Life with the 14-24 f/2.8

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by hal_c|1, May 18, 2009.

  1. Hi all. I'm strongly considering the 14-24mm f/2.8 for my D700. I'm a wide angle junkie and strongly prefer to shoot close and low to things. Been reading all about the 14-24 and the 17-35 so I'm well familiar with the technical and IQ aspects, benefits, drawbacks, etc.
    What I'm interested in is your day to day life with shooting the 14-24. It's big, heavy, and has one very naked front element. That last bit is what concerns me. I don't shy away from shooting in surf spray, waterfalls or dusty conditions (I do live in Oz) and USD$1800 worth of unprotected front element has me a bit bugged.
    How's your experience with that been? How do you keep it safe and clean?
    I'm also wondering if you miss the ability to use filters on it. I have, on occasion, hand held my Cokin P filters in front of my Sigma 10-20 (when I had my D70). Would I be able to do this on the 14-24 or is that going to be an issue with the way that element hangs way out there?
    Do you, personally, feel the lens is worth working around those issues? (Yes, I know I'm asking people with $1800 of vested interest in the lens...)
  2. Every once in a while there is a thread about this lens asking the same questions with varying responses from many users, interestingly people who do not have or use this lens are very interested in commenting about how sensitive the front glass is etc. Any ways, my comment is that if you have not done photography with a super wide angle lens before you will not be able to use this lens to its full potential until you take 3-4K pictures and help yourself to learn how to use it. It is NOT a point and shoot lens, it is NOT a walk-around lens, and it is not a lens that you simply point to the subject and snap a shot.
    However if you learn how to use it you will have terrific results, I was shooting in the Marin Headlands, just north of San Francisco yesterday, winds were strong and there was dust blowing all over my gear, I was hiking and taking pictures for about 5 hours, my camera and lens were quite dusty at the end of the adventure, but I just cleaned it and it is shiny as new:) But yes, you CANNOT mount any filters on this lens.
    I suggest the moderator collect all the posts relative to the lens in a single thread and make it a sticky in the headline of the Nikon forum, there is at least one post per week regarding 14-24.
    Here is a shot from yesterday
  3. Thanks for the samples, I do agree, it's a brilliant lens. I do have experience with an ultrawide (the Sigma 10-20mm on my D70, which works out to about a 15-30mm) so I know what I'm getting into regarding the wideness.
    Apologies for asking a question that's been asked before, but I did search on it (everywhere, not just on here) and didn't find what I was looking for. Perhaps I didn't phase it right, long day at work and all. Everything I found was more around the technical aspects, "is wide for me?", or how it compares to the 17-35mm.
    I'd like to know how much of an issue it is to protect it while they're shooting - if it requires cleaning mid-shoots or the shots are compromised, exactly like your Marin Headlands story. Does it make you think twice about jamming the lens into a potential situation? From your story I'd guess you have no reservations about it.
    Also whether or not they miss the ability hold filters (bonus for Cokin P sized) in front of it. Is that a limitation for or is it barely noticed?
    Thanks again.
  4. Regarding Filters for the 14-24mm:
    If you are a filter user, this lens may be one to avoid. But if you want the best ultrawide zoom lens available, you may have to give up the use of filters with this one lens. There are other alternatives:
    Nikon's 14mm accepts gelatin filters which, if they have the filter you want, may solve your filter issue.
    Another option if you must use filters: Consider the Sigma 12-24mm. See the 2nd to last post here:.
  5. bms


    Great lens? Yes. Walk around? Not really. Shooting near waterfall, tried it once, results as expected :(
    I agree it takes getting used to. Almost too wide for me. I have considered getting a 17-35 instead, but I am sticking with it for now.
  6. Tim,
    As good as the 14-24mm is, the inability to add filters to it rendered it effectively useless to me. I bought it although I already had the 17-35mm as I thought that the extra 3mm would be useful (it was) and that the inability to use filters I would step around using other techniques. However, using multiple exposures for what I shoot is often not desirable and so the net result was that I would carry around both the 17-35mm and the 14-24mm and that very rapidly grew wearisome. In the end the extra 3mm was not enough of an advantage to outweigh the filter problem and I started leaving the 14-24mm at home. After it stayed unused in the cupboard for a couple of months the writing was on the wall and I sold it.
    If what you shoot allows the use of multiple exposures to get around the filter problem then go ahead and buy one. If you ever lose shots because you can't put filters on it then you will quickly rue the day you bought it. Cokin make some ridiculous contraption that costs an arm and a leg that allows the use of filters (but not at the widest setting). You certainly couldn't reliably hold filters in front as you would get internal reflections too.
    In short, if you never use filters you will love it. If you do use filters even occasionally get the 17-35mm. In terms of the exposed front element that never seemed a problem to me if you are careful and get insurance anyway of course.
  7. I love this lens. As noted, it is not a walk around lens, except in unique situations. I used it extensively in Italy, walking the narrow streets and dropping in on the beautiful churches. For interior shots, unbeatable. You cannot use filters, but with post processing capabilities, I don't find that a limitation. As far as the size and bulk, once on my camera, I don't notice that at all. It is very well balanced on a D700. My walk around lens is the 24-70mm, and this lens is no heavier. As to the front element, one needs to be aware, but not overly concerned. I've found I really dont think about the risk as much as I did when it was fresh out of the box and the invoice still on my desk.
  8. 14-24 is 1 kg, 24-70 is .9 kg, perhaps not enough to notice when mounted on a D700. Personally, I think it would be very difficult to photograph people with the 14-24 due to "lens fright" and the extremely conspicuous look of the thing, not could I imagine using it for PJ with the protruding front element. The 14-24 may have the best optical characteristics of any wide angle lense, surpassing most primes in this area, but it might not be the best lense for many circumstances.
  9. If you make money with the lens, then it can be treated as an expendable. Grind it up with salt and sand, then get another one a couple years down the road. For people like me who don't fancy buying a new one anytime soon: Surf, spray, waterfalls, dust?....I'd take my 17-35(with a clear filter handy), instead of my 14-24. As long as I have a Nikon F mount DSLR, I'll not get rid of either one. But then I'm a wide angle nut who has seen rental house lenses that get cleaned seven times a day, five days a week for 3 or 4 that point they need a new front element!
  10. Tim,
    there is a filter housing you can buy for the 14-24mm. I do believe it's B&H who carry it. The housing costs a lot though.
    I don't have any shots to share from the 14-24 on the D700. But I know on our recent trip I wished I'd brought it along many times.
    Lil :)
  11. I'd like to know how much of an issue it is to protect it while they're shooting - if it requires cleaning mid-shoots or the shots are compromised, exactly like your Marin Headlands story. Does it make you think twice about jamming the lens into a potential situation? From your story I'd guess you have no reservations about it.

    As long as you don't drop this lens with the front element extended it is not going to have any issues, the front element has special coating and is weather resistant. I have shot with this lens in dust and rain and I will not hesitate to do so in the future, it is a professional lens intended for extensive usage and if you buy from Nikon authorized dealer it comes with a 5 yr warranty. For the record I dropped this lens and my D700 accidently one time from a distance of about 1.5~2 ft on the trail, I had the plastic cap on and it got scratched but the lens itself was intact.
    In terms of cleaning I clean at the end of each day when it gets heavy usage, otherwise I just blow off any dust and put it in its bag. Also I don't care about filters that much because I can produce the effects in PhotoShop if I want. If you liked your Sigma 10-20 and D70 I am sure you will enjoy this lens. It's the best wide angle lens ever made and a major step up from the Sigma as the price suggests, it is sharp at all apertures and focal lengths- good luck :)
  12. If you want to be less naked, you can consider the 21mm Zeiss Distagon. It has just about the same IQ (or better) and the colors are better than the zoom in my eyes.
  13. I don't know about better IQ Arthur - they're probably too close to call. Color rendition is a personal taste. I have both the 14-24mm and the 35mm ZF. I love them both, but the 14-24mm is my main lens in my business (mostly interiors) on both the D700 and D300.
    The 14-24mm has better distortion control over the 21mm ZF. That doesn't matter as much for landscape work. The fact that this zoom is so sharp across it's range is a marvel. For Nikon wide angle shooters - if you can afford it - it's a no brainer.
  14. One thing I can add is that the petal hood of the 14-24 isn't quite deep enough, especially at the 24mm end. This makes the lens more prone to flare than it needs to be, and a little careful shading with a hand or bit of card etc. can sometimes make all the difference between a sparkling shot and one with strange little rainbow spots spattered all over it. I've been considering making a slip-on hood extension to avoid juggling the camera with one hand and a make-do flag with the other - haven't got around to it yet!
    As for the dust issue: The lens is what it is, and that's the best ultrawideangle zoom ever made to date. You take the risks with the advantages, and if you consider that it replaces 4 or 5 prime wideangle lenses, each costing a fair fraction of its price, then it becomes a real bargain. The same thing goes for the bulk and weight too.
    BTW the Cosina "Zeiss" 21mm costs about the same as the 14-24 and, in case you hadn't noticed, it's 7mm longer in focal length, which is a difference of more than 22 degrees in horizontal angle of view. There's no comparison IMHO.
  15. Great lens, worth working at. I had the 17-35 but it had an issue so I returned it for this one. No regrets. IQ is the best of any W/A I've had short of a Leica and I'm not convinced it's inferior to some of those.
  16. Thanks all for the feedback. It sounds like the only obstacle now will be avoiding my wife for a few days after I decide to pull the trigger on this...
  17. I agree with what Arash said: It's hard to learn to shoot this lens well. I'm still trying! You need to carefully compose your shots to take advantage of the extreme field of view, or it becomes a liability.
    But you can relax about the front glass issue.
    I bumped mine into a plastic lawn chair. It left a mark on the glass and I thought I had just made myself a nice new Nikon paperweight. But a few wipes with a microfiber cloth at home and the smudge (not a scratch -- whew!) came off completely, 100% like it never happened. IMHO you really have to grind this thing against a rock or something to ruin it.
  18. Tim, I also live in Oz ( Perth ) so maybe you might want to hide out at my place for a while. Or maybe just leave the D700 and 14-24 here with me until things cool down at your house? A couple of years should do it and I'm happy to help out.
  19. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Tim, if you have already read the existing threads on this lens, I seriously doubt that you'll learn anything more until you get your hands on one. If you are into superwide, I'd say "just do it."
    Before I bought my own 14-24, had one on loan from Nikon and I used that for about a month. It is certainly not a lens that is easy to use. Similar to my 10.5mm fisheye, these are lenses I use sparingly only when the scene justifies it, and I use the 17-35mm/f2.8 a lot more frequently.
    When I had the loaner, I accidentally touched the front element a few times. It isn't a big deal. I seriously consider getting a spare lens cap in case I lose it. (When I travel, I carry a few extra 77mm lens caps, but the 14-24 takes a dedicated custom cap.)
  20. Tim,
    I do architectural photography and tried all Canon's lens as 10-22 (EF-S) and 16-35mm... today I tried 14-24 just for fun, ...ended up picking up d700 and the 14-24. If you are looking for a working lens (not a travel etc) which will deliver max angle with least vertical/horizontal distortion - this one is for you!
    p.s. Filters? My opinion: for colors - photoshop. For polarizing filter on a wide angle - doesn't work. I mean it does, but it does not cover as much as you need (with experience, lowest would be like 30mm on a full frame body), therefore you end up with weird darker 30-35 degree spot - and it's a pain to fix it! Do people still actually use them? LOL

Share This Page