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Author Topic: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens  (Read 3179 times)

JonathanRimmel

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Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« on: December 03, 2013, 02:33:03 PM »

I am looking for recommendations on a wide angle lens for landscapes. I currently use a Nikon D300 and do not plan to go full-frame any time soon.

There are other topics on numerous forums discussing this but nothing really satisfies me. From what I have seen the Nikons are not that good (except the expensive but excellent 14-24).

What I am looking for is the following:
- Constant Aperture
- Filter Threads
- Low distortion (or easily correctable)
- No/Little flare
- Sharp across frame
- Low aberrations (or easily correctable)
- Affordable <$800

Now other than price I am willing to compromise on some of these points if you can give me a good reason to.

Though I am primarily using this for landscapes I would like some versatility (interiors, group shots ect) with the lens. But I do own a Sigma 17-50. So 17-20 works for some of that already.

The Tokina 11-16 is on my list but seems limited in range.
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MatthewCromer

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2013, 03:14:09 PM »

Regarding landscapes, why do you care about f/2.8 and constant aperture at all?

The best crop UWA for landscapes is the Sigma 8-16.
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JonathanRimmel

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2013, 04:07:25 PM »

That is one question I had. Would I be better off with a wide angle I can use indoors? Or should my 17-50 fill that role and the wide angle only be used for Landscapes.

I did look at the sigma 8-16 (seems fantastic) but I would very much like to use filters.
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robdickinson

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2013, 08:44:50 PM »

8-16 doesnt have the ability to use filters though it is probably the best optically.

f2.8 is handy in low light for night/astro shooting even for landscapes.

Honestly 11-16 will be a decent range otherwise its a sigma 10-20.
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HarperPhotos

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2013, 10:01:53 PM »

Hello,

The Tokina 11-16mm lens would be what I would buy if I had a DX Nikon. The ability to use ND filters is a must for me when shooting landscapes.

http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/666-tokina1116f28eos

Cheers

Simon
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Simon Harper
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JonathanRimmel

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #5 on: December 04, 2013, 11:47:29 AM »

Is the flare and chromatic aberration of the 11-16 a major issue with landscapes? Would I miss the extra reach of say, the 10-20 sigma?
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MatthewCromer

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #6 on: December 04, 2013, 11:52:06 AM »

I had two copies of the Tokina 11-16, both were OK, not great.  The Sigma 8-16 blows them away as a landscape lens.

I don't need GND filters, in 90% of cases there is plenty of detail in the RAW file (Sony sensors) to pull up shadows.  In the rare cases where there isn't, combining two exposures is almost always feasible.

I'm trying to figure out if there is a way to use a flexible sheet of polarizing plastic with the 8-16.  That might be workable.
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JonathanRimmel

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #7 on: December 04, 2013, 12:42:31 PM »

I guess the questions for me are: Do I need to use filters on my wide angle? and do I really need f/2.8?

Landscape photography has taken a bit of a back seat as of late since I don't often have the opportunity to travel much. So I am unsure how often I will need these features. I suppose I can always do HDR or composting if I don't use filters. Though using an ND on a wide angle could be fun for some compositions... My head is spinning.  Perhaps I am over thinking this.
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RobSaecker

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2013, 02:43:35 PM »

Tokina 12-24 f/4 is also worth a look. I like mine; it gets a little soft at 24, but otherwise itís fine.

No idea how it compares to the Sigma.
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Rob
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HarperPhotos

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2013, 03:22:02 PM »

Hello Jonathan,

It is situations like in the attached image this is why I use my Nikon 16-35mm and not my Nikon 14-24mm lens on the Nikon D800E when I take landscapes.

I use a 10stop ND filter it create this look.

Cheers

Simon
« Last Edit: December 04, 2013, 03:23:39 PM by HarperPhotos »
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Simon Harper
Harper Photographics Ltd
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JonathanRimmel

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2013, 03:56:59 PM »

Hello Jonathan,

It is situations like in the attached image this is why I use my Nikon 16-35mm and not my Nikon 14-24mm lens on the Nikon D800E when I take landscapes.

I use a 10stop ND filter it create this look.

Cheers

Simon

This type of image is why I would rather have a wide angle with a filter thread. So it seems to me that my only choices are: Tokina 11-16, Tokina 12-24, Tokina 12-28, and the Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6. I just hesitate on the 12-24 and 12-28 because of the flare issues they've had.  My dad uses the Tokina 12-24 so i could always borrow that and see if I run into issues.
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HarperPhotos

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2013, 04:40:28 PM »

Hello Jonathan,

Go to the link below.

These guys seem to do the best evaluations of all the lenses you are considering.

http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/overview

Cheers

Simon
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Simon Harper
Harper Photographics Ltd
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JonathanRimmel

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2013, 05:07:10 PM »

Hello Jonathan,

Go to the link below.

These guys seem to do the best evaluations of all the lenses you are considering.

http://www.photozone.de/Reviews/overview

Cheers

Simon

Thank you for the link. I will take a look.
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Lightsmith

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2013, 06:07:33 PM »

Think about the apertures you will be using before passing judgment on a lens or allowing others to do so. I am shooting usually at f8 to f11 and not at f2.8 so whether a lens is sharp wide open is of much less concern to me than how it is at f8. For landscape I want focal lengths from 24mm to 40mm and from 100mm to 200mm. For the first range a Nikon 24-70mm f2.8 zoom  works very well. It is a little long for a DX camera where the 17-35mm f2.8 might be a better choice or the 17-55mm f2.8, which having owned and shot both with DX cameras are very similar in IQ capabilities for landscape photography. I have the 14-24mm but often with landscapes it has insufficient magnification and shrinks the objects in the image much to much.

If I was hung up on primes I would be getting a 28mm like the Nikon 28mm f2 AIS lens.
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JonathanRimmel

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #14 on: December 04, 2013, 06:40:58 PM »

I have yet to use my Sigma 17-50 for landscapes, but I know it is weaker on the wide end of the lens.
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NancyP

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #15 on: December 05, 2013, 10:30:42 AM »

Depending on your wallet or your ingenuity and access to a workshop, you can buy or fabricate a giant filter holder specific to a given lens lacking filter threads. Lucroit and Fotodiox sell filter holders for most exotic lenses; Lee sells a holder for the Nikon 14-24mm lens, and has just made an adapter for the Canon 17mm T/S lens. Go forth and google your favorite lens-without-threads and "filter holder", and you will also come up with various DIY projects, some of which require you to trim the petal hood of the lens.
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Lightsmith

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #16 on: December 08, 2013, 09:30:13 PM »

Check landscape work that you admire and you will find that most of the time the focal lengths used are the equivalent of a full frame camera with a 28mm to 45mm lens or greater than 150mm. The DX equivalent at the wide end is a 17-55mm f2.8 lens. I would rather shoot with this lens then carry around a 28mm, 35mm, 40/45mm prime lens.

Wider may seem better but wider also means reduced image magnification with objects in the frame shrinking and losing the impact that first caused you to decide to photograph a scene. Take any zoom lens that covers 17mm to 35mm (DX equivalent of 24-52mm) and take shots of a scene at 17, 24, 30, 35mm and compare the pictures on your monitor. You will discover the sweet spot for how you visualize landcapes and can then decide which lens will best provide the results you want.
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JonathanRimmel

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2013, 06:55:18 PM »

Check landscape work that you admire and you will find that most of the time the focal lengths used are the equivalent of a full frame camera with a 28mm to 45mm lens or greater than 150mm. The DX equivalent at the wide end is a 17-55mm f2.8 lens. I would rather shoot with this lens then carry around a 28mm, 35mm, 40/45mm prime lens.

Wider may seem better but wider also means reduced image magnification with objects in the frame shrinking and losing the impact that first caused you to decide to photograph a scene. Take any zoom lens that covers 17mm to 35mm (DX equivalent of 24-52mm) and take shots of a scene at 17, 24, 30, 35mm and compare the pictures on your monitor. You will discover the sweet spot for how you visualize landcapes and can then decide which lens will best provide the results you want.

So if I understand correctly, you are saying there is no reason to even get a wide angle lens and that my 17-50 would suffice?
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NancyP

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #18 on: December 10, 2013, 12:22:28 PM »

Ultra-wide lenses are fun but are specialty items. You have to work harder to create interest in the foreground. Ultra-wides can be excellent for scenes with really dramatic clouds.
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Peter McLennan

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Re: Choice of Landscape Wide Angle Lens
« Reply #19 on: December 10, 2013, 02:01:31 PM »

I agree with Nancy 100%.  My Samyang 14mm I call my "sky lens".  It has no provision for filters.

If you're shooting landscape, you're undoubtedly on a tripod, in which case, having a fast ( f2.8 ) lens is irrelevant.  Astrophotography notwithstanding.

I have far better success with stitched landscapes shot with a mid-range lens than I do with a wide angle used on the same subject.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2013, 02:37:17 PM by Peter McLennan »
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