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Thread: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

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    Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    Based on the current line up it seems that Nikon has two lenses that will work in the ultra wide zoom arena. The 14-24 and the 16-35. I have the 14-24 and so far have not been impressed with the corner sharpness at 14mm, 16mm, 18mm or 20mm. At 20mm and 24mm the corners seem OK. Early reviews on this lens stated that you should have corners sharp at F2.8 at 14mm. I have tried 3 examples of this lens and no way will it get sharp corners at F2.8, maybe F8 or F9. The corners at F2.8 are not only soft, they are really not useable and I see a good bit of smearing. The smearing is pretty consistent until about F4.5. Then I just see softness. I had expected to see better results based on past reviews and price point of this lens.

    I have not yet tried the 16-35, but it also gets very good reviews. It's not as fast as the 14-24, but if it hold more corner sharpness, I would definitely like to try it.

    I have read Jack's comments on the 20mm F2.8 and may also give it a try, it's much lighter and still gives a pretty good performance.

    Has anyone tried the Nikon 14mm F2.8? Past reviews of it say it's not very good until you get to F5.6 on the older Nikon bodies, so I am wondering how it will perform on the D800.

    Thanks
    Paul

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    If your having that much difficulty with the 14-24, you might want to send it in to Nikon to have it looked at. I have a friend who has a copy and also owns Ziess primes and he seems to think they are neck and neck with each other. I know that while the 16-35 is very capable, it does not match the performance of the 14-24.

    Why do you think so many canon users buy the Novaflex adaptor and run the 14-24....because it IS that good. You just might have a bumb copy.

    Roman

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    Based on the current line up it seems that Nikon has two lenses that will work in the ultra wide zoom arena. The 14-24 and the 16-35. I have the 14-24 and so far have not been impressed with the corner sharpness at 14mm, 16mm, 18mm or 20mm. At 20mm and 24mm the corners seem OK. Early reviews on this lens stated that you should have corners sharp at F2.8 at 14mm. I have tried 3 examples of this lens and no way will it get sharp corners at F2.8, maybe F8 or F9. The corners at F2.8 are not only soft, they are really not useable and I see a good bit of smearing. The smearing is pretty consistent until about F4.5. Then I just see softness. I had expected to see better results based on past reviews and price point of this lens.

    I have not yet tried the 16-35, but it also gets very good reviews. It's not as fast as the 14-24, but if it hold more corner sharpness, I would definitely like to try it.

    I have read Jack's comments on the 20mm F2.8 and may also give it a try, it's much lighter and still gives a pretty good performance.

    Has anyone tried the Nikon 14mm F2.8? Past reviews of it say it's not very good until you get to F5.6 on the older Nikon bodies, so I am wondering how it will perform on the D800.

    Thanks
    Paul

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    Thanks Roman,

    That is why I was wondering if others had tried this lens on the D800. So many Canon users seem to use it, and it gets such a general great review from most, I was pretty surprised by my results. However I did borrow a friends, and pretty much got the same results.

    Have others used this lens on the D800 and have you found the corners soft until around F8? or so.

    My local dealer has one other "new" one in another location and I am going to try it in a few days.

    Paul

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    Paul,

    These are some of my personal thoughts and observations with some of the wide angle lenses you mentioned

    For the most part I completely concur with Roman's assessment of the 14-24 f2.8. It's an exceptional wide angle zoom lens which more than holds it's own against the best single focal length lenses in it's range....and that includes it's performance into the corners even at f2.8. My comments are predicated on it's use on full frame Nikon DSLR's prior to the D800 as I haven't yet tested any samples on that body in any meaningful way, except for a few quick test shots. I have heard and read that side/corner performance of this lens on the D800 is to some degree reduced, some say markedly so as compared to its use on the D700/D3 etc.

    Unless I missed it in your first post, what body have you been trying the your 14-24 f2.8 lens samples on? A D800 or one of the other Nikon DSLR's? Since all the lens samples you tried seemed to have sub par performance into the corners, are you certain it wasn't the particular body you were using for 14-24 lens evaluation or do you test your lens samples on more than one body? Since we're dealing with an ultra wide angle lens (zoom), they might be more problematic on a full frame DSLR's who's sensor for whatever reason isn't correctly aligned/adjusted although I suspect that probably isn't the problem. If it's a D800 you're using, then your observations regarding corner performance with the 14-24 confirms what others are seeing.

    As for the 16-35mm f4 VR, thats a lens that evokes a wide range of opinions depending on different kinds of expectations and ones intended use. Sharpness wise, it's very good, even on the wide end, although as Roman mentioned, it's level of performance in my opinion (too) isn't quite up to the level of the 14-24, My gripe with the 16-35 f4 VR is it's excessive barrel distortion between 16mm and approx 20mm. Although for many subjects, especially those with straight lines and also for landscapes, it's easily correctable in post processing, I had some particular kinds of shoots using that lens and complex subjects in the frame at the wide end, and it was near impossible to properly remove the distortion without creating other serious issues with the images. Some well know Photoshop experts also tried unsuccessfully to correct. So for my particular use it was a no-go but for others, they are impressed with the lens.

    Again I cannot specifically say anything about the Nikon 14mm f2.8 performance on the D800 (yet), but on other full frame DSLR's it was a disappointment, again the sides and corners as well as the overall look of the image. This is especially in the light that I had always been impressed with this lens when used on prior occasions with APS DSLR's.

    The 20mm f2.8 is a nice little lens and a very competent performer, especially when stopped down a bit. I used one for years. It's "look" doesn't excite me as some other wide angle lenses do (microcontrast is just "good"), but it's small and reasonably compact and at a nice price point and goes about its job without fuss. That's probably one of the reasons it's stayed in the Nikon lens lineup for so long.

    Tokina has it's two relatively new wide angle zooms. Side corner performance with their 16-28mm f2.8 was a disappointment until stopped down to at least f5.6 and I haven't tried out their slower but newer 17-35mm f4 zoom

    Lastly I will be testing out Nikon's venerable 17-35mm f2.8 zoom on the D800 probably this week or next, but since side/corner performance at the wider end has always been an issue with this lens on the D700/D3s unless well stopped down, I see no reason why this would change on the D800...maybe even worse. Other than that, I like this lens for its combination of speed, size, range and relatively low(er) distortion when compared to many others. Images are of moderate contrast with this lens compared to the relatively more recent wide angle zooms lenses from Nikon, such as their 14-24 and 16-35.

    Lastly there are the Zeiss single focal length wide angles. The 21mm is superb, the 18mm quite good and not sure if the upcoming 15mm has been tested out by anyone yet.

    I would do two things if you're going to test out that other 14-24mm f2.8. Do so on a different body than the one you have been using and if by chance you have been testing all these 14-24mm on a D800, then that in itself might explain some of your observations with this lens.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 9th May 2012 at 07:44.
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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    Dave,

    Thanks for the feedback.
    I was able to try 2 different D800's, and really both produced similar results with the lenses.

    Looking at Lloyd Chambers reviews of the 14-24 and other Nikon Wides, his results with the D3x a 24mp are similar to mine. Especially his shot in the white mountains.

    Don't get me wrong, the 14-24 at 14mm and F8 on my D800 is stellar, corner to corner sharp, I just have read too many reviews where everyone states that this lens holds to the corners at F2.8. And so far I can't find one that come close on a D800. Since one of my main needs was a ultra wide for night work, I had hoped that the 14-24 would do OK at F2.8 to F 4.0, but the sharpness falloff is very extreme.

    I am thinking more about the 16-35, even though it's not as fast. The distortion at 16mm won't be that bad for me in the outdoor landscapes I shoot, I realize as you point out that with straight lines it can produce problematic results.

    Paul

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    Dave,

    Thanks for the feedback.
    I was able to try 2 different D800's, and really both produced similar results with the lenses.

    Looking at Lloyd Chambers reviews of the 14-24 and other Nikon Wides, his results with the D3x a 24mp are similar to mine. Especially his shot in the white mountains.

    Don't get me wrong, the 14-24 at 14mm and F8 on my D800 is stellar, corner to corner sharp, I just have read too many reviews where everyone states that this lens holds to the corners at F2.8. And so far I can't find one that come close on a D800. Since one of my main needs was a ultra wide for night work, I had hoped that the 14-24 would do OK at F2.8 to F 4.0, but the sharpness falloff is very extreme.

    I am thinking more about the 16-35, even though it's not as fast. The distortion at 16mm won't be that bad for me in the outdoor landscapes I shoot, I realize as you point out that with straight lines it can produce problematic results.

    Paul
    Hi Paul,

    You're welcome. A few additional thoughts and comments. Even with straight lines, the excessive distortion seen on the 16-35 at the wide end, can be easily corrected. It was with certain types of subjects in surrrounding that had complex structures, that correction for all intent and purposes was not do-able...especially with the large number of unique files that had to be worked on. How the sides/corners are with this lens specifically on the D800, I cannot say. I'll leave that for others who have tested and used this lens on that body.

    As for the 14-24mm f2.8, what you are seeing with its use on the D800 when shot at f2.8 or f4, is what quite a few others have observed, so although there might be one sample better than another, consistancy regarding different samples of this lens is quite good from what I have observed in testing a number of them out on the D700/D3s.

    When you mentioned many are stating that the 14-24 lens holds into the corners at f2.8, are they specifically relating to it's use on the D800 body or simply it's use on other Nikon full frame DSLRs? This is an important consideration!

    Lastly when trying out the 14-24 on the D800, did you fine tune adjust the AF? This is quite important to do with any sample of lens used on that body, even a ultra wide angle zoom. Although I'm not saying your findings will be significantly different, I would definitely perform this task with any lens sample first, before an evaluation of performance.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    Hey Paul, my 14-24 is soft in the corners with both the 800 and 800E - that is when I shoot pinpoint stars wide open (I don't use the cameras or the lens for anything else). There is a lot of coma there as well - tiny angels all over the place! Same thing with other 14-24 copies and on other Nikons, like the d700 and d3s. I don't think everyone is looking at pinpoint stars with this lens when they say "corner to corner sharpness" wide open - that is the most critical subject I can think of for a lens like this. I'm hoping the new Zeiss 15 will look better in the corners, although I've not seen anyone test it this way with pinpoint stars so probably won't know for sure until I get to use one myself...

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    Tim:

    Thanks for the feedback. I had hoped to see better results. I have not tried the 14-24 out at night yet but hopefully will next moon phase. I agree the Zeiss 15mm may be the solution but I will have to wait on that one a while.

    I am wondering how well the 20mm F2.8 will do. I hope to borrow a copy in the next few days.

    Paul

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    Just a brief comment. When the 14-24 f2.8 is used on the D3s or more importantly on the D3x (prior to the D800 being announced) for landscape use...the lens is generally stopped down to at least f8. At that aperture, (and for landscapes) the lens aquants itself faily nicely. This and possibly at f5.6 is where this lens gets many of its well deserved accolades. Generally (although not always), zooms don't often fair well for pinpoint star tests, especially when used wide open....so I'm not sureprised to see coma and subpar performance on the sides and corners with this lens, even when shot on say the D700 or D3s. even the excellent lenses have inherant strengths and weaknesses and choosing a lens based on the primary intended use is an important consideration.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    Dave,

    From the daylight tests I have made, I would have to totally agree. The 14-24 seems to really shine from F5.6 to even F11 @14mm. I just read too many reviews where everyone stated it was excellent even at F2.8. Ken Rockwell, Lloyd Chambers, both seem to rate the lens very high wide open.

    Not having shot Nikon for 11 years, I have a long learning curve ahead of me.

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    Yes Dave, I know all that - I was commenting on all the reports about this lens having "corner to corner sharpness" at f2.8 - I've never seen it on any of my copies or cameras, and always have to laugh when I read that. As for f8 - heck, I can make just about any lens look pretty good there, but you can't do pinpoint stars with the landscape (easy to do with motor mount and stars only of course, but not with the landscape), at least not yet. Hoping the Zeiss takes care of some of these issues for us star gazers...

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    Lastly I will be testing out Nikon's venerable 17-35mm f2.8 zoom on the D800 probably this week or next, but since side/corner performance at the wider end has always been an issue with this lens on the D700/D3s unless well stopped down, I see no reason why this would change on the D800...maybe even worse. Other than that, I like this lens for its combination of speed, size, range and relatively low(er) distortion when compared to many others. Images are of moderate contrast with this lens compared to the relatively more recent wide angle zooms lenses from Nikon, such as their 14-24 and 16-35.
    This is actually the one that would interest me most as a potentiall D800/e buyer given how much opinions seem to vary.

    If for example results match the photozone review it would be close to my ideal UWA personally, sharp in the center wide open for action shots and sharp stopped down for landscapes.

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    I had the 14-24 on the D800 . I actually thought the performance was really good but it was not exceptionally good. Also reports of focus shift with this lens which kind of turned me off. I sold it bought the 24 1.4 instead because of the speed and look of the lens. So this left me wondering what next and right now I'm squarely looking at the Zeiss 18mm . To answer Paul I did not get corners until about F8 either on the 14-24. As far as the 16-35 I read so many varying opinions on it and really bad distortion at 16mm that it turns me off even if I believe 25 percent of what is written about it than enough for me to not get one.

    This is why I still have my phase back and a 28 roadie and until Nikon comes out with a 17TS lens of great quality I will just hang on here with my tech kit. I like shooting it anyway but the wide angles still need a little work. The 24 1.4 is really nice but corners at 5.6 are best.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    The Zeiss 15 is supposed to be very good. Not great reports on the Nikon 14mm but would like to try it at least. Paul I would be looking at the Zeiss 21 as your not going to get better in either zeiss or Nikon. Having the 24 Nikon it's too close for me but the 18mm is what I want for the next focal length.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    I have been thinking of actually two lens kits one of Zeiss for landscape work and one AF kit for commerce work. Yes that puts me in the category of one sick lens whore bastard but hey I can take it. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    The Zeiss 15 is supposed to be very good. Not great reports on the Nikon 14mm but would like to try it at least. Paul I would be looking at the Zeiss 21 as your not going to get better in either zeiss or Nikon. Having the 24 Nikon it's too close for me but the 18mm is what I want for the next focal length.
    The Zeiss 15mm is the one I'm really looking forward to trying on the D800. Zeiss's history on making 15mm's goes way back (and at one time worked with Pentax on developing one for 35mm SLR photography). The Zeiss 18mm as discussed previously is a very good lens and I used it for some time (haven't tested on a D800 yet), but not quite in the same league as the Zeiss 21.

    Guy you hit the nail on the head regarding the venerable Nikon 14mm f2.8. It's showing it's age and on most DSLR's of recent vintage, sharpness away from the central part of the frame is really lacking. It was in my bag for the longest time in the early years. Too bad, physically it's a nice compact design. Rumors have been circulating for years of an update for this lens and in my opinion it's badly needed. The old Nikon 18mm f2.8 AF-D was also plagued with optical issues, so not sure why Nikon isn't focusing on updating it's single focal length ultrawides. Seems ever since they developed and released the 14-24mm and subsequently the 16-35, all else in that focal length region has stagnated with regards to Nikon.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 3rd June 2012 at 06:57.

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I have been thinking of actually two lens kits one of Zeiss for landscape work and one AF kit for commerce work. Yes that puts me in the category of one sick lens whore bastard but hey I can take it. LOL
    LOL, I too used to set aside different lenses for different purpose kits, but I've been cured of that addiction, or so I'd like to convince myself that I am . Of course it takes but a single occurrence of mounting a lens I'm smitten with, and I can easily fall off the wagon. That's why they have LBA* for guys like us

    *LBA (Lens Buying Anonymous)

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    I rented the 16-35/4 VR from lensreatals.com
    At 5.6/F8 I thought the lens was a dog on my D800 at all mm.
    I tried it at 16,20,24,28 and 35mm at F5.6 and F8
    Focus done LV for landscape infinity.
    Corners were all soft.
    I also tried the 20/2.8 AFD which was better then the zoom but still not that good at all in the corners.
    I did end up purchasing an old Nikon 28/2.8 AIS manual focus lens, it actually works pretty good for the money, not perfect.
    I am testing the new 28/1,8G right now and this is not a bad lens for the money, better then my cheap 28/2.8 AIS lens, I ordered one, will probably take forever to get just like my D800/E from amazon which I still have not received.

    I also tried the 24/2.8 AFD, same not that good in the corners at F5.6/8

    Oh well getting back to the 16-35/4 I thought it would perform better, looking at the results that Roger got at Lensrentals, I had higher hopes, even set at 24mm where he tested the lens, but when shooting at or near infinity, no go, very soft. Not a good landscape lens INHO,

    So for me , my current lineup is:
    D800
    Nikon 28/2/8 AIS
    Zeiss 35/2
    Zeiss 50/2

    Voigtlander 90/3.5 excellent lens very sharp across the whole frame, unfortunately I broke mine when trying to unscrew a polarizer filter, the lens actually unscrewed itself into 2 pieces so I had to send it in to Stephen at Camera Quest. Total bummer. BTW. I know the Zeiss 100/2 is the lens to have but I did not want to spend 1800 for it, and I find the voigtlander very close for a third of the price.

    Nikon 135/2.8 AIS
    Nikon 200/4 macro, very sharp. No way could I afford the 200/2 VR like Guy has....

    Steven
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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    Btw not that I like telling prices but I did get my 200 f2 at KEH for 3650.00 which I thought was pretty good it is the version 1 model in excellent condition the hood though is slightly warped but not using it anyway. I'm going to get the aqua tech wrapped lens hood for it. Nikons are stupid big and bulky. If I used the Nikon hood I would certainly be leaving it in the car, home and not on me. This way it's a little more svelte .
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Ultra wide zoom selection questions 14-24 or 16-35

    Wow,
    That is a good deal Guy, oh well I am happy with my 200/4.....
    BTW. When I was shooting my 300/2.8 VR1 lens 2 years ago, I also used the aqua tech hood.
    The only way to go.....
    Steven Kornreich
    www.kuau.com

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