I dont usually use the "normal" zoom range. I have the 18-200vr and its nice for most situations. However, I have been getting involved with a few low light events(chess tournament) and stage shows. and that 18-200 just lacks a bit. although the 24-70 f2.8 would be great for these situations I just don't shoot enough to justify the spend. To help out that situation I got several old lenses. the first is the 50mm f1.4 ais. Really nice for the chess tournaments but because its so dark and the focus at 1.4 is so critical its been tough. The DSLR screens dont really help with manual focus. Also the old Ais lens flares a lot compared to the nice new DX lenses I have. So its been a really fun learning experience. I am getting a Katz Eye focusing screen (should arrive in the next day or so, YAY!) Should help with using this old 50mm in spite of all that. I really really like the images from the 50mm ais. the Bokeh is so so wonderful! the colours are so nice. the F1.4 is just lovely in low light situations. but No Zoom.
Which brings me to the second lens. My 35-70 f2.8 AFD nikkor. I originally bought this for use with my old F601 film camera. But, I am using it much more on my dx DSLR now. As with all older lenses it flares much more than the modern coated dx lens. But I bought a lens hood for it and it helps a lot. What can I say. This is a superb lens on dx for portrait and stage! Just wonderful. Bokeh is not as good as the 50mm ais but heaps better than the DX kit lenses. for the functions I use it for (stage and portrait) I dont find anything lacking in it. The 35mm short end is wide enough, it is === 52mm on fx which is what people used to shoot at for everything in film days! and the range to 70mm (105) is just about perfect for anything portrait!. AF works nicely. and its sharp!. did I say its sharp? it is sharp! I saw a review that says its sharper than the 28-70 nikkor. I dont know if that is true. maybe in some circumstances. but it is really sharp. at 35mm for FX film its sharp from edge to edge. I plan to use it more for landscape with my film camera.
After the initial flurry with the 50mm and the 35-70. I still use the 18-200 as my main lens. But these 2 lenses are always close by. I used to use the 18-200 more than 95% of the time( I have the 12-24 as well and the 18-70kit). Now its about 60% with the 35-70 being used about 30%. I expect the 50 mm to get more of a go once I get the focusing screen installed.
I think for DX the 24-70 would be wonderful to have. Maybe one day when the price drops,( 10 years time? ) I will replace the 35-70 with that lens. I have been thinking about the 28-75 tamron as a replacement for the 35-70. However I think I will need to do some real hands on testing with the lens to see if the benefits
* slightly wider
* slightly longer
* better flare control
* closer focus without the funny macro mode. zoom ( The 37-70 reverse zooms, it gets longer going from 70 to 35mm, yeah weird.)
really out weighs the super sharp 35mm end and lovely bokeh and overall sharpness and small size and weight.