an intricate gridwork pattern. It looked to me like the edge performance was nothing to write home about, so I may be in the majority in this thread. My Tokina 20-35 f/3.5-4.5 was better, at the same apertures. I'll have to try the Nikkor in other situations and see if I think it's worth keeping.
     
  37. I don't have any opinions on the zooms that were listed, but I do own the 24mm f/2.8 AF and the 24mm f/1.4G. I picked up the 24 f/2.8 AF for the first time in a LONG time and it was so tiny and light compared to the monster 24mm f/1.4G. In fact, the f/1.4G is almost as heavy as my 28-300 lens and that one is a brick.
    The photos are really great from the 1.4G but it was also really great with the 2.8. I've gotten really great pictures with both lenses. If you take night pictures, though, the 24 f/2.8 had a lot of coma in the corners. It wasn't until f/8 that it was completely gone. I haven't really tried the f/1.4G in the same situation, but I'm sure it won't be as bad.
    My suggestion on the lens, if it's still an option, is to get the 24-120 lens, especially since you use the 24mm more often. I would normally suggest the 16-35, but you mentioned you probably wouldn't use the wider focal lengths.
    Good luck!
     
  38. Reading this whole thread, I conclude that the lens you want -- if you don't wish to spend $2300 or so -- is the 17-35mm f/2.8. Every problem that every other lens presents -- with the 24-70, that would be cost only -- the 17-35 does not have. Distortion is reportedly very low, quality high, size is large but not monstrous like the 14-24.... And used you'll get it for half the price you'd pay, even used, for the 24-70 OR the 24/1.4 prime.
    Or else for about $250 - $350 you can easily find the aforementioned AF-S 24-85mm 1:3.5-4.5G ED.
    Just to amuse myself I've just taken a shot in my office (and spare bedroom) with the following lenses, all set at f/4:
    Ais 20mm f/3.5... AF-S 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G..... AF 24mm f/2.8D.... Ais 28mm f/2... and AF 28-105mm f/3.5-4.5D
    Then I cropped them from 75-95 percent to give the same patch, a bit below and left of center, but not much. I'll post them below. Sharpest in the corners? Shockingly, the 20mm, though the vignetting is worst, so makes the sharpness moot, really. The rest about equal, the 24's better in the upper, rear corners than the 28's because of the depth from the point of focus. The 28mm f2 shows no vignetting at all. The 28-105 is about the same as 24-85. Slightly better is the 24/2.8. Now for center sharpness and color rendition and the like, here are the crops:
    00Zsxf-434411584.jpg
     
  39. Next -- all photos are on the D700 shot at ISO 1600 f/4 and 1/20th. Viewed at 200 percent in the centers no evidence of shake in the pics selected as best at each setting.
    00Zsxj-434413584.jpg
     
  40. Next -- all photos are on the D700 shot at ISO 1600 f/4 and 1/20th. Viewed at 200 percent in the centers no evidence of shake in the pics selected as best at each setting.
    00Zsxl-434413684.jpg
     
  41. Next -- all photos are on the D700 shot at ISO 1600 f/4 and 1/20th. Viewed at 200 percent in the centers no evidence of shake in the pics selected as best at each setting.
    00Zsxn-434415584.jpg
     
  42. Next -- all photos are on the D700 shot at ISO 1600 f/4 and 1/20th. Viewed at 200 percent in the centers no evidence of shake in the pics selected as best at each setting.
    00Zsxq-434417584.jpg
     
  43. And I almost forgot!!! My newest acquisition! The much discussed AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED. Again, taken at f/4 ISO 1600 on the D700. At 24mm.
    00Zsxx-434421584.jpg
     
  44. To my eye, the sharpest are the AIs 28/2, which is not what the OP wants... and the AF-S 16-35 f/4, which perhaps IS what he wants. It's cheaper and lighter than the 17-35/2.8. Distortion is quite marked at 16mm but not so much at 20 and 24. Plus it's easily fixed in PS -- just plug in the lens.
    My other observation, utterly not surprising, is that except for the new and pricey 16-35, the primes are better than the zooms.
    So that's everything but the very best lenses, for what it's worth -- which was, in my case, one of those losses of time we love about photography.
     
  45. BTW, 16-35mm f/4 showed no vignetting at 20mm or 24mm; and was sharp in the corners. On the whole, the best of the lot.
     
  46. Thanks everyone. I am still reading the thread, but the replies weren't coming for a while so I did not check that often, but I'm still here, so thank you, everyone:)
    In the end I'll just wait and give it some more thought, after all I am not in a hurry now, but you have all helped me with your answers. I will also consider the Zeiss 25/2.8, and I have not dismissed Craig Meddaugh's comment either, in which he suggests that I should get my lens checked out, as it should not be too bad of a performer.
     
  47. Truthfully I'd stay away from manual focus lenses like the Zeiss. I know that it might be the best lens this side of the Milky Way galaxy, but it's still manual focus. Focus is a lot more difficult, at least in the D700, mainly because there's no split image range finder or microprism. Also the area you actually view is very, very bright, but it's not easy to tell if your image is in focus. I'm not saying you CAN'T focus a manual lens because I do it all the time with the many that I have, but I'm saying it's more difficult. Also, your DSLR has autofocus, so why not buy a lens that takes advantage of it? All my manual lenses came from the past when I used to shoot film. All the lenses I've purchased since I got a D700, save the 180mm Hasselblad lens, have all been AF lenses.
     
  48. "(Manual f)ocus is a lot more difficult, at least in the D700, mainly because there's no split image range finder or microprism."
    With all due respect, in the lower left corner screen, in the D700's LED array, there is a little green ball flanked by two inward-facing arrows. This ball-and-arrow array will tell you if you're in focus with manual focus lenses just the same as it would with AF lenses:
    http://www.imaging-resource.com/PRODS/D700/ZD700VFCALLOUTS.PNG
     

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