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Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 AF-S

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29 replies to this topic

Poll: Rate this lens (108 member(s) have cast votes)

Rate this lens

  1. 1 Star (appalling) (1 votes [0.92%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.92%

  2. 2 Stars (below par) (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  3. 3 Stars (average) (2 votes [1.83%])

    Percentage of vote: 1.83%

  4. 4 Stars (above average) (30 votes [27.52%])

    Percentage of vote: 27.52%

  5. Voted 5 Stars (outstanding) (76 votes [69.72%])

    Percentage of vote: 69.72%

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#21 Alan7140


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Posted 23 October 2009 - 21:59

I am sorry to be the exception to all the above. I never warmed to my 17-35 though I used it a lot and while I had it, it was my main landscape lens (on D700). I sold it recently, replacing it with an 18mm Zeiss prime, and I don't miss it for a moment.

It might have been poor technique on my part, or just plain imagination, but I always felt that the images I used to get with on DX with the 12-24 on D2x or D300 were more pleasing and sharper than anything I was getting with the 17-35 on the D700. And that is not how things are supposed to be.

I also felt that the lens was too heavy and out-of-balance when used on the D700. This is probably not the case with the bigger, heavier D3. 

It's not your technique, Dave - with a much larger area to cover on FX the edge performance (the acknowledged weak point in this lens) comes into play more obviously, particularly at wider apertures.

While I will still keep the 17-35 for its perfect focal length spread for stuff like interior church shots during wedding ceremonies and 80% of the other commercial stuff I do, for the forestry landscape panos I do I am looking at prime 24 & 28 MF fast lenses instead for the camera bag. The edge performance of the 17-35 in the detail-rich forest areas I work in requires f/11 or f/16 which limits depth of field choices somewhat, and stitching shots taken at f/4 to f/8-11  becomes problematical due to the sharpness loss at the corners of overlapping frames.

I have fully 6 months until the next photographing season in the forest comes about to find the best candidates for primes, so I'm following these lens threads with interest.

Your observation of balance on the D3 is correct - the 17-35 & D3 were almost made for each other in that regard; still a bit front heavy but handles really well in actual use.

#22 schwett


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Posted 27 December 2009 - 02:06

i primarily use this lens at f/8 and towards the middle of the zoom range (20-28) and in those relatively untaxing conditions it performs extremely well. some slight distortion at normal shooting distances compared to the only prime i have in that range (24mm f/3.5 pc-e), a small amount of easily fixed CA, slight and also easily fixed vignetting, and very sharp images even towards the corner.

my copy of the lens has an odd feel to the zoom ring - it it much 'looser' or easier to turn from 17-24 and from 30-35. when my 24-70 took an impact it developed a much more extreme version of this, but i can't recall if the 17-35 was always this way or may have suffered from a much more minor version of the same fate.

before i send it off to nikon, is everyone else's 17-35 perfectly smooth through the full zoom range?
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#23 ed


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Posted 21 February 2010 - 06:21

Mine (bought new) had a zoom ring stiffer from 17-20 and looser the remainder of the way. Loved the color and central sharpness from 24-35. Fast AF, solid & outstanding build. Distortion at the wide end is marked but unsurprising and also correctable (DxO software works great). My biggest complaint was less than stellar overall sharpness from 17-24mm at apertures wider than f/5.6 on my D700 (perhaps this was a failing of my sample). Not the best part of its range, which is why I bought the lens in the first place. I was likewise less than enthused by the need to stop down considerably to achieve edge-to-edge sharpness from 24-35mm. Found myself using the 24-70 more and more, so in anticipation of the 16-35mm f/4 VR, sold it two months ago. A bittersweet parting but alas, it was an optical formula probably better suited for film and DX rather than FX sensors.

#24 percafluvialitis


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Posted 21 February 2010 - 08:04

my copy of the lens has an odd feel to the zoom ring - it it much 'looser' or easier to turn from 17-24 and from 30-35.

Mine has the same zoom feel. I think it's normal, 13 elements to move and at those lengths it moves less glass? At least mine has been like this for the 5 years that I've owned it.

Bought it used, based on serial it's made about 2000. Mine has squeaked for some years now, it started during a trip to Thailand and I suspect I need to have lens cleaned. AF started showing problems last year but that I fixed by cleaning the lens contacts, now focus lock issues are gone.

I was likewise less than enthused by the need to stop down considerably to achieve edge-to-edge sharpness from 24-35mm.

Sorry to hear that. Mine is at it's best at 22-30mm, but I think it's normal for this lens that you have to stop down to f/5.6 to 8 for or edge/corner performance. Nevertheless, I am looking forward to the 16-35/4 as it likely has adressed areas of the 17-35/2.8D's performance that have been uncovered by newest sensors.

#25 dvg



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Posted 11 August 2010 - 08:48

Experience has proven that the Nikkor AFS 17-35/2.8 is an excellent all rounder. It delivers outstanding results on film and on digital.
It performs superbly on the D3x and its quality on slide, color film and b&w is excellent.
It has lesser overall distortion than its current counterparts, apart from the close range performance if set at 17mm.
Its color aberrations are minimal and easily corrected. As the lens has an aperture ring it still can be used with any AIS Nikon camera without any problem.
My recommendation; those of you, who already have it, keep it.
If Nikon finally decides to produce a new 35-70, I think there is nothing more a Nikon photographer could ask for in the wide to medium zoom range.
Dimitris V. Georgopoulos
Athens, Greece

#26 Ralf-Schlieper

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Posted 17 September 2010 - 21:08

Great optic, very good contrast, colors and sharpness. Fullframe digital needs f8, f11 or f16 for best results.

My personal tests with examples and testcharts for film and Nikon F4 are here:
Testcharts and examples with Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 AF-S and Nikon F4

My personal testresults for film and fullframe digital:
Posted Image

One Example:

Canon 5D MK2 and Zoerk-adapter
Posted Image

#27 NB23


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Posted 18 September 2010 - 06:24

Super sexy lens with excellent handling. Soft at f2.8, picks up beautifully at f5.6. Real Pro build. It's my most used lens for wedding Receptions and snapshots all around. It just works.

#28 pluton


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Posted 29 April 2011 - 18:05

Still one of the most versatile zooms there is on the D3. When only one lens can be carried, this is the one. Added bonus points for extremely low distortion in the 22-24mm range. I had it concurrent with my D200 and D2Xs. On DX it was good but had a low overall contrast. I liked the 17-55 much more on DX. I hope that if the AF motor dies, I can still MF it, since have no plans to replace it...ever.

Edited by pluton, 25 May 2011 - 02:20 .

Keith B.

#29 DaddySS

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Posted 05 January 2012 - 01:16

Great lens but it was difficult to find a sharp copy. There is a good deal of variation in the copies I tried. Once a good sharp copy is found it is a superb lens.

#30 Chris101



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Posted 02 April 2012 - 00:08

It's a superb lens - shows off the versatility of a wide angle zoom, and it also happens to be Nikon's smallest ultra wide to wide f/2.8 zoom lens. But even at that, it's a very heavy piece of glass, struggling even with a D700, as it makes that camera want to tip forward. I use it for events where changing lenses is a pain, but I much prefer the size and balance of a 20mm f/2.8 or 35mm f/2 prime. But to get to 17, it's the bomb!

disclaimer: I have not tried the newer 16-35.

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