Good ultra wide lenses for full frame?


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May 9, 2013
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Iowa City, IA
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I use a Canon, but would be interested in hearing about any other brands as well (general interest and they almost all adapt to Canon anyway), including old manual lenses, thus am putting it in this forum.

Ultra wide being, let's say, less than 20mm. Strongly prefer rectilinear, not fisheyes. And must cover a full frame sensor.

The widest I found on my own was the Sigma 12-24mm from the major modern manufacturers. But I can't begin to cover all the bases of older tech and manual options, that might be cheaper and just as good.
Wait, damn. I put this in the wrong place, sorry. Meant to do photo equipment. Top of the wrong set of forums, please move when you get a chance somebody. Thanks.
The brand new Tokina 12-28mm lens for DX is apparently amazingly good, and covers FF at 18mm and longer--and it's only about $600 now, at its intro price. The cost of $600 is really pretty darned low for a first-class wide-angle lens. Not a bad price for an 18-28mm wide zoom...

The Nikkor 14-24mm AF-S G used on a good adapter, like the Fotodiox G-Nikkor to EF adapter is a possibility; it's better than any wide-angle Canon makes.

The problem with a lot of older wide-angle lenses is that they are not well-optimized for digital sensor capture. As we move into higher and higher MP cameras, the weakness of a LOT of older wide-angle primes, and zooms, is an issue that a lot of people keep encountering.
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Canon 17-40mm f4 L or the 17mm f4 tilt shift. The tilt shift will give the equivalent of a 12mm shot after stitching. Both are higher quality then the sigma. But the Sigma is not a bad way to go if price is a factor. Sigma does tend to be a bit soft in the corners though.
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Probably wide coverage. DOF should be impossibly deep at 12 or 16mm or whatever full frame. Does 2.8 even really do much?
An UWA at f/2.8 does have a plane of focus. It's not like everything is in focus. You can definitely get a little bit of DOF blur at 2.8.

I use the Rokinon 14mm f/2.8. Although it has pretty noticeable distortion and vignetting, it's so sharp and cheap.

Plus it has less coma wide open when shooting stars, meaning that at the corners the stars remain dots instead of sprouting little wings and smearing.
I just sold my 14mm f/2.8 AF Tamron last week for $350 which is designed for Film/full frame camera. And of course it works with my cropped 40D and 7D. The reason I get rid of it is I am not planning to get a full frame body anytime soon and I am not able to find a way to use a ND nor CPL filter with it. The lens is not too sharp at f/2.8, but it works quite well when stop down to f/5.6 to f/8. And that is based on cropped sensor photos.
I just used the Sigma 12-24 on my 6D for several 100 photos in the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. I'm pretty happy with it. I like Sigma lenses anyway though. :D
I've got the 17-40mm F4 L. No complaints.
I bought the Canon 17-40 f4 a couple of months ago and am really happy with it. It's sharp and works well with my 5D mklll. I considered the 2.8 but with the iso capabilities now and the image quality, it just wasn't worth spending an extra $1200 for one more f stop.
I use the Canon EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM - fantastic lens, rectilinear, but spendy. It provides corner to corner (no vignetting) coverage on a full-frame sensor.

If you're looking to get a project done, rent it. If you're looking to own, consider the price tag and trade-offs. I got mine at Amazon on a pretty good sale and have never seen the price come anywhere near that low again.
I have the tokina 16-28 2.8 and its great. Sharp and stout. Very well made. Auto focus makes a slight grinding noise, so a bit noisier than canon there, but always finds its target. The focus clutch is a bit annoying, would much prefer a switch so you can auto focus and then shift to manual, when set to manual the focus ring stops at infinity unlike canon and some others which can overshoot it and make images soft.

I'd have to shoot with the canon 16-35 2.8 to say i would chose one over the other but right now I see no need to upgrade. If I ever REALLY want to use filters i can buy the fotodiox adapter. All depends on what you want to shoot.
What did you say you wanted to spend? I see "something cheaper," but I don't know if your cheap and my cheap are the same thing. :) I loved the Canon 16-35 lens. It is soooo sharp. Maybe you can find a good used one?

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