Nikkor 14-24 vs. Nikkor 24 PC-E for cityscapes/landscapes. Which one?

Started Oct 2, 2012 | Discussions thread
Richard Fossum
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Re: Nikkor 14-24 vs. Nikkor 24 PC-E for cityscapes/landscapes. Which one?
In reply to tonganqn, Oct 7, 2012

Hi,

I use the 24 PC-E on my D700. Wonderful lens. Like others have mentioned it is a lens to be used with a tripod, but for a project like yours, deliberately looking for city landscapes, maybe revisiting for correct lighting etc, I can't imagine that the need for tripod will be a showstopper for you?

I have not used it on the D800, as I don't have one yet, but I am doubting the one comment that it's not sharp enough in the corners. This lens is a monster, with glass far beyond the FX circle. My guess would be that it is more of a diffraction issue coming to play, and that the 24 1.4 has been used at large apertures, while the 24 PC-E is a lens for stopping down and may have been used that way before comparison (?).

I use only fixed focal lengths, and I have never seen a lens as sharp as the 24 PC-E. Well maybe the 300 2.8, but that's not a wide angle

It is however a time consuming lens, but I urge you to consider the following benefits, especially considering the D800's f5.6 diffraction limit:

* You can tilt the focus wedge to bring more of the scene in perfect focus, while retaining a larger aperture, thus avoiding the smaller apertures to achieve greater DOF. Equals higher effective resolution

* You can stitch, for example two verticals, creating a square photo of immense resolution, and they stitch perfectly without worrying about near/far objects and nodal points.

* The lens itself, without counting in camera type, is created with smaller apertures in mind, thus more likely performs a lot better than a 24 1.4 at for example f11. I've stopped this lens down to f19 and it looked insanely good

* With shift you can avoid keystoning and still capture what you want

I know you said you knew all about the lenses, but you're asking so

The other poster that comments on the versatility of the PC-E, is of course correct. This is not a "walk around" wide angle. And while I have not tried or owned the 14-24 myself, I've seen amazing photos, pin sharp, it stops down more than OK, and of course, can go to 14mm and create dramatic scenery.

I'd go for:

* The 24 1.4 if I was going to take people shots or work handheld in dim light, or if shallow DOF was the look I wanted

* The 14-24 if I wanted one versatile lens, that can be stopped down and perform very well, and achieve dramatic wide angle effects

* The 24 PC-E if I wanted technical perfection and work with great DOF at larger apertures, or play with or correct perspectives

Can't wait to get a D800 to test this lens on this camera. Personally, I'd imagine that as photographers starts to recognize the diffraction issue on the D800 as a landscape camera with small apertures, there will be an increased demand for PC-E lenses (I have not seen this issue in play on the D800 myself, but I take Thom Hogans word for it).

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Best, Richard.

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