Nikon 24mm f/1.4G vs. Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 vs. Nikon 16-35mm f/4G

Started Sep 4, 2012 | Discussions thread
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Kyle Pozan
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Nikon 24mm f/1.4G vs. Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 vs. Nikon 16-35mm f/4G
Sep 4, 2012

I currently own the Nikon 16-35mm f/4G, which I use with my D800, but I have an obsession with primes and I am heavily considering selling my three-month-old 16-35mm f/4G for a wide-angle prime. I have certainly taken some great photos with this lens (i.e., http://500px.com/photo/10218421 ), but the maximum aperture does not make this the best lens for street photography, the 16mm and 35mm focal lengths are a bit soft and, in my opinion, the distortion at 16mm renders that particular focal length unusable.

Consequently, I am looking at the Nikon 24mm f/1.4G and the Zeiss 21mm f/2.8. I live in Chicago and truly enjoy street photography, but I also love cityscape and landscape photography. Thus, I am looking for a lens that can fill both of those needs. If I was a pure landscape photographer, the Nikon 24mm f/3.5 PC-E would be a strong contender, but it is about the furthest thing from a street photography lens.

Based on what I have read, the Zeiss 21mm f/2.8 has great micro contrast and unmatched edge-to-edge sharpness. The build quality is superb and it renders colors beautifully. What it lacks, however, is autofocus. Although this is not a problem on the Leica M9, I have to imagine it limits the usefulness of this lens for street photography, at least on a DSLR.

I have also read glowing reviews of Nikon's 24mm f/1.4G. I have not, however, read many articles that have commented on its performance as a landscape lens. I have no doubt it will make a great street photography lens, but I am curious about its sharpness, contrast and color reproduction when used as a landscape lens.

If you can help shed some light onto this subject for me and even make a recommendation if you are in a position to do so, I would greatly appreciate it.

 Kyle Pozan's gear list:Kyle Pozan's gear list
Nikon D800 Sony Alpha 7R Leica Summicron-M 50mm f/2 Carl Zeiss Distagon T* 2,8/21 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G
Nikon D800
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