What are your experiences with the Nikkor 17-55?

crimbfighter

TPF Supporters
Supporting Member
Joined
Jun 4, 2010
Messages
2,178
Reaction score
1,667
Location
Wisconsin, United States
Can others edit my Photos
Photos OK to edit
I'm at a bit of a crossroads with my next lens upgrade. I wan't to replace one of my two kit lenses with some good, fast glass. I have found that between the two, 18-55 and 55-200, I use them almost equally. I have read many many threads on the Nikkor 70-200 f/2.8, and it's obviously a killer lens. One I will have, at some point...

I have also read a few comments on the 17-55 f/2.8, but it seems more people own the 70-200 than the 17-55. There are two concerns I have about the 17-55. First, I do the majority of my shooting hand held. I have come to appreciate the VR of the kit lenses. Even though at some point I will upgrade my body (probably to the D300s replacement) I don't like to count on raising the ISO to bring my shutter speeds up. My D5000 doesn't handle noise too well, so I just wonder if I'm going to get consistently fast enough shutter speeds in lower light w/o upping the ISO. So, knowing the 17-55 doesn't have VR, it's a little concerning. Can anyone speak to whether or not they have used it and wished they had VR?

My second concern, is I have seen a couple posts in the past where some folks said the 17-55 produces poor bokeh for portraiture. Now, granted this wouldn't my first choice for portraits anyway, but it's still something that might occur. Is it something most people won't notice? Or is it really noticeable?

The other bonus, is I can get one of the 17-55's for $1000 right now, which seems like a great price.

Can anyone chime in with their experiences using this lens? Wish it had VR? Indifferent? How the optical quality is?
 
the 17-55 is a great lens for portrait for the DX users, if you plan on upgrading to a fullframe...id get something else.

the lens i like the most so far is the 24-70 2.8. i just love it. its doesnt have VR but i use it with strobes or in stido most of the time so it doesnt really matters.
 
i had one, or still , as i have taken it to my dealer to sell; not because it wasn't a good lens, it is, but i am shooting full frame now and it was getting lonely sitting around by itself ;)

it is a nice lens.
 
to VR or not. Not so long ago, we didn't have VR and there were no issue - yes it helps, especially for shaky-hands (such as my self) but it really shouldn't be a huge deciding factor for you.
I have a 17-55 Nikon and it does the job. Sharp, relatively fast in focusing but it isn't a lens I use for portraiture - shooting a at 50mm 1/2 length or closeups = distortion thus it isn't something I'd recommend if you want to do portraits. Otherwise, it is a great lens.
On D5000, you should be able to go to ISO 1600, just expose it correctly and you'll have a good sharp image.
 
VR on an f3.5-5.6 is about equal to having 2.8 without it. Just saying.....
 
VR on an f3.5-5.6 is about equal to having 2.8 without it. Just saying.....

But its not. At 2.8 you will have a faster shutter speed to freeze motion better. Yeah with VR you can hand hold a few stops lower than you'd think but it wont do anything to keep you subject from moving like a faster shutter speed will.

What is it that your shooting most? 70-200 is great for sports and also works for portraits.
 
I think the bokeh of the 17-55 DX looks ugly...it may have a rounded, 9-blade aperture, but I've seen quite a few images of people made with the lens,and I think the backgrounds tend to look "hashy"...not good...people seem to think that a rounded diaphragm is all that it takes to make a lens have good bokeh, but there's much more to it than that. Overall, the range of focal lengths is rather poor for people work, in my opinion. I'm not sold on the lens's bokeh.
 
to VR or not. Not so long ago, we didn't have VR and there were no issue - yes it helps, especially for shaky-hands (such as my self) but it really shouldn't be a huge deciding factor for you.
I have a 17-55 Nikon and it does the job. Sharp, relatively fast in focusing but it isn't a lens I use for portraiture - shooting a at 50mm 1/2 length or closeups = distortion thus it isn't something I'd recommend if you want to do portraits. Otherwise, it is a great lens.
On D5000, you should be able to go to ISO 1600, just expose it correctly and you'll have a good sharp image.

You make a good point. I think I've just become spoiled with the VR, and I think I sometimes let the ease of the VR substitute for some of the capabilities of a better lens. Though there are some handheld shots I've gotten that I'm confident wouldn't have been possible w/o the VR. Especially when I want a small aperture in lower light. Although, maybe that's just me being scared of the ISO again :lol:

I think my interest in this lens is more just for the versatility of the zoom range, while maintaining the f2.8 for low light. I may do portraits from time to time, but probably not often. At least with this lens, anyway. As for the ISO performance, you're probably right. I'm probably just too critical of the photos. As soon as I see noise, I go :gah:

What is it that your shooting most? 70-200 is great for sports and also works for portraits.

With my 55-200 kit lens, I mostly shoot action stuff. Car/motorcycle racing, airshows. As for portraits, I either use my 35mm prime, or the 55-200. I am planning on replacing the 55-200 with the 70-200 (when the budget allows), and will likely phase out the 35mm, as I don't use it as much as I thought I would. Though it's nice to have the f1.8 at times. It may get replaced with the 50mm f1.4, but we'll see.

My 18-55 kit lens is usually my "walk around" lens. I also use it when I'm in museums, or other display venues where low light capability would be really useful. Frankly, I think something like the 14-24 f/2.8 would be really nice, because I want a wider angle zoom, but when I look at EXIF data of a lot of my past photos, they are often either at 18-20mm, or between 40-55mm. So, I'm afraid I would run out of zoom right when I wanted/needed it. I've also thought about the 24-70 f/2.8, but again, I'm afraid I'd end up in the same boat.

I guess part of what I'm debating, is if I should replace the 18-55 with as close a fit as possible (like the 17-55) or if I should give up on one end or the other of that particular zoom range... I don't know, the more I talk this out, the more I'm starting to doubt my thought process..
 
Last edited:
While I don't shoot Nikon, I do have Canon's 17-55 f/2.8 IS, and it lives on my camera more than any other lens. I absolutely love the 70-200, and while it doesn't get nearly as much use, there are some shots I just couldn't get without it (like the night high school football games).

It all depends on where your needs are right now, then save for the other later.
 
I have DX bodies and nikkor lenses exclusively. The 17-55 and the 70-200 are nearly always mounted for events. Portraits get done with primes. The 17-55 is my walk around lens. For a mid range dx zoom it's pretty durn good.
 
I have had the nikon for a couple of months.
I also use this as a walk around on my D300s.
I'm not a good judge of bokah as I have never done much portrait shooting.
Here is a shot sooc raw into LR3 with lens correction and adobe standard camera profile. No other pp.
I think it does pretty good as a portrait lens but I could be wrong.
What do y'all think about the IQ and bokah?

55mm, 1/125 @ f2.8, iso 200
Sky.jpg
 

Most reactions

Back
Top