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Thread: 17-35 or 16-35

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    Ausphotography Regular Tommo1965's Avatar
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    17-35 or 16-35

    ive a opportunity to purchase a 16-35 F4..I already own a 17-35 F2.8....id have to sell the 17-35 to buy the former....anyone have experience with the two lenses......after all the buying and selling is done..I doubt Id have to spend any extra...perhaps $50-$100 at most

    I like the idea of the VR..would be handy inside..the F2.8 on my 17-35 is only used if I have to....eg inside, as its a tad soft at the edges ..so I shoot at F4 or above if i can

    I like the build of my 17-35.. and its length versus the longer F4 lenses ....

    my main concern is contrast and sharpness of the F2.8 lens versus the F4 lens in real world use..not DXO scores..so has anyone used both..?

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    You wouldn't have a brand or two floating around in the cattle yard?
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    Member Bchip's Avatar
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    I'm in the same sort of predicament, although I don't have any of the lenses but looking for one of these lenses to upgrade to for the D800.

    I've only heard good things about the 16-35, but the f/4 doesn't cut it for me. And then I've read quite a few people saying that the edges of the 17-35 can be soft, especially wide open.

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    16-35 f/4, easy, VR AND Nano. Lighter and more compact too.

    That's what I'd do anyhow


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    I dont think the 16-35 is more compact...in fact its larger than the 17-35...but yes it is lighter...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bchip View Post
    I'm in the same sort of predicament, although I don't have any of the lenses but looking for one of these lenses to upgrade to for the D800.

    I've only heard good things about the 16-35, but the f/4 doesn't cut it for me. And then I've read quite a few people saying that the edges of the 17-35 can be soft, especially wide open.
    my 17-35 is soft wide open..but at the edges. centre and midframe its ok at F4 much better F5.6 is a better option ....I only use F2.8 if I have to...
    Last edited by Tommo1965; 08-04-2012 at 8:01am.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tommo1965 View Post
    .....

    my main concern is contrast and sharpness of the F2.8 lens versus the F4 lens in real world use..not DXO scores..so has anyone used both..?
    Part of the problem of 'real world use' is that it may not actually be as indicative of a lens's ability as it would under controlled conditions.

    I'd say that (from my recent experience) .. it's handier to have a 4stop VR advantage in many situations than it is to have a 1 stop aperture advantage .. especially for a wide angle lens.

    Subject movement is always going to be a concern at slowish shutter speeds, and a one stop aperture advantage is not usually enough to compensate .. can be, but not always!

    I think it really depends on what you are shooting and how you prefer to shoot.

    If the 17-35 is a tad soft at the edges(I'm assuming that you're referring to wide open aperture settings??), then the 16-35 will also be afflicted by the same phenomenon too.

    If I were too choose between either lens from a starting point, I'd choose the 16-35(for it's VR).
    If I had either lens already, I'd (generally) be happy. But if I had a non VR lens and I thought that having a VR lens would be an advantage, then I'd immediately get the VR lens when finances allowed.
    (I'm looking to do this in the foreseeable future with a 70-200VR lens to replace my non stabilised Tammy lens).
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
    {Sigma}; ->10-20/4-5.6 : 50/1.4 : 12-24/4.5-5.6II
    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    There has been a lot of discussions and comparisons about these two lenses before especially when the 16-35mm f4 VRII was just released. After much research and testimonies from users who had both at some point, the Nikon 16-35mm f4 VRII clearly became the lens to have since it is sharper, has VRII, nano coating, lighter and is much cheaper. The 17-35mm f2.8 was good but it was more expensive, heavier, slightly shorter but has a larger diameter, but it can be used for film cameras. For landscape, the 16-35mm f4 is what I end up owning.


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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    I have the 17-35 and see no reason to go to the 16-35 even with it's VR. My reasoning though is that for a faster shutter speed, I do have 1 stop up my sleeve, and on a D3s body, there is plenty of scope for raising the ISO for even faster shutter speed, which can also be done with the 16-35, but the VR advantage only works with slow shutter speeds so if hand held landscaping it may be worthwhile over the 17-35, but I shoot people with it sometimes and movement blur is more an issue for me. I'm also not opposed to carrying and using a tripod where needed.

    While the 16-35 has proven to be a good lens, I'm not sure it is weather sealed either or if it is completely IF (internal focussing) so that may also be a consideration for some, and as an owner of the 17-35 it simply offers little that I need. If I had neither, and had a mediocre ISO ability in the body then the 16-35 would have to be a serious contender with it's VR advantage.

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    ..... but the VR advantage only works with slow shutter speeds so if hand held landscaping it may be worthwhile over the 17-35, but I shoot people with it sometimes and movement blur is more an issue for me. I'm also not opposed to carrying and using a tripod where needed......
    "handheld landscaping"!! .... sounds like a Rockwellism

    It's not just about landscaping, it's also about general shooting .. inside buildings(or caves) that don't allow tripod use, street photography where a wideangle is required and a tripod is cumbersome and intrusive.

    If you need VR for landscaping, I dare say you need to look to another genre!

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    Member Bchip's Avatar
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    Nikon have put forward a patent for the 16-35 f/2.8 Wonder how long it'll be before it comes to fruition!

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    The 17-35 is an old design lens now. Of course it is still a good lens but it is surpassed by the 16-35 in terms of sharpness, contrast, flare resistance... The VR is of the 2nd generation and is great. Handhold shots at 1/6 are no problem. This in combination with good high ISO on my D700 permits me to shoot in interiors of buildings with not much problems. The VR has much more value than having F2.8.
    Last edited by dannyv; 14-04-2012 at 3:27pm.

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Both are excellent lenses, however, if you already have the 17-35 f2.8, you would need to make a for and against check list as to why you would need to swap to the 16-35 f4 VR.

    I have the 16-35 f4 VR and also the 14-24 f2.8 and I rarely use the 24-24 f2.8 as the 16-35 is so much more versatile and the IQ difference is minimal.

    If you just shoot landscapes and wide angle shots in good light, then the 17-35 f2.8 will serve you well. I would not find that f2.98 would be of any use to me as I have VR on the 16-35 and f2.8 only gives you 1 stop extra shutter speed to stop action which would be a rare instance. However, the VR gives you 3 stops minimal handholdability and I've shot handheld as low as 1/3sec with the 16-35 f4 with excellent results:

    Model NIKON D700
    Flash Used No
    Focal Length 28 mm
    Exposure Time 1/3 sec
    Aperture f/8
    ISO Equivalent 1600


    Model NIKON D700
    Flash Used No
    Focal Length 18 mm
    Exposure Time 1/5 sec
    Aperture f/7.1
    ISO Equivalent 1600


    On my trips to Europe and a few other places, I find that the VR is indispensible, especially in those dimly lit churches, cathedrals and castles where you don't have or can't use a tripodthat are found there. I have regularly needed to shoot ISO3200, 1/10sec and f11 (for decent DOF) in some of those churches:

    Gloucester Cathedral:
    Model NIKON D700
    Flash Used No
    Focal Length 16 mm
    Exposure Time 1/6 sec
    Aperture f/8
    ISO Equivalent 1250


    The 16-35 f4 does have a bit of distortion at the wide end but I find it very easy to correct post process without any trouble and have not had a shot yet that has needed to be dumped due to inability to repair it satisfactorily. Corner sharpness is excellent once stopped down as shown by this shot, also demonstrating the corner sharpness in the crop. Don't forget, this is purely handheld with no bracing of any sort. I used a small aperture of f13 to get the best DOF I could keeping in mind I was at ISO3200 and already 1/10sec!:

    Model NIKON D700
    Flash Used No
    Focal Length 16 mm
    Exposure Time 1/10 sec
    Aperture f/13
    ISO Equivalent 3200


    Crop:


    Model NIKON D700
    Flash Used No
    Focal Length 19 mm
    Exposure Time 1/10 sec
    Aperture f/8
    ISO Equivalent 3200


    Blue Mosque, Istanbul:
    Model NIKON D700
    Flash Used No
    Focal Length 16 mm
    Exposure Time 1/13 sec
    Aperture f/8
    ISO Equivalent 3200


    Model NIKON D700
    Flash Used No
    Focal Length 16 mm
    Exposure Time 1/30 sec
    Aperture f/8
    ISO Equivalent 1600


    Yet it still works great outdoors:






    St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.


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    Account Closed Wayne's Avatar
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    Ok Lance, stop trying to convince me I need a trip to Europe! I admit when we were chatting about it on Thursday, you were tempting me.
    Some lovely examples.

    I think because I do have the D3s, then the VR offered by the 16-35 is not worth much, because I will shoot at ISO 12800 with impunity.

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    Who let the rabble in? Lance B's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    Ok Lance, stop trying to convince me I need a trip to Europe! I admit when we were chatting about it on Thursday, you were tempting me.
    Some lovely examples.
    Thank you very much, Wayne.

    I think because I do have the D3s, then the VR offered by the 16-35 is not worth much, because I will shoot at ISO 12800 with impunity.
    Now who's tempting whom?

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    I'll chip my 2c worth into this discussion for what its worth:
    Another consideration of the 17-35 over the 16-35 is the G label - ie the Gelded lens. While many would prefer the "newer" lenses for the silent motors / apparent auto focus speed, this is not always a benefit.
    Personally i would take a D lens over a G anyday. Take the 50mm as an example. The newer G lens is noted for being very slow at focusing, similar if not worse than its predecessor D lens at sharpness, and has no ring to boot. "So what" I hear you say? Well the ring happens to be very useful when you want to throw your lens on a bellows, do any sort of video work, or throw onto an "old" camera..
    So IMHO - its not just about the extra stop - th 17-35 has the D monikier and would take my money for that alone
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    It should be noted that whether or not a lens is a D or a G lens, is not going to make any difference as to the focusing speed of the lens.

    The focusing speed of a lens is a design tradeoff made by Nikon for various reasons, and these design traits have nothing to do with the fact that a lens is a G lens, or a D lens(in it's naming).

    It is true that a G lens has no manual aperture control ring, but very few modern cameras allow for the use of one if the lens has a chip installed in it.
    That is, the camera needs to be set, via a menu setting, to allow the use of an aperture control ring as the means for altering the lenses aperture.
    As I know of this condition, this is only capable in a Dxxx and Dx class camera or higher starting from about the D300 series camera bodies.
    Not sure if the D7000 allows the use of the aperture ring to adjust the aperture value, if the lens is CPU'ed.

    if the lens is full manual(ie, no CPU), then the only way to operate the aperture is via the aperture control ring, so it's a given that the lens must have a manual aperture ring.

    If you attempt to operate a non G lens via it's aperture control ring on a camera body that doesn't allow this, then you simply get the FEE error message and the camera is locked up!

    Back to the topic of focus speed tho.
    If all D lenses focused faster than their G lens counterparts, as is implied in the above reply, then this would bring about the situation where the 80-200/2.8 AF-D lenses of all incarnations, would be faster focusing than the more modern AF-S driven 70-200/2.8's and even the predecessor to that lens, the 80-200/2.8 AF-S.
    This is clearly not the case.

    The design constraints that make for a faster or slower focusing lens is both the type of silent wave motor used in the lens, and also the gearing used in the focusing helicoid.
    Ring type motors are almost always faster, whereas the more traditional motor drive type that uses a system of shafts and gears to drive the helicoid will be slower.
    Also the gearing is going to affect the speed of the focus drive, where lower gearing ratios will give slower focus speed, but more accurate focusing.

    I think I'm right in saying that Nikon designs the lens to best suit a particular need.
    Almost all lenses with ring type SWM focusing motors have considerable girth when compared to their manual focus, or their screw driven predecessors.
    That's because the ring motor is located around the entire lens body, as opposed to a more traditional motor and gearbox design which can be placed in an empty recess somewhere at the rear of the lens.
    Also, the non ring type motors are generally cheaper to produce, whereas ring type motors are apparently very expensive. My limited understanding is that the ring type motor is also more susceptible to failure in some models too.
    (17-35's and 28-70's have a reputation for dead ring motors, which are expensive to replace).

    You can actually get a D lens, that is also a G lens, so don't confuse the two different nomenclatures.
    The use of this type of nomenclature is used during certain historical periods.

    The use of D in a Nikon lenses naming is simply that this lens has distance information that is passed on to the camera(useful for flash photography situations.. among other usefulnesses)
    A G lens is by default a D lens, simply due to the passing of time in Nikon history.
    G lens naming came into effect after the D lens naming conditions.
    Once Nikon started designing D type lenses, they simply transferred this technology into the newer lens designs.

    I think you confused the -D naming with screw driven lenses .... which is not necessarily the same thing, as you can also get non D lenses that are screw driven too!

    One other consideration for a G lens vs a non G lens(which is the accepted terminology), is that of weatherproofing.
    Because of the mechanical link between lens barrel and internals, there are no 'weather sealed' non G lenses currently available that I know of.
    Weather sealing began with the G lens specification.

    While it's true, that there is an advantage of operating a lens via it's aperture control ring for use on older film cameras(all digital bodies can operate G lenses), and other specialised equipment such as bellows and extension tubes, and even used correctly when reversed, and so on ..... this is not general photography, and as such is a niche market.

    There are usually much better lens types than even these old D type lenses for use in such a manner too.

    So in a way, it's safe to describe even D lenses as decrepit useless pieces of junk if one wants it for bellows work!.. and some of Nikon's best, finest and most lusted after lenses for use on a bellows are both unaffordable(well, by us mere mortals at least ) .... and don't even have an F mount!

    So after all this, if I had the option of 17-35 or 16-35 as in this situation .. the fact that one is a G lens and the other is an non G lens, is of no consequence.
    Firstly both have AF-S focusing systems here, and my experience with both lenses is that focus about as equally as can be measured without the use of specialist measuring equipment.
    Both fine lenses in their own way, one is slightly faster in light gathering ability, the other is easier to handhold in some marginal conditions.

    Six of one, and well .. six of another really!!


    EDIT:
    I rambled(as usual) and forgot why I initially replied to the previous post!
    Even tho the 17-35 does have an aperture ring, it's not a D lens.
    That is, the official naming is not 17-35mm f/2.8 AF-D, it is in fact AF-S(silent wave motor focusing).

    EDIT2:
    And on another hypothetical note too, the next evolution of the Nikon lens naming convention may be to drop the G moniker as well if they eventually go with the newer E type aperture design type.
    G lenses, don't have the manual aperture control ring, but E type lenses don't even have the mechanical linkage between camera and lens. That is the old protruding aperture control prong on the rear of these new E lens types is gone. The aperture is an electro mechanical linkage made between the camera-lens pin interface. The lens itself has an electronic system to operate the diaphragm, as opposed to the camera operating the lenses diaphragm.
    (apparently this will be the way of the future soon with Nikon lenses .. and currently only available on the PC lenses).
    Last edited by arthurking83; 26-05-2012 at 11:29pm.

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    LOL - G'day ArtherKing -
    Thanks for the heads up on naming nonclemature - I'll stand corrected on that front and not profess to be an expert on it other than musings and readings from kenrockwell's site
    I think I should clarify some of my post however as you have leapt to some conclusions to which I was not intending: Specifically the matter of a D focussing faster than a G lens. I most certainly was not insinuating this was the case other than specific to my lens (being the 50mm F1.4D which I can honestly say is NOT a POS .. Reviews of this lens on many sites notes the newer G model as a very slow focusing lens by design. The D lens by comparison is anything but slow. As far as other lenses G vs D models - I cannot comment nor would I unless I had first hand experience with.
    I did find it interesting you note G lenses as having the weather proofing and the D's do not. That is certainly a reason to like the newer lenses.
    Call me old fashioned, but as stated in my post, I still prefer having the aperture ring over the Gelded lenses for reasons stated above. For that reason I would pick the older versions (eg primes) over the newer models. Yes I am a stickler for resolution and a pixel peeper
    I would not call Bellows "old fashioned" or outmoded.. I love my PB-4.. heheh - cheers

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    Hi Tommo, just wondering if you went for the 16-35mm in the end? I have the 14-24/f2.8 but getting frustrated that I can't use filters with it. I did purchase a Lee filter system, supposedly compatible with my 14-24, but I'm not overly impressed to be honest. My next option is the 16-35mm. What's your thoughts?
    Sue-ann

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  20. #20
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    Hi sue ann

    I kept the 17-35 in the end....I like its build quality and mine is very sharp ..so I thought better the devil you know and own

    mind you now I've bought a 24-27..im not sure Ill be holding onto it for long..as I don't shoot much in ultra wide so I might be better putting the money into another part of my system
    Cheers and my name is Steve


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