Are you trying to decide whether a 24-70mm lens is right for you? Like most photographers, I’m a huge 24-70mm fan – and I think you should be, too.
Below, I share my top five reasons why you should purchase a 24-70mm lens, whether you’re a landscape photographer, a portrait photographer, a nature photographer, or a casual hobbyist. I also share plenty of 24-70mm photo examples, so you know what to expect after buying.
While I don’t offer specific 24-70mm lens recommendations, note that pretty much every major lens manufacturer sells top-notch options, including Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Sony, Sigma, and Tamron.
Let’s get started.
1. There is no learning curve
The focal length of a 24-70mm lens stretches from wide-angle to short telephoto – but the bulk of its range sits in the standard focal length spot, which corresponds closely to the human eye. Therefore, to use a 24-70mm lens, you don’t need to learn to see differently; instead, looking through a 24-70mm, you’ll get a very natural field of view.
In fact, when you’re photographing as the eye sees, it’s much easier to learn composition. You can spot interesting subjects, bring your camera to your eye, and snap away – whereas ultra-wide lenses and telephoto lenses force you to think about the field of view, distortion, compression, and how they change the scene.
Even at 24mm, distortion is limited. So you can do wide-angle photography without worrying about wide-angle effects. And at 70mm, you can zoom in for tighter compositions while still capturing a relatively neutral perspective.
Plus, the 50mm focal length is outstanding for portrait photography: not so long that you lose intimacy, and not so wide that you stretch the subject. Instead, it’s just right.
2. 24-70mm lenses offer close focusing
24-70mm lenses are designed for standard-sized subjects, right?
Well, yes…and no.
You see, while these lenses are often created with portrait, landscape, and nature subjects in mind, they also offer impressive close-focusing capabilities. The minimum focusing distance does vary from model to model, but it’s generally around 15 inches (38 centimeters).
In other words, you can use a 24-70mm lens to capture stunning close-up shots – of flowers, leaves, portrait details, and more. What’s especially exciting is how flexible a 24-70mm lens can be; if you’re photographing a portrait subject, you can step back for a nice full-body shot, move in slightly for a head-and-shoulders composition, then move in even closer for a detail photo of your subject’s eyes, ears, or clothing.
Event photographers use this close-focusing flexibility all the time. Zoom out for a shot of the wedding guests, step in for a shot of the centerpieces, zoom out for a shot of the ceiling, step in for a shot of the place settings.
And if you like to shoot landscapes, you can capture sweeping scenics at 24mm, then zoom in to 70mm and get in close for details of rocks, sand patterns, etc.
It’s so convenient, and it’s all thanks to the power of a 24-70mm lens.
3. The focal length range is incredibly versatile
I’ve already touched on this, but it’s arguably the most important benefit of a 24-70mm lens, so it deserves its own section.
You see, with a 24-70mm lens, you can shoot at a slew of different focal lengths, from wide to standard to telephoto, and this range offers limitless possibilities in the face of demanding photoshoots.
First of all, when doing a single photoshoot, you can easily go from a wide angle to a zoom, adjusting quickly as the scene and your subjects change. And you won’t have to switch out your lens at all, which will keep the flow of the photoshoot intact and will prevent you from missing key moments as you switch from one lens to the next.
Plus, the versatility of a 24-70mm lens means that you can work with it and nothing else, even as you go gallivanting across the world for destination shoots and vacations. Imagine heading to a photoshoot with just one lens in your bag. Nice, right?
4. The build is robust and comfortable
Most 24-70mm lenses are impressively robust, featuring a solid build that’s designed to last. Manufacturers know that these are “walkaround” lenses, so they’ve made sure a 24-70mm can handle anything you might face, from rain and snow to blowing sand and dust.
If you frequently shoot in deserts, near waterfalls, or at the beach, then a 24-70mm lens will be a lifesaver, allowing you to capture all sorts of compositions without worrying about ruining your precious optics. Of course, you should always practice proper lens care; I don’t recommend you drop your lens in the water, let it get soaked, and so on. But as far as lenses go, 24-70mm options tend to be very solid.
(And you’ll need a well-built camera, too; while 24-70mm lenses are amazing, they can’t protect your camera electronics!)
Additionally, 24-70mm lenses feel great in the hands. They’re not so long that you’ll get tired after a few hours, and they’re not so short that you have nothing to grip. You can comfortably use a 24-70mm lens for day-long photoshoots, and you’ll always feel like you’re working with an actual, solid lens.
5. The size and weight is perfect for pretty much everything
On average, 24-70mm lenses measure around 3.3 x 3.3 x 4.9 inches (8.4 x 8.4 x 12.4 centimeters), and they weigh approximately 2 pounds (900 grams).
While these lenses aren’t tiny, they’re certainly not large, nor are they heavy. They fit in pretty much any camera bag you’ll ever encounter, even when they’re attached to a camera – so you can carry your setup in a shoulder-sling bag or a backpack without any trouble. Plus, because 24-70mm lenses are pretty short, you can hang your camera around your neck and you won’t feel like you’re carrying a brick.
In fact, my 50mm (f/1.2) lens weighs more than my 24-70mm lens, even though it’s shorter. And I’ve even managed to put my camera and 24-70mm lens in a regular old purse (which can come in handy in quite a few situations).
Bottom line: A 24-70mm lens is sized for photographic adventures of all types, from treks in the mountains to casual walks around the city to travel photography across the globe.
5 reasons why you need a 24-70mm lens: final words
Now that you’ve learned why the 24-70mm lens is amazing for most photographers, it’s time to ask yourself:
Is this the right lens for me?
If you’re looking for a do-anything lens that’s relatively light, very well built, and offers impressive close focusing, then I highly recommend you go for it!
Now over to you:
Do you think you’ll buy a 24-70mm lens? What do you plan to use it for? Share your thoughts in the comments below!