Are you in search of the perfect lens for your Nikon camera to capture stunning images across various photography styles? Look no further!
In this article, we delve into an in-depth comparison between two of Nikon’s most popular and versatile lenses: the Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 and the Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8. These lenses cater to a wide range of photography styles, from landscape and architecture to portraits and street photography, making them top contenders for your camera bag.
We understand that choosing the right lens for your needs can be challenging, especially when faced with lenses that share similar specifications and offer unique benefits. That’s why we’ve put these two lenses head-to-head in a comprehensive showdown, analyzing their key features and performance metrics to help you make an informed decision.
Throughout this article, we’ll provide valuable insights on factors like size and weight, low-light performance, optical stabilization, bokeh quality, and more.
We’ll also discuss how each lens performs in various photography scenarios, ensuring that you’re equipped with all the necessary knowledge to select the lens that best suits your photography style and preferences.
So, get ready to immerse yourself in the fascinating world of Nikon lenses and discover which one emerges as the ultimate winner!
|Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 17-55mm F2.8G IF-ED||Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm F2.8E ED VR|
|Focal Range (mm)||17-55||24-70|
|Max Format||APS-C / DX||35mm FF|
|Zoom Ratio (X)||3.2||2.9|
Comparing the Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 and Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8, both have a fixed maximum aperture of f/2.8. However, considering the 35mm equivalent, the DX 17-55mm lens has a focal range of 25.5-82.5mm and a maximum aperture of f/4.2, while the FX 24-70mm lens maintains its focal range of 24-70mm and maximum aperture of f/2.8.
The DX 17-55mm lens is designed for APS-C / DX format cameras and has a zoom ratio of 3.2x. Its 35mm equivalent focal range of 25.5-82.5mm makes it suitable for various photography genres, from wide-angle to short telephoto. However, the lens has a smaller equivalent maximum aperture of f/4.2, which may impact low light performance and depth of field control compared to the FX 24-70mm lens.
On the other hand, the FX 24-70mm lens is designed for 35mm full-frame cameras and has a slightly lower zoom ratio of 2.9x. The lens covers a versatile focal range of 24-70mm and retains a fixed maximum aperture of f/2.8 throughout the zoom range. This allows for better low light performance and shallower depth of field compared to the DX 17-55mm lens.
In conclusion, the FX 24-70mm lens is superior due to its better low light performance, depth of field control. However, the DX 17-55mm lens still offers a versatile focal range and may be a good option for photographers using APS-C / DX format cameras, depending on their specific needs and preferences.
Design and Ease of Use
|Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 17-55mm F2.8G IF-ED||Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm F2.8E ED VR|
|Diameter x Length (mm)||⌀85.5×110.5mm||⌀88×154.5mm|
|Filter Thread (mm)||77||82|
|Zoom Method||Rotary (internal)||Rotary (internal)|
The Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 has a diameter of 85.5mm, a length of 110.5mm, and weighs 755 grams. On the other hand, the Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8 has a diameter of 88mm, a length of 154.5mm, and weighs 1070 grams.
The smaller dimensions and lighter weight of the DX 17-55mm lens make it more portable and easier to carry, which can be a significant advantage for photographers who prioritize mobility and comfort during long shoots. The lighter weight also allows for better balance when mounted on a camera, making it more comfortable to handle during extended shooting sessions.
Additionally, the smaller size of the DX 17-55mm lens makes it more discreet, which is useful for street photography, where blending in is essential. The compact design also takes up less space in a camera bag, providing room for additional gear or simply making the bag lighter and easier to carry.
Both lenses use an internal rotary zoom method, which means the lens doesn’t change its physical size when zooming in or out, providing a more compact and consistent form factor. This design also makes it easier to weather-seal the lens, protecting it from dust, moisture, and other elements. The balance of the camera remains consistent while zooming, as the lens elements move internally, making it easier to handle during shooting.
In conclusion, the DX 17-55mm lens is superior in terms of size and weight, offering greater portability, balance, and discreetness. However, the choice between the two lenses ultimately depends on your specific needs and preferences.
If you prioritize a compact and lightweight lens for your photography, the DX 17-55mm lens would be an excellent choice. If you require the optical advantages of the FX 24-70mm lens, then the larger size and weight might be a worthwhile trade-off.
Lens Mount and Barrel
The lens barrel of Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 is primarily made of metal, with some plastic parts, and has a metal zoom ring and focus ring with rubber covers. The lens extends slightly at the extreme ends of the zoom range, allowing for a deeper lens hood. However, it lacks an aperture ring and depth-of-field markings.
The lens mount of Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8 is made of metal and features weather sealing with an O-ring to prevent dust and water from entering the camera. On the other hand, the DX 17-55mm lens mount is made of dull-chromed brass with paint markings and a rubber ring fitted to seal out dust and water particles.
In terms of lens barrel construction, the FX 24-70mm lens barrel is made from a combination of high-quality plastic and metal, with a rubberized texture finish. This mix of materials provides a balance between durability, weight, and cost.
Both metal and plastic lens barrels have their advantages and disadvantages. While metal barrels are more durable and provide a professional feel, they tend to be heavier and less portable. Plastic barrels are lighter and more affordable but may not be as durable. The choice between the two depends on your specific needs and preferences as a photographer.
Considering the lens mounts, metal mounts like the ones found in both the DX 17-55mm and FX 24-70mm lenses offer more durability and can withstand repeated use without damage or deformation. The weather sealing in both lenses further enhances their performance and longevity.
The Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 features a rubber ring at the lens mount, which helps to seal out particles of dust and drops of water. This offers some degree of weather resistance, allowing professionals to shoot in harsh weather conditions. However, it may not be as fully weather-sealed as other professional lenses on the market.
On the other hand, the Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8 is designed to resist water, dust, and smudges. The lens mount has a rubber grommet seal to limit dust and water entering the camera, and there are internal seals at the rings, switches, and front of the barrel.
These features ensure the lens is well-protected from harsh weather conditions. It’s important to note that extreme weather conditions can still cause problems, and the lens should not be exposed to drastic temperature changes to avoid condensation and moisture build-up inside the lens.
Weather sealing is particularly useful for photographers who often shoot in harsh or unpredictable conditions, providing protection and durability for their equipment. Fully weather-sealed lenses offer better protection, durability, and performance in adverse conditions compared to non-sealed lenses, which may require extra care and protection.
In conclusion, the FX 24-70mm lens offers superior weather sealing compared to the DX 17-55mm lens, making it a more suitable choice for photographers who frequently shoot in challenging environments. This added protection ensures better performance and longevity of the lens, giving you peace of mind when capturing the perfect shot, regardless of the weather.
Analyzing the design of the rings on the Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 and Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8, we can compare their ergonomics, control, and functionality.
The DX 17-55mm lens features 2 rings, a focus ring and a zoom ring. The focus ring is slightly wider than the zoom ring and located about halfway along the barrel, while the zoom ring is closer to the camera. Both rings are smooth and easy to operate, offering a nicely damped tactile experience. However, the zoom ring is slightly thinner, which might be challenging for those with larger hands. The lens has a windowed distance scale but no depth-of-field indicator.
The FX 24-70mm lens also has 2 rings: a rubberized zoom ring at the rear and a manual focus ring towards the front. The zoom ring has a wide grip with raised ribs, providing a great tactile feel and smooth rotation. The focus ring is narrower but equally grippy and smooth in operation. The lens features a windowed distance scale with marks in both feet and meters but lacks IR or DOF markings on the focus indicator.
In conclusion, both lenses offer well-designed rings that cater to different preferences. The DX 17-55mm lens has a wider focus ring and more compact design, while the FX 24-70mm lens offers a more prominent zoom ring with raised ribs for better grip.
When comparing the Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 and the Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8 in terms of switches and buttons, the DX 17-55mm lens features a single slider on the left side of the barrel. This slider allows you to choose between M/A (autofocus with manual override) and M (manual only) focusing modes, providing a simple and straightforward way to control the focusing mechanism.
On the other hand, the FX 24-70mm lens offers 2 switches located on the side of the barrel. These switches include an AF/MF switch, which enables you to quickly change between autofocus and manual operation modes, and a VR switch that lets you choose between Off, Normal, or Active VR modes. Although the switches are clearly labeled, they feel identical, making it harder to differentiate between them when working quickly and relying solely on touch.
In conclusion, the FX 24-70mm lens offers more versatility with its switches, giving users the ability to control not only the focus mode but also the VR settings. However, the DX 17-55mm lens provides a more straightforward approach, which could be beneficial for those who prefer a simplified control layout. Overall, the FX 24-70mm lens is superior in terms of switch options, but the tactile similarity between the switches might be a minor drawback for some photographers.
Comparing the Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 and Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8 in terms of filter thread, the DX 17-55mm lens features a plastic filter thread with a diameter of 77mm. This filter thread does not rotate while focusing, making it convenient to use with polarizers and graduated filters. The 77mm size is fairly common, which means finding filters at a reasonable price should be relatively easy.
In contrast, the FX 24-70mm lens has a larger 82mm filter thread size, which requires bigger filters compared to its predecessor. The lens benefits from an internal focusing mechanism, ensuring the filter position remains fixed during focusing. This feature makes it user-friendly when working with filters such as circular polarizers or graduated neutral density filters. However, the larger filter size may be more expensive and add extra weight to the lens.
In conclusion, the DX 17-55mm lens offers a more budget-friendly and lightweight filter thread solution.
When comparing the lens hoods of the Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 and Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8, the DX 17-55mm lens hood is a plastic bayonet HB-31 hood with a deep petal shape, effectively shielding the front element from extraneous light that could cause flare.
It has a smooth finish, and its ergonomic bevel is comfortable to grip. While the hood can be firmly attached to the front of the barrel, it adds significant diameter to the lens when mounted in reverse for storage, and is not as secure in that position.
On the other hand, the FX 24-70mm lens hood is a plastic petal-style HB-74 hood that features a lock mechanism, ensuring a tight and secure fit on the lens. It can be reversed for storage, and its deep design helps to combat lens flare and protect the front element.
The hood’s attachment bayonet is located near the gold stripe on the barrel, and although the hood coverage at 24mm is limited, it does not need readjustment while zooming due to the inner barrel design. The FX 24-70mm lens hood is a well-designed and useful accessory for the lens.
In conclusion, the FX 24-70mm lens hood is superior to the DX 17-55mm lens hood. Its locking mechanism provides a more secure attachment, and the inner barrel design allows for more practical use while zooming. Though both lens hoods offer effective flare prevention, the FX 24-70mm lens hood offers better overall performance and convenience.
Focusing and Optical Stabilization
|Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 17-55mm F2.8G IF-ED||Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm F2.8E ED VR|
|AF Motor||Silent Wave Motor||Silent Wave Motor|
|Rotating Front Element||Does not rotate on focusing||Does not rotate on focusing|
|Min Focus Distance||0.36m||0.41m(24,28,70mm);0.38m(35-50mm)|
|Max Magnification (X)||0.2||0.27|
|Full-Time Manual Focus||Yes||Yes|
The Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 offers fast and accurate autofocus performance, driven by Nikon’s Silent Wave Motor (SWM) technology. While its autofocus speed is average, the accuracy is perfect across all distances and focal lengths.
In low-light situations, a focusing aid like a flashgun illuminator can assist in maintaining accuracy. The lens also features manual focus override for quick adjustments and has a smooth, well-damped focus ring. Additionally, the internally focusing design keeps the lens length constant during focusing and zooming, and it does not have focus breathing, which is important for cinematographers.
On the other hand, the Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8 has a snappy and quick autofocus performance, allowing for easy subject acquisition and focus shifting. Its virtually silent AF-S drive makes it suitable for video recording. Autofocus accuracy is excellent in both daylight and low-light conditions, especially when paired with a latest-generation DSLR.
The focus ring has no slack or play, making manual focus override simple, and the manual focus action is smooth. Like the DX 17-55mm, the FX 24-70mm has an internally focusing design and does not exhibit focus breathing.
In conclusion, both lenses perform well in terms of focusing performance, but the FX 24-70mm holds a slight advantage with its quicker autofocus, silent AF-S drive, and excellent accuracy in various lighting conditions. Although the DX 17-55mm has admirable autofocus performance, the FX 24-70mm offers a more versatile and efficient focusing experience, making it the superior choice in this comparison.
The Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 does not feature optical stabilization, which, while not essential for wide-angle photography, can be beneficial in certain situations like low-light conditions, handheld shooting, or video recording. However, many modern cameras offer in-body image stabilization (IBIS) that works well with wide-angle lenses, making optical stabilization less critical if your camera has this feature.
In contrast, the Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8 boasts optical stabilization (VR) with up to 4 stops of longer exposure times, enabling good image stabilization performance even at slower shutter speeds. The lens offers both Normal and Active stabilization modes and uses a fast, virtually silent AF-S drive for autofocus. The VR system operates quietly and effectively, allowing for crisp handheld shots at shutter speeds as long as 1/5-second when shooting at 70mm.
In conclusion, the FX 24-70mm lens is superior in terms of optical stabilization, as it includes this feature, while the DX 17-55mm does not. The FX 24-70mm provides more flexibility for handheld shooting in various conditions and is better suited for low-light situations and video recording, making it the preferred choice when considering optical stabilization.
|Nikon AF-S DX NIKKOR 17-55mm F2.8G IF-ED||Nikon AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm F2.8E ED VR|
|Special Elements||3x ED glass elements and 3x aspherical lens elements||3 aspherical and 2 ED elements + nano crystal and fluorine coatings|
The Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 exhibits chromatic aberration throughout its zoom range, with fringing up to 1.5 pixels wide towards the edges when stopped down beyond f/16. This may become noticeable in large prints with high contrast near the edges.
Coma performance is generally not an issue, as sagittal coma flare is difficult to detect. Spherical aberration is somewhat controlled, though not outstanding, with issues related to field curvature at 17mm and slightly lower border sharpness at 24mm at f/2.8 and 55mm.
On the other hand, the Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8 experiences varying levels of chromatic aberration. Lateral chromatic aberration is particularly high at 35mm, with peak values of above 3 pixels at the image borders. Longitudinal chromatic aberration (loCA) is also present, showing a weak magenta coloration in the foreground and greenish hues in the background.
However, chromatic aberration can be easily corrected in post-production. The lens displays some coma in the FX corner at various apertures and focal lengths in night shots, but it is not significant. Spherochromatism is not a significant issue, and out-of-focus highlights remain reasonably neutral.
In conclusion, the FX 24-70mm lens has a slight edge over the DX 17-55mm in terms of aberration control. While both lenses exhibit chromatic aberration, the FX 24-70mm has better performance in terms of coma and spherical aberration.
The Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 delivers sharp images with outstanding center sharpness and good levels towards the edges of the frame. Peak clarity across the frame is achieved between f/5.6 and f/8 for most focal lengths, while at 55mm, peak quality across the frame is realized at f/5.6.
The lens is super sharp from wide open to mid-aperture, with great color and contrast, and quick focus. Sharpness performance is top-notch at all apertures and throughout the DX image, with only slightly less contrast in the far corners at f/2.8. The lens is sharp on DX, and there is little diffraction softness even at f/22.
In contrast, the Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8 displays varying degrees of sharpness depending on focal length and aperture. Center sharpness is generally very good across the range, with the widest aperture producing slightly softer results. The most significant drop in sharpness is observed at 50mm and above, with the corners suffering the most.
However, stopping down to f/5.6 yields the sharpest results overall. The lens performs well when using a teleconverter, although there may be some slight loss in sharpness. The sharpest aperture depends on the focal length but generally falls between f/5.6 and f/8.
In conclusion, the DX 17-55mm lens demonstrates superior sharpness performance compared to the FX 24-70mm lens. With excellent sharpness from wide open to mid-aperture and peak clarity achieved at narrower apertures, the DX 17-55mm lens is an excellent choice for various photography styles, including landscape, architecture, and street photography.
The Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 offers reasonably good bokeh quality. Although it may not be the best among its competitors, it delivers satisfactory results for most situations, particularly considering the lens design and its primary purposes. The bokeh is generally smooth and more pleasing towards the telephoto end of the zoom range. However, there might be some minor issues with highlight rendition at certain focal lengths and apertures.
On the other hand, the Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8 delivers decent bokeh, but it’s not outstanding. The transition zone and background blur can show some nervousness, and there may be outlining and cat’s eye shapes due to mechanical vignetting at large apertures.
Additionally, there may be some bokeh fringing at the edges. However, the lens can still produce three-dimensional images where the sharp subject seems to pop out of the softer backgrounds. It’s recommended to use a dedicated portrait lens for better bokeh quality.
In conclusion, while neither lens excels in bokeh quality, the DX 17-55mm lens has a slight edge over the FX 24-70mm lens. With its generally smooth bokeh and more pleasing results towards the telephoto end of the zoom range, the DX 17-55mm lens can provide satisfactory bokeh for most situations, particularly when taking portraits or close-up photography.
The Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 is prone to flare in most backlight situations, and there may be some visible contrast degradation and ghosting when the light source is directly in the picture. However, the supplied lens hood does an excellent job of keeping light from hitting the front element in most situations, and the use of thin glass UV filters, such as the Hoya Super Pro1 series, can help reduce flare and UV rays. It’s important to adjust your shooting angle and use good filters to minimize flare.
On the other hand, the Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8 has good resistance to flare and ghosting, especially when the light source is clearly outside the image frame. However, when the light is near the image corner but still outside the frame, it can provoke some flare. The lens is equipped with Nano Crystal Coat that helps in reducing flares and ghosting, but shooting against the sun might still result in some artifacts.
The amount of ghosting and flare will depend on where the bright source of light is in the frame, and carefully placing the light source in the frame might eliminate these issues. While the lens is relatively resistant to flare, you may get some modest spots with veiling flare with really bright lights within the image area.
In conclusion, the FX 24-70mm lens demonstrates superior performance in terms of flare and ghosting resistance compared to the DX 17-55mm lens. With its Nano Crystal Coat and better overall resistance to flare, the FX 24-70mm lens is more suitable for situations where flare and ghosting could be a concern. However, it’s still essential to carefully position the light source in the frame and use proper shooting techniques to achieve the best results.
The Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 exhibits well-controlled vignetting characteristics. On digital bodies, light falloff is effectively managed throughout the focal range. Some users don’t mind vignetting and may even use it creatively to enhance their shots.
In contrast, the Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8 shows more pronounced vignetting, especially at wider apertures and shorter focal lengths. The amount of vignetting is stronger than its predecessor, but it can be significantly reduced by stopping down the aperture.
At f/5.6, the vignetting is still visible, but it becomes mostly ignorable from that point on. However, correcting the vignetting in post-processing software is also an option, and it can be easily taken care of with a single click.
In conclusion, the DX 17-55mm lens has superior vignetting control compared to the FX 24-70mm lens. The well-managed light falloff throughout the focal range of the DX 17-55mm lens makes it a better choice for those concerned about vignetting. However, if you find vignetting undesirable in either lens, it can be corrected using post-processing software or by stopping down the aperture.
The Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 exhibits some distortion at both ends of the zoom range, with barrel distortion at 17mm and pincushion distortion at 55mm. However, the distortion pattern is uniform across the frame, making it relatively easy to correct using image editing software. The distortion is also low in amount and not as obvious as in some other Nikkor designs. While distortion may not be a big issue for some photographers, it would require correction for architecture photography.
On the other hand, the Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8 shows varying degrees of distortion at different focal lengths, with the most noticeable barrel distortion at 24mm and pincushion distortion at 35-70mm. However, the distortion can be easily corrected in post-processing software like Lightroom, and Nikon may have allowed for more distortion in order to achieve better sharpness in the corners. Overall, while distortion may be a concern for some photographers, it is not a major issue and can be easily corrected.
In conclusion, the DX 17-55mm lens has a slight advantage in terms of distortion control compared to the FX 24-70mm lens. Its uniform distortion pattern across the frame and the lower amount of distortion make it a better choice for photographers concerned about distortion. However, both lenses offer the possibility of easy correction in post-processing software, so the choice between them should be based on other factors as well.
After considering all the factors, the Nikon FX 24-70mm f/2.8 is generally superior due to its better low light performance, depth of field control, weather sealing, autofocus, optical stabilization, aberration control, and flare/ghosting resistance.
However, the Nikon DX 17-55mm f/2.8 has its advantages, including size and weight, sharpness, bokeh quality, vignetting control, and distortion control.
If you prioritize a compact and lightweight lens with excellent sharpness and superior control of distortion and vignetting, the DX 17-55mm lens would be an excellent choice, particularly for photographers using APS-C / DX format cameras. On the other hand, if you require the optical advantages and better overall performance of the FX 24-70mm lens, the larger size and weight might be a worthwhile trade-off.