Alright Photo Geeks - What about Ultra-Wide Zooms? (Nikon Mount)

Discussion in 'Photography' started by JohnRice, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I'm actually thinking about using my D200 for some recreational photography. Maybe enough time has passed for me to get some interest in photo taking, for those of you who know my background. I'm itching for an ultra-wide zoom. I'm sure the Nikon 10-24 would be great, but I'm not wanting to spend quite that much. The Tamron 10-24 seems to have a lot of detractors regarding image quality, which brings me to the Sigma 10-20. Anyone have any personal feedback? BTW, this would go along with a Nikon 18-70 which is kind of my budget, all purpose lens.
    I also might be looking for something to cover the range over 70mm, since I don't necessarily want to carry around my Micro Nikkor 70-180 because it is a little too specialized and far too valuable to risk it being damaged.
     
  2. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    The 70-300 is the best bang for the buck lens Nikon ever made.
    I have the 14-24, it doesn't get as much use as I thought it would. Hoping that changes when my D4 actually ships.
     
  3. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    Tokina makes a couple of ultra-wide angle lenses that get great reviews for Canon crop bodies -- better than the Sigma. You may want to check out the Nikon versions of their 11-16mm f/2.8 and 12-24mm f/4 offerings.
    Like Sam, my ultra-wide lens doesn't get much use. It's a Canon EFS 10-22mm.
     
  4. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Thanks Scott. The 12-24 does sound like a winner. The regular DX model seems to still be around at a particularly good price. I was hoping to reach down to 10mm rather than 12, but I don't want to regret the image quality.
     
  5. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    OK, Sam, what about VR vs. non-VR on the 70-300? Same lens optically?
     
  6. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Oops, never mind on that Sam. Clearly not the same lens.
     
  7. Ed Moxley

    Ed Moxley Cinematographer

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    I got the Tamron 70-300mm instead of the Nikon. When I was still looking, several of the people at NikonCafe Forums said that in the 200-300mm range, the Tamron was sharper than the Nikon. http://www.nikoncafe.com/vforums/index.php With people that had used both, and the Tamron being cheaper, I went with the Tamron. I like it a lot. The VC (vibration compensation) on it is very good. All my zoo pictures were taken with it.. I got mine from Amazon. Looks like there's a $100 rebate now too. Mine only had a $50. With rebate, you can't beat it for the price. Free shipping too. They have a six year warranty, which is better than Nikon's.
    http://www.amazon.com/Tamron-70-300mm-4-0-5-6-Digital-Cameras/dp/B003YH9DZE/ref=sr_1_3?s=electronics&ie=UTF8&qid=1334870637&sr=1-3
    My next lens is going to be the Nikon 10.5mm AF f/2.8 Fisheye. Just don't know when it will be.
    Good luck with whatever you decide on.
     
  8. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Ed, at $350 net that Tamron does seem like quite the deal. All this has me wondering if I should sell my Tamron full frame 200-400. It's an excellent lens, but I've always found it to be rather unwieldy to use and I wonder if I will ever really use full frame again. Of course, I have dreams of shooting B&W film again, but that would most likely be medium and large format.
     
  9. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Screenwriter

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    That is a really fun lens to shoot with. I've rented it a couple of times. I've been trying to avoid buying DX lenses in case I decide to move up to FX anytime soon, but if I was going with a DX lens, the 10.5 would be it.
     
  10. Michael_K_Sr

    Michael_K_Sr Screenwriter

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    Just saw the news of the new Nikon prime 28mm f/1.8. Salivating...
     
  11. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    I'm guessing the Nikon 70-300VR has some (unusual for Nikon) variance in PQ above 200mm from copy to copy. Mine is so-so above 200mm, but is still quite useable if stopped down to f/8 or smaller. OTOH, Sam seems to swear by it (at least his copy of it) all the way to 300mm w/out stopping down much, if at all.

    The 2nd-gen VR on that lens is great though, if that's particularly important to you. I'd guess it's a full step or so more advanced/better than the Tamron. Also, the Nikon might have stronger color/contrast as is usually the case compared to the 3rd party offerings -- 3rd party offerings like Sigma and Tamron often add some yellow or amber/orange-ish color cast and maybe softer contrast.

    I think if you can find one of the better copies of the Nikon 70-300VR, then that would be the way to go. No regrets here despite my copy being so-so above 200mm since I think I only paid ~$400+tax for mine due to a Nikon rebate at the time.

    One other slight negative to the Nikon is the zoom "ring" is a bit on the tight side -- no worries of creeping there, but tighter than ideal.


    Not much to add re: the ultra-wide end other than I was almost ready to go for one of the Tokina offerings last I checked a couple(?) years back. I had debated forever about getting something, but still never got around to it because I just haven't seen myself using one quite often enough -- I've rarely found myself really needing anything wider than my 17-55 f/2.8, which I've been using as my walkaround lens for quite a while now.

    _Man_
     
  12. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I was shooting with my 10-22 fairly often, but then had a philosophical change of heart. I'm wondering if I shouldn't try to sell it now, but am a little torn about the times when I might want something that wide.


     
  13. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    I am torn there, too, Cameron. I'm planning on buying a full frame body very soon, and am debating whether to hang onto the 10-22 for my Canon 7D, which I am not going to sell. Based on how I shoot now, I think 24mm on a full frame, which is a wider field of view than the 17mm of my crop walk around, will be sufficient. It's always nice to have that ultra wide when you need it, though.
     
  14. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    I admit, short lenses don't have the "sex appeal" of teles and I personally believe they require more care (skill, patience) with composition. Maybe I say that because I'm a bit of a wide angle junkie. I've been reading some more and it seems the Sigma may have some inconsistencies between units, like the Nikon 70-300 seems to have. The good ones seem to be quite good though. Since ultra-wide is kind of my priority here, I'm leaning toward the Sigma 10-20 again over a 12-24. After all, 12mm only gets me the 35mm equivalent of 18mm, which I have had the chance to use plenty already. I want to push it further. Heck, I even have a 58mm for my 4x5 that has about the same coverage as a 12mm on the D200.
    Speaking of a pricey piece of glass, for you lens junkies. I don't remember what I paid for it, but it wasn't $1,800.
    http://www.adorama.com/SR5856SAXLC.html
    Cameron, what was your Philosophical change of heart regarding wides?
     
  15. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Executive Producer
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    I tend to shoot a lot of people pictures, so the short answer is I don't really use the ultra wides for those kinds of shots anymore.

    As an inherently shy person, telephotos were always an easy way out for me, a way for me to stay at a safe distance from my subject. When I started shooting with wider lenses, it forced me to get get out of my comfort zone. But then I started seeing that I was starting to rely too much on the exaggerated angles at the most extreme end (and that also didn't make for the most flattering images of people). So basically I'm on an extended break from the ultra wide angles for most of what I shoot, though when I do shoot landscapes that will be the first lens I put on my camera.
     
  16. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Wides can be great for environmental portraits, though not necessarily as wide as 10mm. I'm thinking more nature, landscapes. I live at the foot of the Rocky Mountains, so plenty of material there.
     
  17. Scott Merryfield

    Scott Merryfield Executive Producer
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    I do a lot of landscape photography, but tend to shoot a little tighter. An ultra wide really needs something in the foreground to go with the landscape to look interesting, IMO. Here is an example from an old trip to the Canadian Rockies, shot at 10mm on old crop Rebel XT: I think the rocks and trees in the foreground give the photo some balance.
    [​IMG]
    And sometimes it is the only way to get everything in the shot, as there is no room to backup. This was shot in Banff on the same trip:
    [​IMG]
    Usually, though, I find 28mm in 35mm FF equivalent (17mm on a Canon crop) sufficient for shooting landscapes. This was shot at 17mm on the same trip.
    [​IMG]
     
  18. JohnRice

    JohnRice Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the photos Scott. Very nice. You are absolutely correct about foreground content. Basically, ultra wides ask for "radical" compositions. That's what I want to do.
     
  19. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Producer

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    Yeah, I like environmental portraits as well and usually find 17mm (w/ my 17-55 f/2.8) on my D200 to be wide enough for that -- and I'm much more likely to make use of the extra stop than shorter focal length. No mountains in my neck of the woods though, and I don't usually travel near any big (or scenic) ones either. I guess if I were more interested in shooting big/tall buildings, I might still need an ultra-wide in the NYC area, but I find that I'm rarely interested in shooting more than just a small section of such.

    Still, yeah, if $$$ (and maybe luggability) is no object, I'd surely own an ultra-wide by now...

    _Man_
     
  20. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I shoot mine at 250-300 90%+ of the time. In stadium seats with bad lighting through sideline shooting in the best you could hope for lighting and am rarely disappointed even wide open. I'm -not- a good spoorts shooter, but this lens has never failed to impress me and any failures in my photos are my fault and not the fault of this lens.
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