24-70mm or 70-200

mgilmore18

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I'm torn between which of these lenses I should purchase (Nikon 24-70mm or 70-200). I've been shooting with a 50mm but really want something more versatile. Typically shoot lifestyle photography - kids, babies/toddlers, couples, families, everyday fun etc..
 

ronlane

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Welcome to the site. Both of those lenses would be useful for the stuff you shoot. I guess the question is about space. Do you have enough space where you typically shoot for the 70-200? If not, I guess that makes your selection easier.

The "everyday fun" may be easier to capture with a 24-70mm but I could see how shooting kids and toddlers that a 70-200mm would come in handy.

So my suggestion - get BOTH not one or the other. (Chances are you are going to want both anyway, so this just helps you avoid the GAS (gear acquisition syndrome)).
 

tirediron

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I don't really see this as an 'or', but rather an 'and'. I would start with the 24-70, but expect to buy the 70-200 as soon thereafter as I could.
 

nycphotography

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You need to consider two factors that only you can answer... Indoor vs outdoor distances, and context including vs context excluding compositions.

Indoors (at normal distances 5-15 ft) the 70-200 is going FORCE YOU to produce mostly VERY tightly cropped compostions. Think one person in isolation from surroundings, focus on faces, hands, and small details / items. The 24-70 will ENABLE YOU to include context, giving a more traditional composition of multiple people, whole bodies, and a wider scope of context around the subject.

Outdoors (at normal distances 20-100 ft) the 70-200 is going to ENABLE you to capture single subjects, in isolation from distracting surroundings, while the 24-70 will FORCE YOU to include more context.

You didn't say what camera, so I'll assume crop sensor. This effect is even more pronounced on a crop sensor camera. With a crop sensor, a 24 can be barely wide enough (indoors).

So the answer is really dependent on what you are usually trying to do. Outdoor vs indoor distance (and a basketball game might be in indoor even at outdoor distances, get it?). Close up isolated compositions, or wider context including compositions.

And if you're really an "indoor, context including" type you will probably end up wanting the next step wider than the 24-70. Eventually.
 
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Braineack

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the 24-70 will replace the 50 for regular use. the 70-200 will supplement it and require you to shoot from an entirely different perspective.
 
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jaomul

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What camera do you use?
 

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I look at it this way: the 70-200 is a "lifetime" lens, very useful for many,many,many things. On the other hand, the 24-70mm can be replaced by or substituted by any number of smaller,lighter, less-costly lenses, like even something like a 24/35/50 three-prime kit that's made up of relatively light, small, and fairly low-cost lenses like 24/2.8 AF-D, 35/2 AF-D, and 50/1.8 AF-D for the least costly setup; the 70mm is in the 70-200 zoom. OR.....you can buy higher-end primes from the all-new f/1.8 G-series....or mix and match....maybe buy a Sigma 35/1.4 for the middle range, and get something that the 24-70mm f/2.8 just does NOT offer: the ability to shoot semi-wide-angle photos with a sharp foreground, and then a fairly out of focus, blurred background from the sheer speed of the f/1.4 lens. OR...on brighter days or when shooting with flash, say, use a 24-85mm VR-Nikkor zoom lens with AF-S focusing and VR and a wider range of focal lengths. The way I see it, the big, long, heavy 24-70 f/2.8 AF-S G Nikkor is a lens that has many,many alterantives. The 70-200....not so much...it is the MUST-HAVE zoom, whereas the 24-70 is for many people, a lens that can be done without, and better, or different tools substituted.
 

nycphotography

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What Derrel said is absolutely true.

And yet, when I'm just farting around with people in a room, I tend to just put a 24-70 type lens (I have something equiv for each camera) and just shoot. Very seldom am I looking to change lenses or move around a lot for some specifiic composition when I'm working a crowd/group. Journalistic style where you don't so much control the environment as work within it.

Now if I REALLY want shallow DOF on the cat's eyes, then I have a 50mm prime shooting wide open at f1.8. Or if I really want to zoom in on the lint ball on the snoring dogs whiskers, I have the 100mm macro lens. Stage the stuff, set up the lighting, compose, shoot one, move things around, shoot one, tweak the lights, shoot one.... Studio style where you control everything you can.

Most of the time, I just want a versatile zoom I can put on the camera and forget about, but that's just me, and this factor also comes down to something only you can answer... "how do you like to shoot"?

Hit and run? 24-70 zoom.
Deliberate and intentional? then you'll probably be happier with the primes.
 

Village Idiot

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For events and most shooting where you're moving around a lot a 24-70 will be more useful than primes. I know there are wedding photographers that shoot with nothing but primes but there are also wedding photographers that have multiple cameras around their necks.
 

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When you shoot with the 50 are you feeling the need to back up all the time to get what you want in the frame or are you wishing you could pull the scene in more?
 
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mgilmore18

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You need to consider two factors that only you can answer... Indoor vs outdoor distances, and context including vs context excluding compositions.

Indoors (at normal distances 5-15 ft) the 70-200 is going FORCE YOU to produce mostly VERY tightly cropped compostions. Think one person in isolation from surroundings, focus on faces, hands, and small details / items. The 24-70 will ENABLE YOU to include context, giving a more traditional composition of multiple people, whole bodies, and a wider scope of context around the subject.

Outdoors (at normal distances 20-100 ft) the 70-200 is going to ENABLE you to capture single subjects, in isolation from distracting surroundings, while the 24-70 will FORCE YOU to include more context.

You didn't say what camera, so I'll assume crop sensor. This effect is even more pronounced on a crop sensor camera. With a crop sensor, a 24 can be barely wide enough (indoors).

So the answer is really dependent on what you are usually trying to do. Outdoor vs indoor distance (and a basketball game might be in indoor even at outdoor distances, get it?). Close up isolated compositions, or wider context including compositions.

And if you're really an "indoor, context including" type you will probably end up wanting the next step wider than the 24-70. Eventually.

Thank you so much for this feedback! I love the bokah I get with the 50 mm and really like to focus on the details, leaving the background soft and creamy. So, it sounds like the 70-200 will give me more of this effect than the 24-70. I have a couple newborn shoots coming up and will most likely be in a nursery or hospital room taking these shots. I love the 50mm but the range is just not always great, I def can't comfortably use it for a group shot or fit in a tight space.
 

Braineack

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if you shoot the 50mm at 2.8. and then set the 24-70 to 50mm and 2.8, the results will be nearly identical.
 

ronlane

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I love the 50mm but the range is just not always great, I def can't comfortably use it for a group shot or fit in a tight space.

If this is something that is typical, then the 70-200 is going to be even more problematic and tighter.

All of the advise above is sound and honestly, you can't make the wrong decision with these two. You may get the wrong one at the wrong time, but then as I said you get the other and have both.

I'm sure you will be happy with whichever you decide on first.
 
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mgilmore18

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I look at it this way: the 70-200 is a "lifetime" lens, very useful for many,many,many things. On the other hand, the 24-70mm can be replaced by or substituted by any number of smaller,lighter, less-costly lenses, like even something like a 24/35/50 three-prime kit that's made up of relatively light, small, and fairly low-cost lenses like 24/2.8 AF-D, 35/2 AF-D, and 50/1.8 AF-D for the least costly setup; the 70mm is in the 70-200 zoom. OR.....you can buy higher-end primes from the all-new f/1.8 G-series....or mix and match....maybe buy a Sigma 35/1.4 for the middle range, and get something that the 24-70mm f/2.8 just does NOT offer: the ability to shoot semi-wide-angle photos with a sharp foreground, and then a fairly out of focus, blurred background from the sheer speed of the f/1.4 lens. OR...on brighter days or when shooting with flash, say, use a 24-85mm VR-Nikkor zoom lens with AF-S focusing and VR and a wider range of focal lengths. The way I see it, the big, long, heavy 24-70 f/2.8 AF-S G Nikkor is a lens that has many,many alterantives. The 70-200....not so much...it is the MUST-HAVE zoom, whereas the 24-70 is for many people, a lens that can be done without, and better, or different tools substituted.
Thank you! This is very helpful...though now I'm torn between more options. Ha! I have a couple newborn shoots coming up where I will likely be in a nursery or hospital room and will NEED the wide range.
 

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