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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:11 pm 
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I'm currently holding Nikon's sweet pro standard zoom - the AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED - in my grubby little hands: 900 Grams of metal encased professional glass, featuring three aspherical lenses plus three ED lenses and one Nano Crystal coated element, whoa! If that is not resulting in excellent image quality I don't know what Nikon's engineers were thinking when they put so much fire-power together :wink:
On the paper, this lens has only one drawback (apart from size, weight and prize): No image stabilization :( But as neither 3rd party supplier has that it has to do for now until either Nikon upgrades this lens (but there is only the lone prediction by Thom Hogan that Nikon might refresh this lens possibly including VRII) or finally backs down to my relentless demands of implementing body-based stabilization. But I fear this is not going to happen too soon...
So back to the issue/lens at hand:
- first tests showed that it really belongs to the top zooms that Nikon is producing
- the 24-70mm zoom range turned out to be even more useful than I initially thought on my D300 cropped body
- handling this lens is a joy with my only gripe being the position of the zoom-ring (close to the body)
- and it is pretty useful for close-up work with a max magnification of 1:3.7

So much for now. I'll be back to the test-lab running the dreaded Siemens-star test-shots to bring you real life images from the test-bench so that y'all can see how this 2.9x zoom performs!

If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please feel free to chime in.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 7:18 pm 
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Btw. I'll be testing the zoom at 24mm, 28mm, 35mm, 50mm, and 70mm.
This is quite some work for such a small zoom-range but I know from experience that zoom performance can vary widely between the min and max focal lengths...

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 9:17 pm 
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Here's an appetizer regarding the close-up performance of this lens:

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Nikon AF-S 24-70/2.8 at MFD by Thomas, on Flickr
This is not a crop! Click through the image to have a look at the large original.

Shot at 70mm, f5.6 (you need to stop down at least to f4.0) at or near minimum focus distance of 38cm. The black bar with the white stripes on the right is 19mm high. From that you can calculate a magnification of about 1:3.6, which is slightly better than advertised.

An interesting observation when producing the jpg from the RAW was that Lightroom 3.5 using Camera RAW 6.5 was producing quite ugly color fringes on the white strips in the black bar even when using the lens-profile. Capture NX2 was able to reduce this considerably even with standard settings.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 8:46 pm 
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Here is a 100% crop of what CaptureNX 2 produces at the (DX) border of this shot (as originally links to above/before) on the left and what Lightroom 3 / Camera RAW 6 produces on the right. The difference is crass!

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Nikon AF-S 24-70/2.8 at MFD: CNX2 vs LR3 crop by Thomas, on Flickr

I tried switching the lens-profile on and off in LR3, but to no avail. CNX2 was used with fully standard settings.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 24, 2011 9:51 pm 
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Oh, and btw.: The working distance from front-lens to subject at 70mm and a magnification of 1:3.6 is about 19cm . So you better take the lens-hood off - but it's not bad.
And yes: you can expect a full review of this lens in November...

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:43 pm 
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Here's an example of the oof rendering you can expect from this lens:

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Brick Wall 32345 by Thomas, on Flickr
This one was shot @ 70mm, f2.8, and around 1.2m distance. Developed in CNX2 @brilliant settings, no other manipulation.

Please remember: The image you see above is reproduced at roughly 25% of the original size. To view the full resolution picture just click through the image. If you look closely you'll find some outlining in the oof highlights which makes the bokeh a bit nervous.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:48 pm 
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Oh and btw.: focus speed seems to be very fast. I havn't done any direct comparison, but if my memory serves me right this is one of the fastest lenses that I've seen so far.

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 26, 2011 9:00 pm 
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Here's a real-life close-up at almost maximum magnification:

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Green Frost 32287 by Thomas, on Flickr
Captured with Nikon AF-S 24-70/2.8G from around 42cm distance at f5.6, 66mm, magnification approx 1:4, cropped 1.5x

Quite impressive what this lens can do for you.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 9:52 am 
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Another shot uploaded at full resolution for those who really want to scrutinize image quality at pixel level:

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Majesty 33326 by Thomas, on Flickr
Shot with Nikon AF-S 24-70/2.8 @70mm, f2.8, 1/30 (handheld), standard-development in CaptureNX2 with +0.5EV, no further sharpening etc.
Taken from about 2m distance and slightly cropped.

The sharpness of the fur is testament to the very good resolution and micro-contrast this lens can produce even wide open. To access the large original just click through the image and choose the action "View all sizes".

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Last edited by Thomas on Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 11:32 am 
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Thanks for the review and images! Having recently bought a D7000 for my wife and then an F6 for myself, this lens has captured my attention. My strained budget, however, must first recover from the camera purchases. That may take a while, but then, it gives me plenty of time to read reviews, view images, and consider other non-G options, which will work on a wider range of my cameras.

Beautiful images, Thomas! :)

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 05, 2011 3:40 pm 
I remember some ago you posted that you were moving away from zooms, in favor of primes. What's your current view on the matter, considering the availability of "better than primes at some focal lengths" zooms, such as this one, and the trade-offs in terms of price and weight?

On two different trips, and wanting to avoid the encumberance of the trusted 18-200mm f/3.5-5.6, I took only a couple of primes (35mm and 85mm, both f/1.8 and very light). The result of this was constantly having to change lenses and thus ending up missing a lot of shots. To make things worse I found myself wanting for the 18mm of the mentioned zoom I had left at home.


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:17 am 
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Hello luis,

you remember right! I was going the prime-route for much of my work at home. But there I know what to expect and I could come back should I have missed an opportunity.
Traveling poses a different challenge and I was myself not quite sure how to best prepare for that. I've written up my experiences and some interesting statistics from my recent trip to Venice here. There the 24-70/2.8 was my main lens and I didn't use the 18-200 backup once. Statistically a 35mm and a 50mm prime could have covered a lot of my shots but I hate changing glass in the middle of a tourist-onslaught.

So: different use-cases result in different answers.
---
Btw.: The 24-70/2.8 has proven its worth on the trip and I hope to have a proper write-up/review of its performance soon.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 1:14 am 
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Hi Thomas im thinking of getting this lens for along time already,u think Nikon will come out a new one anytime soon?ive got the 18-200mm never really like it also had 35mm and 50mm jus as u said hate changing lens in the middle of touristy spot.Have been very patience already and me hand is getting itchy hahaaha

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 04, 2011 10:34 am 
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I've postponed my write-up for the 24-70/2.8 because of the up-and-coming macro-lens reviews, KA734. But I can tell you already that the Nikon 24-70/2.8 is an excellent lens.
As to a new version, well, nobody knows. I poked around a little at other forums too, but there's no hint of a VR-version - and other than that there would be no reason to update this lens.
So if you think 24-70mm is a good focal range and f2.8 a sufficiently large aperture for your needs, you should go ahead. Many, many pros shoot with this lens.

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 29, 2011 1:07 pm 
The 24-70 f/2.8 is a fantastic lens; a bread and butter lens for me. I find it a little sterile at times though. By that I mean it seems to lack some character being so transparent and clean.
Never seen the need for VR on this lens. It would add more bulk and I don't think it'll happen. Then again I could be wrong as I usually am at least twice a day; or so my wife says.


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