18mm. Anyone use it? How good is it?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by paul_neuthaler, May 1, 2004.

  1. I love wide angle shots -- right now with my F3 HP and 24mm 1:2.8
    Nikkor. Would it make sense to sell it & get an 18mm.? I would use
    it for city photos, landscapes, interiors & "special effects."

    How is the optical quality? Thanks.
  2. I have to start by saying I don't own an 18mm. I have a 24 and a 20. I am glad I didn't sell my 24 when I decided I needed something wider. I use the 24 more because of the photography I like to do - wide angle shots of people. I find that I have to be more cautious with distortion when I use the 20, even though I can fit more in.

    Some thoughts...

    The Nikon 24's AI,AIS,AF etc are highly regarded.

    I would never sell a great lens to purchase another lens. I did that once with a 180 and still regret it.

    Save for the 18 if you really want/need it but remember that there may be times when the 18 might be too wide. Ther is a big difference in coverage between the two lenses.

    My $.02

    Good luck with your choice
  3. I used to have a 19-35mm. It was cheap lens but great for travel. I had a 24-85mm I used for everyday use and finally sold the 19-35mm thinking I didn't need it much. WRONG!

    I recently bought a new 19-35mm and just last week. I know its not a 18mm but close enought. I will never sell it. The 24mm was wide but sometimes not quite wide enought. Thats why I sold my 35-70mm f2.8..a great, sharp lens but not wide enought and not long enought.
    Don't sell your 24mm but maybe get a 18mm or 20mm f3.8. They problem is that the lens isn't fast enought but you really need to be wider sometimes.
  4. gv


    Haven't used it (don'tcha love responses from folks who haven't actually used the lens...?)
    but my two cents is that the difference between 24mm and 18mm is HUGE. Even a 20mm
    is a lot wider than 24mm; a mm more or less at this end of the focal length range affects
    your field of view a lot compared with lenses at the telephoto end of the spectrum.

    I think the 24mm 2.8 is one of the best Nikon wide angle lenses: nice and wide, small and
    fast, sharp with very well controlled flare and relatively inexpensive. The 20mm is also a
    nice lens, but I found that I used it less than the 24mm because it can be a little too wide,
    if you know what I mean, and I love the wide-angle look.

    In recent years my primary lens has been a 20-35mm zoom, so both the 24mm and
    20mm stay home a lot...

    If I were in your shoes I would definitely hang onto the 24mm and arrange to rent an
    18mm and see for yourself if it will get used enough to warrant space in your bag. The
    18mm isn't exactly a cheap lens, so even if you have to ship the rental lens it might be
    worth it to see if the 18mm really matches your fantasies.

    At one time I really wanted an 18mm and I got the 20mm because of the cost factor.
    Years later I know that the 18mm wouldn't get used all that much, the 20mm gets used
    more (and I tend to shoot in tight spaces and utilize wide angle effects) and I won't part
    with the 24mm PERIOD.

    Hmmm...the 18mm goes for $1300 vs. $1500 for the 17-35mm zoom at B&H. For $200
    more the zoom is a more versatile lens, and while the 18mm MIGHT be optically superior
    to the 17-35, in my over twenty years of real world experience I have found the difference
    between most prime lenses and high-end zooms to be negligible in all but extreme

    GIve me a wide-angle zoom, a modern autofocus camera and a flash and I can
    photograph just about anything with minimal gear weighing me down. And this is coming
    from a guy with two Nikkormats (LOVE the FT2!) and a bunch of manual focus prime
    lenses. I didn't get my first zoom until I had purchased prime lenses between 20mm and

    It amazes me how much energy is put into comparing lenses and on tests and lens reviews
    when the differences usually won't be noticeable because of the subject or the way the
    final image will be used. If all that energy and anxiety was put into the actual making of
    the image I would expect to see a significant increase in the number of really exciting

    Then again, why stop with an 18mm? Have you checked out the 14mm Nikkor...?

    If and when you use/buy the 18mm I hope you will let us know how you like it and maybe
    even post a fav image or two...
  5. Second: the 17-35 F2.8 Nikkor Zoom is a great, great lens. I would not leave home without it on a film camera...

    If you want a wide angle for a digital, try the Sigma 12-24 (really an 18-36mm). This Sigma can also be used on film cameras as a true 12-24.
  6. jbq


    Robert: Sigma's 12-24 is a G-tyle lens and won't be usable on an F3 (plus it's a variable-
    aperture lens so even if it had an aperture ring it wouldn't be fantasticly usable).
  7. I have a 20mm and a zoom that goes down to 24mm. I use the 24mm much more than the 20. It would be difficult to imagine why you would want an 18 more than the 24, but it's your money.
  8. gv


    Even though there are some good variable aperture lenses (or so I'm told...) I avoid them
    primarily because I like fast lenses and I use a hand-held meter a lot.

    I can really see the attraction of the 17-20mm focal range. A wide-angle zoom is a
    wonderful general purpose lens because you have the more often used 24-35mm range
    literally at your fingertips as well as the ultra-wide option.

    If money is an issue, I understand that the 20-35mm 2.8 zoom can be had used for a very
    reasonable price; apparently the 17-35mm has diminished the resale value and I have
    read a website review disparaging the 20-35mm. Personally, I haven't noticed the
    problem and I've used the lens for some time. I usually find myself appreciating the build
    quality, convenience and nice images it produces.

    Either zoom would balance nicely on an F3, particularly with an MD-4 drive attached. A
    little heavy maybe, but that's what neoprene camera straps are for...

    Speaking of the 35-70mm lens...I use mine quite a bit and I never would have expected to
    say that. I figure 50mm and longer can be a decent portrait lens. Not for head shots, but
    for the kind of portraits in-between environmental and up-close and personal pics. The
    lens is remarkably sharp; it's surprising like the 75-150 Series E zoom was surprising
    when it came out and people discovered it was a little gem that cost around $100 brand
    spanking new.

    Nikon has made very few outright "bad" lenses and some have gone up in value when they
    went out of production. If you buy a nice used lens and pay a price that is commensurate
    with its condition, you can try it for a time and resell it if you don't like it, with little or no
    loss in value.
  9. I’ve been back against the wall with the prism off my F2 so I could frame a photograph of medical equipment with a 15/5.6 AI. The major part of the equipment was firmly in place. The camera was hard against the wall. For those who can’t image a need for a lens wider than 24, 20, etc. perhaps you should try harder.

    Keep the 24/2.8 and go for a 20/2.8 AIS next. I think a 17~35/2.8 would be great but I’m guessing that’s out of reach. The 24/2.8 is just too useful to let go. When you sell one item to get another you may be chasing a silver bullet. If you sell the 24/2.8 you’ll likely buy another.

    I owned 18/4.0 AI for a short time. I found the lens unimpressive at best. David Ruether, said of the 18/4.0, "poor edges and corners even stopped down, with sharp center." If you do go for an 18mm I’d get the 18/3.5 AIS.

    Here are a couple of links that may help...




    Dave Hartman
  10. Thanks to all: I'll keep my 24 & really think about anything wider.
  11. I just got a 12-24 for my 10D. Tried it on my EOS 5 tonight. The circus is in town.
  12. Smart move Paul.

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