What full frame UWA lens to get?

fmw

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It is. Even more expensive is the 14 but I never really liked that lens. I wasn't as straight as the 18. I enjoyed the 16 fisheye as well. Barrel distortion to the point of being fun. In the film days I never had a wide angle zoom so I have no experience with them. I have a 12-24 f4 DX zoom for my current system and it is a pretty good performer if you ever use your camera in DX mode. I would imagine the FX equivalent would be another good option.

If I remember right, I think the 18 2.8D was Nikon's first aspherical lens?

I don't know. You could be right. It certainly was one of the company's best wide angle designs. It ranks up there with classics like the 105 f2.5 and 24 f2.8 in terms of performance if not price.
 
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nerwin

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It is. Even more expensive is the 14 but I never really liked that lens. I wasn't as straight as the 18. I enjoyed the 16 fisheye as well. Barrel distortion to the point of being fun. In the film days I never had a wide angle zoom so I have no experience with them. I have a 12-24 f4 DX zoom for my current system and it is a pretty good performer if you ever use your camera in DX mode. I would imagine the FX equivalent would be another good option.

If I remember right, I think the 18 2.8D was Nikon's first aspherical lens?

I don't know. You could be right. It certainly was one of the company's best wide angle designs. It ranks up there with classics like the 105 f2.5 and 24 f2.8 in terms of performance if not price.

I also think the 105 2.5 is Nikon's best lens design which made it into today's lenses. I always wanted to get the 105 2.5. I hear so many great things about it. Its a classic lens, but performs like a modern lens. can't beat that. Lol
 

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TOKINA-VIVITAR AUTO 35/2.8

Because who doesn't love circular saw bokeh?
 
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fmw

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You may surprised to know that there isn't all that much difference between single focal length lenses designed over the past 1/2 century in terms of performance. We have faster ones today and zoom lenses are a whole lot better thanks to computer lens design. Have you seen images made with some of the Leitz lenses designed in the 1930's? They are amazing even with color which wasn't even available when they were designed. The Hasselblad lenses of the 1960's are also amazing. The zooms of that era, however, are truly awful. My only Nikkor zoom lens in the film era was the 43-86 f3.5. It was designed in the computer era but was truly awful. Compare it to my modern 17-55 f2.8 DX zoom. Night and day. Lots of advances in zoom lens design. Lots.
 

ruifo

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Something I wrote sometime ago that might be useful for your analysis:
Review: Nikkor AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED (excellent UWA FX lens)

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I've been using this lens for a few months now, mainly on a D810, and I believe it's one of these lenses that deserve extra reviews and attention. So here goes a brief review, of this excellent UWA lens option.

Usually people think of this UWA lenses for landscape. While it's outstanding for landscape work, there is something else where it shines: 'storytelling'. Telling a story from the field, about events or activities I'm involved with while traveling, is part of a technique to communicate events or trips to a non-attending public. This is great for feeding organizational reports, events, field trips, vacations, photo-jounalism etc.

A wide angle lens, with the right frame, will tell a lot visual information for the observer who is somewhat already expecting to hear the stories of a trip, a project, a community, the she/he was not able to attend or engage with, etc. I usually get feedbacks from people saying things like "seeing these photos was like being there myself". And wide angle lenses are a great and creative way to take portraits as well.

Some time ago, I crossed with a Youtube video that tries to explain how to use wide angle lens for the same purpose that I tend to use it. I found it very interesting, and decide to come here and share this video. The video goes a bit beyond that, into a few wide angle photography tips for interiors, parties, landscapes, and street photography use as well.

How to use wide angle lenses - DSLR photography tutorial
By Sydney Portraits, published on 29-Nov-2013

And for this kind of work, the 'Nikkor AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED' lens is a king. Many reviews out there refers to this lens as second only to the 'Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED', once it's sharp corner-to-corner, even when wide open at 18mm and f/3.5.

The 18-35mm main advantages before the 14-24mm are:

  1. A lot less expensive
  2. A lot lighter
  3. Takes 77mm filters
  4. Going until 35mm makes it very versatile
  5. The 18-35mm has a little less chromatic abberation
While the 18-35mm main disadvantages before the 14-24mm are:

  1. It's not a f/2.8 constant aperture
  2. It's not so wide (18mm x 14mm)
  3. Its built relies more on plastic than metal
  4. The 14-24mm has a little less distortion
And the similarities between these two lenses are around:

  1. Sharpness: they're both very sharp, corner-to-corner
  2. They present similar optical qualities, generating high quality end results
For some good time I studied the Nikkor 14-24mm as a UWA lens option for myself, and because of its high price and heavy weight, I decided to go with a two lenses combo instead, that I'm very much satisfied with, as per below. Together, they created a perfect solution for me. Light weight for constant travel was very important for me, and both lenses are a winner here. They are both very sharp as well.

  • Nikkor AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED
  • Samyang/Rokinon/Bower 14mm f/2.8 ED AS IF UMC w/chip (my review of it)
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I've learned fast that the higher f/# of the 18-35mm is not such a big deal with UWA lenses, once you can shoot them at low shutter speeds. The 18-35mm is an ideal lens for frequent travelers, always on the move, who need light weight and flexibility in a relaible lens. It's also weather resistant, with a rubber gasket in the metal mount.

My practical experience with this lens (and the D810) goes from storytelling, landscapes, and astrophotography, with good results all around. Here my sample shots with the 18-35mm.

It works pretty well in my D5200 as well as a 27-52mm FoV equivalent lens. But it doesn't make sense to buy it if you only use a DX camera, specially with the 'Sigma 18-35mm f/1.8 DC HSM Art' out there, with equivalent price tag.

Don't confuse this lesn (released early in 2013) with its old version, the 'Nikkor AF 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5D IF-ED'. While the old version tends to be very soft, the newer version is using all Nikon's tricks from teh 14-24mm, in a light weight package for the photographers on the run.

Nikon does great wide angle lenses, nowadays. Beyond the 18-35mm and the 14-24mm, there is also these other options (among others):

  • Nikkor AF-S 16-35mm f/4G ED VR --> another great option, ideal for video shooting, giving the constant f/4 and the VR.
  • Nikkor AF-S 20mm f/1.8G ED --> the new kid on the block, with amazing results as a fast and wide prime.
  • Nikkor AF 14mm f/2.8D ED --> a quite expensive piece of glass, now starting to age, but still good enough.
  • Nikkor AF-S 24mm f/1.4G ED --> another expensive (and excellent) prime lens
Not to mention some good UWA/WA third parties lenses as well, from Tokina, Samyang/Rokinon/Bower, Sigma, and now Tamron as well, with its brand new 'Tamron SP 15-30mm f/2.8 Di VC USD', that came to challenge the kingdom of the 'Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED'. So plenty of good glasses all around.

In the middle of all these options, I still believe that 'Nikkor AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED' is a great bargain UWA lens, delivering high end image quality, in a really light weight package, and with serious glass inside. So I'm here rating it 5 out of 5.

Some reviews out there:

'Nikkor AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED' specs:

  • FX lens
  • AF-S motor
  • 7 blade rounded aperture
  • 77mm filter ring
  • 28cm (11") minimum focus
  • 1:5 reproduction ratio
  • Size: 95 x 83mm (3.7 x 3.3")
  • Weight: 385g (13.6 ounces)
  • Petal lens hood and soft case included
  • Weather resistant, with a rubber gasket
  • Stops down to f/22-29
  • Angle of view: 100°~63° on FX and film & 76°~44° on DX
  • New: USD $750 (Mar/2013 -- Apr/2014)
  • Used: ~USD $670 (not so easy to find it used)
  • Made in China
  • 12 elements, 8 groups, 3 of them aspherical, 2 of them ED elements (see below), and multicoated glass inside
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Nikkor AF-S 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5G ED - Lens cut off/diagram

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And some shots of and with the lens:

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Here more of my sample shots with the 18-35mm.
 

ruifo

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And yet a second piece that might help you analysis, now on a second UWA lens option for full frame:
Review: Samyang/Rokinon/Bower 14mm f/2.8 ED IF AS UMC with chip

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This is a quick review of the 'Samyang/Rokinon/Bower 14mm f/2.8 ED IF AS UMC with chip', that's I've been testing, recently.

Straight to the point: it's a great lens, ovrall. Samyang/Rokinon/Bower 14mm f/2.8 are all the same lens, with different branding. I got the Bower version only because there was a discount being offered at the time, and the price was lower. They also offer a video version for the lens as well, with smooth/de-clicked aperture ring and follow focus dents.

It's very sharp at the center at f/2.8 (I mean, really very sharp). And corner-to-corner sharpness starts somewhere between f/3.2 and f/3.5. So it's a great usable fast lens. However, be aware: there is some real barrel distortion at the center, as expected for an UWA lens, but nothing you can't get better in post (when doing so, just protect the borders/corners, to avoid distortion there, where originally it's not as distorted as the center).

The focus ring is really smooth, and its turn is of 260° (or around so), hence its turn is very long and precise. Construction is mainly metal, with some very well made plastic, so no complains. The version with the chip communicates with the body, so you get precise EXIF information, better exposure settings (A, S, M, and P are all functional), precise mechanical aperture management, and better manual focus confirmation information as well.

For astrophotography, there is virtually no coma aberration, even wide open, which is amazing and a joy. This is a result of the good aspherical glass inside. That's why this lens is considered among the best out there for astro and milky way shots.

The UMC (Ultra Multi-Coating) version of this lens has the latest generation multilayer anti-reflection ultra multi-coating glass technology, to minimize flare and reflections. Moreover, at f/2.8 you can still produce some bokeh, despite the UW angle.

Despite the fact I've read some people are unlucky and get a bad copy, I did not have this problem. The first come (from B&H) was already a good copy. I've been using it with a D810, and with the Nikon DK-17M 1.2x eyepiece magnifier, to help with manual focus even better. This lens fits no regular fiter, given that huge curved front element. You'll need a filter holder fir this lens, similar to the ones used with the Nikkor AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8G ED.

Here are some of my sample shots with this 14mm f/2.8, at the demanding D810: Bower 14mm f 2.8 ED AS IF UMC - an album on Flickr

Some links about it:

It's a great lens, overall. 4.5 out of 5. A real bagain for its price tag. Recommended.

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The lens

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Lens and body details

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A quick bokeh test at f/2.8

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A stitched pano (as if it wasn't wide enough)

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Night sky

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Long exposure at f/11

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Wide

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A few more sample shots:

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odagled

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I love my 20mm f/4 Nikkor for hiking. Takes 52mm filters, small, tough (all metal). I don't find myself needing autofocus at such a wide focal length.
 

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