Gear Review: AFS Nikon 24-70mm f2.8G ED

My lens reviews are highly subjective and non scientific. In fact, basically they are me waffling on about my opinion about a lens, or any piece of gear for that matter. So, why should you read it? You can find a load of “scientific” technobabble about mtf curves and resolving power on line, don’t forget Google is your friend. What I bring to the table is just a users opinion and a bit of the thought process behind it. If you’re in the market for a lens, an honest chat with an owner is the second most valuable thing out there. The first is to mount the lens and use it.

Nikon

This lens is the closest you can get to perfection in glass. Strong words, but said with good reason. The only whinge I’ve heard is that it’s big and heavy – not my whinge, but if you’ve a mind to mount it on a little Nikon body like a D3000 or such, it’s not going to feel like a 24-70 midrange zoom. It will feel like a fowling piece, especially if you use the lens hood (which I always do). On a D700, D300 or any of the pro bodies, this lens looks and feels at home. You won’t be dancing around like Cartier-Bresson as it’s tough not to get noticed with a rig this big, but the first time you open up the images you’ll know why that doesn’t matter and that you can live with it. You can also live with the fact that at 24mm and with the lens hood attached, the popup flash on a D700/D300 leaves a pretty lens hood shaped shadow on the bottom of the image. That just serves you right for using the popup flash for anything other than a remote commander. Go read strobist.com and come back later.

It’s big and leaves a shadow. It also is a fantastic piece of optical engineering. Shooting raw, the files are crisp right off the card. colour fringing? nope. Distortion? Well, if you apply the lens profile in Lightroom you will see it do something. If you shoot a brick wall, you may detect some. My advice is either don’t shoot brick walls (very derivative) or apply the Lightroom profile.

The lens handles like a dream. Autofocus is fast and quiet, accurate and precise. The zoom, well, zooms, and you can touch up the focus if you don’t agree with the camera about what should be in focus. Build quality is superb, and it better be for the price! It isn’t “inexpensive”,¬†and when you see the frames, you’ll understand why. It doesn’t have VR – but I personally don’t miss it. This is not a telephoto and I can handhold it comfortably at quite slow shutterspeeds. I use it on a tripod – don’t need a big one either.

OK, so is it worth the money? From the above, you can tell I’m a fan of this lens. On a DX body it’s a 36 – 105mm, which is an interesting range. FX body, it’s just perfect. 24mm wide angle to very short telephoto and phenomenal performance through the range. As to whether you should by this lens – well, only you can answer that question. My best advice is to rent the lens for the minimum period and use it. Give it a thorough evaluation before you send it back. Odds are you won’t want to and will start planning on ways to acquire it for yourself.

More to come…..

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