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Decisions, decisions...70-200 mm vr or 17-55 f?2.8?

Discussion in 'Lens Lust' started by Bohdan, Jul 13, 2005.

  1. Recently had the pleasure of using the 17-55 f/2.8 for about a month and really really wanted to purchase it. But then I thought, with the current kit lens that I have is it really worth the extra dollars - and should I instead opt for the 70-200 vr - a decided improvement over my current 70-300 f 3.5 G for longer zoom? At this point I could probably convince the wife that one lens addition to my meager collection is a necessity - two would be an impossible sell.


    Any words of advice?

  2. twig


    May 23, 2005
    70-200 vr
  3. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL

    The lens choice is purely determined by the type of photography that you enjoy most. Last year at this time, I was shooting predominantly sports action with an F100 and my two lenses were a 24-120mm VR and an 80-400mm VR. I came across a tremendous deal on a pristine Nikkor 300mm f/2.8 lens in September which has become my workhorse for shooting sports. While these are all quality pieces, I desired to switch to digital in December when the price for the D2H dropped to below $2K.
    Once I took possession of the D2H, I realized that the 24-120mm and the 80-400mm were not the best lenses for sports action because f/2.8 lenses were much faster especially in low light situations. I sold the 80-400mm to a friend and replaced it with a 70-200mm f/2.8 VR in February. I recently purchased a 28-70mm f/2.8 and am in the process of consumating a deal with another member of the Cafe to sell my 24-120mm VR to her.
    So...that all being said, each of the lenses that you are considering are fast glass ( f/2.8 ) but one is wide and the other is a mid-telephoto. Which lens would you benefit most from...wide or mid-telephoto, it all depends on what you enjoy shooting most (sports, wildlife, landscapes, portraits?). The current 70-300mm kit lens has better reach than the 70-200mm but it isn't fast for low light situations. You didn't list what you are using for wider shooting, but 17-55mm is a very nice piece.
    If lowlight situations aren't a concern and you would benefit by owning a 17mm opening...sounds like a great opportunity. Whatever the case, buy something and have a great time shooting. Can't wait to see some images from either lens choice!!!

    I hope I helped with my novel!!! :? :D  :D  :D 
  4. I have both lenses and love them dearly. I must admit that I use the 17-55mm more but that is a result of what I shoot. You are the only one that can effectively answer that question. I submit that you would not go wrong with either lens.
  5. Thanks Frank and Gordon for your replies....As far as what I like to shoot...I guess I would like to do a little bit of everything...but I prefer to do landscapes and perhaps some portraits. Certainly the day to day snapshots of family and friends.

    I do have the Sigma 12-24 that I am happy with. The kit lens 18-70 that at F/8 is apparently as sharp as the 17-55 and I have not been unhappy with the kit lens- so I suppose I am leaning towards the 70- 200 vr to get a quality zoom low light capable lens.


  6. jfrancis


    May 8, 2005
    Orlando, FL
    Given that you have the wide end covered fairly well, I would go for the 70-200VR. It is a superb lens (not that the 17-55 isn't also, of course) and it will be a quantum leap from the 70-300G.
  7. Tosh


    May 6, 2005
    Go for the 70-200!

    The 17-55 is a very nice lens, but IMHO it would not be drastically different from what's possible with your 18-70 and 50 1.8. On the other hand, I think that youwould notice a certain wow factor if you stepped up from your 70-300. I find the 70-200 to be a very special lens.

  8. Jonathan


    Jun 11, 2005
    Southern Maine
    Tough choice

    I have both and if someone said I had to part with one, I'm not sure what I would do. As others have said, you really need to decide what you need the most for coverage because they are both incredible. I have three favorite lenses(in no order):

    17-55 2.8
    85mm 1.4(on it's way), but I've used one.

    On the other hand, life is short, buy both :twisted: , I've seen the 17-55 used for $800 on another forum recently. I'll check and see where it was.
  9. avalanche161


    May 17, 2005
    Boston, MA
    I had a similar choice to make, went with the 70-200 and have been very happy with that decision. Either way you get a great lens!
    Best of luck, Alan
  10. mf44


    Jun 4, 2005
    NJ & MD
    I used to be in that boat. I had the 18-70 and added a 70-200 VR to that. The kit lens focuses nice and fast with AFS. The 70-300 is screw drive. The focus speed is one thing you'll notice as an immediate positive with the 70-200.

    The kit lens is an amazing piece of glass, especially for its size and price. I really don't like the 70-300 all that much.

    Ultimately I sold my 18-70, though, also, as it was replaced with the 17-55. It's important to note that I didn't feel the need to replace the 18-70 until I was shooting basketball real wide indoors and needed the 2.8.

    Also keep in mind that I shoot a lot of sports. The 70-200 is great for that. Heck it's great for a lot of things. It's big though. For day to day snaps I don't know if I'd lug it around. Why don't you rent or borrow a 70-200 for a few days and see if its a big plus or more of a boon with the added weight and size?

    Really a tough decision. I don't know if I helped. Just remember, as soon as you buy one, start saving for the other. They compliment each other real well.
  11. thanks for all your good advice..Just about made up my mind to get the 70-200 ...but I will try it out for a couple of weeks before hand.

    thanks again

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