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17-55 or 28-70

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by natethomas, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. I will be soon upgrading my 18-70 to one of these fine lenses. I'm leaning towards the 17-55 simply because it would be more of a walk around lens on a DX body. The 28-70 would probably not be wide enough for me.

    I have a 10-20, and I'm wondering if that 20-28 gap would be fairly big. I would also purchase an 85mm at the same time, and it would probably be the 1.8.

    So either 10-20, 17-55, 85 1.8 or 10-20, 28-70, 85 1.8.

    I'd get either one used at hopefully a little less than $1000 plus the 85 1.8.
  2. Mart61


    Dec 23, 2006
    Camberley, UK
    I went thru this same issue last year. I used a piece of software that anlayses your shots and shows what focal lengths you use. I chose the 17-55 in the end as I would miss the 17-27 range more than I would the 56-70 focal lengths.

    The software is free and is call ExposurePlot. You can get it here:


    Here's the focal length graph it gives you:

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 29, 2008
  3. Hi Nate,

    Been a while! If your intent is to use DX go with the 17-55. You'd find that the difference in field of view between 20-28 mm is Huge. It would take 3 primes 20,24,28 to cover that range.
    Aside from range the 2 lenses have different looks. I found that when shooting people especially under controlled lighting like in a studio setting the 28-70 had a better look. Skin tones are especially wonderfull. Having both I found till I got my D3 I'd prefer the 17-55 on my DX bodies really mounting the 28-70 except in the situations I outlined above. Alas the 28-70 was replaced by my 24-70 which is slightly better on my D3 and alot better on my D300.
    Hope this helps, though other than range both lenses are stellar. You will not go wrong image quality wise with either.
  4. Of course it is a personal preference based on what you photograph, but here is another data point for you.

    On a recent two-week trip through Spain and Portugal, I left my 17-55 at home and took my Nikkor 12-24 and 28-105. The 4mm gap between 24 and 28 wasn't that important, but for the scenes I was shooting there, the break point between the focal lengths was quite awkward. I was constantly wanting to swap back and forth and ended up not taking some shots because it was too much trouble, or I didn't have time to change lenses.

    I'm leaving for Alaska in two weeks, and this time I'm taking the 17-55 and leaving the 12-24 at home.
  5. JDann24


    Dec 15, 2007
    Garland, Texas
    Its really more of a personal preference. I have both lenses and use them for different situations. I use the 17-55 as a general walk-around lens and use the 28-70 for event/studio work. I find that the 17-55 is sharper at 2.8, but the 28-70 gives better skin tones.
  6. I just went throught the same issue with the 17-55 vs 24-70 for DX. I believe it boils down to

    1. Your preferred style
    2. DX or FF. If future is long way off for FF, then I would vote 17-55.
  7. Seneca


    Dec 4, 2006
    Very nice plot there Mart. I'll have to study it a bit more.
  8. Mart61


    Dec 23, 2006
    Camberley, UK
    Download it Sen - it's free and does the same for aperture, shutter speed and ISO. It's only weakness is that it only studies JPEGS
  9. Thanks for the replies. It does sound like the 17-55 is the way to go on a DX body. Unless Nikon comes out with a FX body for less than $2000 I can't see going full frame.
  10. LindaZ


    Jul 29, 2007
    Wilmington, NC
    How cool isn't that!!
  11. Mart61


    Dec 23, 2006
    Camberley, UK
    Well, I thought it was cool...

  12. I've had exposure plot for a while--someone here at the Cafe turned me on to it, and love it. I tells me that I need to fill my gap between 55 and 80!!!!! $$$ And it has helped me be more careful about shooting at the sweet spot of my lenses. You'll love it!
  13. Gnarl


    Jun 25, 2008
    Fairfax, VA
    Good advice, Ed.
  14. Kamil


    Oct 28, 2007
    It's a handy tool and I have been using it a while now. It helped me decide my purchase of 17-55 over the 28-70.
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