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Nikon users have the option to choose from some of the nicest wide angle zoom lenses such as the luxury 14-24mm f/2.8, 17-35mm f/2.8 or the new 16-35mm f/4 VR. For something light weight and smaller, there are the older 14mm f/2.8, 20mm f/2.8, 24mm f/2.8 or the recent release 24mm f/1.4 which I have wrote about here and here.
The 14-24mm is an amazing wide angle zoom lens which Canon lacks a counterpart of. It is known to its exceptional edge to edge sharpest and well control of distortion. It is a fairly new lens released back in 2007 together with the 24-70mm f/2.8. It has 2 ED elements, 3 aspherical lenses and nano crystal coating.
I also have the 270g Nikon 20mm f/2.8 as my travel light alternative to the 1000g 14-24mm. It is much smaller in size and very travel friendly. I prefer the 20mm over the 24mm since 20mm is about how wide our eyes can see (more) and it adds a little bit of that wide angle interestingness.
I have posted a comparison between the 14mm, 20mm and 24mm FOV perspective here.
The Nikon 14-24mm is known to be a superb lens for shooting landscape and interior, but it can be challenging to use at 14mm. Often, people think ultra wide angle is use to fit everything in the frame. While this is largely correct, shooting at ultra wide angle like 14mm is all about getting closer and closer, if done correctly you will bring your audience into the photos through your lens. The idea is to get close to your subject to fill the frame, since everything is seen further away at such wide angle. Shooting wide angle requires special attention to composition and distortion, distortion along the edges stretches out objects on the sides and corners, so pay attention to what to frame at the edges.
A down side of the 14-24mm is that it is not easy to put a filter on, due to its huge front glass element and integrated lens hood. To get around it you need to use the Cokin X-Pro adaptor ring and filter holder, some people have done it, but it won’t be cheap. If you need a filter option, you can use the older 17-35mm f/2.8 which has a 77mm filter thread. As for myself, I am not too fuss over it, when I need to use filters, I will just switch to my Nikon 20mm f/2.8 and slap on the 62-77 step up adaptor to utilise my standard 77mm filters such as CPL and ND.
So how wide do you need?
From my point of view, anything above 24mm is not really that wide, but manufacturers still consider 24mm-35mm as wide angle. If you consider our eyes have a FOV coverage similar to a 20mm, then 17mm – 20mm is about as wide as you need for normal use. Down to 14mm is considered as ultra wide and shooting at 14mm is for special purposes. A lot of shooters have questioned whether one should pick the 14-24mm f/2.8, 16-35mm f/4 VR or 17-35mm f/2.8? My view on that is for normal wide angle use, pick the 16-35mm or 17-35mm, 16mm -17mm on FX is plenty wide enough, the 14-24mm is really a special purpose lens. You will know when you really need it. Then the next question is do you really need f/2.8, can you get away with f/4?
Here is a quick decision table. Note that you can either pick the Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 or Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR depending on the lowest aperture you need.
|Sharpest wide angle lens||Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8|
|Needs to accept filter||Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 or Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR|
|Light weight wide angle lens||Nikon 20mm f/2.8 or Nikon 24mm f/2.8|
|Newer Lens||Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 or Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR|
|Needs more zoom coverage||Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 or Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR|
|Better return of investment||Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8|
|Cheaper wide angle lenses||Nikon 20mm f/2.8, Nikon 24mm f/2.8, Nikon 20-35mm f/2.8 or Nikon 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5|
|Does not need to be f/2.8||Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR|
|Also use as a work around lens||Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 or Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR|
|Prefer with VR||Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR|
|Still thinking whether you need 14-24mm||Nikon 17-35mm f/2.8 or Nikon 16-35mm f/4 VR|
As I have mentioned before, with ultra wide angle, even the amazing Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 which is known to have the best control of distortion will still see some lens distortion. Nevertheless, it is very easy to correct the distortion using Photoshop, or other similar processing software.
Since it is that time of the year and this post will serve as my last post for the year 2010. So what’s better than wrapping up a great year of 2010 with some festive images taken with the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 @ ISO1600+, f/2.8.
If you mouse over the images, you can see the image before lens distortion correction is applied.
The distortion was corrected using auto profiled lens correction in Lightroom 3 based on the lens information stored in the EXIF. Also, you can perform lens correction using DxO Pro 6 or Photoshop.
Here is where the images were taken – The amazing Water Polo Hutt at Lower Hutt, Wellington, New Zealand.
Thanks for visiting Kent Photography Blog, especially to those who visit regularly !!
Happy New Year !!
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