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18-70 vs. 17-55 for Alaska

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Pa, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. I lent my 18-70 to my daughter over a year ago, and thus haven't used it since I got my 17-55 several months ago. I'm leaving for Alaska next week, and I was planning to take the 17-55, 70-300VR, and 28-105.

    But now I'm having second thoughts about the 17-55, and I'm considering getting the 18-70 back for this trip and using it instead.

    We'll be driving back roads and hiking in the Wrangell-St.Elias NP for about 10 days, then we'll fly out to a remote fishing lodge for a week. I'm concerned about the weight and risk of damage to the 17-55. So the question is: will I notice the difference in IQ for general landscape photography (in good light)?

    Any thoughts?

    Thanks for looking...
  2. Travelr


    Aug 23, 2007
    New York
    I have not owned them at the same time, but I definitely can see a noticeable difference in IQ between these lenses. I would vote for the 17-55!
  3. no, theres not that much difference between the lenses at f5.6 and smaller.
  4. I used to own the 18-70. An honestly I miss it. A great lens, in fact many of my biggest sellers (landscapes) were shot with that lens.
  5. Dr A

    Dr A

    Feb 2, 2008
    State College, PA
    If you're hiking very far you'll want the 18-70. In fact, I choose to leave even that at home on hikes and take the 18-55. Unless you're hiking in the dark or very low-light, you'll have all the lens you need with the 18-xx. The advantage to the 18-55 is that it has much better close-up ability for flowers and critters than the 18-70, and it weighs next to nothing.
  6. rich_h


    Oct 9, 2007
    For a trip like this I'd take the 17-55 for sure. I disagree that the image quality is similar at small apertures. The color, contrast, and clarity of the images from the 17-55 is better. You will not notice this in a brick-wall shot but certainly will in landscapes.

    Wrangell-St.Elias is a fabulous place!! Wish I was going.
  7. I plan to use the 28-105 for hikes. It has a nice range and a pretty usable macro mode (1:2) for flowers. It's also pretty light.

    My wife will be totin' her D40 with either 18-200VR or 18-55.
  8. Thanks, Matt. Nice rec on the 18-70.
  9. I'd take the 18-70, mainly because I firmly believe its a better landscape lens than the 17-55.
  10. cotdt


    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    I'd take the 18-55 kit lens. It's sharper wide open than the 18-70, it's small, and focuses close.

    the 17-55 is a bit big for what it is, but optics are very good.
  11. For doing landscape work in good light, it seems that wide open performance is of little value. But that's just me.
  12. I agree, I don't really see the relevance, chances are you'll be at f/11. Which is why I would choose the 18-70 over the 17-55.
  13. cotdt


    Jul 14, 2007
    Bay Area, USA
    the 18-70 is not a great landscape lens. it has a ton of distortion at 18mm and even at f/11 it does not have the contrast of the nikon pro lenses
  14. That's an interesting point of view. Care to argue your point?

    It will definitely be in the bag, if not on the cameras.

    There is always the chance that a low-light situation may arise, but I guess that can partially be handled with a tripod and longer exposure.
  15. That's an interesting point of view. Care to argue your point?

    I could do, but I've been to Alaska, and I took both lenses. Need anymore?

    I don't mean to sound flippant in this response, but the 17-55 is a PJ orientated lens, optimised to shoot close to wide open, with close-up objects. It also has strong field curvature. You will be shooting stopped down, you don't need a big f/2.8 lens for this.
  16. Good to see we have a consensus! :biggrin:
  17. I agree about the 18mm distortion...it is rather pronounced.
  18. Alaska is a long way from Virginia, and I doubt you'll get there often. If you don't bring your best glass, you might as well leave your dslr at home and take your cp5700. :rolleyes: 

    But if you decide not to take the 17-55, why not replace it with fast glass, like your 35/2 and 50/1.8?

    Seriously, are you going to Alaska and leaving your 12-24 at home?

    Btw, if you get a personal articles policy, you won't need to worry about loss, breakage, or theft.
  19. I'd be more inclined to take the 12-24 and the 28-105. The 28-105 is awesome, and going past 70mm will be very handy to bring in interesting features. 55mm will be quite short, certainly if you are in the shores of Katmai or somewhere equally pretty, you'll want to be up to 100 or even 200mm if you get decent sky. 55mm will be too short for this - you can mitigate against this by taking a second body with a longer lens.
  20. Well, I don't agree with you about the CP5700 :tongue:

    Unfortunately, the 35/2 has been at Nikon Melville since June 4th, and I don't know when they are going to part with it. Seems they really like it.

    Frank, I have found I don't much like what the 12-24 does in the wide open spaces. It belittles the mountains and grabs lots of foreground. I've decided that 17/18 mm is wide enough for me. I'm sure I just haven't figured out how to use it yet.

    I can see that I will leave this thread with just as much uncertainty as I started with, but I guess I asked for it. :redface:
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