Moderate wide angle lenses for Nikon D810

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ray ., Nov 9, 2017.

  1. What do people like for a prime lens in 35mm for full frame Nikon DSLR's? I'd like something moderately sized that will take advantage of the D810's dynamic range. F/2 or f/2.8 is fast enough. I have a 35 Nikkor f/2 AI-S manual focus I can use, don't have the camera yet so can't test it. Would any other Nikkor, Voigtlander, Zeiss etc be any better?

    Also probably going to want a 28, and maybe a 50 later on.

    Thanks in advance...
  2. The Sigma 35/1.4 ART is my favorite lens.
    Dieter Schaefer likes this.
  3. I recently bought a Nikon 35mm f1.8 G ED FX and it performs much better than my 35mm f2 AF-D & 35mm f2 AIs on my D750. The new group of fast Nikon primes, if you can afford them the 24/1.4, 28/1.4, & 35/1.4 are gems. I also own the 20mm f1.8 G ED which is much better than my older 20mm f2.8 AFD and 20mm f2.8 AIs. These lenes were designed for digital, the older ones were great with film. As for other brands, people buy Zeiss to impress, unless your printing murals you'd never see the difference. The ART is a good lens but it's not a Nikon.
    When I went to the Photo Expo in NYC the lenses that impressed me the most were the 8-15mm Nikon zoom & the 105mm f1.4. I ordered my D850 and those other two lenses are on my bucket list. BTW, if your into MF wides, the sleeper of the group is the Nikon 28mm f2 AI or AIs, it works beautiful with digital and much better at infinity than the f2.8 versions. As for 50's I own the f1.2 AIs, it's fun but does not see as much use as my 50mm f1.4 G. From what I've read the 58mm is the way to go, but it's big and expensive.
    Last...your f2.8 is fast enough for your D810, the only advantage of faster lenses is the ability to isolate your subject better but once stopped down to f4 are not any better performers. Primes are the way to go with your 810 & a 850, even the best zooms wide open or at focal extremes can't match them. (that's if you really need all that detail).
  4. I would agree with Rick_Jack that primes are the best if not always the most convenient. The first time I put a 28 Nikkor on my camera I was stunned, it made a huge difference in the way I shot things and still does. I have a 28/3.5 manual that goes everywhere and a 28-75/2.8 for regular daily use. If you are looking for a prime lens I'd go with the 28.

    Rick H.
  5. #1 - Nah... people who buy Zeiss like high quality glass with a high degree of sharpness, high microcontrast and rich colors and beautiful rendering. If I did not mind manually focusing for high volume sessions, I would definitely get Zeiss glass.

    #2 - You are correct in saying that a SIgma ART lens is LITERALLY not a Nikon. However, your statement, which implies that the SIgma 35/1.4 ART takes a backseat to a Nikon lens JUST BECAUSE OF THE BRAND, is pure nonsense. This is especially true of the 35/1.4 ART, which IMO, outperforms even the Nikon 35/1.4 AFS in edge to edge sharpness, color, microcontrast and other dimensions at half the price. Where Nikon wins is build quality and faster AF and arguably (by a little) in bokeh when wide open.
    Last edited: Nov 9, 2017
  6. If I didn't already own the 35/1.4 Art, I'd be very seriously looking at the Sigma 24-35/2 Art. In particular since I very recently disposed of my 24/1.4 Art when I realized how little I actually used it. But I would certainly welcome the bit of flexibility the 24-35/2 offers over using a single prime in the same range without giving up image quality at all.
  7. How about a good old AI or AI-s 24mm 2.8? It should be well under $200 and optically is a decent enough lens.
  8. One thing is- I'm not that interested in the added expense and weight for a faster lens if I can get equal or similar image quality out of a slower lens... As I said f/2 or f/2.8 will do it- maybe even f/3.5.

    Thanks for the input so far, much appreciated.
  9. I've been using a Sigma 35mm f1.4A on my D800E for a couple of years now. It's the sharpest lens I've ever owned (with possible exception of the Sigma 50mm f1.4A.) I'm constantly looking at new lenses as they come out and evaluating them. There is still nothing sharper out there than the Sigma 35mm f1.4A. I use a tripod for almost every shot to maximize the sharpness. That said, my standard day pack is now Nikon 24mm PC-E, Sigma 50mm f1.4A, Nikon 105mm f2.8 Micro. If Nikon did not make the 24mm PC-E, I'd have the Sigma 24mm f1.4A. That lens is actually sharper than the Nikon PC-E, but I find the lens movements indispensable for landscape and architecture.

    Kent in SD
  10. I have the 24m and 35mm ART and 28/1.8 AFS so the 24-35mm would be useful in replacing 3 lenses. My only concern with the zoom is that it is just bulkier and heavier than I'd like. However, I guess an f2.0 zoom requires that size. 2.0. So the laws of physics wins out on this one.
  11. That's just it - I do not think that you would get equal or similar IQ as the Sigma ART in a slower lens (that includes the Zeiss ZF 35/2 Distagon).

    Whether a smaller and less expensive alternative such as the Nikon 35/1.8 AFS is 'good enough' is a personal call. It's not a bad lens, but IMO, it is not in the same league as the Sigma 35/1.4 ART
  12. The 35mm f/2 Nikkor 'O' is a very old design that shows a number of failings on a high res DSLR. Most notably coma and colour aberrations wide open.

    It's IQ is beaten by almost any modern f/2.8 zoom covering the 35mm focal length.

    If you're happy with manual focus then Samyang's 35mm f/1.4 lens offers great performance at a reasonable price, but it's a large and heavy lens.

    The Sigma Art and maybe Tamron's 35mm prime are others to consider if you need AF.

    I had the much-praised 28mm f/2.8 Ai-S for a while. Couldn't see what was so special about it and replaced it with the more versatile 28mm f/2.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  13. The 35/1.8G AF-S ED (FX) Nikkor gets good reviews and is less bulky and heavy than the 35mm f/1.4 ones from Sigma or Nikon. I personally use the 35/1.4 AF-S but mostly that is because it was introduced a few years earlier than the f/1.8. Carrying a range of f/1.4 primes around does add up to the bag weight and I am thinking about adding either the 35/1.8 or the 28/1.8 to have a lightweight wide angle option. Personally I think many of the high speed high quality primes have exceeded reasonable bounds of size and weight a while ago and a step back would be welcome.
  14. There's no such thing as "fast enough for a D810" - modern DSLRs are extremely good at higher ISO compared with film cameras, but you still get a post-processing raw quality benefit from shooting at ISO 64, and you still end up in scenarios where you don't want to be shooting ISO 51,200. On the other hand, people get scared by the D8x0 series sensors. Yes, a superzoom will struggle to hit the sensor resolution, and yes, you can see some quality loss if you pixel peep at the extremes. However I'm not too scared to use a Tamron 24-70 f/2.8 at least at f/5.6, I'm only after the 70-200 mk 3 because I don't always want to stop down to f/4 as I tend to with my mk 2, and, wide open, the 50mm f/1.8 AF-D is a soggy mess on any digital sensor (but it's very sharp at f/5.6). Bear in mind some digital post-processing can recover quite a few optical artifacts, although it's better to have everything corrected optically.

    You can never have enough lens for optical perfection... but you can decide that there are more important aspects to your photography. If you can handle the cost and weight then I'll vouch for the Sigma 35mm Art - with the proviso that I've found it a bit of a pain to focus except in live view. If not, I'd not feel guilty about the f/1.8 Nikkor. Lens design has improved, and I'd take a modern design over an older f/2 option especially if I liked corners, not that I've personally tried either. (DxO comparison.)
  15. I don't think the OP was referring to the requirements of the D810 but his own needs in "F/2 or f/2.8 is fast enough". I think that's a very good thing as there are compromises in shooting at f/1.4. For many applications more depth of field is needed anyway, and on an f/1.8 lens you can actually expect shots to be consistently in focus. At least the 20/1.8 AF-S Nikkor is a much better autofocuser (fast and close to bombproof) than the 24/1.4 or 35/1.4 AF-S Nikkors or the 14-24/2.8.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  16. Yes - I was really calling out Rick's assertion that:

    That's often practically perfectly correct, but I've seen others (notably Hypnoken) argue that the high-ISO quality of modern DSLRs means that you don't need fast lenses or tripods, and as a general statement I thought it was a bit misleading (for others reading this thread, if not the OP).

    Oh, absolutely. And even the best lenses may not be as optically good at f/1.4 as a cheap lens will be at f/8 (or even at a slow lens's maximum aperture). You don't have to use f/1.4 all the time to use it some of the time. And it's certainly true that very fast lenses tend to focus slowly (partly because of larger elements, partly because they try to have more precision because of the thinner focal plane). Optical quality aside, there's no perfect lens.

    For the OP's usage, it sounds as though the 35mm f/1.8 (which I've never used) is perfectly reasonable. I just wouldn't argue against the Sigma being optically better.
  17. I have indeed had trouble with focus at f/1.4 with a 50mm on full frame, another reason I don't use it. I'm shooting mostly cityscapes, so the only reason I'd have use for that speed is for low light, but even then prefer more moderate stops for numerous reasons. F/2 to f/4 or so are sufficient to throw backgrounds slightly out of focus for the rare times I want that. The vast majority of my shooting is done around f/5.6.

    I have a Leica M240 with 28, 35, and 50 Leica lenses that is excellent. I wanted to replace my Canon 5D first version for a 2nd camera and had figured on a 6D, but got to messing around looking at camera reviews, then went to a camera store and looked at a Sony A7R ii but really liked the feel of the D810, so here I am, knowing that I really don't need the camera, but am interested in taking it for an extended test drive nonetheless. I've used the cheaper 35mm Canon f/2 AF and while it doesn't blow me away like the Leica stuff, it's been quite capable. Being used to Leica rangefinders, a DSLR is fine but with heavier lenses size and weight get to be an issue with me. If I were shooting commercially in a studio I could see it, but for scouting around the city in the afternoon, not so much.

    If I get a (lightly used) D810, I'll try it with the AI-S 35 and then from the discussion here quite possibly opt for the 35 Nikkor f/1.8. Maybe an AI-S would later be adequate for a 28.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2017
  18. Then welcome to the world of the dial-below-the-shutter-button, Ray!

    I've never used the 35mm AI-S, but I see that Bjorn quite likes it. Manual focus at 36MP is a bit painful (and the AF confirmation light in the viewfinder isn't as accurate with manual focus lenses as with autofocus, presumably to make it easier to get focus close), but there's always live view - and at f/5.6 you should be fine.

    Best of luck. I'll look forward to any pictures you share on Wednesdays!
  19. My D800 really made me re-think depth of field.

    Even at 2.8 with moderate focal lengths, when I pixel peep I can clearly see the plane of focus and see the fall-off in front of and behind it.

    Granted at reasonable sizes the conventional DOF rules apply.
    Andrew Garrard likes this.
  20. Andrew, I had a D70 way back when. One of the things I like about the Canon is the placement of the dial on top! Makes so much more sense!

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