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Candidly speaking: 17-55dx vs. 28-70

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Uncle Frank, Apr 10, 2005.

  1. The debate about which is the more useful midrange zoom pops up on a regular basis. There's nothing to choose
    from optically, and both are expensive, heavy lenses. The 17-55 is better suited for those who favor
    landscapes, while the 28-70 gives more working distance for portraiture and event photography. The telling
    point for me is not posed shots, but candids. In order to get a half body shot with the 17-55, you have to
    crowd the subjects too closely for them not to be camera aware.

    I took some portraits of my neighbor's grandkids yesterday, and found a fair number of shots where the
    models didn't seem to be distracted by my machinations.

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    One other point. Many seem to own a 70/80-200 f/2.8 and a 12-24. For those people, a 28-70 would seem
    the better complement to their kits than the 17-55. But that's jmho.
  2. Frank,

    Thanks a lot! I was searching for a practical difference between the two. Your assessment helps.

  3. Sure 28-70 may be a better fit, to cover the 24-70 range left between a 12-24 and 70/80-200 combo... but that is not the whole story. How many lens changes do you want to deal with? With multiple bodies (like a wedding pro would have), it's clearly not a problem, and the 28-70 is better suited. But, for the rest of us, with a single body, I find the 17-55 much more versatile. 8) That's just my opinion, however. ;-)

    Btw, UF, nice shots of the kids! :p 
  4. Glad it made sense for you, Rich. Of course, we're all guilty of "selling" our favorite lenses, so take it with a grain of salt 8).
  5. Thanks, Philippe. I don't think my 3 lens system will require many lens changes. I'll use the 80-200 for sports, wildlife, and long range candids, the 60mm for macros, and the 28-70 for everything else. For a specific shoot, I probably won't need to make any changes. But it's only simple because I'm not addressing wide angle at all at this point.
  6. dkapp


    Mar 18, 2005
    San Francisco
    Your right frank. It all depends on your style of shooting. I'm a person that spends most of my time on the wide end of a 17-55. The 28 just didn't cut it for me. I previously owned a Tamron 17-35 & 28-75. Both were great lenses, but I rarely used the 28-75.

    Both Nikons have amazing optics. I think anyone that bought either would be extremely happy.

    For those looking to buy, figure out what focal length you use most, and buy according to that.

  7. Beautiful shots and a cute little girl! I bet her parents were thrilled!

    Looks like a new driveway comes before my 28-70 next month! I will get one before the end of September for Kenya though.... :roll:
  8. I think what's important here is that no one asked for the "best" lens and no one is claiming either is. What came out of this (and many other threads) is how technical differences affect various types of photography. This is more useful than blatant claims of one product "blowing away" another.

    I keep wondering how we could be so fortunate to have such a cool crowd and learn so much.

    Thanks to you all.

  9. Personally I like the versatility of the 17-55mm in that it gives me a fairly wide angle at 17mm. When coupled with my 70-200 I don't think I miss a thing. I use both lenses for portraits but would like the 85mm f1.4 for the bokeh and wide open capability it gives me at 1.4.
  10. I'm with you Gordon. Also, I think the 17-55DX is a better performer at f/2.8 then the 28-70. But I agree there are times when it can be a bit short.
  11. Everyone has their own ideas on what lenses best suit their shooting style. It's important that you cover the range that most of your shooting falls into and then spend as much on good glass as you can realistically afford. What is best for me may not meet the needs of someone else that has different objectives. While I might like to get a 500mm lens I just don't do enough shooting at that range to justify it, same with extreme wide angle or fish eye lens. What I have tried to do with my lens choices is to cover moderate wide angle to moderate telephoto with a micro lens thrown in for closeups. My one concession when I get it will be the 85mm f1.4 and while technically I don't need it I do WANT it. My other theory is that I don't want to cover a zoom range with one lens that is already being covered by another.

    Well this is me and I am sure that each of you have your own theory about what is best for you. You know what, we are both right. :D  :D  By the way Uncle Frank, great images of a couple of beautiful children. Your lens choice is serving you well.
  12. tweber


    Feb 12, 2005
    St. Louis
    I've had both

    I loved my 28-70, but I find that for event work the 17-55 is more versatile. It's so much easier to get group shots and I'm not finding the 55 to be limiting. Now that I have added the HSC feature it really covers a party well.

  13. Hi, Gordon & Jeff! My friend, Phil Youngblood, has already convinced me that the 17-55 is sharper wide open, but I'll
    rarely use a lens in that manner for a tight portrait, because the DOF would be so limiting. And sharpness can
    actually be a liability in portraiture, as so many people are fond of pointing out about the 60mm micro.

    But with all that said, I just had a session with a young couple that are interviewing me as their wedding photographer,
    and reviewing the shooting data, I find I had a number of shots that were taken wide open. Here's a few.

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    They're not going to give your eyes razor cuts, but I'm pretty happy with them as portraits.
  14. This is an interesting observation Frank Now I finally understand why people want the 28-70. I pretty much never shoot portraits either it is wide landscape or product like shots or it is Birdie nam nam with the Sigma 800 :)  I just sold my 70-200 VR, I hardly ever used it and if I have light my 80-400 covers me decently well. And just like Mr Greyflash I have the 85mm 1.4 handy plus a 50 mm 1.8 AIS that is killer sharp as well so I feel covered, but I understand why you like it.
  15. Frank,

    My compliments on the couple's shots. They seem very comfortable interacting with you. I think I understand why the third is B&W. Youv'e distilled their relationship to the essense; color would have detracted from the tactile sense you've cpatured.

    They seem very happy to be alive..and together.

  16. The beauty about lenses is that they all have different purposes for the users. I love my 17-55 and wouldn't be without it because I shoot nature and landscape 99% of the time (don't WANT to shoot people - too much stress! *LOL*). I took the 17-55 to Niagara Falls on the weekend and the crispness is breathtaking on it. I may end up getting a macro, either the Tamron 90/2.8 or the Nikon 105/2.8 which could also do for people shots when I have to! Nice pics Frank, I'm sure they'll be very happy with these.
  17. Thanks, Rich! I'm going to submit a few sample shots along with my quote to cover their wedding,
    and my intention was to show what I could deliver in a non-studio environment. I spent about
    an hour getting to know them and talking over their wedding plans before I pointed a camera
    at them. It was a good investment, because, at that point, they let the camera share their delight
    with each other. Or maybe I just wore them down 8).

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    If I accomplished that, I'm very pleased... and, hopefully, they will be, too :lol:.
  18. I hope she was careful where she put that rose.

    He wouldn't want a little prick down there, would he?

  19. ROFL!

    Hey, Clive, your new avatar is a lot friendlier than the old one. People will probably respond to your posts now :p .
  20. Frank, I like the pictures of your friends, hopefully they will also. You have caught the spontaneity of the moment.
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