I have Nikkor 17-35 f/2.8 and I have been using it for years ... it works absolutely well and still performing like champ. Now, looking at the new AF-S 16-35 MTF chart, it kinda makes me wonder, whether I should sell the 17-35 and get the 16-35 f/4 instead?

So here is my question - if you were in my situation, what are some pros/cons that you will consider in making this decision? Or would you bit the bullet and jump to 14-24 instead?

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    That's impossible to say without knowing your reason to consider a change. What are you looking for? – Guffa Aug 3 '10 at 19:54
  • There is no strong reason - but merely updating. It looks like 17-35 is still in demand that I can sell mine and get a NEW 16-35 with new 5 year Nikon USA warranty without losing a dime. – Johannes Setiabudi Aug 3 '10 at 20:31
  • I gave this an upvote since, while the question is kind of difficult to answer, Alan provided an excellent one that serves a good purpose given the dangers involved in choosing a lens "by MTF chart". I can easily see many people in the same position, debating an "upgrade" due to some raving review, without giving their current lens its due. – jrista Aug 3 '10 at 21:55
  • For one, you're giving up one whole stop of light. That's half the shutter speed or twice the ISO required. – Nick Bedford Nov 24 '10 at 22:38

Don't let MTF charts be the reason you change lenses. If you're happy with the results of your lens, then stick with it.

With your lens change, you give up a full stop of light (f2.8 to f4), which can be huge, even with the 16-35's VR, but gain an extra 1mm on the wide angle.

Given the two choices, I would stick with the 17-35 solely for the extra stop of light. VR offers great flexibility for low light situations, but F2.8 is still F2.8, and no amount of IS/VR/ or w/e can compensate for that.

Now, that said, if I were in your shoes, and I had the means to pull it off, I would buy the 14-24 in a heartbeat. Canon shooters have been fooling around with all kinds of cockamamie solutions to get the nikkor 14-24 working on Canon bodies, so if you're a nikon shooter who likes going wide angle and has the money, then yes yes yes get the 14-24!

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  • That's what I was thinking too - wait and save some more and get 14-24 all the way. Thanks! – Johannes Setiabudi Aug 3 '10 at 20:27
  • +1 Can't resist up-voting someone who makes perfect use of cockamamie in a sentence. :D Beyond that, excellent answer to what I think was a rather difficult question. – jrista Aug 3 '10 at 21:53
  • @jrista: thanks :). I have to admit, even I got caught up in the 14-24mm on a Canon madness for a bit. There are some rumors that Canon is going to announce a lens in that range, so it should make things interesting. – Alan Aug 3 '10 at 23:31
  • Aye, I would love a super-wide zoom. I am not quite brave enough to go cockamamie on my camera's bayonett, but the ultra wide has always fascinated me. I have the 16-35mm, which is a phenomenal lens, but it does have its soft points. – jrista Aug 3 '10 at 23:55

Are you unhappy with the sharpness of your 17-35? Have you exhausted the reasonable improvements you could make to your technique? Unless the answer to both of these questions is "yes", a new lens purchase is not photographically justified.

Upgrade when you have a concrete reason to, not when reviews catch your eye. More on that theme in this question.

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  • My "weak" reason is basically for "updating". My warranty for my lens is over and although there is nothing wrong with my 17-35, I can still sell it for a good price and get a new 16-35 (with 5 year warranty) without losing a dime. – Johannes Setiabudi Aug 3 '10 at 20:32
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    You're correct; that's a pretty weak reason. :) – Reid Aug 3 '10 at 21:08

Usually these lenses questions are subjective, it has pretty much to do with the way you're planning to use it (which you haven't told). Personally I'd stick with the 17-35 for the extra light, I'm a bright lens fan and this would fit real good in my gear and rhe way I shoot.

PS-If you end up selling it I hope I can grab it, I have it on my shortlist for some time

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