Wide angle lens suggestions (Nikon)

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by Sheldon, Feb 10, 2007.

  1. If you can get a good sample, the Sigma 10-20 is a terrific lens. More
    range at the short focal lengths than the other wide-zoom alternatives.

    But I recommend buying from a local dealer that will let you test the
    lens before buying, or who will agree to let you return or exchange a
    bad one. I tried two samples of the 10-20. Both were incredibly sharp
    at the center, but significantly soft on the right side. I've read
    reports from other buyers who saw the same thing. Since the lens was
    purchased from B&H, I could not exchange the second sample - they only
    allowed a refund. At that point, I decided to never buy another lens
    via mail order. Local dealers did not have stock on the Sigma or the
    Tokina 12-24, so I got a Nikon 12-24. It's fine, but I would have liked
    the extra 2mm on the Sigma.

    From this experience (and others) I'm led to believe that
    sample-to-sample quality variations are significant in current lenses,
    at least when they are subject to the extraordinary resolution
    capabilities of high-megapixel SLRs. Caveat emptor.
    Julian Vrieslander, Feb 11, 2007
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  2. If you don't have a pug in the shot. :)[/QUOTE]

    That's funny, I just did a magazine assignment of locally prominent
    people and the opening image was the husband and wife with their Pug in
    Little Green Eyed Dragon, Feb 11, 2007
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  3. Hi David - long time, no see...

    My experience with the Sigma is opposite of yours. I tried two samples
    on a D2X. Neither showed any significant chromatic aberration anywhere
    in the frame. Both were remarkably sharp near frame center - as good as
    I have seen on any lens. But both were awful on the right third of the
    frame. Really soft, visible even on an 8x10. Something was probably

    I have seen images from other samples of this lens which looked
    reasonably sharp across the frame, so there are apparently good ones,

    Did Nikon make a 12-14, or did you intend to type "Nikkor 12-24"? I
    have a sample of the 12-24. It does show less vignetting than the Sigma
    10-20. It's actually not quite as sharp in the center as the two Sigmas
    that I tried (but close). But those Sigma samples did not perform as
    well in the sides and corners as the Nikkor.
    Julian Vrieslander, Feb 11, 2007
  4. I'm a nut about corner performance. For me, a lens that is not
    sharp in the corners at a given stop is not sharp enough except for
    those images that do not require good corner sharpness. Many
    people seem blissfully unaware of corner/edge performance, no
    matter how poor - but I'm not one of them...;-(. Of the WAs made
    for digital that I tried myself (the 10-20 and 12-24FF Sigmas, and
    the 12-24mm Nikkor), I would consider none "VG" due to iffy
    corner performance at all stops - and all are expensive. The 16mm
    *f3.5* Nikkor fisheye (with a pleasant wider-than 24mm view
    on digital), the 8mm Sigma (rounded frame edges) and the good
    Nikkor FF WAs (which are not very WA on digital...) all performed
    well on a D2X.
    I have the 12mm Voightlander (uh, FS...) for FF, which is surprisingly
    sharp, but it does not fit dSLRs unfortunately.
    Used with care, the fisheye is an excellent choice for many landscapes.
    The trick is to keep long straight horizon lines centered or well broken
    up by other picture elements. The fisheye has the advantage of taking
    in a wide view without exaggerating near-to-far object size proportions.
    (I've gone on trips with only the 16mm - which can work even for city
    There are some very nice ones there, showing the advantages of using
    a fisheye...
    Call it a "moderate" fisheye with the expected plusses and minuses,
    with a field of view that roughly approximates a 21-22mm lens on digital
    due to the curvature (the 24mm FL equivalency holds true only in the
    image center).
    I don't know. I tried the 12-24 and 18-70 at three different FLs for
    each, but did not compare thse two lenses directly. The 18-70 is at least
    decent-good at 18mm, even to the corners. I would expect the 12-24
    to be at least as good at 18mm, but it is a "so what" FL for interiors...
    A good used Nikkor 20mm f2.8 AF should not run too much, and
    on the smaller frame, should perform well slightly wider than f5.6.
    Still not exciting, or cheap, but...
    Good luck - these do appear to vary (I checked out an excellent one
    (at - http://www.ferrario.com/ruether/wa-zooms.htm), but the range
    is limited. How about the 17-55mm f2.8 Nikkor for dSLRs - I hear
    this one is very good (though, again, not very wide...).
    David Ruether, Feb 11, 2007
    David Ruether, Feb 11, 2007
    David Ruether, Feb 11, 2007
  7. Maybe so. But I've seen a number of reports on the Sigma 10-20 that were
    somewhat discouraging. There have been several complaints from different
    users about one side of the image being unsharp while the other side was
    sharp. Of course that may have been only a problem with some part of the
    production run.

    I've used Sigma lenses in the Minolta mount and found them excellent
    optically, and apparently very well made in the EX grade lenses. The 10-20
    looks like good value as long as you don't get one with problems. Even their
    cheaper lenses are good, somewhat plasticky in construction but still good
    value for the money, I think.

    Neil Harrington, Feb 11, 2007
  8. I have the 17-55/2.8, and it's on my camera most of the time. The focal
    length range is nice for a walk-around lens. Very popular with
    photojournalists, wedding pros, etc. Quite sharp at max aperture, good
    for low light situations. But it might not be the best choice for those
    who shoot mostly at the wide-angle end. In the 17-20mm range, the
    corners and sides are somewhat soft, even when stopped down. Might be
    due to field curvature. At longer focal lengths it is much better.
    I've had a chance to try 4 samples of this lens, and they all showed
    this, to varying degrees. Some people swear that they have a 17-55
    which is corner-to-corner sharp at wide angles. Maybe you have to be a
    well-connected pro to get a cherry picked perfect sample.

    The performance of the 17-55 at wide angles is what led me to try the
    Sigma 10-20, and ultimately, to settle on a Nikkor 12-24. In most of
    the FL range where they overlap, my 12-24 has better corner-to-corner
    sharpness than my 17-55. The 12-24 is my preferred lens for landscape

    Of course, I'm talking about small flaws. This level of nit-picking may
    be irrelevant if you shoot JPEGs for the web, or if you don't need to
    make prints larger than 8x10".
    Julian Vrieslander, Feb 11, 2007
  9. Sheldon

    Bruce Guest

    Sometimes at 10mm the Sigma 10-20mm can show some fall off at max aperture,
    but you're not likely to do that as soon as you are two stops down it's
    great and affordable. I use it often for landscapes & Iam not dissapointed.

    Bruce, Feb 11, 2007
  10. Sheldon

    k-man Guest

    For a lens, Tokina makes a very solid 12-24mm f/4. It's about 1/2 the
    price of Nikon's and it's a great lens. It's not razor sharp; but
    it's sharp. Excellent colors and contrast and excellent build
    quality. I use it on my D70s.

    For exposure, I mainly use manual and aperture priority. But I will
    admit that "automatic" mode really does a nice job. Depends on what
    you're trying to do.

    k-man, Feb 12, 2007
  11. Sheldon

    Paul Furman Guest

    8mm Sigma, wow, interesting, some sample images:
    Thanks for the tips.

    I really like the field of view at 12-24.
    No problem heading out with only that lens.

    A fisheye is already of pretty limited use, this is even less so, very
    unusual, very few situations where it would really be desirable. Maybe
    very handy for nature though.
    Hmm, that's an interesting way of looking at it. I guess the edges of a
    fisheye are a wider FL than the stated/center FL. So the 10.5 fisheye
    might be an average 8mm or some such? Maybe average is the wrong word,
    maybe it's field of view in the corners and once you de-fish, those
    corners are clipped and you are back to the stated focal length?

    Trying to wrap my head around this whole fisheye thing.
    I re-read the OP and he was looking for something wider and sharp, not
    necessarily sharper. Interesting discussion in any case.
    It's good to have these things in mind when shopping & browsing around
    though, thanks for that idea.
    Paul Furman, Feb 12, 2007
  12. Neat, huh? ;-)
    I forgot to add that a common problem if you must keep a long horizon
    line in the frame center so it doesn't bend is what to do with the sky that
    now occupies 1/2 of the photo. You can later crop some of it, or wait
    for nice clouds, or shoot from under trees, etc. to cover some of it...
    Yes - it is a nice range, and would cover95% of shooting for me (unless
    I were out with another lens...;-).
    I think it is a good "in-between" type of lens, falling between the
    characteristics of a rectangular-perspective WA lens and a fisheye.
    The view is nice for many things and is very "kind" to rounded subjects,
    like people.
    Something like that. The differences are in the perspective types
    caused by off-axis magnifications. Spherical and rectangular perspective
    lenses are rated for FL the same way in the center of the image, but
    rotating a super-wide rectangular-perspective lens causes once-centered
    image elements to increase in size when moved off axis, most noticeable
    toward the corners. A spherical-perspective lens rotated causes
    once-centered image elements to decrease somewhat in size (a kinder
    thing to do to people's heads! ;-) People actually see in spherical
    perspective, though most people don't think they do... (see my article
    on it at http://www.ferrario.com/ruether/articles.html#perspective).
    Another perspective type exists that would probably best fit some
    needs, if cropped slightly - the orthographic projection, in which, as I
    understand it, image elements remain constant in size as the camera
    is turned (the 10mm OP-Nikkor is of this type).
    Oh, lenses, lenses, lenses........! 8^)
    David Ruether, Feb 12, 2007
  13. Sheldon

    Paul Furman Guest

    OK, good point. Here's a fun one:
    Hmmm, here's a good diagram of the difference (scroll down):
    Paul Furman, Feb 12, 2007
  14. ;-) - but the table looks better than it would with a even a
    less wide super-wide rectangular-perspective view lens
    (since it isn't shot straight on) - but the nearly straight-on
    view does reduce the perspective differences somewhat...
    Thanks - this is quite good.

    I used to have a 6mm Nikkor - now THAT is wrapping your
    head around fisheye images since it could shoot both in front of
    AND behind me at the same time! (See
    http://www.ferrario.com/ruether/phun.html, places, 2nd image
    [the floor the camera is sitting on surrounds the rest] and the sky
    around me at http://www.ferrario.com/ruether/whatever.html.)
    David Ruether


    (NOTE: Soon to change to www.donferrario.com/ruether.)
    David Ruether, Feb 12, 2007
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