I would like a great multi purpose lens that could work of a full frame body. At the moment am tossing between getting the 24-70 2.8 from Canon or selling my gear and moving to a Nikon (since all my good lenses are EF-S and I will need to buy new lenses anyway if I move to full frame).

I know I can not go wrong with either brand, but would like to know what the equivalent offering to Canon's L 24-70 2.8 is in the Nikon range? What are its pros and cons over the Canon lens.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Just out of curiosity, why would you sell all your gear and move to Nikon? Both brands offer pretty much identical quality and features across the board. If you are already invested in one brand, the benefits of jumping ship and completely switching are practically nil...If you have Canon, and need the 24-70 2.8, I would just get it. Its a fantastic lens. \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Sep 2, 2010 at 1:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ remember also that the two brands often play a bit of leap-frog as to who's ahead in any particular area... so unless you've so much money that you can afford to swap all your gear every few years, there's no real point switching... the differences just aren't that big, and both brands will be incrementally better next year (every year) \$\endgroup\$ Sep 2, 2010 at 3:38
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    \$\begingroup\$ @jrista, the main reason is that all my good lenses are EF-S mounts, so when I go full frame Im going to have to start from scratch anyway. \$\endgroup\$ Sep 2, 2010 at 4:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ May be worth noting the Canon 24-70 came out in 2002. The Nikon one I think in 2007. There may well be a new Canon one in the next 1-2 years (most likely with IS) if you're talking about long term upgrades. And whatever incremental difference there is from 2002 to 2007 will be approximately repeated in a newer Canon one in 2011-2012... \$\endgroup\$ Sep 2, 2010 at 4:52
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    \$\begingroup\$ I'd just like to ask people to control their knee-jerk Canon/Nikon talking points. The question hasn't been up that long, it'd be a pity to see it closed before someone said something smart. \$\endgroup\$
    – ex-ms
    Sep 2, 2010 at 5:28

3 Answers 3


Nikon has an incredible 24-70/2.8 lens. I own it, and the images that come out of it are tack sharp. Also, its autofocus speed and accuracy are unmatched among all midrange Nikon zooms that I've used. It's quite large and heavy, so some people don't like that, but that's the necessary evil of a 2.8 zoom. Here is a link to Ken Rockwell's writeup on the Nikon 24-70/2.8.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Be ware that Ken Rockwell is Nikon's poster boy. The relative differences between the Nikon 24-70 and the Canon 24-70 are minuscule at best, and Canon's 24-70 is still one of, if not the, best zoom lens Canon offers. The images from it are just as tack sharp as from the Nikon. \$\endgroup\$
    – jrista
    Sep 2, 2010 at 3:40
  • \$\begingroup\$ Good point. I didn't intend to say it was any better than the Canon's, especially since I have not used the Canon lens. \$\endgroup\$
    – Naseer
    Sep 2, 2010 at 14:17
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have Canon 24-70 and I'm very happy with it, although according to Photozone test it has a few shortcomings, optically: photozone.de/canon_eos_ff/528-canon2470f28ff \$\endgroup\$
    – che
    Sep 2, 2010 at 23:18

As others have already pointed out, Nikon also has a 24-70/2.8. Since your question stems from switching to full frame, that's what you probably care about.

As a preface, the two lenses are very similar on APS-sensor cameras. The Canon seems a bit sharper toward the short end, while the Nikkor is a bit sharper toward the long end. For that situation, it's mostly a question of which end you tend to use more.

On a full frame camera, the same isn't really the case. Like most lenses, they both get softer toward the edges on a full-frame camera -- but the Nikon doesn't lose as much quality as the Canon. As on APS, the Nikkor is at its worst toward the short end, and anywhere from about 35-70 it's quite good across the frame, even wide open. The Canon does really well around 35-50mm, but gets pretty soft at the edges when you go toward either the short or the long end.

On APS sensors, it's pretty much a toss-up. On full-frame, at least to me, the Nikon seems to be a better lens -- not by a huge margin, but better nonetheless.


Both lenses are great and match each other in many areas. However, like canon advertises the L series lenses are known for their sharpness. The mark II 24-70mm is the sharpest lens canon has ever produced. Its almost twice as sharp as the Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 as per dxolabs. Please compare it for yourself: http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare-Camera-Lenses/Compare-lenses


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