View Full Version : 17-55 2.8 as a portrait lens on a D300

07-02-2011, 7:08pm
I am looking at the Nikon 17-55 to use in a portrait project I expect to start in a few weeks.
The photos will taken at various venues in all sorts of light and positions so I know I want a fast zoom lens. I dont believe that primes will give me the latidude I am going to need.
I think the 17-55 is a good focal range to work in for the D300 and the lens comes with good reviews (and price tag).

The question is do I just suck it up and spend the money or are there other lenses in that range that are worth looking at.

The project will take several months to complete and will generate some income so I can offset that against the purchase price.

07-02-2011, 7:20pm

The project will take several months to complete and will generate some income so I can offset that against the purchase price.

In that case, the Nikon variant is the way to go.
I have the Tamron 17-50mm/2.8(screw driven model) on a D300, and you would be hard pressed to see any significant differences in images captured between the two lenses.
Tammy may have slightly more CA in some conditions, but the CA removal feature in most software takes care of that quite easily anyhow.

BUT!! as you are generating income from the use of the lens, then you are better off having the better performing lens to begin with and be done with it.
The Nikon is significantly larger in size and weight than either the Sigma or Tamron lenses, and the two thirdparty lenses have optical stabilization to boot!.
But the Nikon lens handles superbly... focus is faster/quieter, but I'm not so sure about it being more accurate.(the screw driven Tammy I have has never missed a beat, if the conditions are within a tolerable range for AF).

If money was tight, or you were using it purely for amateur purposes, or weight was a factor, then I could highly recommend the Tammy(screw driven version at least).
I've never tried their motorised version of this lens, which may be the only type now left available for Nikon. Note they have two variants too. One with VC, and one without. VC is Tamron's VR equivalent.

07-02-2011, 10:01pm
A lot depends on the style of portrait you like to shoot.
The 17-55 is a very sharp lens and good wide open. Faces do look better at the longer lengths due to the curve of the front element, but I used mine a lot and was very happy with the results.

11-02-2011, 5:29pm
I have the sigma 17050 2.8 OS.
I am happy.
I wouldn't consider the nikkor with no VR at that price.

22-02-2011, 12:07pm
I would probably recommend sticking with a Nikon branded lens, but perhaps look at the 24-70mm f2.8, I use mine mainly for portrait/event type work. I often find myself at more than 55mm, and think 17-55mm may be a bit short for portrait. Sure you could just take a step or two forward if the wide end is more important, but you can't always do that.

It would also compliment your 70-200mm, and from memory doesn't cost too much more than the 17-55.

As for VR, I don't think for portrait type work (at these focal lengths) it is of much benefit. Maybe you have frozen still subjects, but mine are always moving... much more than the camera/me.

These are only my thoughts with what i do, have a look at the EXIF data of similar photos you have taken already, what are the typical focal ranges?

22-02-2011, 6:38pm
Slightly off topic but i'de be keen to hear from those who have bought into either a 17-55 or 24-70 nikkor 2.8 and also have a fast 50mm prime, do you ever still find a use for the prime? Does it collect dust?


old dog
22-02-2011, 6:49pm
well, I`ve had the tamron 17-50 and got the nikon 17-55 and was very happy with the difference. I also have the 35f2 and love it too but tend to use the 17-55 mostly. I certainly recommend it. There are a few on ebay ATM if you want a cheaper one. I got mine of the bay and its fine.

24-02-2011, 1:51am
Since I got the 24-70 it hasn't been off my D700!!! , cracker of a lens that has taken the place of my 50mm 1.8 and 28-105 , I love it

25-02-2011, 3:32pm
Use the 24-70 on a D700 most of the time, but the 50 f/1.4 is great for keeping discipline and a must for low light.

Never really bothered about VR on shorter glass. My tripod or bean bags seems to work well enough.

With the 17-55, there's no reason it would not produce the results you want. The third pary lenses are also good. I do try not to mix makes where possible.

Best regards

27-02-2011, 9:43pm
I'll admit I do not have the 17-55mm F2.8. But I have looked at many photos online where peopel acclaim that the 55mm end makes wonderful portraits. And it does. It's also a versatile zoom and I believe also suitable for FF cameras meaning it's an investment that you can keeep.

Yet, it's so expensive!!! For the price, you could almost invest in a 85mm f/1.4G although it may be arguably be a bit long for portraits.

I've realised that as long as it's sharp, the creaminess of the bokeh may be better in the more expensive lenses ... but for the average print at home (e.g. 6x4" to A4), I get more than acceptable results from a 50mm F/1.4G stopped down a bit or the 35mm F/1.8DX