D700 wide angle lens choice

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by keith_robinson|1, May 16, 2009.

  1. Budget is restricted or I would go straight out and buy the 17-35mm f2.8 Nikkor. I have had the 20-35mm f2.8 recommended and I see nothing wrong with it apart from availability and it is still quite expensive.
    So I am looking at primes - and don't necessarily feel I have to have AF. My aim is quality within a limited budget. So any views on the following lenses:
    • 24mm f2.8 AI-s and AI
    • 20 mm f2.8 AI-s
    • 20mm f3.5 AI-s
    I am also considering a 35-70mm f2.8 AF which also gets good recommendations.
  2. if you're like me, you will regret going with a manual lens, unless you swap out the focusing screen.
  3. I use a 18 4.0, 24 2.8 Ais, 28 2.8 Ais, various 35`s. All shorter than 35 are soft in the very corners unless you stop well down to 11/16, but they work on film much better. All have pretty bad distortion around 3% except for the 28 2.8 AiS with close distance .2 meter. The .3 meter is a different lens. The 18 has a weird distortion that is spherical in the center and pin cushion in the corners, and not a nice continuous wave like some modern Nikkors. I correct it in PS with -4 spherise which gets it to straight pincushion, then that can be corrected with any lens correction tool as can the others.
    There is no reason to assune a 20 2.8 is different. I did a few test with 14 2.8 and the corners were lost on it also. Also have AF versions and pre Ai originals. All behave similarly.
    Look here specially the 20 2.8 and 14/24. He concurs with my conclusions.
    Accept my results and live with them, or get a 14/24 2.8 which will be better, but not perfect. I suggest you do not waste money chasing what does not exist. You will not see these defects on APS size sensor cameras.
    Really good wide lenses are rangefinder designs that need not contend with the mirror, however there is no full frame rangefinder sensor.
    When you get your lens, put some really fine details in the corners like bare tree branches and you will see what I mean.
    By the time you get to 50 mm, all the problems go away. 35 mm is better than sharter focal lengths, but not perfect.
    35/70 2.8 is about the same as fixed primes, but with more distortion.
  4. You can't dismiss an entire realm of photography over some extreme nit-picking, in extreme corners. Full frame film/digital will always fall short of medium format film and 4x5 film for superwide photography, but Nikon has some of the best wide angles available for the smaller format. Likewise full frame digital will always be superior to crop sensors for superwide angle photography.
    Money being no object your choice should be the 14-24/2.8. I have the 14/2.8 and 28/2 AIS and am extremely pleased with both. I had a Nikon UD 20/3.5 non-AI and it too was very good, but I could not mount it on the Canon DSLR I had at the time. I will eventually replace it with one of the 20mm AIS lenses. The 20/2.8 AIS used to be the widely accepted version but check with Bjorn's site, I appreciate his reviews:
  5. Consider the AF 18-35 Nikkor which seems to be a low cost alternative to the "real "stuff. Or think Tokina or Sigma.
  6. If you want a 20 and don't want to spend much then the Voigtländer 20/3.5 is your ticket. I heard that the 18-35 is a reasonably good lens, you might want to consider that too, although it's probably no match to the 14-24. If you shoot subjects less than 6 feet away, then the 24/2.8 should be a solid choice. If you shoot stuff further away, consider your options carefully; my 24/2.8 wasn't stellar.
  7. In case you change your mind, the 17-35 f2.8 is awesome mounted on a D700 or any FF cam for that matter. BTW the 35-70 f2.8 is my "go to" lens. It's not supposed to be quite as sharp as the new 24-70 f2.8, but it does almost as well and is 4-5x less expensive.
  8. I love my Tamron 17-35mm 2.8-4 SP zoom lens. It was fantastic on the D700, with a little vignetting at 17mm but other than that, sharp and contrasty at all focal lengths. Cheap too, less than $200 second hand on ebay.
  9. If a prime you want - - - go with the 20mm
    I just traveled with the 24-70mm & found myself feeling I wanted to go wide more than once. Problem was - - the 14-24 was at home & out of reach....
    Lil :)
  10. get that 20-35 f2.8. i use one almost 95% of the time (d700) and find it a stellar performer!
  11. "I love my Tamron 17-35mm 2.8-4 SP zoom lens. It was fantastic on the D700, with a little vignetting at 17mm but other than that, sharp and contrasty at all focal lengths. Cheap too, less than $200 second hand on ebay ."
    I'll second that notion. I just picked one up from Keh.com new for $250. Light as a feather too, which is mostly a good thing. A great value overall.
    I have the 28-75 as well. Another great value.
  12. The Nikkor 20 2.8 is a great lens - not perfect at 2.8, but by f4 or 5.6, sharp all over. If you can use it that way, and treat the 2.8 setting as an option instead of a standard setting, you'll love it - while the 17-35 is better at 2.8, the 20 is cheap, focuses quickly, and even at 2.8 is not bad. I use it on my F4 and N90s and have very good results.
  13. I agree that the 20/2.8 is a great lens. Small and light too
    More about it here ----> http://www.bythom.com/20lens.htm
  14. Only the Voigtlander 20mm f3.5 sounds tempting.
    Anybody here use it yet?
    Any reviews out there?
  15. I have a 20mm f2.8, 24mm f2.8 and 28mm f2 all AIS on a D700. The 20mm and 28mm are soft in the corners at low aperture. I have yet to use the 24mm much. I had a 18-35mm Nikkor but did not care for it much. For stopped down use they are OK and for budget some are expensive. For quality and budget you are probably better off finding a used 17-35mm Nikkor.
  16. I agree the IQ with the 17-35mm is top notch, but it's mechanics are not. I have owned two of them and on both they started to squeek worse and worse when auto-focusing. I understand that this is an early sign of future AFS failure. For those who hope to keep a lens for a long time, you might want to consider this mechanical problem that seems inherent with many of the 17-35mm s.
  17. I'm playing with a 20 f/2.8 AFD this weekend that I may end up buying. So far I am really enjoying it, very sharp.

    While I don't have a D700, I did shoot quite a bit with it today on my F100. I also shot with it on the D200. It is very sharp, and focuses quickly.

    According to Bjorn it isn't quite as sharp as the older 20 2.8 AIS, but it is still very sharp.
  18. Only the Voigtlander 20mm f3.5 sounds tempting.
    Anybody here use it yet?
    Any reviews out there?​
    I have a thread at http://www.photo.net/nikon-camera-forum/00TAyN and photozone is supposed to eventually come out with a review. I tried the lens with a friend who used to own a 20/2.8 and sold it because of problems with corners. The voigtländer isn't perfect, but IMO it is clearly a step forward in improving choices at 20, along with the Zeiss 21/2.8. I carry the 20/3.5 with me most of the time now, because it's a very handy and very small lens.
  19. I'm using a Nikkor 20/3.5 with my D700 and am quite happy with the results. Very neat size and an exceptionally flare resistant design.
  20. my nikkor 20/3.5 is rather soft. With a D700, there would be no choice for me but the 14-24mm.
  21. Is the 18-35 a decent alternative for a wide zoom on the D700? Sorry I'm not trying to highjack your thread but after serious consideration for a ultra wide zoom I decided to put that money towards a D700 instead.
  22. Thanks, Oskar.
    I had read the original post but not the follow up Ilkka did on FX.
    As mentioned there, I have the 14-24 2.8 but the Voigtlander sounds good for situations where the zoom's size, weight or inability to use UV, grad and/or polarizer filters come into play.
    The Voigtlander looks like a good option for both DX and FX cameras.
  23. Thank you all for the responses so far. I had decided that my priority was to get the D700 (bought Nov 08 before the prices went up thankfully!) which is why I find myself without a wide angle option. I had already discounted the 18-35 as the reviews indicate that there are a few more compromises in its build/performance than I really wanted.
    For me the key issue is that I am missing the 18mm capability on my previous D70 and that is definitely what I want to cover but I would also like to move into somewhat wider angle photography as well.
    The balance of reviews seem to indicate that the 14-24mm (which is an incredible lens) has a somewhat more specialist use than the 17-35mm which fits more into the walkabout lens role (and seems nearer my requirements). I have absolutely no problems with the 20-35mm which is very good but is scarce and would stretch my budget. Hence the idea to go with prime lenses at the wide end. The 30-70mm was an afterthought but seems to me to make good sense as it gets fairly unanimous good reviews - albeit not as good as 14-24, 17-35 and 20-35.
    So the Voigtlander looks interesting but doesn't have many reviews (at least that I can find). I am quite attracted to the Nikon 20mm f3.5. The rest depends on whether I go with the 30-70mm or decide to get another prime - I guess at 28mm or 35mm. Much depends on availablity in UK. I have seen many comments about the softness of Nikon wide angle lenses in the corners but no real agreement about how serious a problem it is. The issue is avoiding the worst of the problem within my budget!
  24. On film my sample of the 20mm f3,5 Nikon lens was soft along the edges and in the corners even when well stopped down. The f2,8 AIS lens does get critically sharp across the frame once closed down to around f8,0- f11. However, the front CRC unit may fall out(!). This has nearly happened to me in two different lenses.
    On film and DX (D200) qualitywise the old f4,0 AI lens is my preferred alternative, besides being the lightest and most compact of the three. It does have some barrel distorsion though. I have not tried it on FX.
    By the way, my 5 year old 17-35mm lens -which certainly has not been abused- squeals too and the zoom ring feels somewhat uneven when turned: sigh...!
  25. "Sami Heino , May 17, 2009; 06:27 a.m.
    I'm using a Nikkor 20/3.5 with my D700 and am quite happy with the results. Very neat size and an exceptionally flare resistant design."
    Quite true. If you want to shoot into the sun this is the lens to use.
    The later f2.8 version is not bad in this respect but cannot reach the f3.5 version.

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