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Thread: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

  1. #1
    Member NotXorc's Avatar
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    Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    Requirements:
    Focal length between 20-35mm. Will initially be used on a consumer DX body, but should cover FX. Compact size/weight preferred. Maximum aperture no slower than f/2.8. Electronic aperture control required. Manual focus prime with high build quality preferred, but will accept AF if the optics are good. Will be used for everything from unhurried reportage to landscape and the occasional portrait. Budget: less than US $700.

    Is this set of requirements… too ambitious for the cost?
    Cheers!

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    rayyan's Avatar
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    Re: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    ZF 35mm f/2 V1. Used, in good condition. Or new

  3. #3
    Member NotXorc's Avatar
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    Re: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    Good suggestion. I didn't realize a used ZF could be had at this price point.

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    Re: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    Bang for the buck I liked the Nikkor 35 f/2 (current model). Get the Zeiss first but this little Nikkor was fun when I had it.

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    Re: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    Some claim the Nikkor 35/1.8 DX works with FX - and IQ decent - it does meet your criterion of "Electronic aperture control required." You could try one at a dealer's. You'd have a lot left of your $700 too

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    Re: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    Quote Originally Posted by Shac View Post
    Some claim the Nikkor 35/1.8 DX works with FX
    Only works on DX in a cropped sensor mode so you loose a lot of sensor resolution. It also becomes a 52mm equivalent lens. It also doesn't act as a proper manual focus lens with cameras that don't have a switch for manual focus.

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    Re: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffwros View Post
    Bang for the buck I liked the Nikkor 35 f/2 (current model). Get the Zeiss first but this little Nikkor was fun when I had it.
    +1 on the Nikon 35 f/2 AF/AFD. AF and MF, aperture control, f/2. 52mm equivalent FOV on DX. It's what I use on my D700 and my D50 as well.

    Another option is a 28mm lens, equivalent to about a 42mm FOV on DX. You can get either the Nikon f2.8 AF/AFD or the Sigma f/1.8. There's an older Sigma 28mm f/1.8 AF, but watch out for AF errors (ran into one with serious backfocus). I use both as well.

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    Member NotXorc's Avatar
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    Re: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    Quote Originally Posted by bowlachili View Post
    You can get either the Nikon f2.8 AF/AFD or the Sigma f/1.8.
    Thanks, Bowlachili.

    After evaluating the post-tax-season finances, I may be able to spring for a more expensive wide-angle lens. I very much like the idea of a wide-normal on DX; 28mm would be just the ticket. It will be my 2nd F-mount lens. My first is a Voigtländer Nokton (58/1.4, 87mm equiv.).

    How would the Nikkor 28/2.8 compare to the Zeiss 28/2? The Zeiss lens is more than twice the cost of the Nikon. I have thoroughly enjoyed the Cosina/Voigtländer lens that I have now. One review in favor of the Zeiss is here. Rockwell is certainly complimentary of the Nikon. I am pretty sure I can live with the vignetting and the field curvature of the Zeiss.

    Just today, I pulled out an old Minolta XD-11 and mounted a Promaster 28/2.8 purchased while in college. I could see the veiling flare through the viewfinder, even when the sun was only glancing the front element.

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    Member NotXorc's Avatar
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    Re: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterB666 View Post
    Only works on DX in a cropped sensor mode so you loose a lot of sensor resolution. It also becomes a 52mm equivalent lens. It also doesn't act as a proper manual focus lens with cameras that don't have a switch for manual focus.
    Thanks to PeterB666 and Shac for their comments. The 35/1.8 does look like a real bargain, but the more I've thought about it (doh!), the more attractive a wider focal length becomes.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    Quote Originally Posted by NotXorc View Post
    How would the Nikkor 28/2.8 compare to the Zeiss 28/2? The Zeiss lens is more than twice the cost of the Nikon. I have thoroughly enjoyed the Cosina/Voigtländer lens that I have now. One review in favor of the Zeiss is here. Rockwell is certainly complimentary of the Nikon. I am pretty sure I can live with the vignetting and the field curvature of the Zeiss.
    The Zeiss vs Nikon 28/2.8 AF is like bringing a knife along to a gun fight. That particular AF Nikon lens isn't a great performer overall. The lens KR refers to is the AIS which is a different lens entirely.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

  11. #11
    Member NotXorc's Avatar
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    Talking Re: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    The Zeiss vs Nikon 28/2.8 AF is like bringing a knife along to a gun fight. That particular AF Nikon lens isn't a great performer overall. The lens KR refers to is the AIS which is a different lens entirely.
    My mistake – clearly the AF is not too strong optically. How about the AIS vs the Zeiss? I can only hope that is a fairer fight. :-)

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    Most important decision is to get the FOV you need for the type of photography you enjoy. For example street shooting ..I favor a 28mm FOV . Lots of examples where other prefer 35mm. If you shoot in dense city locations like in Europe you go wider verse say Florida where shooting anything wider than 28mm is rare. If you shoot a lot indoors go wider.

    Next decide on how fast the lens needs to be . I don t want anything slower than F 2 because you loose too much DR when you push the ISO up.

    Since you are comparing Zeiss to Nikon ...don t consider anything older than 2005 design. For Dx you could do a lot worse than the 28/2 ZF ..this is set up as a reportage lens so if you are thinking landscape pick again. This is a 37mm FOV. I used this lens on a D700 for my 2nd body in a wedding and it was brilliant .

    The 35 1.8 Nikkor is the bargain Dx lens. Really an excellent lens ...set a Dx body up for fill flash on a D7000 and you have a can t miss set up. This is the party set up . When the moment trumps the quality objective...this is superb.

    Wide angle on Dx bodies is difficult because of the 1.5x on FOV. If you had a fx body you would have great 35mm options in the zeiss or Nikon lines. The new 1.4 uber expensive lens are the new standards for Dslr .

    But everything hinges on what you tend to shoot. And of course the budget.

  13. #13
    Member NotXorc's Avatar
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    Re: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    For Dx you could do a lot worse than the 28/2 ZF ..this is set up as a reportage lens so if you are thinking landscape pick again. This is a 37mm FOV. I used this lens on a D700 for my 2nd body in a wedding and it was brilliant.
    Minor correction. The 28/2 would be a 42 mm equivalent on DX. Perhaps you were referring to the 25/2.8 which would be a 37.5 mm equivalent?

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    But everything hinges on what you tend to shoot. And of course the budget.
    That is very critical.
    I like to shoot organic/natural patterns in the landscape. Eliot Porter's photographs in the book 'Nature's Chaos' have been a real inspiration. I also enjoy lowlight 'fairground' photography. Here in the central Florida suburbs, there is not much in the way of street photography available, but when the fairs come to town, so do the crowds.

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    Workshop Member glenerrolrd's Avatar
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    Re: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    Right about a 28 being a 42 which is really closer to a standard FOV.

    The two subjects you mention have very different requirements. Normally with landscapes you want very low distortion and strong edge to edge sharpness at medium to small apertures . Here a f2.8 or even f4 lens is fine.

    For street you need fast lenses to deal with changing light and to sometimes isolate the subject. FOV however is most important and 42 isn t wide enough (for me). A 28 FOV is best because it helps provide room for context around the person ..without creating much distortion. DX is tough especially with Nikon because they don t have much that's new in the 20-24mm range .

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    Member NotXorc's Avatar
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    Re: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    It sounds like at least one lens rental is in my future.

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    Re: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    Quote Originally Posted by NotXorc View Post
    Thanks, Bowlachili.
    You're welcome! Same decisions I've gone through. In the end, accepted that there is no such unicorn--small, fast, affordable, wide DX/FX prime.

    If you are considering a zoom, the 20-35mm f/2.8 Nikkor AF-D might fit the bill (30mm to 52mm FOV). Around $650 used last time I checked. Pro build, large but not obscenely huge (by modern AFS standards), 77mm filter. Works with FX fully. Another lens I have and use.

    Wouldn't it be nice if Nikon made a reasonably fast wide angle DX prime, such as a 18mm f/2 or so (equiv. to 27-28mm FOV)? Canon makes a 28mm f/1.8 (essentially the FX equivalent), so I can't imagine it an impossible task. That would make things a lot easier, and I bet it would sell briskly as well.

  17. #17
    Member NotXorc's Avatar
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    Re: Lens recommendation: Medium-wide angle

    Quote Originally Posted by bowlachili View Post
    In the end, I accepted that there is no such unicorn--small, fast, affordable, wide DX/FX prime.
    It seems there is not even a My Little Pony™ in Nikon mount. Thom Hogan has noted the absence of "Any DX wide angle prime" in his 'Waiting for Nikon' list. It's been MIA for nearly 3.5 years.
    Quote Originally Posted by bowlachili View Post
    Wouldn't it be nice if Nikon made a reasonably fast wide angle DX prime, such as a 18mm f/2 or so (equiv. to 27-28mm FOV)? Canon makes a 28mm f/1.8 (essentially the FX equivalent), so I can't imagine it an impossible task. That would make things a lot easier, and I bet it would sell briskly as well.
    You bet it would sell well.

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