Wider lens
/forum/topic/456043/0

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dj dunzie
Registered: Aug 14, 2006
Total Posts: 7013
Country: Canada

Hi all;

I have an opportunity to trade my 24mm f2.8 for a 20mm f2.8 almost dead even. As I'm currently trying to help out the wide end of my kit, I thought it wouldn't be a bad move. I'm having absolutely no luck trying to track down a Tokina 12-24 (severe backorder) and I can't afford the Nikon 14mm or 12-24 right now, so I thought the extra few degrees of width might be a decent idea. I find I'm using the 24mm less these days than I should be anyway, and the 20mm might be enough of a gap from my 50mm that it'd get used slightly more.

I haven't spent a lot of time with the 20mm except to play around with it in a store, but www.bythom.com seems to give it a decent review. Can anyone shed some expertise on the lens, and potentially compare the sharpness and detail to my 24mm for me? Are they fairly even in performance with the exception of the extra few degrees of width?

I doubt this opportunity will be around long for me...

Edited by dj dunzie on Oct 02, 2006 at 08:08 PM GMT



ccBob
Registered: Aug 13, 2005
Total Posts: 102
Country: United States

I can't give you any comparison to the 24mm, but I can say I've been very happy with my 20/2.8. I think it's a very good lens. I did have to send it back to Nikon twice for the aperture blades getting stuck wide open, though - something I wasn't too thrilled about.

Also, I don't have much experience with it on a DSLR. I pretty much use it almost exclusively on my film bodies.

Good luck.



LABRIEDL
Registered: Jul 02, 2003
Total Posts: 1601
Country: United States

DJ,

I had that lens and it was my main indoor lens on a D2x and D70. Never had any problems with it. Sometimes I wish I still had it, but traded it in for a 17-35 f2.8 which I love. I'd go for it.

David



Mozbee
Registered: Jun 01, 2005
Total Posts: 643
Country: Canada

LABRIEDL wrote:
DJ,

I had that lens and it was my main indoor lens on a D2x and D70. Never had any problems with it. Sometimes I wish I still had it, but traded it in for a 17-35 f2.8 which I love. I'd go for it.

David


And how would you compare the 20mm to the 17-35 @ 20mm ?



molson
Registered: Oct 30, 2002
Total Posts: 10410
Country: Canada

Mozbee wrote:

And how would you compare the 20mm to the 17-35 @ 20mm ?


Not even close - the 17-35 wins, hands down.



dj dunzie
Registered: Aug 14, 2006
Total Posts: 7013
Country: Canada

David and Bob... I know it's hard to generalize, but I find the 24mm very sharp. Maybe not quite as sharp as the 50mm, but still when I see images from it, I can't help notice they're sharper than typical zooms, which is my only purpose for owning my primes.

Can you at least say that the 20mm will be noticeably sharper than a general purpose zoom? Otherwise, there's no point in my making this deal.

Cliff, at $1900CDN that 17-35 better be tack sharp! If I ever win a lottery I'm sure I'll be completely satisfied with my kit...



Mozbee
Registered: Jun 01, 2005
Total Posts: 643
Country: Canada

Dj,
The Nikon 17-35 is probably the best worldwide WA Zoom available, all brands considered!



ccBob
Registered: Aug 13, 2005
Total Posts: 102
Country: United States

dj dunzie wrote:
Can you at least say that the 20mm will be noticeably sharper than a general purpose zoom? Otherwise, there's no point in my making this deal.


Without substantial proof, I honestly couldn't make a statement like that - I simply haven't seen any direct comparisons.



johnnymg
Registered: Mar 27, 2004
Total Posts: 914
Country: United States

dj dunzie wrote:
Hi all;

I have an opportunity to trade my 24mm f2.8 for a 20mm f2.8 almost dead even. As I'm currently trying to help out the wide end of my kit, I thought it wouldn't be a bad move. I'm having absolutely no luck trying to track down a Tokina 12-24 (severe backorder) and I can't afford the Nikon 14mm or 12-24 right now, so I thought the extra few degrees of width might be a decent idea. I find I'm using the 24mm less these days than I should be anyway, and the 20mm might be enough of a gap from my 50mm that it'd get used slightly more.

I haven't spent a lot of time with the 20mm except to play around with it in a store, but www.bythom.com seems to give it a decent review. Can anyone shed some expertise on the lens, and potentially compare the sharpness and detail to my 24mm for me? Are they fairly even in performance with the exception of the extra few degrees of width?

I doubt this opportunity will be around long for me...


Why don't you just buy the 20? .

I have both lenses and I have found them to be very similar in terms of sharpness and lack of CA. Both are excellent lenses............ IMHO. I've dumped quite a few lenses but these two are staying! .

Here's a big landscape with the 24mm @ F11. In Provence France. What a great place! BTW, I would have used the 20mm if I had it at the time.






Regards
JohnG


Mozbee
Registered: Jun 01, 2005
Total Posts: 643
Country: Canada

Nice pic John!



molson
Registered: Oct 30, 2002
Total Posts: 10410
Country: Canada

dj dunzie wrote:

I have an opportunity to trade my 24mm f2.8 for a 20mm f2.8 almost dead even.


Given the same opportunity, I would go for the 20mm f2.8. It's a more useful (wide) focal length on a DSLR, and the image quality between the two lenses is about even.



dj dunzie
Registered: Aug 14, 2006
Total Posts: 7013
Country: Canada

Johnny that pic is fantastic... and I'm sure the 20mm version would have been equally as impressive.

Cliff, I was of that exact impression until I tried the lens out today. More on that in a sec...

First off, thanks to all who took time to try to help me out in this thread... but I am going to throw a bomb on this thread though, because I have done a complete 180. I went to the local Henry's store (www.henrys.com) today to check out the 20mm and ended up coming home with a 10-20mm Sigma.

Here's the deal. I threw the 20mm f2.8 on that I was debating and I wasn't impressed. It is possible it wasn't a great copy, but even stopped down I didn't find the images I played with anything special, especially compared to my 24mm. The sales guy was (as always) great and let me fiddle and fart around with just about anything in the store.

Long story short, I tried out the Nikon 12-24 for S&G, knowing full well I didn't want to invest that kind of money into a wide zoom right now. I found the images to be better contrasted and punchier than the 20mm (again may well have been a bad sample). Color saturation was heavy imo.

Then he "forced" me to try the Sigma 10-20 EX. Now, I have never held Sigma in terribly high regard for lens construction and the only Sigmas I have used in past were not from the EX series. But curiousity got the better of me because I have read about how if you get the "right" copy of this lens it can actually be fairly sharp, and a good bargain besides.

So I plugged in one and was immediately impressed. Images were extremely sharp and bright, and colors were good too (if not as saturated as the Nikon's). I compared it directly to the 12-24 Nikon I was using and though it is hard to be 100% sure through the LCD playback, heavy zooming showed finer detail at 12mm AND at 20mm. In fairness, the Nikon metered differently and for some reason exposed a little less. An F8 test had the Sigma shooting at 1/125 and the Nikon at 1/200. I suppose a truer test would have been to shoot full manual, but I mean hey, the poor sales guy was standing waiting...

Still, after testing out a couple of these lenses, I managed to get a top sample of this lens. I can't speak for the Nikon (they only had one in stock), but from what I've read the Nikon's sample variation isn't NEARLY as extreme as on the Sigma. I tend to believe that.

Distortion at the edges on this lens seems very heavy at 10mm. I can live with that since (a) I'm not going to be shooting interiors or architecture but rather landscapes and the like with it and (b) it is pretty much correct by 12-14mm anyway. The only difficulty is that it does not seem to be a uniform barrel distortion at 10mm but rather a strange pattern distortion as you move from the edge inwards, which I doubt will be easily correctible PP.

The lens is built surprisingly well to me. It's a solid, large piece (takes 77mm filters), and I kind of like the "speckled" finish on it. We'll see how it stands up over time...

Anyway... here's one of the head-to-head shots I compared for what it's worth (and keep in mind the shutter speed difference to be fair):

Sigma at 12mm:






Nikon at 12mm:






Sigma at 20mm:






Nikon at 20mm:






Sigma at 20mm - crop:






Nikon at 20mm - crop:






The lens I have does not seem to exhibit significant light falloff throughout the range. I guess it's possible I just lucked out and got a rare top Sigma, but this one definitely seems like a good pickup at half the price of the Nikon. If money was no issue, I would only likely ever buy Nikon, but it is an issue for me, so I think I did ok. Before anyone comments on the Tokina, I checked into it and it's months away from being available around here.

Thanks again to all who responded... cheers!












Mozbee
Registered: Jun 01, 2005
Total Posts: 643
Country: Canada

It seems we got a happy camper and that is what is the most important! Congratulations! From what I have read, you would be happy with that Sigma lens! If you see a user by the name of Mert in this Forum, he is the biggest fan I know of that lens and have posted some amazing pictures from it.

Long life with your new lens!



williamkazak
Registered: Jun 08, 2006
Total Posts: 6255
Country: United States

I have the 20mm F2.8. It is compact and I have no problems with it. It is OK and not fantastic or anywhere near fantastic. I would not trade the 24mm F2.8 for it though, unless I absolutely needed to go wider, as in putting it on a digital camera body which I do. Your 24mm is probably sharper so do a test first.
If you want a wide for your digital there has to be better choices such as:;12-24 zooms, 14mm, 18mm.
What is wrong with yoour 18-200 VR for wide?
I just read where you got the Sigma. It seems slow at F4-F5.6.



johnnymg
Registered: Mar 27, 2004
Total Posts: 914
Country: United States

DJ

Big congrats on the 10-20mm lens.

hahaha............... that's likely the next lens for me!

Regards
JohnG



dj dunzie
Registered: Aug 14, 2006
Total Posts: 7013
Country: Canada

Mozbee and Johnny, thanks, I had a lot of fun playing around with it today, although I gotta go find some good wider scenes to shoot to really get the most of it.

William, there's nothing wrong with the 18-200VR for wide, except that I don't find 18mm wide enough sometimes. The idea of the 20mm originally wasn't to replace any duties of the 18-200VR, but rather to add a prime option for wider shooting. The sample I used at the store was poor I'm sure. I wasn't originally planning on buying a wide zoom at ALL, but after seeing that I apparently had a good copy in my hands (a quick read of the review section here for this lens will tell you that's the key) I had to bite. I'm sure the Nikon 12-24 is in general the best lens in this "class", but the Sigma I managed to get is extremely sharp, doesn't exhibit the focus / soft issues on the sides or light falloff, and was a cool $100 LESS than HALF the price of the Nikkor. I couldn't resist.

And yes, I had the same concern about the f-stop gap between the Sigma and the Nikon, but after shooting with it today, I don't think I do any more. It is surprisingly bright and the images appear to be very good even at max aperture. I'm convinced I got my hands on a real good quality sample of this lens. And to be honest, at least at this point, I don't foresee using the lens a WHOLE lot in low-light situations. (Famous last words I know...)

Now I just gotta do less shopping and more shooting. I'm pretty happy with the ranges my kit covers now... so no excuses.



Chris S.
Registered: Mar 02, 2005
Total Posts: 599
Country: United States

DJ--

I have both the lenses you're looking at--the 20 and the 24. On my film cameras, I loved them both, and never noticed any difference in optical quality between them. I never did formal testing between the two, but used them both a lot, and I'm fairly picky about what I see in the images.

Really, the only difference seemed to be in angle of view. There, I tended to grab the 20 mm more--I really love the perspective it gives. On the other hand, for shooting people doing things, the 24 was my lens of choice--it was perfect for showing people, their tools, activities, and environment. I thought of it as my "story-telling lens."

Now, on my D200, the angles of view change of course, and I have little use for either focal length. They act like a 30 and 36mm lens, and I don't find the perspectives of those focal lengths very useful for my way of seeing the world--I like the very short end, and the long end, and use the middle focal lengths very little. Of course, your style may vary. But optically, they are both really good.

I have the Tokina 12-24, by the way, and have not been pleased with the sharpness. I will take the time, one day, for some measurebating, to see if objective tests confirm what I'm seeing in my images. Not one of the pictures I've taken with the 12-24 seems razor sharp, to me, and it is driving me nuts. Maybe I have a bad copy--or maybe this zoom just doesn't compare with the primes I'm used to. But I'm disappointed that I can't produce sharp images in the wide ranges where I do so much of my work.

So I'd say that either of the lenses you are looking at is likely be optically much the same quality as the other. Whichangle of view, if either, fits into your style of work is really the deciding factor.

Best,

--Chris



dj dunzie
Registered: Aug 14, 2006
Total Posts: 7013
Country: Canada

Chris, excellent response... many thanks. As I mentioned on page two I ended up going a totally different route and adding instead a Sigma 10-20. The 20mm I looked at was not impressive and not in good enough shape to consider. It didn't come "as described" so instead I kept my 24 and added the ultra-wide zoom.

But again, thanks for taking the time to try to help. Cheers.



eaglewolf
Registered: Jan 15, 2006
Total Posts: 2681
Country: United States

Congrats on the new ultra-wide. I've got the Nikon version in lay-away, so I'm looking forward to picking it up. My shop doesn't carry Sigma. I considered the Tokina - it was close to the Nikon in performance when I tried it at the shop, but as you said it wasn't in stock. (I had to try one on a Canon, so the comparison wasn't exactly accurate.) They did have 3 Nikon's in stock so that's what I purchased.



dj dunzie
Registered: Aug 14, 2006
Total Posts: 7013
Country: Canada

Eagle, from what I've read (substantial amounts anywhere I could find it) the Nikon is still the class of the class, if you will... I'm sure you'll love it.

The only thing I'd add is that I'm AMAZED how much I have been able to utilize this zoom range in my first week or so with it. It really is a very usable length of lens and I'm actually finding uses for it I never expected. VERY pleased I added it to my kit, I'm sure you will be too, even though your kit already has more purposeful combinations than mine at this point.

The Tokina was actually my initial target but good luck finding the Nikon version - at least in these parts. Plenty of the Canon version in stock.



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