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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chicago, IL USA
    Posts
    935

    14mm F/2.8 or 12-24 F/4

    Hey everyone,

    I am looking into possibly getting in the near future a nice wide angle lens. Currently, I have the D50 kit lens which is 18-55 F/3.5-5.6, and a 70-300 F/4-5.6 telephoto lens. While I have found some limits to my current setup (ie. lack of fast apaeture for indoor/dimly lit spaces) I am fairly happy with what I have.

    One problem I am experiencing with what I currently have is that I just cant get a wide enough photo. Yeah, 18mm is pretty wide, but I am an architect (not a capital "A" Architect because I am not licensed yet) and in my field of work I go into a lot of people's homes, take photos of the existing home and use those photos to help me see existing circumstances, like outlet locations, heat duct vents, and anything else I may miss when drawing the as-builts. Anyways, the problem occurs where I stand in the corner of a room and I cant even see two full walls in the picture. I could take a bunch of photos in the room and stitch them together in post processing, but I don't want to mess with that, plus I really like the look of a nice wide angle photo.

    So I have been looking into some wide angles. I don't really want much barrel distortion so I am going to rule out fish eye lenses. So that starts me at 14mm primes. Nikon and pretty much all third party manufacturers make a 14mm F/2.8 and I have to say that the photos I have see of these lenses are absolutely amazing. I like the wide angle of the 14mm and the large apaeture should work well for dimly lit spaces, which happen all the time is some of the old homes I go into.

    I have been doing some research and came across the 12-24 F/4 as well. I have see some photos that these lenses take and they look very nice as well. I should do some more research and look at more photos from the different manufacturers to get a better feel of the capabilities of the lens.

    Here are my likes and dislikes:

    Likes:

    14mm lens:

    Nice fast apaeture of 2.8 which will work well in dim spaces.
    114mm angle of view with almost no distortion.
    Excellent color and clarity

    12-24mm lens:

    Fills in all the wide angle gaps that I am missing with my 18-55.
    Can use filters on outer glass
    Regular lens cap for safe storage and less chance of scratches

    Dislikes:

    14mm:


    Can not use regular filters on outer glass, must use filters at innermost glass
    Possible scratching of lens if not using the most extreme of care.
    Apparently has odd lens cap that tends to fall off is hit abruptly
    Kinds big and bulky lens for carrying around all day

    12-24mm

    More barrel distortion at widest angle
    Slower F/4 apaeture may still lead to darker/underexposed pictures


    Cost wise they are about $50-100 apart, not that bad. So I would like some of your opinions on these two lenses.

    Keep in mind that I use my camera for personal use as well, and like to take photos indoors a lot when Im with friends, so I dont carry a tripod with me when I go out. I have added a couple links to images that both of these lenses take. Take a look and tell me what you think. Im not looking to buy either of the lenses immediately, and more than likely I will try to rent both of them and see how they feel and what they can do in teh circumstances I plan on using them.

    Sorry for the long post.


    http://www.flickr.com/groups/nikkor/pool/tags/14mmf28d/

    http://www.flickr.com/groups/nikkor/...ags/1224mmf4g/
    Nikon D300 | MB-D10 | Nikkor 12-24/4 | Nikkor 50/1.8 | Nikkor 70-200/2.8 VRI | Sigma 18-50/2.8 | SB-800 | SB-80DX (x4) | Radiopopper JrX Studio |

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    1,148
    Just keep in mind that if the quantity of photos that you are taking is not real high - I can't really tell by your description whether this is part of the job or if it is personal research (have a friend that has been through your current shoes and he did a lot of research on his own)... But if you take raw photos it is pretty easy to fix the lens distortions with something like Bibble (my personal favorite).

    I take a lot of interior photos, but since in the course of a few minutes I will take Overview shots, as well as close-up shots of items in the room, I find my 18-200 gives me the best compromise. Often though I find myself in a similar place of having to take 3 or 4 shots of a room. Not sure if a 4mm difference would really make it easier. SO definitely try to borrow / rent one and try to re-visit the same problem rooms to see if it makes enough difference to be worthwhile.

    I also typically utilize (3) photo - flourescent lights on stands to keep even light in a room and sometimes to draw attention to details. So every time I move my tri-pod for the shot, I am also moving the lights... - more reason to try to widen my shots I guess.

    Let us know what you find when you try one out!
    Nikon D70s
    Nikkor 50mm 1.8D (If you don't have it you need it)
    Nikkor 18-200mm VR II
    SB-600
    Bogen/Manfrotto Tripods/Heads
    NAS (D300, Nikkor 80-200mm (or 70-200mm)f/2.8, Tamron 90mm Macro)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chicago, IL USA
    Posts
    935
    Well, in one home during our measure, we may take up to 200 photos (probably not all at the widest end) depending on the size of the home, the details in the home, and how many rooms are being affected during the construction process. So, I dont want to have to run a lot of the photos through post processing to get rid of the distortion.

    Most of the photos we take are all hand held, no lighting set up like what you were referring to (just the cameras flash when necessary).

    One thing that I am afraid of is when taking detail photos with one of these wide angle lenses. Either I switch lenses because I cant reach an eve detail with such a wide lens, or I have to get up real close, and this may distort the detail.

    If possible I would like to keep the lens swapping to an absolute minimum, especially in the construction process. There usually all sorts of concrete dust, drywall dust, or sawdust flying through the air. I really don't want that getting into my camera.

    Lots of stuff to consider.
    Last edited by VTEC_EATER; 11-22-2006 at 09:45 AM.
    Nikon D300 | MB-D10 | Nikkor 12-24/4 | Nikkor 50/1.8 | Nikkor 70-200/2.8 VRI | Sigma 18-50/2.8 | SB-800 | SB-80DX (x4) | Radiopopper JrX Studio |

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Charlotte, NC
    Posts
    1,148
    Certainly not an environment where you would want to have to be swapping lenses.

    Does your firm not provide photog. equip.? If you could get them to ante - up, maybe you could get a zoom with a large range (like my 18-200 VRII) that has vibration reduction... And another body with the ultra-wide lens on it so that you don't have to swap lenses. It is hard to find a zoom lens that doesn't give you barrel at the wide range. - ok that might be a little "wishing", but hey... Do they want valuable shots, and faster results?

    Do you have a SB600 or SB800? I would recommend one of those as well, since you can get a lot more power out of them, and you have bounce options with them too. I am just not sure how well they would do with a 14mm unless you added a big diffuser to them.
    Nikon D70s
    Nikkor 50mm 1.8D (If you don't have it you need it)
    Nikkor 18-200mm VR II
    SB-600
    Bogen/Manfrotto Tripods/Heads
    NAS (D300, Nikkor 80-200mm (or 70-200mm)f/2.8, Tamron 90mm Macro)

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    245
    "12-24mm

    More barrel distortion at widest angle
    Slower F/4 apaeture may still lead to darker/underexposed pictures"

    You should realize that by having a 12-24mm lens you can hand hold it at 1/10th -1/20th shutter speeds (even a bit longer depending on how much your hands trembles) the f/4 is very normal in wide angle lenses (depth of field conscious lenses)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Manila, Philippines
    Posts
    403
    we're in the same profession and i would likewise suggest looking at the sigma 10-20 if you're on a budget
    same here.... would not stick with a fixed lens esp. for interior work
    panasonic lumix fz-20
    nikon d200 + nikkor 28-70 f/2.8 "beast" + sigma 18-200 f/3.5-6/3 + nikkor 50 f/1.8

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Location
    Chicago, IL USA
    Posts
    935
    I tried the Tamron 11-18 F/4.5-5.6 over the weekend in the store. Unfortunately, I could not rent one because they dont offer that type of service. Anyways, it seemed pretty nice. I could be 3 inches away from something and it felt like I was 10 feet away. Nice and wide lens. I figure shooting powder rooms, hallways, small bedrooms, and most everything else should be a snap with this lens.

    Im still a little concerned with the F-stop but I bet I'm just trying to compare the lens on paper rather than what it can do in the real world. Maybe I can find a store that rents some of these lenses and actually try one out for a day.
    Nikon D300 | MB-D10 | Nikkor 12-24/4 | Nikkor 50/1.8 | Nikkor 70-200/2.8 VRI | Sigma 18-50/2.8 | SB-800 | SB-80DX (x4) | Radiopopper JrX Studio |

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    1,770
    I know nothing about interior archetecture photography - only that I tried shooting a mural on my kid's wall and 17mm (on 1.6x crop) wasn't enough.

    I'm curious about DOF. As you know; wider lenses have longer DOF, but also bigger apertures have shorter DOF. Also, distance to subject plays a very big role in DOF. Is DOF a concern - considering the close quarters you're sometimes forced into?

    If DOF is a concern, wouldn't it be better to boost the ISO and/or get a tripod/flash, and use a smaller aperture? In other words, forget about getting a wide aperture lens and start using a flash and/or tripod. Only use aperture to control your DOF. Of course; use proper flash diffusing to avoid hot-spots where reflection is unavoidable. Nikon's wonderful flash control should help in this. A modestly wide DOF (like f5.6) should allow a reduced flash output while still having sufficient SS.

    If barrel distortion is critical, wouldn't a Full Framed camera serve you better? When you get rich, consider a Canon 5D + Canon 17-35 f2.8L lens. It has the best high ISO performance of probably any digital camera (bar none, I believe, even the very expensive 1D stuff). The down side is that it's not weather sealed, but it should survive OK, and you could get a camera wrap for cheap. This way you get almost zero barrel distortion and a true 17mm (very wide - like 11mm on your 1.5x crop) capability.

    I know; this doesn't answer your question in any way ... sorry.
    Last edited by Vich; 11-30-2006 at 05:36 PM.
    Gear List:
    Some links I like: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Delfgauw, The Netherlands
    Posts
    2,207
    Quote Originally Posted by VTEC_EATER View Post
    I tried the Tamron 11-18 F/4.5-5.6 over the weekend in the store. Unfortunately, I could not rent one because they dont offer that type of service. Anyways, it seemed pretty nice. I could be 3 inches away from something and it felt like I was 10 feet away. Nice and wide lens. I figure shooting powder rooms, hallways, small bedrooms, and most everything else should be a snap with this lens.

    Im still a little concerned with the F-stop but I bet I'm just trying to compare the lens on paper rather than what it can do in the real world. Maybe I can find a store that rents some of these lenses and actually try one out for a day.
    Personally, I would not buy the Tamron 11-18, from what I have heard and from what I have read in reviews, it seems that this lens has the worst barrel distortion of all the ultrawides available for Nikon. The Tokina 12-24 or the Sigma 10-20 would be better choices in my opinion. Don't worry about the high f-stops of these lenses. I find that handholding 1/10th seconds at 10 mm (f/4) is about as easy as handholding 1/20th second at 17mm (f/2.8).

    Vich, with my Sigma 10-20 I get a lot of DOF even at f/4. When photographing interiors, I think f/4 will most of the time give more than enough DOF.
    Nikon D-50
    // Nikkor 70-300 f/4-5.6 VR // Nikkor 50 mm f/1.8
    // Sigma 17-70 f/2.8-4.5 ...// Nikon SB-600
    // Sigma 10-20 f/4-5.6......// Nikon Series E 135 mm f/2.8
    // Kiron 105 f/2.8 Macro....// Manfrotto 190XPROB + 488RC4
    // Nikkor 35 f/1.8..........// Sigma 500 mm f/8

    My website: http://www.dennisdolkens.nl

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Posts
    1,770
    Quote Originally Posted by Prospero View Post
    Vich, with my Sigma 10-20 I get a lot of DOF even at f/4. When photographing interiors, I think f/4 will most of the time give more than enough DOF.
    Thanks. Yeah, I suppose 10mm (aka: 17mm on a FF) is so wide you don't have to aim, worry about camera shake whatever the SS, focus, or DOF. Not much barrel distotion then? That's a Digital Only lens, isn't it? How do you like it?
    Gear List:
    Some links I like: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

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