Flare and ghosts with Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8. Any tips on using this lens?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by justinweiss, Apr 26, 2009.

  1. I just got a Nikon 14-24mm AFS f/2.8 G ED for my D700 and took it on a walk around the neighborhood for some test shooting at the 14mm length. This is my first wide-angle lens (not counting point and shoot cameras).
    Looking at the photos in Lightroom, I noticed a few things:
    (1) It is really hard to get good compositions with this lens. Even if you get close to your subject, this lens covers a huge field of view and chances are there's a lot of boring stuff toward the edges that detracts from the overall image and would be better off just cropped out. Maybe this is just because of my setting, walking around the streets of my hometown. I am sure that if I went to the Grand Canyon or someplace like that, even the edges of the pictures would be interesting! But if you are in a humdrum everyday environment, you can't count on just focusing on an interesting subject. The boring stuff you're not interested in will be in the picture, too. And on the other hand, if you stand back a bit, your subject appears tiny. You really need to "make the whole photo the subject" with this lens, if that makes any sense.
    (2) It's also hard to maintain focus across the whole photo, especially when you get close. When taking a close-up shot of a bunch of flowers, for example, even stopped down to f/16 or f/22, I often found that objects at the edges were less sharp than at the center.
    (3) Worst of all, if I shot with sunlight coming towards me, the photos tended to show lens flares and ghosts, ranging from tiny to absolutely enormous. I don't know if this problem would have gone away at a longer focal length, but it seems like at 14mm, you really don't want the sun shining towards you.
    (4) The best shots I took with this lens were indoor shots, where lens flare, etc. was not an issue and where I could more easily control the composition of the photos.
    (5) This is not related to the quality of the photos it takes, but knowing you could destroy this filter-less lens at any moment by bumping it into your subject, or tripping and falling, is absolutely terrifying!
    I really do like this lens a lot, but it seems to me I will need to practice to get good photos with it consistenly, whereas with my other lenses, my "keeper" ratio was a lot higher right from the start. Any advice on how to use this lens more effectively would be much appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. Hi Justin,
    You make some very good home truths and observations here. I'm a wide angle fan but have resisted this lens so far.
    1) Bigger is not necessarily better. I have the 17-35mm lens and find 17mm often too large a canvas to compose to an agreeable standard.
    2) A small amount of corner 'softness' (and I stress 'small') is perhaps an unavoidable factor on such a wide lens, even on such a high end lens as the 14-24mm.
    3) Again, such a broad field of view generated from 14mm focal lengths are inevitably going to include the sun and other intense light sources which will cause many lenses of all designs and focal lengths to flare out. It's a fact of life with many lenses, not just the 14-24mm.
    4) You're observations on indoor / controlled lighting are spot on. The bulbous frontal element of the 14-24mm lens is always going to be susceptable to catching bright light sources and indoors one has better chance of controlling potential flare sources.
    5) The damage factor pertaining to the frontal element of such a lens is ever present but with careful handling one can nearly always avoid disaster.
    The 14-24mm lens is a very specialised lens which is becoming renowned for producing very high IQ images. My tips are to enjoy the lens but use it sparingly when you have specific scenes / subject matter / shooting conditions that are condusive to the tremendous field of view this lens offers. You just can't expect such a 'narrow focused' specialist tool to be a good choice as a 'walk about' type lens.
     
  3. I have the D700 and the 14-24mm, f/2.8 as you do. I agree with Matthew. This is a great lens, very, very sharp, but for specific situations. Catching the sun with this huge front element is something you have to constantly be aware of. Trying to shade the lens hasn't worked because of the wide coverage. And, composition becomes critical to minimize perspective shifts. That said, the 14-24 is hard to beat for interior shots where lighting is not optimal. I do use this lens outdoors, but not as a regular practice, i.e., as walking around lens. I took it to Italy a year ago and found it extremely useful in the narrow Italian streets and for capturing church interiors. As for the fear factor, damaging the frontal element, as I used the lens more and more, that fear has diminished and I really enjoy using the lens as I'm sure you will as well.
    00TB3X-128517684.jpg
     
  4. Seriously... if you find yourself not shooting wider than 17mm on that lens, you might like the 17-35 way more. All the things you mention are the "features" not the limitations, of a lens like this.
     
  5. What application did you buy this lens for?
     
  6. I don`t have enough knowledge to give tips about this lens (and about photography I`m afraid... ) but I think it could be helpful to see wide angle shots from experienced pro photogs; sadly, I cannot remember the name of an specialist on conflict reportages who used Canon EOS + 14/2.8L USM. This guy really impressed me. He liked to shoot very close (I mean, at no more than a few centimeters) to his subjects, usually soldiers at work or natives of countries under conflict (Irak, Agfanistan, Iran, etc.).
    Each time I attach this lens on my camera I think in crowds of people and how to be invisible between them (something of course impossible). I have shot under this circumstances and believe me, I also suffer thinking on the front element of the lens; childrens are attracted like a magnets, they usually try to touch (with whatever they have in their hands) the bulbous front element.
    There are no rules about cropping... I have found that many times is interesting to shoot fast, and after that to remove all uninteresting things inside the frame; of course, you loose pixels but it doesn`t matter if the final pic is good.
    I usually try to shoot under "optimal weather" conditions with any lens, I like to avoid direct sunlight, strong overcast days (excessive contrast, flat illumination), etc. with any lens, unless looking for a special effect. I have never been worried about ghosts and flare with this lens.
    Funny, I prefer not to have sharpness all over the frame. I`m pleased that even at 14mm DoF is short when shooting at close distances. I wonder if I have used anytime this lens at other than f2.8. Just my experience.
    Perhaps we must stick that well known Capa`s phrase on the hood of our lens: "If your photos aren`t good enough, you`re not close enough... "
     
  7. Uncropped, I wonder why the system ask for such a low size (below 100Kb!). Compression killed the pic, which is astoundingly sharp from corner tocorner.
    00TB7T-128555684.jpg
     
  8. Here's my best shot from today:
    [​IMG]
    And another:
    [​IMG]
     
  9. Hmmm, dangerous. One span from crashing the lens to that blue sign.
    It`s sunday afternoon here. My excuses:
    00TB8o-128565584.jpg
     
  10. Great shots. I just started to like wide-angle and just got 17-35 for my D700. Wide makes me very mindful of the height of the lense as well as whether the lense is facing upward of downward. A bit of change makes huge change. I can only imagine how it is so with 14-24. Downtown somewhere around Tokyo, I take it? Looks familar, not that I have been there, but just makes me feel that way. Ken
     
  11. It's Shimo-kitazawa, which is just a bit southwest of Shinjuku.
     
  12. Not that long ago I posted a warning for peaple seeking to buy this lens that it had serious flare issues. I took a lot of grief for this. Peaple who owned the lens got pretty upset with me. I'm sorry you are experiencing these problems but atleast you have confirmed what I have been saying all along. Sharpness is great but it's not without flaws.
     
  13. (1) Composition is a matter of experience. Wide angle lenses present a unique challenage and are more difficult to master than any other lens. But it's not a characteristic of "this lens", specifically, this particular Nikkor, but all such designs.

    (2) That too is related to experience. It's not unique to this particular lens. It's a factor faced by all photographers who prefer the convenience of the miniature format camera. It's why for decades most serious photographers engaged in landscapes and scenic prefer large format cameras with movements. With any smaller format camera and lens lacking tilts, shifts, swings, etc., experienced photographers have learned to adapt their technique to the unique limitations of minuature format, which includes 35mm film and digital sensors of that or smaller dimensions.

    (3) Flare is not unique to any particular lens. Any wide and ultra-wide angle lens, especially a zoom, is vulnerable to flare when aimed directly into the path of the sun or other strong light source. Any lens used this way can be made to flare. An experienced photographer learns the limitations of his equipment and how to minimize these vulnerabilities. Sometimes only a slight shift in composition or angle of the lens/body is needed to minimize apparent flare.

    (4) This is probably due to being in your comfort zone. Unaccustomed to dealing with vast expanses and a very wide angle lens, and the hazards of having a bright light source directly in the lens path, you encountered some difficulties. Indoors, the scope of the photo is smaller, it's easier to fill the frame and it's easier to avoid very bright, flare-inducing light sources.

    (5) Any unique lens design demands careful attention. There have been many other lens designs which presented a greater challenge in routine use to prevent damage.
    You chose this lens so you'll need to learn to adapt to its unique challenges.
     
  14. Here's a link to the previous discussion to which Roman is referring:
    Experiences with flare using AF-S Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED
    Roman, if I'm recalling correctly, you didn't provide any specific photos to that thread, or a link, which demonstrated the problems you described. Other photographers did provide photos illustrating conditions in which any lens can be made to flare, as well as demonstrating the remarkable resistance to flare of the 14-24/2.8 Nikkor even when used in extreme conditions, as long as the photographer took reasonable care to minimize the problem.
     
  15. The Nano Coating purpose is to reduce flare and ghosts !? This is what they advertise here :


    http://imaging.nikon.com/products/imaging/technology/scene/20/index_02.htm


    Justin ..., please post some pictures to illustrate your complain and how/where the "absolutely enormous" flare and ghosts appears.
     
  16. I used a 17mm lens for 15 years before switching to a Nikon 14mm f2.8, which I have now had for 5 years. I love ultrawide photography for which I also use a 4x5 with an equivalent view as the 14mm on full frame DSLR.
    Composing effective images with lenses wider than 20mm is extremely challenging. My ultrawides have always been my most used lenses and even after 20 years creating effective compositions is still a challenge and always a learning experience but also extremely rewarding.
    When you use an ultrawide knowing what your depth of field is at all times is extremely important and learning about hyperfocal focusing methods is a worthwhile tool.
    All lenses are susceptible to flare. Ultrawides have such a wide angle of view that the chance that the sun is present within that view, or close to it, is much greater. When using a 14mm lens you must be attentive to the light in your viewfinder. Flare is readily visible as streaks within the viewfinder and you can even notice the loss of contrast if sunlight is striking the very edge of the front element. You must learn to identify this and adjust your composition to eliminate or minimize it. I always use my hand as a shade to identify potential problems and to reduce them. In the worst scenarios I end up cutting off the edge of my image in order to save the rest of the photograph and crop it slightly in post processing.
    Interior architectural photography is a joy with ultrawides. You simply have to learn to take the techniques that you learn, outside with you. For interiors, and even the street scene samples shown here, I prefer to keep verticals vertical to avoid obvious perspective distortion. Again strict attention to what is happening in the viewfinder must be maintained.
    I was lucky to buy my 14mm used, at an extremely good price, so the front element was already damaged enough by the LA Times that I no longer had to worry about it. Minor dings, chips, and scratches will have little or no effect on your images. Any lens can be dropped at any given moment with catastrophic results. Stop worrying about damaging it and enjoy it instead. A greater concern is bugs landing on the front element or flying about the lens while photographing at the minimum focusing distance. I have had bugs show up as blurred black spots in these conditions. Watch for water droplets on the front element as well, also at minimum focusing distances, since they too will show up in the image.
    All in all ultrawide photography can be very rewarding when proper attention to detail is made. Have fun!
     
  17. I have been searching for this effects at my images taken with the 14-24 and on the worst of them didn`t found other than higher than average contrastier images, with very little traces of CA and only a tiny bit of softness dued to inner reflections on a few of them. Of course I usually don`t use to shot against light sources.
    Here is probably one the worst: taken at 14mm, f8, 1/1000sec., 800ISO, matrix met. +1EV. Standard setting on the D700, not post-processed (corverted to.jpg on NX2).
    00TBJm-128655584.jpg
     
  18. Check here some ghosts: IMHO very low for such a huge front element against the light. The same image taken with a 24/2.8AFD could seem undistinguishable from the disco ball lamp from "Saturday Night Fever"...
    Take your time looking from where the crop has been taken...
    00TBJy-128659584.jpg
     
  19. Detail of another unavoidable effect...
    00TBK9-128661584.jpg
     
  20. And the last one, I think there is still a high contrast level on the pigeons. IMHO this lens is outstandingly good for this type. I consider it my best Nikkor ever. I`d have payed twice for my new 50/1.4AFS to have this contrast, sharpness and flare control levels on it.
    00TBKN-128663584.jpg
     
  21. Just another one: increased contrast + saturation + unsharp mask. Consider that is 800ISO and a "high compression level" .jpg.
    00TBKi-128667584.jpg
     
  22. I don't have access to my photos right now, but later tonight I will post some examples of the flare I'm talking about.
     
  23. So you had your first "pro camera" and a big macho lens with it. And you wanted to use it az a walk around lens. Hummmm!?
    And you have a lots of experience in photography, with a point and shoot camera.
    Sorry! I'm shocked and speechless!
     
  24. Whoa, Bela, let's go easy on the sarcasm. Nobody was born knowing all this stuff. At 51, after messing with photography since age 8, I'm still learning.
    Thanks for the sample photos, Jose. I really had to look to find where that crop had come from. That's an impressively tiny bit of flare, especially considering the strong backlighting and patch of bright sky between the trees at the top of the frame.
     
  25. This was taken at about 12:45 in the afternoon the sun is directly overhead. This is about the worst flair I have got, but I generally don't go out looking for situations that will create flair. I agree with the notion that the 14-24 is not a point and shoot lens. It takes work and practice to get good results especially at the 14mm end.
    00TBQF-128729584.jpg
     
  26. This was a study of contrast and shadow. It was taken in bright sunlight at about 12:00. I oriented the camera so the sun was a little behind my shoulder. Portions of the cactus were within a few inches of the lens. I was literally hugging the cactus. Taken at 14mm.
    00TBQX-128731584.jpg
     
  27. Ah, to be starting out with an ultrawide. My first ultra was a Sigma 14mm f3.5, about 12 years ago, pre-digital, on film. I had a 12mm Voigtlander for a while. Previous to that, I'd gotten quite used to the "very wide" perspective, having done lots of shooting with the Nikon 20mm f2.8 lenses for near 30 years.
    1) You're not used to ultrawide composition. One of the best ways of dealing with that "humdrum everyday environment" is to get close to it: don't just get close to the subject, get close to the background. That's a radical thought, how can it be a "back" ground if it's "close"? But it's why your indoor stuff is "working". You're on the street, be closer to buildings than you'd normally do. Shoot at angles, so on one side of the picture there's building even closer to you than the subject, and on the other side, you've stretched hundreds of feet away. You only have to find good "far background" for the "far side", simplifying the daylights out of things.
    2) John is wise. There's a technique that was second nature in the manual focus days, but is sort of a lost art in the autofocus era: using the hyperfocal distance. When you have a "time to think" situation, it works great. For the 14mm setting, just set your lens manually like this...
    • f8 - 2.73 ft or 0.83m (sharp from 1.4 ft or 0.32m to infinity)
    • f11 - 1.94 ft or 0.56m (sharp from 1 ft or 0.28m to infinity)
    • f16 - 1.39 ft or 0.42m (sharp from 8 in or 0.21m to infinity)
    • f22 - 1.00 ft or 0.30m (sharp from 6 in or 0.15m to infinity)
    Those hyperfocal distances are from the DOFmaster program. A good approximation at f11 or f16 is simply focus on that near subject, then manually focus back to infinity, paying very close attention to how far you turn the ring, then turn it half that distance back towards "near". You would be amazed at how well this works, and how easy it is to do without taking your eye from the viewfinder, in the "S" autofocus mode, or in manual focus.
    3-4) Were pretty well covered.
    5) In 12 years, I put one small chip on the old 14mm f3.5 that does not affect the image. I shoot most lenses without "protection" filters most of the time, including the 300mm f2.8, 70-200mm f2.8, 24-70mm f2.8, 14-24mm f2.8, 85mm f1.4, 200mm f4 micro-Nikkor, 135mm f2.0 DC (that's 7 "over $1000" lenses).
     
  28. See, the difference, to me, is that seeing these sample photos from experienced photographers? I've never seen such *good* flare resistance in an ultra-wide of such an exotic design.
    Seriously, find me another ultra wide, especially in a zoom configuration, designed for an SLR (no cheating, no designs for rangefinders here, not a comparable situation), that can match or beat this performance consistently.
    So, sure, I can understand Bela's comments, and the skepticism many of us have for these claims. I can show you far, far worse flare from my own lenses yet I still consider them very good lenses when used correctly within their sweet spots.
    And since several experienced photographers who own this lens have put up photos in this and the previous related thread showing real world performance, we'll probably remain skeptical until we see something demonstrating some evidence to support claims that this lens is unacceptably prone to flare.
    However, this doesn't seem to be Justin's primary concern. I suspect most of it will be resolved with more experience and getting comfortable with using such an exotic lens.
     
  29. I think that frequent contributor -- and, I believe, moderator -- here, Shun Cheung, made a good point about the 14 -24mm awhile back (although I've forgotten which post I read it in, and am too lazy to do an extensive google search):
    If you need this lens, you probably know it. If you don't, you're probably better off with the 17-35.
    For what it's worth, I have the 14 - 24 and just love it, limitations and all.
     
  30. Bela - I'm going to give you the very best advice you're ever going to get in your whole life. This may save your teeth, your nose, your arms, legs, ribs, or internal organs. It may save your life, itself. The next time read, hear, or observe something that leaves you "speechless"...
    DON'T SPEAK!
     
  31. I recently switched from film to digital, I sold my F5 and my manual bodies and lenses to purchase a D700, 14-24 and a 50mm AFS G. I find the 14-24 superb. My main uses are for social documentary work, street photography and architectural interiors. I'm new to photo.net and dont know haw to post images in a discussion. I've only two images in my portfolio but both where taken at 14mm, one's a landscape shot and the other is part of a social documentary project the I have ongoing at the moment.
    Bottom line is that the 14 24 is a great lens, maybe just not for everyone.
    Some of my other shots taken with my 14 24 can be seen here -
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/26256960@N08/
    Love the community spirit of Photo.net and cant wait to get more involved!
     
  32. jvf

    jvf

    I have had my 14-24 for 6 weeks now and use it everywhere, city, landscape indoor, You name it.
    A few samples (all uncropped):
     
  33. jvf

    jvf

    I have had my 14-24 for 6 weeks now and use it everywhere, city, landscape indoor, You name it.
    A few samples (all uncropped):
    00TBXH-128793584.jpg
     
  34. jvf

    jvf

    and trough NX2
    00TBXJ-128793784.jpg
     
  35. Justin,
    The Nikon 14-24 f/2.8 G has the sharpest corners of any wide angle zoom I have had the pleasure of using, it is indeed perfect for grand canyon, if you suggest otherwise can you post your grand canyon pictures that did not come out well? I am interested to see what was wrong. A 24X16" print of a landscape taken with this lens is hanging on my wall with razor sharp corners
    From what you describe this lens is not for you, it is not a walk-around lens, the walk-around lens for D700 is the 24-70 f/2.8, However the 14-24 is the current gem of entire Nikon brand, of course if you know how to use it.
    00TBXL-128793684.jpg
     
  36. jvf

    jvf

    again 'raw'
    00TBXN-128795584.jpg
     
  37. jvf

    jvf

    After NX2
    00TBXP-128795684.jpg
     
  38. I find 14-24 very useful for street and concert photography, and even in portraits. :)
    http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=900256
    http://www.photo.net/photo/8954866
    http://www.photo.net/photo/7809757
    http://www.photo.net/photo/8005113
    http://www.photo.net/photo/8238352
    http://www.photo.net/photo/8672646
     
  39. Neven, I really like your third shot (7809757). What was the focal length for that?
     
  40. To straighten out some misconception! The 14-24/2.8 and the 24-70/2.8 are special lenses, (the 17-35 as well) and never meant to be a walk around lenses. They are big and heave lenses for special fine works. The real walk around lenses is, a 16-85 VR, 18-200 VR, for DX or the 24-85/2.8-4 FX, 24-120 FX, or similar VR . . . . but. . . . the real walk around lens, . . . the lens . . . . you learn photography is,! . . . a 50 or 35mm prime. Lenses from 20mm and wider, people has to take a course, how to use them and for what subject/composition. One of the bigest mistake I see all the time, people using those wide and super wide lenses as a normal 50mm, eye level shooting. 20mm or more 17 and wider, you have to use those lenses low level or high level composition, and sometime pick a foreground anchor subject and get really close to it. 14mm has an exreem perspective distortion, and if you know how to use to your advantage, you can create a beautiful images with it, or you can create a nothind images with it.
    Neven third image show only, and only, the advantage and beauty of the 14mm wide angle lens.
     
  41. Okay, here are some unprocessed photos of mine with lens flare from the 14-24mm. Some things to bear in mind when viewing these photos:
    (1) I know they are really bad photos. The point is the lens flare, not the quality of the photos.
    (2) I like this lens and want to get better at using it. I am not saying it is a bad lens.
    With that said, here we go:
    1. Flare in lower right, on storefront
    [​IMG]
    2. Flare on woman's face and clothing
    [​IMG]
    3. Flare in upper half and lower right corner
    [​IMG]
    4. Flare on pavement at middle bottom
    [​IMG]
    5. Flare at middle bottom
    [​IMG]
    6. Flare on tree branch pointing to 10 o'clock
    [​IMG]
    For more examples (and the ability to inspect the photos at the original size and see the metadata), you can check the gallery of lens flare horrors I created here:
    http://manbou.smugmug.com/gallery/8025673_TnHyw
    Again, I'm not blaming the lens, since it can obviously be used to get great photos (heck, even I got a few I like!). If you can see anything about these photos that suggests why I got so much flare in them, I'm all ears. Thanks.
     
  42. I think your photos are good. I like the second one. Sadly ghosts are ruining the pic.
    The issue here, like with most lenses is to avoid direct sunlight directly over the front element. Shooting backlight there is no way of avoiding this effects, I think. In all your pics the sun is at less than 45 degrees in front of you, I`m not an expert but I suspect that this is even worst than a light source closer to the lens axis.

    Anyway, contrast is surprisingly good. Yours is an impressive lens. Check how a 24/2.8Ai (@ f8!) manages flare under the same conditions: the loss of contrast is huge...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  43. Thanks, Jose. I guess I am just used to the other Nikon lenses I have (50mm and 105mm), where it seems like it's almost impossible to take a bad photo. This one takes a little more work to get good results.
    Upon further review, what seems to be occasional softness at the edges is not really a big issue. (For the record, click this link for an example of a photo I took where the center is sharp but the edges look soft to me. Maybe it's just the lighting.)
    However, one other thing I noticed about the photos I get from this lens is that they are much more likely to show clipped blacks and blown highlights in Lightroom than photos from my other lenses are. Often I have extensive blown highlights and clipped blacks in the same photo, and the highlights are not completely recoverable. I don't know why this is, and it doesn't happen with my other lenses.
     
  44. Wow , Justn you manage to squeeze the whorst from this lens..., should be a prize for this. Like Jose pointed out, you have to avoid the direct sunlight fall over the front element. I know, this is a general rule, but it seems the lens with Nano Coating are not flare proof to. Tought, the 24-70/2,8G is quite workable in similar conditions. I think the three boulbous lenses from the front should plead guilty for this behaviuor.
    00TBiz-128889584.jpg
     
  45. Justin,
    The problem is you are pointing your camera upward at least in some of these photos, this will also exaggerate distortion as evident in your shots. ANY wide lens will have flare in such condition, avoid shallow angle between the sun and your lens by keeping your camera level with the horizon and you will not get so much flare even if you are directly shotting the sun like this example
    00TBky-128907684.jpg
     
  46. Arash identified the main problem with Justin's photos: nearly every one was taken with an upward tilt. This will present a challenge with any wide or ultra wide angle lens.
    It's a highly specialized and rather exotic lens that demands greater than normal care to get the best results. As Bela pointed out (and others as well in other discussions about this lens), it is not a "walk-around" lens for casual use. Similarly, while I *could* use my 28/3.5 PC-Nikkor as an ordinary walk-around lens, I wouldn't. While it's not particularly flare-prone, the relatively large front element and very shallow hood make it impractical for casual use (not to mention the preset aperture, which isn't a hindrance to me since I've used 'em for decades).
     
  47. Here's a demo I put together recently to help with these types of questions. It illustrates how a slight shift in position can minimize flare while still getting essentially the same composition.
    All I did was crouch a bit to let a knobby bit of the bare tree to block the sun. This was done handheld so the composition isn't identical. With the aid of a tripod it's possible to finesse a composition with more subtlety to get a nearly identical composition while minimizing flare.
    The lens is an older Tamron Adaptall 24mm f/2.5 manual focus wide angle on my D2H. It's a fairly good lens for the money (I think I paid a whopping $25), with pretty good multi-coating nearly comparable to an AI or AI-S Nikkor. The collapsible rubber lens shade on this Tamron wouldn't have made any difference in this photo since the sun is directly in the frame.
    00TBnB-128925584.jpg
     
  48. Well, I'm going to defend to original poster by saying that "discussion on the net" is frequently quite black and white in terms of what is good and what is not. The 14-24/2.8 has received a lot of hype but that of course needs to be put into perspective of how difficult it is to make such a lens and how good the alternatives are. But if one doesn't have the experience to put that into perspective then what remains is the image of a superlens, capable of tackling every situation. Flare and ghosting happens, some lenses are really good at handling it, some are not. From the samples I've seen, the 14-24/2.8 is good, but not perfect. There's always a compromise.
     
  49. Justin,
    I will try to give some general tips on use of an ultra-wide lens (or even just a wide lens). Many of the samples in this thread illustrate good technique.
    The first inclination of using such a lens is to "get it all in one shot". As you note, that can make the subject look pretty small. The best pictoral use of a wide angle lens is to make use of exaggerated perspective to emphasize the foreground and minimize the background. Gary Payne's shot of the agave (?) plant against the old mission is a good example. The mall shot by Arash is an example of exaggerated perspective, which lends a sense of depth and/or spaciousness. The same exaggeration can be unflattering in the portrait of a person, or uninteresting if the total composition is not layered (the flowering tree, for example). Be prepared to get close to the ground!
    Sometimes you need the wide angle to capture a city-scape in close quarters, as illustrated by Jens Frederiksen's street scene. Jens was careful to keep the camera level, thus avoiding excessive vertical convergence. If you must tilt the camera, keep the centerline vertical. That way you can correct the vertical convergence in post, if you wish, or at least keep the perspective symmetrical.
    Any bright light that strikes the front element will cause flare, even if it is outside the field of view. Avoid it if you can, use it if you must. The sun may cause flare even if it is nearly overhead. I usually wear a hat, which is a handy way to shade the lens. You need to be careful to keep your hat or hand out of the field of view. If the light is coming right at you, move a little to see if something in the scene can block most or all of the direct light.
     
  50. Well, i have been reading this thread for half the day, and now I think I got the whole issue, so I got some thoughts. I think that Bela got misunderstood and I have only a few things to say...
    1. As many of U pointed out, all lenses are prone to flare. The thing is that if all of them flare under some conditions we need to concentrate more in how to make my lenses work better (as Lex shows) and not trying to demonstrate that"my lens flares a lot".
    2 Most wideangles and ultrawide angles (I have a sigma 10-20 myself) are not walkaround lenses, because of the distortion, the angle (logical) and because some of them are too fancy and expensiveto be the usual workhorse (trying to keep a low profile too).
    3 It's better to try to learn how to use the toys than to have the nicest and most exotic toys. I mean, I can not start shooting with the most advanced and expensive gear without knowing how to use it !!! It seems like many of the questions here are like "what lens is better A or B ?" instead of " I have (or want) this lens... how can I get a better use of it, and what are the best advantages of it ?".
    4 No meaning to offend or start war, but I guess what makes us better photographers is the ability to have exceptional pictures with ordinary gear instead of the other way around... Sorry I have no pictures available to show with my sigma 10-20 but I'm at the office.
    Peace
    Cano
     
  51. Well said, Cano, thanks.
     
  52. Justin: As others have already pointed out most of your flare could have been avoided by keeping the lens perpindicular to the ground. That would have kept all your buildings straight up and down too. The two or three images that have little circles of light in the centre of the frame could easily have been fixed by positioning your free hand over the top of the lens. In these instances the sun was just outside the edge of the frame and shone obliquely across the front element. Your hand would block the stray sunlight and yet not appear in the image.
    You must have patience!
     
  53. Thanks to lots of you for the good advice. The photo examples by Arash and Lex are especially helpful. I'm looking forward to getting better with this lens. I have gotten some shots I really like with it, and I'm sure my "keeper" ratio will go up with these tips.
    Cano, you wrote:
    It seems like many of the questions here are like "what lens is better A or B ?" instead of " I have (or want) this lens... how can I get a better use of it, and what are the best advantages of it ?".​
    Of course this is exactly what I asked. And of course, it's better to have a lot of skill than to have a lot of gear you can't use well. I've shot simple point-and-shoot cameras for decades. But last year I decided to step up to DSLR's after I felt like the camera was limiting my results.
    After doing some research, I decided I wanted to go with Nikon, and with FX instead of DX, because investing money in DX lenses seemed like a waste if I would only move up to FX eventually. So started with a D700 and a basic 50mm "walk-around" lens, which is pretty much the cheapest FX setup possible. Later on, I added a 105mm portrait/macro lens. Both gave very encouraging results.
    Finally, I added a wide lens to get the kind of shots I couldn't get with the 50mm. It's quite possible the 17-35mm would have been a better (i.e., easier to use) choice for my first wide lens, but I liked the crazy perspective of the 14-24mm shots I've seen on the web, so sue me. As Lex said, "Nobody was born knowing all this stuff". And as far as I can see, it's pretty damned hard to get good at something without actually trying it and using it.
     
  54. [It's quite possible the 17-35mm would have been a better (i.e., easier to use) choice for my first wide lens, but I liked the crazy perspective of the 14-24mm shots I've seen on the web, so sue me.]
    Exactly why, even if it's harder to tame, I suspect you bought the right lens for you...
     
  55. Hey, don't get so jumpy man, it seems like U got it personal. I also said
    "No meaning to offend or start war, but I guess what makes us better photographers is the ability to have exceptional pictures with ordinary gear instead of the other way around."​
    So I guess the point is, Congrats for your new baby. YOU GOT IT, NOW LEARN HOW TO GET THE BEST RESULTS WITH IT. and that takes practice...
     
  56. Regardless of the gear, this quote applies: an amateur practices til he gets it right, a pro til he never gets it wrong.
     

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