I own a D200 which has served me well, but I am now seriously considering purchase of a D700, largely because of its low noise characteristics under high ISO conditions where I do a lot of my photography. One of my unresolved issues is what lens I would use with it for walk-around purposes. I really like the 18-70 I have been using with my D200, but I would not want to use that DX lens with a D700. I would normally consider the 24-120 VR as a good candidate, but it seems to be universally panned as one of the poorest lenses Nikon has ever produced. Therefore, I am now considering the 24-85 f/2.8-4 which appears to be a better performer.
I'd appreciate feedback from any of my fellow Nikonians as to whether the 24-85 would, based upon their experience, be a good bet. By the way, with a D700 I would plan on continuing to use my 50 mm. and 85 mm. f/1.8 lenses as well as my 70-300 VR lens that I have obtained since purchasing the D200.
I suspect that some may suggest that I get a 24-70 f/2.8 zoom for walk-around purposes. I'm sure that that is a very fine lens, but I do not find much attraction to those big heavy expensive f/2.8 beasties that the pros lug around. My 70-300 is a bit of a beastie, but at least it's a relatively light weight beastie with a much more digestible price tag.
I'm also a new member of the group, but I can't resist jumping in with a few suggestions because I was exactly in your situation. I was using a D200, which I very much enjoyed. I had several lenses in my bag (all Nikkor), but really left on the 18 - 200 VR 95% of the time. My other lenses included two on your list, the 50mm f/1.8 AFD and the 85mm f/1.8 AFD, plus a 24 - 85mm 3.5-4.5 G, a 28 f/2.8mm AFD and a 35 - 70mm f/2.8 AFD.
I bought the D700 largely for the same reasons you want to, namely for its excellent ability to shoot in low light using high ISOs--due to wonderful implementation of the full frame format. If this is your goal, it makes sense to get lenses that allow you to make good use of this capability. You are actually in a good starting place with your 50mm and 85mm f/1.8--as long as you don't mind using prime lenses. You will be astounded particularly at the sharpness of the 50mm lens and revel in your ability to control depth of field. If you were to go the prime route, you could add the good 28mm f/2.8 AFD for not too much money. Using these lenses you already own on the D700 is a very different experience than using them on your D200. Using them at their intended focal length is like a gift. While I've been giving these prime lenses a workout, I find that I tend to use my old reliable 35 - 70mm zoom most of all. The optics are excellent, it is of pro quality build, it is 2.8 throughout its limited range, and it is lighter than the 24 - 70 (which of course is an outstanding lens). Most importantly, though, I already own it! I should add that I still don't use my 24 - 85 very much. The quality of the lens is good enough, it is comparatively light in weight, and it covers a good range--but it is not why I bought the D700.
So what about the telephoto lens that you already own, the 70 - 300 VR? It depends on whether you need it for really low light situations. For me personally, I tend to use 100mm and beyond typically in normal light situations. So when budget allows, I'm planning to get this lens myself. Since you already have this lens, try it out to see if fits your needs.
Just to say that the D700 is everything I'd hope that it would be and very much more. The capabilities of this camera are just breathtaking. Based on my own switch from a D200 for similar reasons that you described, I think you will be thrilled with the D700.
In your opinion, given adequate light, will the 24-70 2.8 (@ 50mm) produce as good an image as the fixed focus 50mm 1.8; or do zoom lenses just fall short when it comes to image quality when compared to fixed focus.
>In your opinion, given adequate light, will the 24-70 2.8 (@ >50mm) produce as good an image as the fixed focus 50mm 1.8; or >do zoom lenses just fall short when it comes to image quality >when compared to fixed focus.
I don't have the 24 - 70 2.8, but people you have used it rave about its sharpness--particularly in the middle ranges. Beyond sharpness, it is lens distortion that often plague zooms. Among others, Ken Rockwell finds a lot of barrel distortion when the lens is used at 24 mm. My 28mm and 50mm primes show very little distortion.
You can download the full-sized JPEGs and pixel peep from the link I gave above.
That said, my AF 35-70 f/2.8D pretty much lives on my D700 for general purpose shooting. It's an older, push-pull zoom design, that uses a screw drive like your primes, but otherwise it's a PRO GRADE f/2.8 in both build and IQ. Focuses plenty fast on my D700.
I'd say a little bit heavier weight wise than your 85/1.8D but nothing like the the 28-70/2.8 or 24-70/2.8 and similar in size to your 85/1.8D with it's hood attached. I use an HN-22 hood with mine. The HB-1 it comes with is worthless.
I've had mine since it was brand new and paid a Pro Zoom price for it. A used one in near mint condition can be had for $550 or less now. Get the AFD version which has newer coatings. Mine used to live on my F5, before I went all digital. In it's focal length range, it's a "variable prime" for all intents an purposes. It was specifically designed to be that.
I have both lenses. IMHO the 24-70 mm surpasses the 50 mm in terms of sharpness, contrast and color; also, the bokeh of this lens is outstanding. It is correct that the lens shows some distortion at the short end which is easily fixed in PP - I use DxO.
The advantages of the 50 mm lens over the 24-70 are cost, weight and low light capability, but not IQ.
Since you like 18-70 I bet you can get by with 18 AND 70, which on FF is 24 or 28 AND 50 (you have that). So I would get 24 and use 24 +50 to start with. On D700 70-300VR is very good so you may have all lenses you need just after getting a new WA. I toured and mtb recently with 14-24 and 60 AFS, did not miss anything (open country), for city I would add 70-300.
I have a D200, and started out initially with the 18-200mm lens. After a while, I found it was not sharp enough and decided that I wanted something in the normal range. I got the (wonderfully cheap) 50mm f1.8, to tide me over, and then hired a 24-70mm f2.8 for a weekend. Before I hired the lens I was concerned about its length and weight, but when using it, I found I didn't really notice it at all. I did post a question on Nikonians, about primes versus zooms, which is still there if you want a look.
Bob -- I own a Nikon 24-85mm f/2.8-4 and it is an outstanding general purpose lens for a D700. I use it for everything on my D700 -- indoor sports, portraits, nature photography, candids, etc. -- and I always get excellent results. The lens is lightweight and rugged. The focus is very quick and always accurate. No issues with vignetting, or distortions of any kind. And the macro feature is especially good. The specs state that minimum focus distance in macro mode is 6 inches, but it's more like about 2 inches. But, good luck trying to find the lens. The price just jumped up about $100 and it's either out of stock or on back order nearly everywhere. Word is getting around about how great this lens performs on an FX camera. I got my copy for $350 on Ebay (slightly used & in mint condition) and it's the one lens in my collection that is not for sale.
Thanks to you and the others for the responses. I'm glad to get this good report on the 24-85 f/2.8-4. This lens seems to have most of what I am looking for, although I would prefer to have a zoom with VR and SWM. At least price and weight wouldn't be negative factors.
35 mm. on the wide end would not be wide enough. I need 28 mm. at least. My old manual focus 28 mm. f/2.8 prime was my walk-around lens in the film era. I still have it, but I am now addicted to a zoom for walk-around purposes. I especially value the minimal lens changing afforded by zooms.
I recently just got my d700 and bought a 24-70 f2.8 lens. The funny thing is, I also acquired a 35-135mm from a colleague. Although this 35-135mm is a very old lens, and not too fast, i seem to prefer to use it as my walkaround lens compared to the 24-70. I most especially like it for portrait shots. Lovely lens!!
Fri 20-Feb-09 09:37 PM | edited Sat 21-Feb-09 10:12 PM by rlanthier
Don't throw away the idea of the 24-120VR yet. It performs quite well on the D700. Yes it is no 24-70, nor is it designed to be, but I have had quite good luck with mine, which is a newly manufactured one. Most people I know consider it a good combo, focal length, and VR.
___________________________________________________________ Rich Lanthier - D700, some nice glass, and a willingness to learn...
I have upgraded from d300 and 17-55mm to the d700 and 24-70mm, from my earlier film days i still own a 24 - 85 mm 2, 8 - 4,0 and I think is a great lens and also good walk around lens, the quality with the d700 is very good and i can recommend you, but sur is not the same level as the 24 - 70 mm 2,8 but for this you have the 50mm and 85 mm i think togehter with the 24 - 85mm 2,8 - 4,0 you will have all you need in the midrange....
I love my 24-120 VR when I walk-around. I have the 24-70 2.8 but can't walk far with it. Quality is about the same...tough to tell results apart without using a loupe (100x examination). The VR takes 1/4" to focus whereas the 2.8 is instant AF. Below 1/60 the VR lens outshines it because I shake.
If I didn't work out 3 days a week with weight machines I'd never even think about using all my heavy Nikon gear. I'm 80 and I can testify that luck and genes get you only so far. Regular, consistent weight training really does work. I've been doing it for 15 years. I started doing weights when I stopped running 4 miles a day and switched to swimming and biking. My musculo-skeletal system has stayed a lot happier.
Gator Bob Santa Fe New Mexico My Faves: D800E 14-24 PC-E 85 80-400 VRII & Tamron 90 macro