on June 28, 2004
This lens is widely held to be one of the best if not the best wide angle professional zoom lens for 35mm and Digital SLRs compatible with Nikon's lens system. I've had mine for about 6 months on a Nikon D-100 and have absolutely nothing I don't like about it. It's sharp from corner to corner at all zoom settings and any pincusion destortion is negligible even at 17mm @ f2.8. The AFS focusing motor is lightning fast and accurate. Filter size is 77mm, same as my Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED-IF AF-S VR lens. Since filters this size aren't cheap, it's nice to be able to share. This lens will support 35mm, APS, and DX format film and digital sensor sizes and comes with a 5-year warranty. If you want the best, and can afford it, you won't be sorry you purchased this lens.
on July 14, 2009
I purchased this lens along with my D700 nearly 12 months ago. My choice was between this lens and the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S. I went with the 17-35mm for the ability to use filters and have not looked back.
During that time I have had a blast enjoying landscape photography with the combination. The lens is exceedingly sharp --corner to corner-- particularly when stopped down from wide open. I have no use for 'prime' lenses within this focal range anymore.
Indoors the extreme angle-of-view and large aperture have been great for candids and other interior shots. Obviously, 17-35mm is not a desirable focal length for portraits.
Some have complained about corner 'sharpness' wide open, but the depth-of-field at f/2.8 is so shallow on FX that corner sharpness is a non-issue since objects in the corner are unlikely to be within the focal plane of the subject anyway. With the high-ISO performance of the D700, aperture selection is an artistic choice for DOF, not a necessity for low light. Stop the pixel-peeping and just enjoy the lens!
I have also found DxO Optics Pro (Elite) a priceless software tool with this camera/lens combination. I always shoot RAW images and use DxO to convert to TIFF or jpg. DxO includes both the D700 and this lens in their database; the result: noise-free images with perfect optical corrections. Amazing.
on December 23, 2012
I needed a wide angle zoom lens for indoor and outdoor use. I had for reason of reviews been favoring the 16-35mm as a match with my D800 and F100, but gravitated to the venerable 17-35mm. For indoor area shooting with animals in motion, the 16-35 would have been a poor tool .... VR is useless with moving objects under low light conditions. The lens is also useable on my FE .... a feature not supported by G type lenses.
The need was for a rugged lens to photograph horses at indoor and outdoor stables and arenas with digital color and B&W film.. The lens has already taken a solid knock without so much as a scuff. To be certain, the lens has resisted its share of dust and grime, as well. Bokeh is not too terrible when wide open shooting close range, but is well short of the dreamy finish obtained with the Nikkor 70-200mm, or even that satisfying blur obtained with the demure Series E 50mm. For those contemplating filters, UV and ND are fine but CPL is a definite no when using the widest focal length. The focal lock of the 17-35mm is fast, whereas the 16-35mm does a bit of hunting when lighting is dim. When compared against the 16-35mm AF optimized, the 16-35mm appeared to capture sharper corners; but, only until one really scrutinizes the flattened captured images with distortion correction. Further, the center of images from the 17-35mm wide open regularly appeared a touch more crisp than those taken with the 16-35mm wide open with a comparable focal length. Usable image is the end game, and with DxO the final outcome becomes more clear. Even without VR, I have taken some amazingly tack sharp photos, handheld, at f/2.8 with 1/10s exposure.
The built in flash can pose a bit of a problem with this lens. At 17mm, there's a good chance that the camera flash or an attached I shielded flash will throw a shadow of the end of the lens, there are work arounds, but it requires extra steps. I can only imagine that the 16-35mm flashlight-like protuberance will be of great challenge for use under comparable circumstances. Of course, an attached flash can resolved the matter with ease, but there are times when one is not available.
One factor that inexperienced digital users miss is the need for AF fine tuning. In my case, my D800 body mated with this lens sample requires a setting of -6 for optimal focus; after Nikon had my camera in the shop for an adjustment. Without the adjustment, I would concede slight loss of detail at low aperture settings. Fine adjusting the AF isn't hard, and does not require use of a pricey gadget; I used a DxO software box and a ruler. But doing this 5 minute exercise just 1 time can really enhance the performance of this lens.
And while I don't anticipate much videography, the 17-35mm will cut it while the 16-35mm can't. Getting a minimally used 17-35mm for less than the price of a refurbished 16-35mm was handy, but the tried and true build quality and proven performance of the 17-35mm in rough environments drove the decision.
This truly is a remarkable lens with a solid feel, yet reasonable heft for a versatile pro lens. In candor, the balance of this lens is ever so much better than that observed with other options like the front-heavy 16-35mm ... the slower albeit newer lens being akin to mounting a MAG flashlight on the front of one's camera. And the 16-35mm uses high tin solder effectively limiting SWM life expectency to around 10 yrs. The 17-35mm uses old style solder. Image clarity has been marvelous, although I admit using adaptive interpolative processing in the effort to improve far corners on the occasional shot. I look forward to long service from this lens. Yup ... I do like this lens.
ADDENDUM - Took some great shots without flash in Hearst Castle at ISO 1200. A fellow Nikon D800 owner using a 16-35mm had to crank up to ISO 6400 ... the granularity and distortion were no contest in favor of the 17-35mm. And it was great that I could use the same lens on my FE for B&W film shots during the same trip. I admit being tempted by the recent sale on the 16-35mm, but I'm glad I passed on it. Apr-8-2014.
on May 14, 2013
This is the go-to lens for wide angle photography. It's no wonder Nikon hasn't changed the formula or brought out a replacement for this lens since 1999. It's a tried and true lens used by professional photojournalists. I also own the 14-24 f/2.8, but for me, the 17-35 is a much more practical wide angle lens. The 14-24 is an amazing lens also and optically better than the 17-35. However, the 14-24 is an ultra-ultra-wide angle lens and is more suited for creative effects and purposes. It's a fun lens to use, but not your normal wide angle for everyday purposes. I'm not saying you can't get creative with the 17-35, it's just not to the extreme level that the 14-24 is capable of.
Back to the 17-35: Optically, the lens is very good. Images are very sharp on a D700. Images have nice contrast and colors. The lens balances very well in your hand and pairs up nicely with a pro camera body. The focus and zoom rings are smooth and sure, no play. There are many reviews of this lens online that talk about sharpness, vignetting, and distortion, and they are pretty spot on, so I won't go into too much detail on that here, but the lens is built to pro quality standards and you get what you pay for. I wouldn't use this lens on a DX camera, because it won't be a wide anlge lens anymore.
The autofocus is silent and fast, similar in quality to the 14-24 and 24-70, which I also own. There are some reviews out there from people who have experienced an AF squeaking or grinding noise when autofocusing the lens. I'm happy to say that there are no signs of that on the copy I received from Amazon. Maybe Nikon resolved this issue with later production lenses? Time will tell.
I have owned this lens for about 5 months now and it is a very good, reliable lens. I use it for landscape/cityscape photography, and general purpose/reportage style photography where I want a storytelling effect. There is really nothing bad I can say about this lens. It's just a solid performer.
If you are torn between choosing this lens or the 14-24, it depends on your taste. You need to ask yourself what type of effect you are after - a normal, classic wide angle shot, or a crazy super wide angle effect. Which ever you choose, you won't be disappointed in the optics or build quality of either lens. I hope this helps!
on December 24, 2013
I just received my order for the Nikon 17-35mm 2.8 from Cardinal Camera, Pa that I purchased through Amazon.com...well I am very disappointed and mad as hell that Cardinal Camera of Pa sent me a USED lens that was supposed to be a brand new lens.
The Nikon box looked worn, no manual, no warranty cards, just not the usual Nikon original packing and no new lens smell plus the lens was dirty and there were witness marks on the lens barrel lock ring. This tells me that this lens was a refurb.!!!
Not 2 minutes after discovering what was delivered to me I called into Amazon.com and filed a complaint.
Over the years I have purchased 90% of my camera gear through Amazon.com and I never encountered this issue before, I also never purchased from Cardinal Camera of Pa before this event. This lens was advertised as Brand New but they thought they could porn off a used lens to me. I have been in the photography business for over 35 years...I know the difference between a new and used lens. I hope Cardinal Camera of Pa and Amazon.com resolves this issue for me as soon as possible.
Update 1/6/2014: I never received a reply from Cardinal Camera until I emailed the pres/owner, although he got back to me and apologized and said he would make it right. I was told that they could make the exchange for my new lens at one of their Pa stores but they did not have this lens in stock in any of their 13 stores and it would have to be ordered from Nikon...I found that hard to believe they wouldn't have one anywhere in their 13 stores....nothing ever became of it.... he just left me hanging. I went on line just to sample order it on their website to see if this lens would show up as back ordered or n/a...It was available at the check out screen for store pick up or delivery. So I was scammed and then lied to by Cardinal Camera....Amazon A-Z coverage saved this botched purchase and Amazon refunded me all of my money. If it weren't for Amazon A-Z purchase protection which is free, I would have had to take Cardinal Camera to court. Amazon had my credit card account refunded, this time I placed an order for the Nikon 17-35mm 2.8 from Amazon's inventory. It came UPS in 3 days with a USA warranty. I want to give Amazon.com +5 ***** stars for being a great place to buy anything!
on February 28, 2008
This is a first-class professional quality lens. I am using it on Nikon F5, F100, D200, D700 and D800 and D810 bodies. I bought it in anticipation of purchasing an FX digital format successor to the D200/D300 DX-format cameras. It is extremely sharp from edge-to-edge, rendering crisp images with great color and contrast. Good low-light performance for natural people-pictures. Slight chromic aberration distortion in the corners, wide open, easily corrected in Lightroom or ACR. This is true of most wide-angle zooms. On my landscape and nature shoots, it is nothing short of spectacular. This lens is considered both heavy and pricey by some. However, I find the weight promotes better stability with hand-held images and keeps my vehicle from skidding on icy roads;^) The price is right for what you get. I also like a depth of field indicator on the aperature ring for doing wide-ange shots employing hyper-focal distance techniques. You don't get this with the newer G-series lenses. Additionally, your 77mm slim filters will fit this lens where some of the newer glass won't take a filter at all. If you can afford this lens and are going to go FX-format, buy it.
on June 28, 2009
This is a superb lens. I purchased it along with my D700 and the results have been very impressive. It's very well made; the zoom control is linear (evenly spaced on the zoom ring), and it's not as heavy as I thought it would be given the pro level of construction. Its a nice chunky size ... it fits my hand well, and is well suited size-wise to the D700 ... yet doesn't feel too big or heavy. I've been using it mostly on a tripod for landscape photography, but I think it will also be a great walking-around lens.
The included lens shade is pretty much worthless and is so wide physically that its a PITA in my backpack. The lens also comes with a beautiful hard case which I will never use. It would have been nice if Nikon had shaved $50-100 off the price and skipped this high quality but impractical part of the package.
on February 19, 2013
The sharpness and color are fantastic. This lens has produced thousands of absolutely lovely landscape and cityscape photos for me. It works great for group shots where you want to include the surroundings too.
I have owned this lens for nearly five years now and through the years it has been one of the two anchor lens for my travel kit. The 17-35mm f2.8 is the default lens on the camera. The other anchor lens is a 70-300mm VR and occasionally I will throw in a 50mm f1.4 for low light and a SB 800 flash. I use these lenes on a D700. I carry all of this in the bottom section of a Kata DR 467 backpack with ease and comfort.
Just for comparison, around town or anyplace I'm driving to for shooting I often carry a D4 with the 14-24mm, 24-70mm, and the 70-200mm lens in a Think Tank Street Walker Pro backpack. This setup is much heavier and takes up the whole backpack. Here are a few thoughts on the 17-35mm versus using the 14-24mm and 24-70mm combo. The 14-24mm lens is a big heavy lens that distorts things a lot which is great for getting really close to objects but the 17-35mm is much more usable for capturing true to the eye wide angle shots. The 24-70mm lens is bigger and heavier than the 17-35mm. It's also a great walk around lens but lacks the ultra-wide angle that the 17-35mm provides and hence limits the ability to capture the scene.
Bottomline, I can spend all day doing landscape and cityscape shooting with the 17-35mm and love what it produces.
on October 11, 2003
Of the auto-focus Nikkor lenses, I've owned the 20/2.8D, 24/2.8D, and 35-70/2.8D. My current lenses are the AF80-200/2.8D (2-ring version), and the AFS17-35/2.8D. That's all is needed for my general photography. Any distortion can be easily created in Photoshop CS.
The AFS17-35/2.8D is the sharpest lens of all the manual and auto-focus Nikkor lenses I have owned/used. Since purchasing this lens almost 3 years ago, it has become the standard lens on my Nikon F5.
I travel with the AFS17-35/2.8D and (in my opinion) it's natural companion the AF80-200/2.8D. Both zoom lenses are ranked number 1 and 2 in sharpness respectively.
The lens, mounted on an F5, was dropped 3.5 feet in a thinly cushioned bag onto a concrete walkway. The back of the F5 took the impact. According to Nikon Canada, the lens survived but the F5 needed a new $400+ autofocus assembly.
on February 8, 2015
This is a fine wide-angle lens that does not get enough publicity or does not receive the requisite popularity it deserves. You always hear about the 14-24mm, the 24-70mm, and even the 16-35mm as the best choices for ultra-wide to medium-wide angle shots. To be sure, each of them offers advantages and disadvantages that, depending on your needs, may suit you more accordingly. But, if what you need is a strong, weather-resistant, bulletproof wide angle lens, which not only delivers outstanding picture quality (like the 14-24) , but also accepts 77mm filters (unlike the 14-24), then the 17-35 is for you.
Contrast, color, and clarity. Only the 14-24 zoom can match the 17-35mm in how it renders those three characteristics. Simply put, these are the two finest wide angle zooms available on the market.
I've never been a fan of the 16-35mm. It's clumsy and drastically underperforms on its wide end. There's eye-gouging distortion and light falloff at the wide end...and once you are able to zoom past those issues, you're left with a solid image, but nothing spectacular. And, you aren't able to work at f/2.8, which means while the 16-35 is a lighter lens than the 17-35, it won't afford you the flexibility in terms of narrowing your depth of field for more artistic foregrounds and/or low-light performance.
The 24-70 is a fantastic zoom lens, but its more on the medium angle end of things, so I don't really put it in the same category as the 17-35. Each lens is suited for different purposes. The 17-35 will afford you the ability to really pull back a scene and work with an inviting landscape that pulls the viewer literally into the drama. The 24-70 is more of a "tell it how you see it" focal range...and while it's image quality is exceptional throughout its aperture range, it does promote minor vignetting at the wide end, especially with a filter affixed.
The 17-35 does have slight distortion along the edges of the frame at the 17mm end, as do all ultra-wide angle lenses. But, its relatively minor and correctible in post. Vignetting is effectively unnoticeable at all apertures save for wide-open, and even then it's extremely minor...and gone by f/4. You can easily shoot at f/2.8 all day long with a filter attached, and you will be more than pleased with the quality of images rendered. Stop down a bit, and this lens truly shines. As said before, color, clarity and contrast rival the 14-24...especially clarity. There is a certain crispness to the image...the lens does a fantastic job mitigating any color fringing, so you're left with tight, well-defined outlines in both high and low contrast areas. I use it with the D810, and while this lens was developed long before digital cameras could produce 36 megapixels, the lens handles that raw processing power just fine. There is no sacrifice in detail or any issues with the camera out-resolving the lens.
It's not a light lens, but is easily carried by hand for long shoots. It's an exceptionally strong lens...in true Nikon fashion, this lens could survive being run over by a small truck. It's feels like one single chunk of heavy-duty composite metal. I've never dropped it, but if I did, I'd be more concerned with the floor around the incident than I would be about the condition of the lens. I've shot with it a few times in the rain, and it emerged no worse for wear whatsoever. This lens will easily outlive me.
What makes this lens the typical choice for my bag over the 14-24 is its ability to accept 77mm standard filters. I shoot a lot of landscape photography, and use grad filters quite a bit. Doing so with the 14-24 is a very cumbersome activity as it requires the use of an aftermarket filter holder, and special sized filters. The 17-35 is a no-brainer in terms of practicality and convenience over the 14-24mm.
In sum, this lens is the jack of all trades for wide angle zoom lenses, and will render you some fantastic images as well. I'd be very comfortable recommending this lens to anyone who has the cost of this lens fit within their budget. If you can afford it, and have the need for a wide angle lens, you will enjoy the purchase.