Ultra-Wide FX/Film Zoom

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by ben_hutcherson, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. I'm a wide angle junkie, but the widest full frame lens I have is an 18mm 3.5 AI-s. Wide angles always leave you wanting more, so I'm looking at the options I have for use on a D800 and various film cameras.

    I have the DX 12-24mm f/4 and I've actually used it some in the 16-24mm range(it won't vignette as long as there's not a filter installed) although the edge performance and distortion are both bad. It works, but it seems to be a less than ideal solution.

    As much as I'd love the 14-24mm 2.8, there's not a chance of it being in the budget.

    So, with that in mind, can anyone suggest a sub-$1K wide angle zoom? I'd like something that goes down to the 14-15mm range. 3rd party lenses generally aren't even on my radar, but I'm open to considering one for this since I'm not sure a Nikkor exists in my price range.

    Also, one other potential lens on my radar is the 15mm AI or AI-s. I don't mind manual focus as a general rule, and especially not on the D800 since I get metering and aperture priority. Also, DOF is generally so deep on WA lenses that there's not a lot of focusing required on them anyway.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions.
  2. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    I have been thinking that way for a while -- I also have 18mm at the low end of a zoom and 20 AIS. I wonder if something wider would really be of value or just an example of "more is better". Can't think of a time wider than what I have would have been more useful I still look, though! :D
  3. That puts quite a limitation on the available options :( But all are most likely better options than the old Nikon 15mm.

    Not zooms but below $1K: IRIX 15/2.4 and 11/4: Irix 15 mm f/2.4 | Irix - The photographers dream and Irix 11 mm f/4.0 | Irix - The photographers dream. Seem to have quite decent reviews. Manual focus.
    Similar: Samyang/Rokinon 14/2.8 or 14/2.4
    Venus Optics Laowa 12/2.8

    Very good option, AF, zoom, image stabilization: Tamron 15-30/2.8 VC. Just slightly above $1K though (unless purchased used).

    I was considering the new Sigma 12-24/4 Art (the older variable aperture one is allegedly a dog) but in the end went with the Sony FE 12-24/4 for my Sony A7II (slightly more expensive than the Sigma but much lighter and according to reviews better optically). Naturally, not a lens that fits the D800 though.

    And then there is the new Sigma Art 14/1.8 - the price tag is a bit above $1K though.
  4. Earlier this year I got a 24 and have been very happy with it. Manual focus but that suits me. For dx I think the 18-55/2,8 is one of the best lenses Nikon has ever made. Not cheap but if you look around you may find one. I ought to know since I have one but am not sure, on the D800 you can shoot it in DX mode can't you? Guess I'd better try reading the instruction manual.

    Rick H.
  5. When I shot DX I loved the AF-S10-24mm and just losing that 1mm to the AF-S 16-35/4VR was something that made me hesitant when I moved up to FX. One millimeter, but still quite noticeable with such large field of view. I too considered getting the 14-24mm but passed since I did not like its front element. I did use the DX 10-24 on FX for a while but never really liked the output. That was not why I moved to FX. Better then to have kept the DX body just for that lens, so I sold the DX lens and got the 16-35mm. When I bought the DX 10-24 i never looked at the DX 12-24 just because I knew I wanted as wide as possible and the 10-24mm got good reviews for its 10mm end. That was a decision I never had to regret. Like the OP, third party lenses are not really on my radar either but I do know they are not what they used to be back in the day (when just about the Tamron 90mm macro was just as good as Canon/Nikon). Today, many are excellent value for money, even better than Canon's and Nikon's offerings. I did look at the AF Nikkor 14mm/2.8D and while it seems like a fine lens I did not think it was worth its price, given the alternatives.

    Are you keeping the DX lens or selling it to help fund the FX lens? Why not look at a lightly used AF-S16-35/4VR? That should be well within your budget. I use it and like its 16mm end on the D800, especially stopped down. Even the AF-S 14-24/2.8 can be found used from about $1.000. The advantage of buying used is that you can resell without a significant loss, if you do not like it.
  6. If it also has to work on various film, the possible options are reduced to zero, as far as I know - there are some "D" zooms that go down to 17mm, but wider than that, as far as I know, they're all "G"-lenses, or primes. Of course, if the film camera is something like a F80 or F100, all the modern lenses (which Dieter mentioned) come into play too. So, it would help to understand if the film cameras on which you'd want to use this lens can work with G lenses or not.
  7. The AF Nikkor 14mm/2.8D I mentioned works with most film cameras, but that might not be a choice for the OP.
  8. How much is Tokina's AT-X pro 16-28mm zoom in dollars these days?

    I see Wex have it on offer in the UK at £579, that's probably well under $800 in the states.

    I tried a sample of Samyang 14mm f/2.8 a while back. For the money it wasn't at all bad, but since I have the 14-24 Nikkor it wasn't for me, even though it's a darn sight smaller and lighter than the Nikkor!

    14mm is about as wide as I care to shoot. You're on top of the subject before it gets anywhere close to filling the frame at that sort of focal length.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
    beegeedee likes this.
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    If 18mm on FX is wide enough, my favorite nowadays is the 18-35mm/f3.5-4.5 G AF-S.

    The catch is that it is a G lens, but so is the 14-24mm/f2.8 AF-S. These G lenses will work fine on the late AF film SLRs such as the F5 and F100, but they are not very compatible on manual-focus film SLRs.
  10. Thanks everyone for your suggestions, and I will dig through them and look at them.

    Just to address a few things:

    1. Used is preferred, although I will buy new if necessary

    2. I should have fleshed out my "film camera" comment a bit more. An aperture ring is preferred, but my F100 gets stuck in the bag with my digital stuff often enough these days and I have no problem using it when need be. That means G and AF-S are completely fine. The only things out are E and AF-P.

    3. I don't plan on parting with any DX lenses. My IR-converted D80 still goes out with me a lot, as does my D300 as a backup. In addition to the 12-24 I mentioned, my only other DX lenses of note are the 35mm 1.8 and 18-200, neither of which is exactly a high dollar lens on the used market.

    4. I'm not married to a zoom-I'm fine with a single good, wide prime

    5. 18mm is NOT wide enough

    Thanks again.
  11. Okay, poking around KEH a bit...

    1. The 14mm 2.8 AF-D is just under $1K...the advantage to that is that it would work with everything I have

    2. I could stretch my budget a bit and get and get a 14-24 for $1250-I might have to wait but I admit that it's a tempting option

    3. The 16-35 f/4 is just under $1K-it certainly looks like a good lens, but I have to admit that when I'm in range of getting something that will do 14mm, it becomes a bit less attractive.

    So, at this point the 14mm 2.8 and the 14-24 2.8 look promising.

    Aside from price, the the one negative the 14-24 seems to have is that I understand it to be a big hunk of glass.

    So, any thoughts on the above?
  12. > Aside from price, the the one negative the 14-24 seems to have is that I understand it to be a big hunk of glass.

    Depends how you count. It's not as big as a 24-70 (well, Nikon's new one) or a 70-200 f/2.8. The front element is a bit scary if you're used to a kit zoom.

    Most people would warn you that filters are expensive and awkward on it. With the exception of getting stuff on the front, I don't miss them much - it's very wide for polariser use, and I'm happy with the dynamic range of a modern body to sort most other things. The edges aren't perfectly sharp, but DxO cleans them up quite well.

    I would say that, especially at 14mm, the 14-24 has quite a bit of field curvature (the corners bend towards you, so the ground by your feet can be in focus while the area straight ahead is in focus some distance off). I often shoot mine at f/7-ish not for aberrations but to compensate for this.

    It is, however, one of the reasons I switched to Nikon. (The other was the 135 f/2 DC, which I got on very badly with, so take that with a pinch of salt.) I got it very early on in my Nikon ownership, and it's done sterling service. It also hurts if it drops on your head from an overhead cabin on a plane. It does have a fair bit of barrel distortion at 14mm, but then the 16-35 has a lot at the wide end too.

    Pro tip: Zoom out to 24mm when you take it off the camera. The front and rear elements retract into the lens when you do that, which protects them a bit.

    Unless Nikon get around to redesigning it any time soon, the consensus has tended to be that the 14-24 is the class act in this area. The Samyang isn't that far behind, but you need the Zeiss 15mm to really compete, and the 14-24 has flexibility and autofocus going for it. I'm sure you'll be happy with it, if poor. I was. :)
  13. Thanks.

    I do have an 80-200 2.8(the push pull AF-D one) and also have RB67 lenses from 50mm-250mm(plus a Canon FD mount 400 4.5) so I'm not intimidated by size-I'm mostly just thinking about how likely I am to carry it.

    I also tend to not use polarizers with WAs anyway as I've had some ugly results on skies. I WOULD miss having color filters for use with B&W film.

    Overall, though, it seems like a winner-especially now that I see the used price.

    Still, I admit that the 14mm 2.8 has its own appeal.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  14. If I had to make a choice, I'd stretch my budget a bit more and get the Sigma 12-24/4 instead. Or wait a bit until it becomes available used.
    People I know who own(ed) that lens weren't happy with its performance, especially the moustache-type distortion.
  15. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    If even 18mm is not wide enough, unless you go with something like the 17-35mm/f2.8 or 16-35mm/f4, once you go wider to 14mm or wider for FX, regardless of whether it is a Sigma, Nikon or whatever, the chance is that you will be dealing with a lens will a bulging front element.

    Additionally, we are talking about some extremely wide lenses that are difficult to manufacture with a small market. Anything "affordable" in that category is unlikely going to lead to great results.
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
  16. I would avoid the Nikon 14mm f/2.8 - it's relatively expensive, tests reveal it to be rather mediocre. The Irix, Samyang, Sigma options are seem better value for money.
  17. Here is why I chose the 16-35/4VR:
    AF Nikkor 14/2.8D - As already mentioned its price/performance ratio seems off. It probably was the best choice when it was released but I get the feeling that time has since caught up with it. Test indicates strong distortion and relatively poor sharpness compared to the 14-24 and 16-35 zooms.
    AF-S Nikkor 14-24/2.8G - Its exposed front element, weight, price and that several reviews indicated that the 16-35 performed just about as well, albeit 2mm less wide.
    Since then, the used marked (at least here in Sweden) seems to have been flooded by 14-24 lenses and used ones currently start from about USD 860, which is well over USD300 less than just six months ago.

    Today, I suppose I would have chosen the 14-24 for that maximum field of view. However I am by no means not happy with my 16-35/4.
  18. > several reviews indicated that the 16-35 performed just about as well

    Really? I've nothing against the 16-35 (though I don't own one), but almost every review I've seen has said "good, but not as good as the 14-24".
  19. The one lens not mentioned so far that is highly regarded is the Tamron 15-30mm f2.8. I shot with one at an air show last year. It gave great results, however it is a beast!

    Kent in SD

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