Nikon 24-70/2.8 vs. Nikon 17-55/2.8
I owned both of these lenses but lately I sold off my 24-70 and acquired a 17-55 to go with my Nikon D800E… Well obviously it is a DX lens but I am so thrilled to again have this lens. Its sharpness is marvelous, even slightly better than the 24-70 I used to have. I will update this post later with some samples taken with both lenses.
To my experience the pro level zooms: 14-24, 24-70, 17-35, 17-55 render the old 2.8 primes obsolete. You get better performance and the convenience of a zoom in the same package. The primes that would be of interest to me would be 1.2, 1.4, 1.8 and 2.0. Exceptions being the micro nikkors and PC nikkors of course.
On a D800E a 17-55 would net you a FX – 28-55, 1.2X – 20-66 and DX – 24-82.5 (full 17-55 range). It is every bit as sharp as any of the midrange primes mentioned here and wide open it simply blows them away. You can find it for around 800 USD used. As an alternative to the 24-70 it is at least as sharp and not as big.
The 24/2.8 prime is not as sharp wide open as the zooms. If going down that road I would suggest a 28/1.8. Be warned about the wave shaped distortion on some of the mid priced primes. The pro zooms does not exhibit that sometimes inconvenient feature. They generally have a more manageable distortion pattern.