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Thread: Wide dilemma

  1. #1
    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Wide dilemma

    Doing all my photography with the D810, I need to have access to quality lenses for my most commonly used focal lengths. My standard travel setup at the moment is 20/28/50/105mm, which works very well. I'm very happy with the 28/2.0 AiS and the 105/1.8 AiS, but the 20mm f/3.5 AiS simply isn't good enough.

    So I'm considering alternatives, and it would be interesting to hear from those who have experience with these lenses. The alternatives are:

    Nikkor 20mm f/1.8 AF-S
    The obvious alternative. Great reviews, large aperture, fast AF. But how is the build quality? How is it to focus manually? Apart from being sharp, how do the photos look?

    Tamron 15-30mm f/2.8
    Another obvious alternative. Image quality is said to be great, it covers three important focal lengths (15, 20 and 28mm) and it features image stabilisation. Unfortunately, it's also more or less as large and heavy as three primes, which means that not only doesn't it offer any weight savings to brag about, but when I use it, I will have all those three lenses mounted at the front of my cameras simultaneously.

    Zeiss 18mm f/3.5
    My current setup is mostly manual focus, something that I'm very happy with. The Zeiss 18mm seems to be a nice compromise with regards to price, size, weight and focal length. This is a lens to really lust for, or so it seems. The only disadvantage that I can see is the relatively narrow aperture. How is it to live with?

    Nikkor 20mm f/2.8 AiS
    This is the outsider. I've tried the AF version, but that was ten years ago on a DX camera. I know that it isn't perfect, but from what I read, it's better than my current 20mm, but how much better? The main attractions are small size and reasonable price. Oh... and it matches my other AiS lenses

    Any other alternatives to consider?

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    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Jorgen, I've got the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 AF-S and highly recommend it. Excellent build quality, but not as metallic and heavy as the Zeiss 21mm Distagon T* f/2.8, the so-called "gold standard" at that focal length.

    Here's a sample from the Nikon 20mm prime (I can provide a link to a full-sized JPEG if you're interested):



    Although you didn't mention it, the Nikon 14-24mm zoom is worthy of consideration. It's perhaps the best super-wide zoom available and does very well at the extremes. But not better than primes. And it doesn't easily take filters. And it's heavy and big. And...

    The other lens I'd recommend is the yet to be released Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art lens. I've got that lens on pre-order, but will keep the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 even if the Sigma proves to be as sharp. The Nikon is just that good.

    I'm selling a Zeiss 15mm Distagon T* for the same reason I sold the Zeiss 21mm - my difficulty in using manual focus and the 14-24mm zoom overlap in focal lengths.

    Joe
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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Colson View Post
    Jorgen, I've got the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 AF-S and highly recommend it. Excellent build quality, but not as metallic and heavy as the Zeiss 21mm Distagon T* f/2.8, the so-called "gold standard" at that focal length.

    Here's a sample from the Nikon 20mm prime (I can provide a link to a full-sized JPEG if you're interested):

    Although you didn't mention it, the Nikon 14-24mm zoom is worthy of consideration. It's perhaps the best super-wide zoom available and does very well at the extremes. But not better than primes. And it doesn't easily take filters. And it's heavy and big. And...

    The other lens I'd recommend is the yet to be released Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art lens. I've got that lens on pre-order, but will keep the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 even if the Sigma proves to be as sharp. The Nikon is just that good.

    I'm selling a Zeiss 15mm Distagon T* for the same reason I sold the Zeiss 21mm - my difficulty in using manual focus and the 14-24mm zoom overlap in focal lengths.

    Joe
    Sorry Joe,

    BUT I owned this lens and choosing it over a 24 prime is just ridiculous - it is what you said - heavy, big and I never could really get friend with IQ especially at the wide end in the edges .....

    So if you do not want (need) a WA zoom, any of the primes is doing a better job.

    Especially considering size and weight and IQ

    Just my 5c

    Peter

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    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Peter, I wasn't suggesting that the 14-24mm zoom (or the Zeiss 21mm Distagon) is preferable to either the 20mm f/1.8 or the Sigma 24mm Art. It's just another alternative to consider. Different strokes for different folks. My first choice would be the new Sigma 24mm Art, if Jorgen can wait that long.

    Joe
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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Colson View Post
    Peter, I wasn't suggesting that the 14-24mm zoom (or the Zeiss 21mm Distagon) is preferable to either the 20mm f/1.8 or the Sigma 24mm Art. It's just another alternative to consider. Different strokes for different folks. My first choice would be the new Sigma 24mm Art, if Jorgen can wait that long.

    Joe
    Joe,

    I would also wait for the Sigma to tell the truth.

    But coming back to the Nikkor 14-24 - I was really disappointed by that lens and I cannot understand all the glowing praise all over the internet. I even much preferred the Canon 2.8/16-35 which was in every aspect a much, Much, MUCH better lens - if not the best WA zoom available.

    But tastes are different I understand

    Peter

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    I gotta say i'm a little worried about these reviews. I just bought a used 14-24 and it's in the mail!

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    20's in Nikkor are tough. Perhaps my favorite 20 was the ZF 18. But my copy of the 17-35/2.8 while slightly poorer at the extreme corners at 17, was actually sharper in the central ⅔ of the frame compared to the Zeiss from wide open up. Then the fact it's pretty good all the way through the focal range, it has become my 17, 20, 24, and 35 of choice. (My 28 ASPH remains king of my 28 range )
    Jack
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Nikon 20mm f/1.8 AF-S ...
    High praise, Joe, for what seems a relatively inexpensive 20mm lens! The photo looks terrific.

    G

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    Senior Member Arne Hvaring's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Hi Jørgen,
    if you manage manual focus with such a wide lens (I am struggling), I'd suggest giving the 21 mm ZF2 Distagon a try. A great lens (indeed the gold standard in this FL as Joe points out), just beware som curvature of field (plane of focus moving towards the camera near the edges) that must be dealt with. But none of these lenses have a completely flat field I think. Otherwise it gives you outstanding sharpness, microcontrast and saturation in the best Zeiss tradition.
    Below a few shots with this lens under varying conditions.






  10. #10
    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    20's in Nikkor are tough. Perhaps my favorite 20 was the ZF 18. But my copy of the 17-35/2.8 while slightly poorer at the extreme corners at 17, was actually sharper in the central ⅔ of the frame compared to the Zeiss from wide open up. Then the fact it's pretty good all the way through the focal range, it has become my 17, 20, 24, and 35 of choice. (My 28 ASPH remains king of my 28 range )
    Jack, I agree that a good copy of the classic 17-35mm f/2.8 is hard to beat over its entire focal length range. I found over 3,000 photos in my LR catalog taken with that lens from 2002-10. It was my "go to" WA. That being said, I'd recommend you try the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 AF-S. It's a stunner.

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    Nikon 20mm f/1.8 AF-S ...
    High praise, Joe, for what seems a relatively inexpensive 20mm lens! The photo looks terrific.

    G
    Thanks Godfrey. Yes, the Nikon 20mm f/1.8 AF-S surprised me, and has received stellar reviews, too. One of my friends calls me the Czar of Sharpness, and this lens has my seal of approval.

    Joe
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    wait-

    let me post some images from the new tamron 15-30 tonight.

    I took some images from a passing storm that I will post tonight or tomorrow

    its a heavy beast tho............but has new technology no other lens has.

    lets see if that translates to good image

    the Zeiss 21 is real nice also

    you can read about the technology here:

    http://www.tamron-usa.com/lenses/pro...php#ad-image-0

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    I really liked the Zeiss 21/2.8 when I still had my Canon 5dIII.
    But if I imagine you want to carry that lens and the 50 ART and 1 or 2 other lenses you are close to medium format weight and bulk

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Thanks a bunch boys. I knew I could trust you to confuse me even more

    I have obviously considered the 14-24 as well, but the new Tamron is probably just as good with a more usable reach and at a lower price. Both are beasts though, and if I'm going to live with a lens with a large bulb, that would probably be the Zeiss 15mm (Yes, I've looked at your ad umpteen times, Joe) with its superb wide open performance. The "Dream Team" for me would be the Zeiss 15 and the Sigma 24 (or Zeiss 21), but that's $3-4,000. I'm not sure if I can afford that this side of Christmas.

    The Zeiss 21 has also been out of my equation so far because of price, maybe wrongly so. So the sensible (read: affordable) choices seem to be the Nikkor 20mm, which would fit straight into my current line-up, or the Sigma 24, which would mess it up completely, making my 28mm obsolete. Then I would need a 35mm also, right?

    Zeiss 15 or 18, Sigma 24 and Zeiss or Sigma 35? Then I could go for some cheapish Nikkor 55-60mm macro for the normal. Or simply go for Sigma 24 + 50 for now and reduce my lineup to three lenses until I can afford the Zeiss 15mm.

    A couple of words about why I'm sure I will buy the wide Zeiss sooner or later:
    From what I can see, this is a lens that really shines wide open, and since part of my work is industrial photography under very difficult lighting and space circumstances, this seems to be a very interesting lens. Also, it can take relatively "normal" filters, should it be needed.

    I do also prefer lenses of solid construction and with little or no electronics. My gear does get a lot of abuse, both while travelling and at the places I take photos. This is one reason why I'm a bit skeptical towards Sigma and Tamron. What happens to the lens if I drop it or crash it into some concrete column? The AiS lenses have no problems with that, and it's my impression that the Zeiss lenses would survive also.

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    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    ...if I'm going to live with a lens with a large bulb, that would probably be the Zeiss 15mm (Yes, I've looked at your ad umpteen times, Joe) with its superb wide open performance.
    I'd ship it to Pratamnak just for you.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    The Zeiss 21 has also been out of my equation so far because of price, maybe wrongly so. So the sensible (read: affordable) choices seem to be the Nikkor 20mm, which would fit straight into my current line-up, or the Sigma 24, which would mess it up completely, making my 28mm obsolete. Then I would need a 35mm also, right?

    Zeiss 15 or 18, Sigma 24 and Zeiss or Sigma 35? Then I could go for some cheapish Nikkor 55-60mm macro for the normal. Or simply go for Sigma 24 + 50 for now and reduce my lineup to three lenses until I can afford the Zeiss 15mm.
    Kit lineup idea:

    ● Nikon 20mm f/1.8 or Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art
    ● Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art
    ● Zeiss 100mm Makro Planar

    In my opinion, no need for a 35mm if you've got the 20mm or 24mm and are shooting a 36MP camera. With high MP camera sensors, cropping is "the new normal".

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    I do also prefer lenses of solid construction and with little or no electronics. My gear does get a lot of abuse, both while travelling and at the places I take photos. This is one reason why I'm a bit skeptical towards Sigma and Tamron. What happens to the lens if I drop it or crash it into some concrete column? The AiS lenses have no problems with that, and it's my impression that the Zeiss lenses would survive also.
    I was initially skeptical of the Sigma Art lenses as well. But Sigma has raised their game with the Art series and has produced lenses that are well constructed and have pro specifications. I can't answer your question about dropping or crashing these lenses (and I hope I don't suffer that experience), but I do understand your concern.

    Joe
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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    The Nikkor 20/1.8G is appealing, but then so is the yet to be released Sigma 24 ART. If I check my EXIFs, I use the 17-35 at 22 to 25 almost all of the time, and so the 24 seems like a morebetter idea for me
    Jack
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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Colson View Post
    I'd ship it to Pratamnak just for you.

    Kit lineup idea:

    ● Nikon 20mm f/1.8 or Sigma 24mm f/1.4 Art
    ● Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art
    ● Zeiss 100mm Makro Planar

    In my opinion, no need for a 35mm if you've got the 20mm or 24mm and are shooting a 36MP camera. With high MP camera sensors, cropping is "the new normal".

    Joe
    Looks like a sensible suggestion, except I won't change the 105mm for the Zeiss right now, since the old Nikkor is doing a good enough job as it is. Swapping it for an 85/135mm combo would be more interesting when the time comes.

    Whenever I come back from Australia, I'll ask the local post office if they accept 15mm packages

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Travel kit: 28 ASPH, 50 ART, 105 DC OR 70-200/4. The Samyang 14 get's left in the hotel room most of the time unless it's an old city -- it's amazing how often those extra few mm come in handy in tighter urban areas. In a pinch though, I'll grab a couple frame "stitch set" with the 28.

    Landscape kit: 17-35, 24 PC-E which is now soon to be a 24 ART, 50 ART, 85/1.4 OR 85 PC-E.
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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    I really liked the Zeiss 21/2.8 when I still had my Canon 5dIII.
    But if I imagine you want to carry that lens and the 50 ART and 1 or 2 other lenses you are close to medium format weight and bulk
    You have a point, and while I don't worry too much about the weight, the bulk of some of the AF lenses, particularly Sigma's Art Series, is a concern. This, in addition to my preference for manual focus for the time being, is an important reason for my fascination with the Zeiss and AiS lenses. They are simply smaller, although not always lighter.

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    Senior Member Arne Hvaring's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    I ordered the Nikkor 1,8/20mm in November, no show, still backordered here. In the meantime two things happened:
    1. I dug out my DG-2 loupe (harking back to my days with the F3) and adapted it to the D810. This has helped MF considerably, even with WA lenses, i.e. the ZF 21mm.
    2. The Sigma ART 1,4/24 mm was announced. I have the 35mm and the 50mm Sigmas already and the are excellent.
    Good as the Nikkor 21mm undoubtedly is, I will now probably cancel my order for it and wait for the Sigma 24. Hopefully it will be of the same caliber as the predecessors.

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    here is a shot with the Zeiss 18mm. It is a super lens.
    Dave in NJ

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Sorry, Here is the shot with the 18mm Zeiss.
    Dave
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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Hmmm... I'm leaning towards 15(or 18 if I can't afford 15)/24/50ish/105/(180)

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Jorgen,

    If you want 15, get the Samyang 14 instead. Cheap and optically excellent -- not the ZF, but really not very far off for like 1/8th the cost. Know too that the 14/15 focal is quite a bit wider than 18 in use, and actually a bit more difficult to use well.
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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Jack,
    I've considered the Samyang, and there's an excellent comparison of this, the Zeiss and the Nikkor 14-24 online:

    Ultrawide Comparison: Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 15 mm f/2.8 vs. Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 vs. Samyang 14mm f/2.8

    What bothers me after reading the review is that the Samyang seems to be pretty much useless wide open plus the Zeiss can take filters, expensive filters, but still. The build quality seems to be an unknown. However, it might work fine until I can afford the Zeiss, or ultimately find that I don't need it.

    I don't need this focal length very often, but interestingly, one of my most published photos the last couple of years was taken with the Panasonic 7-14mm @ 8mm, which is 16mm eqv. The cost of taking that photo, 3 days of travelling, airline tickets and other transportation, hotels etc., far exceeded the cost of any of these lenses. Later, the photo has been printed at 3 x 2 meters for use as background wall at 7 different trade shows plus being a part of all catalogues and brochures published in 10 different languages all over Asia.

    If only they had paid me what the photo is really worth
    I can dream, can't I

    Edit: Looking at the samples of that review again, the samples taken at f/5.6 actually show the corner of the Samyang to be sharper than those of the Zeiss. I'll order the Samyang when I return home (or see if I can find one where I am now) and see how it goes. Thank you for reminding me about this lens

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Well, my "testing" has been at the practical apertures of mostly f5.6 and sometimes 8 for the Samyang -- you aren't going to limit much DoF in a 14 My copy at least is surprisingly excellent even in the extreme corners, which frankly surprised me. But then so were Guy's and Bob's copy's when we compared them together, so my assumption is it's a very good lens overall. Build is not horrible, especially for a sub-$400 lens, and actually focus and aperture action is pretty smooth and without slop/backlash.

    One reason I carry it along most trips is because with 36MP we have some judicious crop room if we want to tighten it up to a 16 or even 18 FOV.
    Jack
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Jorgen Udvang View Post
    You have a point, and while I don't worry too much about the weight, the bulk of some of the AF lenses, particularly Sigma's Art Series, is a concern. This, in addition to my preference for manual focus for the time being, is an important reason for my fascination with the Zeiss and AiS lenses. They are simply smaller, although not always lighter.
    My solution when using the S that I usually do not carry more than 2-3 lenses. This forces you to think more in advance what you plan to shoot, and sometimes you miss a lens which is at home, but overall it works for me. Even though I admit sometimes the 24mm S (21mm equivalent) stays at home when I should have brought it.
    I now often carry 21 equivalent, 35 equivalent and one longer lens (either 100 or 180mm).
    With the M I often carry 21,35,50 and eventually 75.

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    Senior Member JohnBrew's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    The Zeiss 21 continues to astound me. I've had it for 3+ years now and wouldn't think of not taking it for landscape shooting. I do a lot of stitching with other lenses, but when the opportunity is there to capture what I want in a single shot there is no question that the Zeiss gets slapped on. And, yes, there is that odd distortion which appears when straight lines are in the image, but the lens correction in ACR is excellent.
    However, I am curious to see what Zeiss does for WA in the Otus lineup.

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Jorgen, I was wondering if you've considered shooting your 20mm AI-s as a 24mm equivalent in 1.2x crop mode on your D810? Something I'm thinking about at the moment is adding the Voigtlander 20mm f3.5 to use primarily as a 'street' lens on my D750. Most of the issues on full frame seem to be around softness and light fall-off at wider apertures at closer distances but this could be mitigated by shooting at 1.2x crop for a 24mm equivalent focal length, producing a 16mp file. On the D810 of course the file would have even greater size and flexibility. I already have and love the 28 and 40mm Voigtlander pancakes but zone focusing with the 20mm could turn up a few more keepers. I'd be interested to know if any of your issues with the 20mm AI-s might be addressed by cropping to 1.2x in camera, or is 24mm EFL not wide enough for you?

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    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    One reason I carry it along most trips is because with 36MP we have some judicious crop room if we want to tighten it up to a 16 or even 18 FOV.
    +1

    Gotta love "crop zoom" with 36MP.

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Everyone has a take on this, mine is the 14-24. I have tried many other solutions, and come back to it.

    Zeiss 21mm, hyperfocal distance is terrible to me until F11, or ever F14. It also not a good lens for night work as it has coma at the edges until around F6.3 and for stacking that's not wide enough. This lens also vignettes pretty harshly until around F5.6 or so. Wide open it's vignetting was problematic for me.

    Nikon 24mm 1.4, loved in daytime, hated it at night, has about the worst coma aberration I have ever seen, and stays that way until F3.5 or so.

    Nikon 20mm 1.8, still have it, and will continue to use it but it still can't compare to the 14-24 at 20mm. Period. The edges are rough on mine until F8 and the bokeh is mixed up looking to my eyes. Still it's filter friendly and light weight. It's also very very hard to manually focus as the tactual feel is strange.

    Rokinon 14mm, Don't count this out. It's a great lens for 300.00. Amazing that they can make such a lens at this price and have virtually no coma at F2.8. It's not of course filter friendly and so it's mainly a night lens for me.
    But it's also lightweight, a great carry lens, and a bitch to manually focus IMO. But it can be done. Way too much turning needed to get where you need to be.

    Zeiss 18mm, not as heavy as the 21mm, and very sharp. I carry it with all my night trips and most creek work since it's filter friendly. Vignettes very bad wide open, but will correct almost 100% in post. Manual focus is a dream, however it's hyperfocal distance at F8 is about 2x or 2.5x further than the 14-24.

    Nikon 14-24. Love it, amazing wide open to F11/F14 on the D800 family. Well past that on a 24MP sensor. Mine has an excellent hyper-focal distance at F3.5 of around 10 feet to infinity, which is much better than the Zeiss 21mm F2.8 Slight vignetting at F2.8 but nothing like other lenses.
    It's not filter friendly but the Lee 250 system work fine, but add a lot of cost. But I need filters in my work. I have a modified Lee 250 so I can use a CA Vision CL-PL glass filter in the front slot. If you use the Lee 250 system you really have to remember to use the black out plastic they give you as it's very easy to pick up backwards reflections which will ruin your corners.
    Flare is a killer on this lens and you really have to watch for it at all times. The flare from the lens is harsh, and next to impossible to correct. It will be a hard magenta curve opposite from the light source And the lens seems to reach behind at least at 14mm and grab the sun. At night the moon does the same thing, but creates a different but just as hard to clear up flare. It's well worth the cost of a flare buster if you use this lens.

    It's heavy, yes, but wonderful across the entire zoom range. I often stitch with this lens, but at 24mm mainly in the vertical. 14mm is going to create way too much distortion in a stitch even nodal and with the camera level.

    It's a dream to manually focus, I guess in part due to the huge focus ring.

    I will say it took 3 of them to find one that was this good. But I have owned this one since late 2011, and it's been a great lens. Not a lens I would want to travel with on a long trip however just due to the weight, unless I knew I was going to be shooting at night. This lens is a night photographer's dream, if you remember to watch for flare.

    Paul

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Great post, Paul. Thank you. You haven't tried the new Tamron yet, I gather.

    I'm currently on an assignment where I see the need for a WA zoom, so I'll probably end up with two WA lenses; a zoom for work and a prime for travel. The obvious zoom candidates are the Nikkors (14-24 and 17-35). Prime is more difficult. I'll wait for the Sigma 24 to arrive first.

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    I saw the review of the Tamron on lens rentals. They gave it a good score.

    I am also waiting for the Sigma 24 1.4 and hoping that they can produce a coma free 24mm. Early tests shots I have seen show a strange bokeh.

    Paul

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    the Tamron has nice colors and contrast.

    its better than the nikon 20mm f1.8

    here is the big thing with the lens

    its heavy !

    I am 160 lb - but strong as hell for my size - and it was a rock.

    I think its 2.7 lb

    its a lens for a big or young guy for sure

    its plastic but feels very solid and the focusing was quick.

    it exudes quality

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Great discussion. I use the Samyang 14mm as my widest. I don't use it often, to me it's a bit gimmicky. But when I do, it always delivers tack-sharp images that are easy to adjust in PS.

    Here is a 14mm winter scape for good measure.

    D800E, 14mm @ f9

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Somewhat like the OP I'm starting to be asked to plan more interior work in tight quarters after doing some a couple of years ago and need to acquire some suitable glass. My personal relevant lens buy/sell/hold experience so far:

    14-24.
    Like a minority, I just didn't the quality/hype. Used for some interior work. Focus shift was a bitch, corners smeary and it picked up veiling flare from strobes like no tomorrow. The latter wasn't a total shock given the front element. While I may have had a bad copy re: corners, the focus shift and poor corner performance had me sell it.

    Samy 14
    Big bang for buck. Build quality is what you'd expect. Manual focus is a nasty PITA. Focus ring almost seems to have mind of it's own sometimes. Nasty distortion that while correctable will do some damage to corners of course. Kept it for giggles and as backup as I adjusted infinity (something you'd need to do) for it and selling it with that disclosure would likely make most buyers nervous. Once have, almost not worth shipping to sell it.

    Zeiss 21.
    Had it loved it, sold it as not quite wide enough for tight inside work I was doing, but would buy again in a heartbeat. Would try the Nikon 20/1.8, as same or 9.5/10ths the Zeiss's performance with AF would be great, but the Z21 deserves it's rep.

    Zeiss 15 - $%^& costly and specialized, but I keep coming back to it as a lens I may have to acquire. Has no apparent faults other than $$$ (and inability to zoom to 21mm ;> )

    Will keep an eye on this thread to see where OP ends up.

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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Here's a good comparison between the Nikkor 20mm f/1.8 and the Zeiss 21mm f/2.8:

    Nikon 20 f/1.8 and Zeiss 21 f/2.8 at infinity: Nikon SLR Lens Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review

    While all reviews that I've seen on the Nikkor have been very positive and point out that it's great value for money, this user shows that the edges are much sharper with the Zeiss at f/2.8 and 4. For my use, which will mainly be industrial photography, sometimes in dim lighting, often hand held, this is a major point. Add to that the superior build quality and manual focusing of the 21mm, and I see that as the winner among those two lenses.

    For my use that is. If the main purpose were street photography at night, that would probably have looked different.

    Now... how about that Tamron??

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    That's a good comparison and pretty much what I have seen with my 20 1.8. And the manual focus is a bit tricky, even with Live View as your tactical feel of the focus ring is not that great. But this seems to be true with many lenses, designed for AF first.

    The Zeiss 21mm is still on my short list, but off the radar for now.

    I agree with robmac, on the 14-24, as it took 3 for me to find a good one, and if there is a flare possibility, it will find it.

    What surprised me with the 21mm Zeiss, (and this may have been my lens sample but my 18mm also has this issue), is the much shallower hyper focal range from F2.8 to F 5.6. Here I found the 14-24 to perform much better, and that worked better for my shooting style.

    My main issue is the FOV of 14mm, I love it on 35mm and the 14-24 really does this well, where as the Rokinon gets there, but it's harder to work with (at least for me) and has the same issue with filters as the 14-24.

    Where I had hoped the 20 1.8 would excel was in night work, wide open or close with no coma and that's just not the case, as it appears Nikon can't make a fast wide non zoom without severe coma, at least a modern one.

    Still hoping that Sigma has this figured out, and the Sigma 24mm 1.4 is the other reason I am holding off of the Zeiss, 21mm, as they are so close in focal range, and size and weight. Already have the 18mm Zeiss, and I like it's smaller size and weight for field work.

    Paul

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    Senior Member Joe Colson's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    ...I will say it took 3 of them to find one that was this good.
    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    ...as it took 3 for me to find a good one...
    Alert:

    Paul, I've seen you mention several times that "it took 3" to find one that you judged to be good. It's a bit off topic, but how does one go about testing several lenses to choose one that meets your criteria? Local cooperative camera store? Liberal return policy from B&H? Manufacturer's rep? What happens to the ones that you reject? I'm not being judgmental, just curious.

    Joe
    _________________________________
    Joe Colson Photography

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    I've recently switched over to the D810 system, having been a Sony shooter for a number of years. I have the 14-28/2.8 and while I haven't spent a ton of time with it yet, it's pretty impressive. Maybe I just got a good one. That said, I'm on the lookout for a Zeiss 21/2.8, and it has nothing do do with technical performance: good, bad or otherwise. There's just something about the look of the pictures made with the Zeiss that's so appealing to me: a certain depth, richness, and 3D quality that's hard to put into words.

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe Colson View Post
    Alert:

    Paul, I've seen you mention several times that "it took 3" to find one that you judged to be good. It's a bit off topic, but how does one go about testing several lenses to choose one that meets your criteria? Local cooperative camera store? Liberal return policy from B&H? Manufacturer's rep? What happens to the ones that you reject? I'm not being judgmental, just curious.

    Joe
    Joe;

    Local store; one of the reasons I use them. They had 2 in stock. Both were a bit off on one side of the frame R or Left. They had one of them in another location and shipped it in. Great lens, still have it. 3rd example.

    Bedford Camera/Video in Little Rock. Great group.

    Each person has their own criteria, I guess. I had read a lot about the 14-24 for year, but never was able to use it being a Canon shooter. Once I moved over to Nikon the 14-24 was the first lens I purchased.

    What I was looking for was an even focused frame, corner to corner at 14mm. Then I wanted to see how wide I could open the lens and how it effected the corners. Then I was interested in the hyper focal distance at a particular F stop.

    The 14-24 still impresses me each time I shoot it. For the weight/flare issues, I still prefer it.

    I have also used B&H on a few Mamiya lenses, for MF where I had to send it back. But the nice thing about a local store is being able to walk in, with my camera and see how a particular lens will work. I have never had B&H have any issues either, and they also have a very liberal return policy, just have to worry about shipping/insurance.

    Bedford was also helpful on the 20mm 1.8.

    It might me, but I have always found variances, in all glass I have purchased, Canon, Nikon, Mamiya, which always surprises me since it's all Computer assisted manufactured so no1 should be the same as no 1000 as I see it. The Schneider/Rodenstock glass so far has been the exception.

    Paul

  41. #41
    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    The shallower hyperfocal range of the Zeiss may be a side effect for their way of creating what is frequently called a "3D look", something about the focus falloff.

    My most important reason for buying the Nikkor 20mm would be night photography wide open as well, but since apertures below (and including?) f/2.8 don't seem to work that well, it's kind of off my list. Tactile feel when focusing manually is also very important for me.

    The Sigma is a different animal apparently, and might become the "Queen of the Night". Only one review only so far, and while it's sharper than the competition (Canon and Nikon) at large apertures, it also suffers from coma in the corners.

    Sigma A 24 mm f/1.4 DG HSM review - Introduction - Lenstip.com

    I'm leaning in the direction of the Zeiss 21 for now, plus Samyang for 14mm. It's a relatively safe bet, and it's hard to lose money on the Zeiss. I might actually aim for a complete Zeiss lineup, 21/35/85/135 or something in that direction. That will be costly, but I have time

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Jorgen.

    Thanks for that review. The coma is bad Classic butterfly wings. I will pass on this one and may now have a look at the 35mm as it looks like getting a coma less 24 fast lens is a dream.

    Paul

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    I just got a Zeiss 21mm Z.2 brand new retail with warranty, box , papers from a AD for $1350

    they were despirate to move it

    took this image last night

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    Senior Subscriber Member Steen's Avatar
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    Wide dilemma


    One strange thing about the Carl Zeiss Distagon 21mm f/2.8 ZF is that it seems to be nearly as sharp wide open as it is stopped down.
    Rather unusual.


    ©lick for actual pixels


    © • Nikon D610 • Carl Zeiss Distagon 2.8/21mm ZF • 1/1250 sec. at f/2.8 ISO 100 • Capture NX-D
    .
    .
    Last edited by Steen; 1st April 2015 at 10:42.
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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Quote Originally Posted by Steen View Post
    One strange thing about the Carl Zeiss Distagon 21mm f/2.8 ZF is that it seems to be nearly as sharp wide open as it is stopped down.
    Rather unusual.

    Exactly

  46. #46
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Conclusion:
    After all the input and discussions with other photographers, I've been leaning towards the Zeiss 21, and was scheduled to try Steen's copy in Copenhagen later this month. Then, a couple of days ago, I went for a cup of coffee at my pusher's. He doesn't sell Zeiss on a regular basis, but when I mentioned my thoughts to him, a big smile came up on his face while telling me that another victim had left his 21mm ZF.2 for sale, as he didn't need it with his newly acquired Sony.

    So off I went, into the local market with the 21 on my camera to do a few test shots. That didn't take long, and if I had the slightest doubt, that disappeared quickly as soon as I got to see the results on my monitor. It's in a class of its own. Totally sharp with vivid colours across the frame at all apertures. Beautiful bokeh when used close up. A bit large and heavy, but the Martini glass style makes it slide nicely into my little bag. Flares a bit when taking photos directly into the sun, but nothing that I can't live with.

    I discovered another thing as well: when taking a photo with the sun in the frame and another part of the photo in dark shadow at ISO 64, I can actually pull details in the sky as well as in the shadow, several stops in each direction using ACR. No need for bracketing/HDR. Great stuff

    I'll give it another couple of days to be on the safe side, but this looks like a done deal. Thank you everyone for your participation.
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    I did try the Tamron 15-30 also while I was out shopping. It exceeded my expectation by being both larger and heavier than I had imagined. I never thought the D810 would feel compact, but it did with that lens attached. I might buy one later if work dictates, but it's not something I would like to haul around while travelling, neither on or off the camera.

    I asked the people in the shop if they had received any feedback from users yet. They had, and it was kind of 50/50. Image quality is apparently stellar, but many of those who use it think it's too large as well.
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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Jorgen,

    Looking forward to a review of the Zeiss, can't get that lens out of my mind, no matter how hard I try!

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Alea iacta est

    D810 with Nikkor 28mm f/2.0 @ f/4

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    Re: Wide dilemma

    Nice!

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