I know there have been questions about walkaround lenses but I haven't seen this one. I have the 24-70 and it's great. Also love my 70-200, but that's pretty big to walk around with all the time on vacation, although I'm sure I will use it sometimes. I'd like to have some opinions if I'm better off with the 24-70 or 85 1.4 or 1.8 for sightseeing. Thanks, Gail
Gail Goldstein D8ooE D800 AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED AF-S NIKKOR 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II AF-S NIKKOR 600mm f/4G ED VR
The real answer to this question will depend on your definition of a "walkaround" lens and what your shooting style is.
The 85mm is probably smaller and lighter than the 24-70mm. But only-85mm would seem like a limitation for a vacation lens.
The 24-120mm f/4 would be a good choice for vacation/walkaround as might the 24-85mm VR.
On my last travel vacation, my daily kit was the d700, 24-70mm, 70-300mm VR. I also used the vacation as an opportunity to learn the 24-70mm. I don't mind the size, but to do it again, something lighter would be nice in a similar zoom range.
---------+---------+---------+---------+ Joseph K Seattle, WA, USA
The 24-70 is an excellent walk around lens, and I have used it with my D700 as the "main lens" on several extensive trips. Before traveling to Russia, I learned that many churches, palaces, museums etc. would not allow the use of a "professional camera with a big lens". I know that my favored focal length is 35mm or wider and I took a Zeiss 35/2 lens. To my own surprise, I ended up using the prime lens more than the zoom. Now my favorite "walk around lens" is either a 35 or 25mm prime. If 85mm is your favored focal length, the prime might be the better alternative to the 24-70. You will give up some versatility, but the prime will give you better IQ, it is also less obtrusive and lighter.
To keep superb image quality one needs a good hearty breakfast. No way around that.
I have not bought the 24-70mm yet, so I continue to use "The Beast", the 28-70mm f/2.8D ED IF AF-S. I just used it for a short trip to Las Vegas last weekend, inside a ThinkTANK StreetWalker with a flash and Gary Fong Lighsphere. It worked great, as usual. I also carried inside that bag the 85mm f/1.4D AF that I love. Never used it this time around, as I was always photographing groups of people in close quarters.
When on a skiing vacation I usually switch it for another older favorite of mine, the 35-70mm f/2.8D AF; lighter for the slopes and still very sharp and contrasty.
However, if I had the 24-70mm I wouldn't switch it for anything else, no matter where.
I hate the 24-70 as a walkaround. Far to big and heavy. To be blunt, I will only use it (or the 70-200, or a D3, or even a D100) if I'm out for serious photography, and most sightseeing and vacation very specifically is not "serious photography" time. And when you get right down to it, Nikon just doesn't make a camera, let alone a lens, that I'm willing to use as a walk-around. (And yes, I've tried a pretty fair number of them.)
I use a Fuji x10 for walk-around, largely because it pretty much fits inside the lens hood of the 24-70. (Not quite literally, but you get the idea.) It has the equivalent of a 28-105mm lens, and I find that I rarely use the long end, other than for portraits. I'd say that for the way I do this, an 85 would be too long. If I could change it, I'd prefer something like a 20-70mm (equivalent), which obviously omits even the possibility of the 85mm.
_____ Brian... a bicoastal Nikonian and Team Member
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24-70 is a good walkaround lens if you are comfortable with it. I used to have it for my Tibet trip in 2009 but i sold it in 2010 as i use 24mm or 70mm most of the time. Now i carry 24/1.4G and 85/1.4G for my travel.
I have the 24-70 but find it too heavy and too big around my neck allday long,so I have this year bought the 50mm AFS F1.8 and the 85mm AFS F1.8 and these meet my needs very well indeed. I am considering getting the 28mm AFS F1.8 to complete the trio as it were. Might even sell the 24-70 as I seem to be neglecting it now.
I am getting tired of lugging my 24-70and D700 so may sell it. Increasingly I prefer a 24 or 35 prime along with a longer lens. Up to now it has been the 105 2.5 but yesterday I lucked into the 85 1.8 G at Vistek in Toronto. Took it for a spin at lunch today and am pleased with the results. I can see this combo for street photography and the zooms for landscape, nature and sports.
I recently purchased the amazing 85mm 1.4G to complement my 35mm lens. For the most part, I shoot people at indoor meetings using a D300s and SB700, and was disappointed by the often dark and grainy shots (and lens creep)using my Nikkor 18-200 superzoom. I do need to brush up on depth of field with this 1.4. It's also a tad heavier than the 18-200, but the weight is distributed closer to the camera. When I'm out and about and don't want weight around my neck, I take my (pardon me) little Canon G-10.
My original walk around lens was a 50mm f1.4d, then it was the 85mm f1.4g when I purchased my D4. Then I bought the 24-70 and its on the camera 90% of the time now. I do use the others but the 24-70 is just so incredibly versatile and sharp that if I'm only bringing one lens its the 24-70. Of course my experience may not be the same for you. I recommend renting both and going out with them to make your decision.
It really depends on the photos you like to take. For family vacations, I have a tendency to still do portraiture, just on location Rarely do I take that photo of the family standing in front of something where the massive building/monument/mountain is completely in the frame, so the wide angle is lost on me.
I had used my 24-70 as a walk around on my D7000 and it was perfect. The focal length was everything I needed for the photo's that I like to take. On the FX, I wasn't nearly as happy with the focal length as I really missed the 70-105mm (equivalent) that I lost moving from DX to FX and never used the 24-36 that I gained. Now that was on a D700, so cropping wasn't really an option for me. I see you have a D800E, so you have more options here.
Weight and size was never an issue, and the build quality is fantastic. I tend to abuse my equipment more on vacation/travel due to it swinging around on a black rapid and possibly bumping into things, and it looked and worked like new. So for me, thumbs up on the build quality, but thumbs down on the focal length on FX.
That said, I think the 85mm would be far too limiting. If you take the 85mm make sure you also toss somthing else in there. Like a DX 35 1.8 it works very good the D800 losing just a tiny bit of the corners (remember to turn off auto DX crop under Image Area) in case you needed the wider angle. And if you never use it, well, you didn't really spend much on having that extra piece of mind.
Hi Gail, wow, you pose a tough question. I look at lenses for walkaround and sightseeing as different animals. For walkaround I would use a 24-70 or 70-200 to give me the greatest versatility for picture subjects. For sightseeing, I usually know what type of pictures I want, so I would maybe take the 24-70 and 50 or 85 for open places, ie Islands,woods,and street scenes. I would want something wider than 24-70 if I was sightseeing in a big city and wanted the architecture and inside of museums, etc. I would use a 14-24 or 16-35 or 17-35 and probably have a 50 in my "pocket". I love my 85 , however I hardly ever take it on vacation.
Another approach would be to use LR to see what focal lengths you have been shooting with the 24-70 while sightseeing. If they have been at the high end of 70 mm, and especially if you are cropping, then maybe one of the 85's would be preferable. Just be prepared not to get any wider angle shots, and you might want to use LR to determine how often you're at the WA end of the zoom. Personally, unless I knew for certain that the day's subject would require only a prime lens, I would take a zoom.
I'll throw in my two cents: one way to see this as well is if your using lot of the ends of the zoom pick up the 85mm and maybe add AF 24 2.8 to the collection. It's very sharp, not too expensive and fits a jacket pocket.
I love the AF-S 24-70mm lens too but I just secured a used Nikkor AF24-50mm f3.3-4.5D lens as a walk-around-town lens from KEH and it's very nice...my AF85mm f1.8D is a companion lens. I got the HB-3 hood from B+H Photo. What do you think of this solution?
"Great things are not done by impulse but by a series of small things brought together." Vincent Van Gogh
Are you going on a photography biased vacation or one where you simply want to take a few memory pics? If it's the latter then a decent point and shoot would be a better bet as the D800/24-70 combo weighs a bit and would need looking after. If you want to be fairly serious about the pictures side then a couple of Nikon primes - say 50mm and 85mm - would likely be a better bet. Adding a 24 mm prime would make it a perfect set, weigh less than the zoom and make the camera easier to handle; you could also take advantage of the framing options on the D800 to add a bit more versatility.
Yes. The gap between 24 and 85 is quite a big one and the Nikkor 50 (either 1.4 or 1.8)is too good to leave behind imho. I'd incline to keep the 50 on for most of the time and swap to the others as the need arises. If you're in a hurry to grab a shot you can probably get it with the 50 (move forward or back as necessary)whereas you could get caught out with the wide or the tele. Enjoy your vacation!
I don't shoot FX, but when I shot real FX (i.e. film), I used the 28-105 zoom as my main "walk around" lens. I would NEVER carry anything as big, conspicuous and heavy as the 24-70 f2.8 when "sightseeing). Unless I have a specific subject in mind (i.e. serious photography), I can't stand that camera/lens being a burden on my shoulder all day. I don't even carry a bag anymore when I'm sightseeing or casually walking around on vacation or a business trip. But, that's just me.
If you just can't get past the thought of using a slower variable aperture zoom, then I'd recommend the 24mm f2.8, 50mm f1.8, and 85mm f1.8 as a three lens kit that you could carry in your pockets or purse. These lenses are tiny (even the 85mm is pretty small), and the 24mm and 50mm are light as a feather. They are fast and sharp too.
If it were me, I'd get a slower variable aperture zoom and throw the 24 f2.8 in my pocket for interior low light photos.
Gail, Yes, a 50mm lens fits very well with a 24 and 85mm lens set. I see no value in having 24 and 20mm fixed focal lengths. It can be argued the 24 and 35 are different - they are. 24 and 35 are too close for me to own both as fixed lenses. The 24 and 50mm are different enough to warrant having and carrying both. 85mm is another jump so too would be worth carrying.
The 50mm is a super classic focal length. If I'm traveling light then I take a 24mm fixed, 50mm fixed, and possibly a 200mm micro. The specific lens selection changes depending on the mission.
50mm is twice as long as the 24mm. A 50mm is inexpensive compared to other lenses with the same aperture.
The 50mm is not my favorite length. I have 5 lenses in 24mm and 3 in 200mm but I'm not comfortable traveling without a 50mm. It is a light, inexpensive, very classic focal length that is unique enough to fill a gap between the 24 and 85mm views.
While I love my 24-70, when I have to travel light but still want to be covered, I pack my 24-120f4 and 50f1.8. The 50 is really handy for international travel for evenings and times when you can't deal with the weight all day long.
The 24-120 is a compromise, but the extra reach comes in handy and makes a good pair with the 50.
Your equipment reflects your being "serious about good photos". Before you mentioned getting the 24 and 85, I would have suggested you stay with the 24-70mm f/2.8 AFS zoom.
There is quite a gap between the 24 and 85mm. When traveling with a prime kit I use both of these focal lengths. In between I may choose either a 35mm or 50mm (or both). The 35mm has proven over the decades to be the right lens for my eye. You might want to go back through your images and see what intermediate focal lengths you use the most before making that third focal length choice. The choice could be dictated somewhat by venue - mine is, but for me it's always the 35 and sometimes the 50 in addition. Many find the 35 and 50 too close in focal length, but I find them to be a very nice working complement. The 35mm for much of my environmental portraiture, the 50 is nice to add interest to that grouping. I also find the 50mm to be a perfect lens for group portraits and normal street views when traveling. The 85 for landscape detail, more formal portraiture and street. The 24mm for when you otherwise can't get far enough away or want some more dramatic landscapes.
In Europe I might rely more on the 24mm and in Australia that kit might shift more toward the longer focal length.
Since I got my 35mm f/1.4 AFS Nikkor, the choice has gotten even easier. So my D700 kit is 24mm f/2.8 AIS, 35mm f/1.4 AFS, 50mm f/1.2 AIS and 85mm f/1.8 AFS. Many times it's just the 35mm.
Over the years there have been variations, sometimes as interest changes. That's why I recommend a review of your images to help you narrow on your decision.
Roger It's still, ISO, aperture and shutter-speed, right?
My D700 w/ 24-70mm is my standard walkaround combo. Sure its a bit heavy, but I use the BlackRapid strap and have a messenger bag as well. Carried it through museums and trips through Europe and Russia (Hermitage, ....) w no issues if cameras were allowed at all. It is a beautiful lens for landscapes on a strong tripod as well - the range is such an advantage to have.