Is the 24-70 better than the Ai-s primes?

Joined
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As a keen and fairly long term Nikon user I have the 24, 28, 35, 50, 60 and 85mm prime lenses with speeds from 2.8 to 1.8. I have never been unhappy with them and use them on film and digital. However I am told that the Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 zoom is almost a Nikon 'must have' and people seem suprised that I don't own one. "You really should get one" I have heard more than once and I get gently teased about the love I have for the classic glass in the photo shop I frequent.

So, is it really a must have or is it a lens you either need or don't?

I own D800 and D7000 digital and some F film bodies including F6. All these cameras seem at ease with the prime lenses (well they seem to anyway).
 
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Personally, I rarely shoot in this range and therefore won't waste my money on it. I either want wider (17-35) or longer (80-200). I realize I'm in the minority on this board (since I usually stop down to at least f/4 or 5.6!), but I'd say no, it's not a "must have." If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

YMMV.
 
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The 24-70 is a fantastic lens, but there is no such thing as a "must have" IMO. Every lens is a either you need it or you don't. I have some very expensive lenses, but I'd rather use the AF-S 24-85 non-VR for a mid range zoom because it is a fraction of the size, weigh and cost of the 24-70.
 
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I agree with the other posts. While its a great lens and you'd have to pry mine from my cold dead hands if you dont really have a need for it and happy with the lenses you have and the only reason you are lookng at it is because its an "it" lens then I wouldnt worry to much about it.

If you have other reasons for considering well thats a different story.
 
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College Station, Texas
A lot of people don't shoot in the range that the 24-70 offers.
Me on the other hand...
I use this lens 98% of the time. It rarely leaves my camera body.
It's just so dang good.
 
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I would much rather use primes in this range...

24 28 35 40 50 58 85

I think they're just as sharp. All of them are faster - except the 24 which is 2.8. And all of them are dramatically smaller and more fun to shoot with!
 
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24 could be f2.0
Even though Ai/Ais primes are very good, they can't compete with nano coated computer engineered motorized lens.
 
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IMO, if you have time to change them out, primes rule....if you are shooting an event such as a wedding, the 24-70 does very, very well....it is my bread and butter lens for weddings
 
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I own a very sharp 28 /2.8 AI and a very good 24/2.8 AI

I also own the Nikon 24-70 AF-S. It is very sharp and my most used lens. I do love the 24mm AI which is just as sharp, without the weight, the cost, but also the versatility.

Is it a must have? No. All depends on your needs.
 
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The 24-70 is the only lens that I never, ever leave without. Having to change lenses constantly would drive me crazy. I use a 50mm and a 85mm sometimes, but only when I have control of everything and the room to move - otherwise, its the 24-70.
 
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If the primes mentioned were AF/AF-S, then I could see this being a question. But since they're AI and require manual focusing, i'd get the 24-70.

Manual focus speciality lenses are great. MF general lenses are not for me.
 

Rob Zijlstra

A Koffie Drinker
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That 24-70 is such a dull lens! Whatever I shoot with it, any aperture, any focus length it always performs great, so dull!

No, I would not trade mine in for a bunch of primes. It is the perfect walk around lens and as said already it's just a great lens.
 
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Eh... Must have? I do shoot this range quite a bit, for weddings, etc, but I chose to go with the cheaper, but still very good 28-70. I find myself taking my 50/85 primes more and more as my go-to lenses, unless I'm going to be in a hurry. I have heard that the 24-70 is one stellar zoom lens, though!
 
Joined
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Thanks for the input. I do have some AF lenses in that range - the 18-35 AFD, 35-70 AF (3.3-4.5) and a 50mm AFS so some automation is available to me. I have never even held a 24-70 but reports say it is quite heavy but balances well. If I were to take a photo of a forest scene at say 28mm f/8 on the 24-70 zoom and than swap to my 28mm f/2 Ai and take the same scene, what changes would I be likely to see with regards to colour, rendering and sharpness? I know it is a nice lens but I am not sure if it will help me or not with 'going forwards' with my picture taking. I do like coastal photography and here is an example with my 35-70 which looks fine to me but I am not sure how much worse that lens is than the 24-70.
9753560-lg.jpg
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Take a small step - find a 35-70 f2.8 - stellar lens in the range, autofocus and a fraction of the cost.
 
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Mar 11, 2012
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Melbourne - Australia
I have both the 24-70 and 24-120 lenses, and the 24-70 is my preferred lens of choice.

I also use a 35mm, 50mm and 85mm from time to time.

I've not noticed any issues with regards sharpness using the 24-70.

Full Image - 24-70
8196073870_d15a31ff2d_b.png
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Crop of the above
View attachment 1177622

Tighter crop of the above
View attachment 1177623
 
Joined
Nov 10, 2008
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Chicago
It is like a slug of metal tipping the camera forward and will give you a sore back. It is very good for a zoom image wise except at 24. Nice for when there is no time to change lenses.

All other times, choose a prime.
 

Rob Zijlstra

A Koffie Drinker
Joined
Nov 5, 2008
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It is like a slug of metal tipping the camera forward and will give you a sore back.

Huh:eek:?? I'm 60 yrs and never had a sore back of any camera. But that's maybe because I use a Rapid strap, so the weight is not on the neck:wink:.
 
Joined
Oct 15, 2008
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I know it is a nice lens but I am not sure if it will help me or not with 'going forwards' with my picture taking.
A lens will not help you "going forward" unless it fills a void or replaces a crappy lens.

It's amazing how some people make lenses out to being the "magic pill" that will make your photos better. This is not always the case. Some of the best photos ever taken were with equipment that would be considered sub-par by today's standards.

work on your technique and skills then determine whether you have a void to fill or not.
 

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