I am specifically talking about Nikon 24-70mm f 2.8 lens Here is the picture I took with that:

enter image description here

And here is another one I took with my prime lens Nikon 85mm f 1.8 I think this one is sharper and better than the first pic.

enter image description here

I feel like the pictures I take with 24-70 lens are not sharp. Is it my lack of skills and I should still keep the lens? Or is this as good as it gets with this lens?

  • If you were shooting from the same position, you appear to have the images reversed. The 24-70 image appears to have a narrower angle of view than the 85mm image? – Michael C Apr 13 '15 at 1:14
  • @MichaelClark nop, I posted them correctly. – Brandon Apr 13 '15 at 1:27
  • @Blake taking into consideration that photography can be very subjective, and you need to capture what feels right to you; therefore, besides your concerns over sharpness, what else makes you choose pic2 over pic1? – Abdul N Quraishi Apr 13 '15 at 6:09
  • 2
    Which parts are not as sharp as you would like them to be? What exactly do you mean by that? – Carsten S Apr 13 '15 at 6:13

The only difference in terms of sharpness I see is that the first shot appears to be at f/2.8 and slightly front-focused, while the second appears to be shot at f/1.8 and either slightly front focused if you are aiming for the branch in the left central area or grossly back focused if you were aiming for the nearer branch.

When viewed at the same display size (the first image uploaded at 819x546 pixels and the second at 2576x1719) it is hard to tell much of a difference in the sharpest parts of each photo.

The first image, though, is in my opinion much better composed and the better photo of the two. The strong diagonal curve of the in-focus branch leads the eye from the upper left corner to the lower right intersection of the vertical and horizontal "thirds" lines. The color also appears more natural in the first image than in the second.


Prime lenses are generally sharper due to the reduced diffraction by not having the extra lens elements required for zoom lenses.

A prime lens, even a cheap one, is a master of one focal length, that's all it needs to do and generally, it does it as well as the glass permits.

Whereas, a zoom has to get it right over a much larger focal range, in other words, be a jack of all!

Unless you are paying for professional quality lenses, you will find, when you compare like for like, there is a noticeable sharpness with the prime lens.

The picture with the prime has a creamier background and this makes the flowers pop more and subjectively creating a more pleasing shot. The one with the zoom, is still a good shot, but within the confines of what the zoom can produce with regards to both, sharpness and background blur, both of which are below par when compared to the prime lens.

If you are still unsure and believe that there maybe another issue, then you need to look at Mico adjusting the lens.

Sometimes, lenses can back focus or front focus and some new cameras have a setting which allows you to make small adjustments to get the focus correct. You will need to check the manual.

Personally, I believe that the prime is just the sharper lens.

To finish off, sharpness isn't everything, an interesting composition is equally as important, and for that alone, the 24-70mm is a great lens.

  • 1
    The 24-70 f/2.8 is a "pro" zoom lens. – Michael C Apr 13 '15 at 0:51
  • You're correct about the lens, but I can only go by what is presented to be commented on, and the fact remains; the photo with 85mm is the sharper and more pleasing image with increased bokeh. The 24-70mm is a great pro lens, but perhaps not so much for this type of photography – Abdul N Quraishi Apr 13 '15 at 1:01
  • 1
    Yes it has more bokeh, but the color is nasty and the composition is a jumbled mess. It was also uploaded at roughly 3x the linear resolution of the one from the zoom lens which makes it impossible to say which image is truly sharpest. You are correct that normally prime lenses outperform zoom lenses in terms of absolute acutance. But without having images of comparable resolution it is not possible to say which of these two photos is sharper. And absolute sharpness is worthless if the wrong part of the frame is the most in focus. – Michael C Apr 13 '15 at 1:08
  • what is a more appropriate lens to use to use for this type of shots? Is it a Macro lens area? – Brandon Apr 13 '15 at 1:37
  • It could very well be. It depends on the shooting distance and the size of the foliage. – Michael C Apr 13 '15 at 3:24

The 24-70 is an f/2.8 lens. You are shooting at f/2.8. The lens is fine. Read up on what Depth Of Field is and you will understand why your pictures appear blurry. They are not, you are just using a small Depth Of Field.

  • 3
    Yet he feels the f/1.8 shots are sharper (with an even smaller DOF). So I'm not fully understanding your explanation. – MikeW Apr 13 '15 at 0:50

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.