Home    Search    Gallery    How-To    Books    Links    Workshops    About    Contact

Ritz Camera

adorama

I personally buy from Ritz, Adorama and Amazon. I can't vouch for any other ads.

 

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
Old DX Sharpness Comparison

© 2007 KenRockwell.com

Please help KenRockwell..com

Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8

Nikon AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8 G ED. enlarge.

I got mine from Ritz. You also can order it from Adorama or Amazon. (I'd use Ritz or Adorama again; Amazon still seems clueless about delivery dates). It helps me keep adding to this site when you get yours from those links.

November 2007

More Nikon Reviews

Return to Nikon 24-70mm AF-S Review

DX Sharpness Comparison

Just for fun, I shot off the 24-70mm AF-S against everything but a 28-70mm AFS, which I didn't have handy at the time.

I used my D200, which was Nikon's newest actually available camera when I got this lens in November, 2007. The D300 and D3 weren't real yet.

When I say 28-70mm AF-D, I mean the 1990's compact zoom, not the f/2.8 AFS. I can add more lenses as I stop down, since fewer lenses open up to f/2.8.

Lenses Compared (only some at each focal length):

17-35mm AF-S

18-35mm AF-D

18-55mm AF-S II

Ugly 24mm f/2.8 pre-AI

24mm f/2.8 AF-D

24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-D "Streetsweeper"

24-120mm f/3.5-5.6 VR

28mm f/2.0 AI-s

28mm f/2.8 AI-s

28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-D (not the f/2.8 AF-s)

28-80mm f/3.3-5.6 G (nasty silver-painted version)

35-70mm f/2.8 AF-D

35mm f/2.8 Nikkor-S (AI-converted)

50mm f/1.8 AF-D (China)

50mm f/1.4 AF-D (China)

Of course there always are shot-to shot variations, but here's a rough idea of what I saw on my D200. The sharpness differences I see are at a 44" (1.1m) print size seen from a foot or two away on my monitor. These differences would be hard to see in 13 x 19" (30 x 50cm) prints, and you'd need to get out a magnifier to see anything in 8 x 12" (25 x 30cm) prints.

At 24mm

At 24mm and f/2.8, I discovered that the focus is consistently in front of the subject on my D200, so it's not sharp enough for testing at 24mm. (It's perfect on my D300 and D40; I just didn't use them at first.)

24mm is the 24-70mm lens' weakest setting. Every other lens was sharper due to the focus issue.

When I figured out a work-around, which is to AF at 70mm and zoom back out (which is cheating), here's what I see:

f/2.8: The 24-70mm is the clear winner. The 17-35mm is second, the 24mm f/2.8 AF-D third, and the ancient, ugly 24mm AI-conversion last.

f/4: The newest 24-70mm AFS wins again. Second place is tied among the 24-120mm AF-D "Streetsweeper," 18-35mm AF-D, 17-35mm AF-S, 24mm f/2.8 AF-D and 24-120mm VR. The hocky-puck 24mm AI Conversion is worst, but not my much. The 24-70mm stands alone.

f/5.6 - f/8: At f/5.6 to f/8 the lenses are more or less as sharp as one another. The issue at moderate apertures is lateral color fringing. The 24-120mm VR, 17-35mm AFS, 18-35mm AF-D have none. The 24-120mm AF-D has some. The 24-70mm AF-S, 24mm AF-D and the beater 24mm AI conversion have visible lateral color, at least at the crazy magnifications I'm using. The 24-70mm tends to be a little sharper than some other lenses, but has a little more lateral color, so it's a toss up among them.

At 28mm

At 28mm the 24-70mm is OK, but not a clear winner from some residual AF error on my D200. Here's what I see, shooting them fairly against one another:

f/2.8: The 28mm f/2.8 AI-s is sharpest all over. The 24-70mm is the same as the 28mm f/2.0 AI-s, when all are shot at f/2.8.

f/4: The 24-70mm is as sharp as the 28mm f/2.0 AI-s. The 28mm f/2.8 AI-s is better, and lo and behold, the best is the small 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-D I bought used from Adorama for $100.

f/5.6: At f/5.6 and smaller they are all equally sharp. They all also have the same amount of lateral color fringing, except for the small 28-70mm f/3.5-4.5 AF-D which has none.

If I cheat and focus the 24-70 AFS at 70mm and zoom back out, which improves it slightly, and also throw three more lenses into the mix that weren't included above:

f/2.8: Now the 24-70 beats all. The 28mm f/2.8 AI-s and 28mm f/1.4 AF-D are close seconds. The 17-35mm AF-S and 28mm f/2.0 AI-s are worse.

f/4: The 24-70mm wins again. The 28-70mm AF-D is second. The 28mm f/2.8 AI-s, 28mm f/2.0 AI-s, 18-35mm AF-D and 28mm f/1.4 AF-D are tied for third. The 17-35mm AFS and 28-80mm G are last.

f/5.6: There isn't much difference at f/5.6. The 24-70mm wins. The 28-70mm AF-d and 28mm f/1.4 A-D is second. The two AI-s 28mm lenses, the 18-55mm AF-s kit lens, and the 18-35mm are all third, but not by far. The 17-35mm AF-S is last. None of these lenses have any significant lateral color fringing.

At 35mm

At 35mm, the 24-70mm has finally hooked up and is easily the best of the lenses I tested at 35mm.

f/2.8: The 24-70mm is clearly the best, sharp and devoid of lateral color even wide open. The 17-35mm AF-S is a close second. The 35-70mm f/2.8 AF is third and has some lateral color. The 1972 35mm Nikkor-S (AI converted) was clearly the worst.

f/4: The 24-70mm is clearly much better than the 28-80mm G, 18-35mm AF-D, 28-70mm AF-D and the 35mm Nikkor-S. The 17-35mm AF-S and 35-70mm f/2.8 AF-D are a close seconds.

f/5.6 - f/8: The sharpness differences lessen, although the 24-70mm still wins. The 35-70mm f/2.8 AF-D, 18-55mm AF-S kit lens, 17-35mm AF-S, 18-35mm AF-D and 28-70mm AF-D and 35mm Nikkor-S are similar. The 28-80G is the loser.

As the softer lenses have sharpened up, lateral color is obvious in the 35-70mm f/2.8 AF-D and somewhat in the 35mm Nikkor-S, 18-35mm and 17-35mm. . There is no lateral color in the 24-70mm, 28-80mm G, 28-70 AF-D or 18-55mm AF-S.

At 50mm

Golly, at 50mm the 24-70mm also is the clear winner, even better than the fixed 50mm f/1.4 AF-D and 50mm f/1.8 AF-D!

f/2.8: The 24-70mm is clearly the sharpest. The 50mm f/1.8 AF-D is a far second, and the 35-70mm f/2.8 AF-D and 50mm f/1.4 AF-D are the worst.

f/4: The 24-70mm wins again. The 28-70mm AF-D is tied with the 50mm f/1.8 and 28-80mm G for second. The 35-70mm f/2.8 AF-D loses.

f/5.6: Similar to before with the differences less obvious. The 50mm f/1.8 and 28-70mm AF-D are close seconds. All the others, as well as the 24-120mm VR, are all tied for last.

At 70mm

The 24-70mm wins again, although I only compared it to mid range zooms, no pro tele zooms and no fixed lenses.

f/2.8: The 24-70mm is sharper, contrastier and has much less lateral color fringes than the 35-70mm f/2.8.

f/4: The 24-70mm wins, with the 35-780m a closer second. The 28-70mm AF-D is a far last.

f/5.6: 24-70mm wins. 35-70mm is second. 28-70mm AF-D and 24-120mm VR tied for third. The cheap est 28-80mm G loses.

> Home    Search    Gallery    How-To    Books    Links    Workshops    About    Contact