Wide angle for DX

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by tempest_connolli, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. I've put off the purchase of a wide angle lens for years now, thinking that I will eventually go back to FX (in fact, I have not really made any major lens purchases since moving to DX from film).
    But it's beginning to dawn on me that I may be shooting DX for a while longer. For a time, the 12-24 Nikon was a more or less the obvious choice, but now there are so many choices that it is truly bewildering.
    I've done some research, but have not found any complete review of the different choices, nor any authoritative guidance on any particular lenses. Someone likes this lens but hasn't tried any of the 5 new ones, someone else likes that lens etc.
    Part of the problem is I don't even know what I want out of this lens. (1) As wide as possible? (2) Most zoom range? (3) good, constant f-stop? (4) durability? (5) Size and wieght? (6) sharpness? (7) Does it need to be a Nikon? (8) AFS?
    It was so easy before...choose the 17-35 f2.8 or the 18-35 variable f-stop and you're done.
    So if anyone has seen (or would like to put together) a guide to all of the wide angle DX lenses available for Nikon, I think it would be an instant best seller.
     
  2. One of the few really good articles Ken Rockwell has written was the one comparing the Nikon 12-24, the Tokina 12-24, the Tamron 11-18, and the Sigma 10-20. You can google it as a place to start, but take everything he says with a grain of salt. Thom Hogan has reviewed the Sigma 10-10 (the old slower one) pretty favorably, and I think he's done the Nikons, too.
    I ended up choosing the Tokina 11-16 (and wrote the review here on photo.net about it). If your camera has a built-in motor, it's great, but no, it does NOT have a wide zoom range. No matter, I only use it when I need to go VERY wide, and I LOVE it.
    The Sigma 10-20s get a lot of love, so do the Tokinas (the 11-16 an 12-24), but I have to say the Tamrons do NOT, and they feel just as cheap, to me, as the little Nikon 18-55 kit lens. Both Nikons get good marks, but the 12-24 is a constant f4 aperture and is better built than the 10-24.
     
  3. It doesn't matter what's available, it's what you need that matters. And if you don't know what you need then you don't really need it yet...simple as that, I say.
     
  4. I had the Tokina 12-24mm f4, and liked it very much. It was sharp and contrasty. But I wanted wider, so I sold it and bought the Sigma 10-20. I liked it but at 20mm the widest aperture was f5.6, which was pretty dark. So I sold it when the Nikon 10-24mm was released, which I like very much. But I don't use it much, most of my photography happens between 16-85mm. But having the 10-24mm on the camera is nice because 10mm is super wide, and 24mm is a good general wide angle. The reason I didn't go with the Tokina 11-16mm is because it is only super wide, and I'd need a second body with a normal lens on it. So if you need to always shoot wide, that would be a good lens. But I like wide and normal-wide, so the 10-24mm is a much more useful focal range for me.
     
  5. Tempest - if you still think you might switch up to FX at some point (and I can vouch for the benefits of being able to use a film body as a back-up, if nothing else) then I'll bring the Sigma 12-24mm lenses to your attention, because they have full FX coverage. They're not as sharp as, say, the Nikon 14-24, but they're not bad - they're wide on a DX and extremely wide when you use them on an FX. That said, I'm only going off a few reviews; I played with one briefly in a shop but didn't analyse it too much. Check on-line - for all I know the DX lenses are sharper as well as being (I suspect) smaller and cheaper, but they also won't give you a full frame if that turns out to be important at some point.
     
  6. Like Leslie I think that if you don't know what you want in the lens, it's best to wait until you have a clearer idea.
     
  7. Peter, Dave, Andrew thank you for the info. Leslie, I wish it were as simple as that. You actually have to find an interestion between what you need/can live with and what's available. And none of the current crop wide angle lenses stands out or has been thoroughly tested and compared by reliable sources.
    I'd love to see a big spreadsheet comparing basic specs, coupled with some testing of the ones with most potential. Rockwell's article on the subject seems to come closest to this, and seems to be less outlandish that some of his other writing. I think at the end of the day he's in favor of the Nikon 10-24 for smaller bodies and the Tokina 11-16 f2.8 for larger bodies with internal focus motors. Seems plausibe enough, but I don't know for sure.
     
  8. I went through a comparison shopping experience with wide-angle DX lenses. It boils down to:
    Nikon 10-24
    Nikon 12-24
    Sigma offerings (there are many, 10-20 variable max. aperture [this one is the classic], 10-20 fixed f/3.5, 8-16mm, and a 12-24mm)
    Tamron's 10-24mm
    and Tokina's 12-24mm f4 and 11-16mm f2.8.
    I would just go to photozone, slrgear, and dpreview to read up on all of them.
    I have the Tamron 10-24 that does not have a very good reputation. It is indeed true that it is soft in the corners... most DX UWA's are, but Tamron's is probably just a notch worse. The funny thing is, if you shoot at 10mm, and crop down to a 12mm field of view, you'd probably have a PQ roughly equal to Tokina. I don't think Tamron's build quality is bad though, especially not compared to an 18-55 kit lens.
    An 18-55 kit lens has a plastic mount, while the Tamron has a metal mount. The latter definately feels more sturdy. It definately does not have the build quality of the Tokina, which is like an armored tank, but it weighs like 2/3rd's the amount.
    I might scoop up a Tokina 12-24 and compare. I've found I use the very wide end less than middle range, so my perspective has changed. But I read that the Tokina doesn't focus as close as the Tamron (16cm vs. 10cm from front element), and doesn't handle flare as well (which is a frequent issue for UWA's). I'm not sure if I'll ever be happy with UWA offerings, but we'll see.
     
  9. Leslie, I wish it were as simple as that. You actually have to find an interestion between what you need/can live with and what's available.​
    So exactly what do you need? If you don't know, like Mark said, you aren't clear about what you actually need? For example: A faster stop for dim available light? A wider end for super wide interior shots? A longer end for general snapshots. A constant F-stop for easier speedgun work?...IMO you're still in the "want" stage, not "need."
     
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    If you can afford it, just get the Nikon 10-24mm/f3.5-4.5 AF-S DX. It is a Nikon lens and has AF-S so that you should have the least amount of concerns about future compatibility. I have tried that lens and its quality is quite good, but as most lenses in this category, its long end is better than its wide end. I have the earlier 12-24mm/f4 AF-S DX and feel no need to change.
    The Tokins 11-16mm/f2.8 seems to be a fine lens also, but I have two reservations with it: (1) no AF-S and (2) limited zoom range. I would get that if you must have f2.8.
     
  11. Thanks Shun. That's definitely to the point. If you have any further thoughts, it would be much appreciated. Here is my reaction to the differences between the Nikon 10-24 and the Tokina 11-16.
    --I don't know what to think about f2.8 these days. With cameras becoming so much more sensitive, it is becoming less important especially in an ultrawide. However, it's not totally useless (and can be quite useful with video, since you can't stablize video in the same way (i.e. tripod) and you can't light video in the same way (i.e. flash). Also video shutter speeds aren't nearly as flexible).
    --On the limited zoom range...I still have my 17-35 (not the wisest economic choice I ever made), so technically I am covered from 17 to 24mm (minus the convenience).
    --I don't see myself, in the near future, buying a camera that requires AFS.
    --The Nikon is 100g lighter (and would allow me to leave behind the 17-35 most of the time). Since I'm not getting younger, I appreciate every gram.
    --The Nikon is [only?] $200 more. I don't know if this would be recovered on resale. The Tokina is reported to be more durable mechanically.
     
  12. Tempest,
    I agree with all that Shun said here.
    Apart from that : When i have such a dilemma, i try to put all signifficant characteristics of the lens types i can think of on a list, and give each of those characteristics a mark between one and five ( five being highest score here) . if something is not important to me thenn it gest a "1" , if its utterly important to me it gets "5" etc. .
    Then afterwarts I look up lens reviews like the ones from Thom Hogan or Photozone.de and put hold them against my list. ( i.e Ultrawide important , Sigma 8-16 gets a 5 score for that, wide aperture, the tokina 11-16 gets high marks, Nikon brand importand, then this gets High marks.. etc.)
    This way I ended up with the Nikon 12-24 ( the 10-24 was not available by then..), but that's from my personal marks, yours may differ.
    There are only two lenses that I bought in the past 33 years of using Nikon that I did not use this scorelist for : my first 50mm 1.4 (AI, around 1977 if i remember well) , and my last lens t: the sigma 8-16 which i bought for sheer fun ( although it is astonishingly good , i think..)
     
  13. --I don't know what to think about f2.8 these days.​
    For shooting at f2.8, I agree. BUT... here's what I love about the 11-16. Shoot at f5.6 at anywhere in the zoom range and you're two full stops down from wide open. So instead of shooting wide open or mostly wide open at a "weak point" in the lens, you're right at the sweet spot. For me, that made the 11-16 worth it. btw, I would have paid the same if it had been a 10 or 11mm f2.8 prime... So the 12,13,14,15,16 lengths were a bonus.
     

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