I am wondering if we give too much importance to the self proclaimed experts to whom we look for guidance in making our lens purchases. The reason I ask this, is because I have read several threads in several forums saying certain lenses, such as the 24-120 is too soft or not as vibrant or not pro level or the 17-55 is less sharp than the 17-35 or the xxx is better than the xxx lens. In fact, I have seen images from the 24-120 that are sharper and more vivid than the so called sharpest lenses available when used by talented artistic photographers. The difference in any two given Nikonn lenses when opened to the same aperture at the same focal length seems to my layman's eyes to be only as sharp as the ability of the photographer's ability to apply it to the scene in front of him/her. To make it more complicated, the same image seen on my laptop does not look as nice as when I look at it on my desktop and it looks different still from the image seen on my wifes PC desktop. An image printed on an Epson will look slightly different from the same image printed on a Canon printer. Photoshop and NC and other software make it possible to bring an inferior image to near perfection in many cases. We have created technology that will allow us to exceed the limits of our ability to percieve. We can define millions of colors, but can only see thousands. The cheapest lens can record the finest detail beyond our ability to see the detail without instruments. But we continue to pursue "the best" lens and pass over very good lenses in the process in the pursuit of perfection. I think for most of us any Nikon lens which covers a given focal length if it is fast enough for the light anticipated, should serve well. That probably goes for most 3rd party lenses, but I like name brands like Nikon because they hold their value for resale better. Not that they are better but they are percieved to be better. Have the Madison Avenue, slick multi million dollar advertising campaigns in a highly competative market made us all so concerned with having perfect equipment, that we have far exceeded our ability to perform up to the limits of the equipment that we purchase on credit and easy payment plans? Just some random thoughts during a moment of idle time. Please feel free to support or dispell my thoughts. I would like to see some discussion. Who among us would not rather have a less expensive single all purpose lense like the 24-120 but have passed on it to buy two or three more expensive lenses to cover the same focal length just because we have been convinced that it is better to buy the most expensive so called "professional" lens that is "perfect". This is not by any means a mine is better than yours discussion. I have certainly been one of those who has fallen into the trap of more (money) must be better when I probably should have spent less. Any thoughts?