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Author Topic: nikon wide-angle lenses  (Read 1380 times)
wolfbellw.
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« on: June 16, 2013, 05:35:31 AM »
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a few months ago i gave up medium format (phase camera/leaf back) and bought a nikon 800e, a step i did not regret so far.
i chose carefully the right lenses and overall i'm quite happy, quite enthusiastic regarding the sigma 35mm by the way - a phantastic lens.
out of three samples at my dealer i chose a nikon pc-e 24mm lens. i was convinced that i need this shift lens even though i was'nt overhelmed by its quality. in the meantime i found out that it was a mistake to spend a lot of money for a mediocre lens. it is just not up to the quality of the sensor, i hardly used it and i will return it the next days.
now i have the problem to find an alternative for this lens. i need it for architectural work. it seems that there is not that much choice in the range between 20 and 24 mm. there are a lot of good comments on the af-s 14-24mm, some say its better than the af-s 24mm/1.4. has anybody used it on a d800? how is the corner sharpness? (not that important wide open, i use it stopped down anyway) or can anybody recommend an alternative?
thanx for advices.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 04:16:32 PM by Chris Sanderson » Logged
JohnBrew
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« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2013, 07:12:17 AM »
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Not sure where you are located, but trying out lenses through LensRentals is a good way to find out which lens will suit you. Personally, I settled on a Zeiss 21 on my
D800 for WA.
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Dan Berg
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« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2013, 07:28:22 AM »
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+1 for Zeiss 21
I have the Nikon 14-24 for my D800E but like John almost always use the exceptional Zeiss 21.
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wolfbellw.
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« Reply #3 on: June 16, 2013, 09:47:39 AM »
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interesting! thanx for the reply.
but do you think the often mentioned distortion of the zeiss makes it usable for architecture?
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Philip Weber
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« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2013, 01:15:39 PM »
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I am not shooting architecture but the 14-24 is a stellar lens by all accounts and it has been a great performer in nearly every respect on my D800. I say nearly as there is some distortion at the wide end and flare can sometimes be an issue but I've found these easily correctable in post-processing.

As I am primarily a landscape photographer, the 14-24 is a bit of a specialty lens rather than everyday glass (like my Nikkor 24-70) but when I want it, there's nothing else that will do...having said that...I'm looking forward to trying a copy of Nikon's 16-35 VRII, when they're finally back in stock. I've found there are times when I'd like to go wider that 24mm and be able to use a filter and this lens is the same 77mm as my other lenses. There are now filter solutions for the 14-24 but they just don't appeal to me. If all one is doing is architecture, then filters probably aren't important anyway. While a stop slower, the 16-35's VRII should more than make up for it if hand held shooting is needed although lens tests show it doesn't match the corner sharpness of the 14-24, which isn't surprising. If one can afford it, it's nice to have just the right tool for all the jobs one comes across!

I agree that renting is preferable before spending 2k for a lens but if that's not an option, there are many discussions in the LuLa forums (and all over the net) about the 14-24mm, so researching it is easy. I've had mine for several years and for me, it's an outstanding optic and one I've used with pleasure.

I hope this is helpful,
Phil
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JohnBrew
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« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2013, 03:57:51 PM »
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The Zeiss might not be the best for architecture but is perfectly corrected in ACR. IMO, the 24 PCE is pretty good when used for taking care of converging verticals by using the rise function, but pretty bad in the corners and awful for stitching, but  you need to do your own testing (through renting or borrowing) for your needs. I do know there is sample variation in all these lenses which have been mentioned. B&H has a fairly liberal return policy if you want to go that direction. I have not used the 14-24 or 24 so can't comment. There are many tests on the internet so you might do a search.
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Chris Sanderson
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« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2013, 04:17:49 PM »
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I have edited the OP thread title to leave the angels in peace - it might have confused new registrants
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Christopher Sanderson
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wolfbellw.
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« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2013, 04:21:09 PM »
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i read a lot of good stuff about the zeiss and if its really well corrected in acr it might be an option.
there is a lot of comments regarding the nikon 14-24 in the net, but as usual opinions vary quite a bit, and often its tested on
lower mp cameras. so its pretty hard to come to a conclusion. what i know by my own experience, after testing 3 different versions, the nikon pc is pretty horrible at the edges. the worst and most expensive lens at the same time in my collection.
thanx to all for the advices
and by the way  - not everybody lives in the us  Wink
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2013, 08:17:13 PM »
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there are a lot of good comments on the af-s 14-24mm, some say its better than the af-s 24mm/1.4. has anybody used it on a d800? how is the corner sharpness? (not that important wide open, i use it stopped down anyway) or can anybody recommend an alternative?

I find my copy of the 24mm f1.4 to be outstanding on the D800, superior in my view to the 14-24 at 24mm.

Not only is the 24mm f1.4 sharper, but the oof areas have a very special quality to them. It is a very sweet lens.

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
BobDavid
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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2013, 08:37:14 PM »
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I use the 14-24mm with a d800 in the studio and in the field. It is an exceptional lens. The tiny bit of CA and barrel distortion are easily corrected in ACR. The auto focus is lightning fast. I hear a lot of people groan about the bulbous front element, inability to use screw-on filters, and the heft of the lens. To each his/her own. It's one of the coolest lenses I've owned over the past 40 years. It is sharp, even at f/2.8. It's easy to use hand-held-- especially with the virtual horizon feature in the d800. I mostly use it at between 14-18mm. I got mine used and in perfect condition from B&H for around $1600. If you are looking for an ultra wide zoom lens, this is the crown jewel.
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Rob C
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« Reply #10 on: June 17, 2013, 03:09:39 AM »
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I have edited the OP thread title to leave the angels in peace - it might have confused new registrants


Very wise decision Chris; you never know when or where lightning might strike next!

;-)

Rob C
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NashvilleMike
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« Reply #11 on: June 17, 2013, 10:43:33 PM »
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For what it's worth, a few months ago I finally completed my own personal evaluation of several wide angles for use on my D800E. Evaluated were the 14-24/2.8, 24/1.4G, 35/1.4G, 28/1.8G Nikons, at the time I personally owned these, and I had some short term evaluation experience with the Sigma 35/1.4, Zeiss 21/2.8, Zeiss 28/2 and Zeiss 35/2 lenses. To cut to the chase, after that period of evaluation, my current wide angles are:

The 14-24/2.8G: Used for focal lengths between 14-18mm. At 21mm the Zeiss 21/2.8 is strong competition, although some scenes might be better rendered by the Nikon (I'm thinking scenes with a lot of water and cool tones). Overall though, after shooting both, I'd say the Zeiss 21 is my preferred lens at this focal length. I will say this: the 14-24, as good as it is, is a VERY cool rendering lens that has a distinctly whitish coloration to the highlights that the Zeiss 21 and other top level Nikons do not have. At 24mm, there are slightly better options, namely the 24/1.4G. The 14-24 is definitely a legendary lens, but on a D800E, it is not as perfect as perhaps some make it out to be. At the end of the day I think of it more as a set of ultra wide primes (14/15/18) than anything else. I'd rank it as "very good" at 24mm whereas I'd rank the 24/1.4G as "excellent" if that helps.

The Zeiss 21/2.8: No, it's not perfect; it has some cyan color shading in the corners, some distortion, and in some situations the forward corners of the 14-24 might "win". However, simply put, the Zeiss 21/2.8 has magic. It is one of my very favorite wide angles lenses, without question. The more shoot with this lens, the more I don't shoot with my other wides, which is really all there is to that.  While not quite as flare resistant as, say, the 24/1.4G or 28/1.4G, I do feel the T* coating is about the best there is in terms of color neutrality and consistency from shadows to highlights, and the thing is just sharp as bloody hell with real life subjects. It does seem to be biased somewhat to really excel with compositions that have a predominant central subject; it's in these compositions that the famous Zeiss "3D" look is obvious. Strongly, strongly, strongly recommended for D800E shooters.

The Nikon 24/1.4G: Again, not perfect (no wide angle is.) Takes F/6.3 - F/7.1 to get corner and edge sharpness where you'd like, but this lens has everything that I find positive about the modern Nikon "G" nano-coated lenses: tremendous contrast, strong, pure colors, nice OOF rendition, and a strong, bold rendering with a lot of clarity. This and the Zeiss 21/2.8 are my favorite wide angles on a D800E. I feel it is better than the 14-24 at 24mm, particularly for distant subjects. (The 14-24 seems to shine more at closer range subjects on the D800E at 24mm while the 24/1.4G is fairly even in terms of performance across all distances)

The Nikon 28/1.8G: This one was a surprise. Derided by many for its strong (and it is strong) field curvature, I have found that if one is willing to experiment and understand its tendencies (field curvature and some focus shift), it is capable of astoundingly good results. Its microcontrast gets closer to the Zeiss ideal than any other Nikon wide, it's professionally sharp, and has excellent contrast. It also is about as flare resistant a wide angle as I've ever found - surpassing (easily) the Zeiss 28/2 or Sigma 35/1.4 in this regard. Head to head tests with the Zeiss 28/2 left me preferring the Nikon, mostly for better edge performance at distance. A lens I did not expect to like, that I do, although I am aware of its many, many quirks. I didn't expect to be a buyer of this lens, yet after time spent with it, I was. I will note it is built like crap. Absolute amateur plastic crap. However, when it is in "the zone" and the field curvature figured out and such, one can see hints of absolute brilliance. It makes me wonder what would have happened if Nikon had NOT put a budget/price constraint upon the designer - if this lens had been made in Japan under more typical high end Nikon standards and been designed without as much field curvature, this could have been something mind blowing. As it stands, it still is quite good, but perhaps a lens that must be "learned" to get around the quirks of performance.

The Sigma 35/1.4: Sharp sharp and sharp. Most importantly, unlike the Nikon 35/1.4G, it is professionally sharp at landscape apertures and landscape distances at the edges on the D800E, something the 35/1.4G just didn't quite achieve. Rendering is quite different from the Nikon G lenses, more "clean and crisp" as opposed to "bold and strong". It's not perfect - overall contrast is not quite as good as the best Nikon or Zeiss designs and flare resistance is good but nowhere like the best lenses, but it's stupid sharp, and that's what I need a 35mm landscape lens to be. I preferred the Sigma over the Zeiss 35/2 and Nikon 35/1.4G, the latter which was soon sold.

-m
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NancyP
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« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2013, 11:21:03 AM »
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I am a Canon shooter, but I will chip in: Zeiss Distagon 21mm ZE is a gorgeous lens, and the Nikon version must be amazing on an 800e body. I stumbled upon an attractively priced used example at my local dealer, and I made an impulse purchase for the first time (it normally takes me months of researching to buy a major camera or expensive lens). In love at first click and LR view! I had gone in to inspect and buy the 6D body, which now hosts the Zeiss and the Sigma 35mm f/1.4, also a beautiful lens.
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Chris Kern
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« Reply #13 on: June 18, 2013, 04:43:49 PM »
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i need it for architectural work. it seems that there is not that much choice in the range between 20 and 24 mm.

I've been quite happy with both interiors and exteriors that I've shot with a D800E and the Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED.  (That's the new 18-35, not the older version.)  The barrel distortion, which is fairly pronounced at the wide end, is regular and not too difficult to deal with if you're able to spend some time on each image in post.

My sample has excellent edge acuity—it's not disappointing even on a D800E, especially if you can stop down a bit—and I'm satisfied with the colors and contrast, although there is noticeable but mostly correctable fringing. Vignetting is within what I consider an acceptable range for a wide zoom and I haven't experienced any problems with flare when shooting with the supplied hood.
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