By Leanne Cole
I’ve had the Nikon 24-70 mm f/2.8 lens for about three years now, and it is by far my most used lens, and really my go-to when I am heading out to take photos. It is mid-range when it comes to focal length, but for shooting most landscapes and architecture, it is nearly always enough. It is not a cheap lens ($1749 USD without VR, $2396 with VR), but it was a special treat, one I have to thank subsidies for. One year after getting a special payout I was able to afford this lens, just.
When I got the lens I was shooting cycling, both on the road and the track, and I was looking for a better lens to use rather than the cheap one I bought when I first started. This one seemed perfect. A good shorter, wide angle, and the focal length was almost a perfect match for my 80-200mm. I also thought I was going to start doing portraits and it seemed like the ideal lens.
For personal reasons, I had to give up photographing cycling and never really got into portraits. It was something I never felt comfortable doing. I ended up concentrating more on architecture and landscape. This lens saw me through all that with its ability to be so versatile, I could really do anything with it.
Lovely clear images
You notice it, you really do. If you’ve been shooting with a cheap lens, the moment you start taking photos with one of this quality, you will see the difference. There was something about how clear the images were; they seemed to shine. There is a clarity with the images, and if you get great conditions to take photos, such as a good day and good light, then it really shows in the images.
With the widest aperture being f/2.8, you know you have a fast lens, which means it gives you more choices. With the cycling, it meant I didn’t have to go to such a high ISO to be able to get photos inside the velodrome. I could still get great images that didn’t have a lot of grain/noise.
It is the same if you are doing astrophotography, as the f/2.8 means that you don’t need to have your ISO up as high, so you won’t get really grainy shots of the night sky.
The size works well for what I want, and what I am doing. I’m more of a wide angle person, but the extra length to 70mm is really fantastic, and gives me more options when I am out taking photos. It is, ultimately, the best of both worlds. I have the wide angle, but I can also zoom in a little bit.
Sometimes I wish it was a little longer, maybe to 100mm or 120mm, but it isn’t, so I have to compensate. I don’t often zoom right in on subjects, so it is rarely a problem.
Doing long exposures is something that I have spent a lot of time learning, and this lens is a great choice for this. The 77mm filter size means that I can use filters. I also have the 14-24mm lens, and not being able to put filters on that has been frustrating, but the 24-70mm still gives me the wide angle view, and the option of using filters.
Can photograph things close-up
One of the unexpected bonuses has been how close I can get to objects to take photos. Nowhere near as close as a macro, but very close nonetheless. It’s great when I’m out to be able to take close-up photos of objects that I see, like flowers, cakes, etc.
This is one of those lenses that you know could photograph anything. I purchased the lens for portraits and cycling, but it soon became apparent that I could use it for almost anything I wanted to do. I now shoot landscapes and architecture primarily, and it has been great for doing both of those. The lens is very versatile, and I am confident that no matter what I need to shoot it will do a great job.
There is no doubt that it is a heavy lens, weighing in at 1.98 lbs. (900 g). Most people are shocked at how heavy it is when they pick it up alone, or with my camera attached. It isn’t something I notice anymore. I have been using heavy cameras for quite a few years and it is just normal now. When I was still photographing cycling events, I would use two cameras, one with the wide angle, and the other with a telephoto lens. People asked me how I carried it all, and I said the two cameras helped balance me. You just get used to it.
If you are someone who has issues with their hands or arms, and find it hard to carry or use heavy objects, this wouldn’t be a good lens for you. You may find it too heavy to hold up to take photos. Don’t forget, it isn’t just about holding it up when shooting, it is also about carrying it around as well. I have to admit that often, at the end of the day, I’m very happy to put the camera down.
It isn’t a cheap lens in any way, but quality always comes with a price tag. The lens is approximately USD $1800, but, if you are serious about your photography, it is worth it. I definitely think it was.
I wouldn’t go anywhere without my Nikon 24-70 mm f/2.8 now. It has been rained on, had the hot sun beaming on it, been sprayed with salt spray, it’s dirty, it’s well-used. You can be sure that it will always be in my camera bag, whether it is attached to my camera or not. I love using it, and am never disappointed with the images that I get from it.
Do you have a favorite lens? Tell us. Read about some other dPS writer’s favorite lenses here:
- Writer’s Favorite Lens: Olympus Zuiko 12-40mm f/2.8
- Writer’s Favorite Wildlife Lens – Tamron 150-600mm
- Writer’s Favorite Lens: 50mm f/1.8
- Writer’s Favorite Lens – The Canon 24-105mm f/4
- Writer’s Favorite Lens – the Canon 40mm Pancake Lens
- Writer’s Favorite Lens – the Tamron 18-270mm
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