Ultra Wide Zoom for FX

Started Nov 19, 2011 | Discussions thread
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chris102 Senior Member • Posts: 1,445
Ultra Wide Zoom for FX

I am contemplating jumping on the FX wagon shortly (ok, ok, it's 3 years too late, but hey! It took me a while to get the $$ together.)

Ultrawide zoom lenses are manditory for me - the 12-24DX was the first lens I bought for my Nikon DX cameras a decade ago, and I started out with the old manual focus Sigma 21-35 prior to digital cameras.

I am considering 3 lenses. First off, I am not wanting a 14-24, although I hear it's fantastic. I am a filter freak, so this is a major consideration. Neither have I looked at the 18-35. No reason other than it's variable aperture, and thus slow at the 35 end (where you might want a wider aperture for some bokey.)

The three I AM thinking about are the new 16-35, the venerable 17-35, and a used copy of the older 20-35. Here is what I have narrowed down for the positive and negatives of each:

16-35. On the positive side, it's wider than the others, and from what I've read, sharper in the corners at lower apertures than the other 2. VR! Also, this is Nikon's newest UWZ. Negatives are (again, from my reading) the amount of distortion at the wider settings, no f-stop ring, and ... OMG, could they have made it any bigger?

17-35. Pluses - good range, and sharp. AF-S speed and manual over-ride advantages. It is not a G lens (so it will work on my older Nikons.) This lens has the closest focusing of the three. The 17-35 is mostly metal. Disadvantages are that it is an old lens design, and thus may suffer from some aberrations that have been corrected in the newer lens. Also it is an AF-S lens with more things to break. It is also the heaviest and most expensive of the choices.

20-35. This is a reliable lens, with neither AF-S nor VR to break down. It also has (reportedly) the least amount of distortion of these lenses, and it's the smallest. It's all metal (and I like the way it looks.) I am usually happy with a 20mm angle of view (90 degrees, corner to corner.) On the down side, I will need to find a good used copy (although that will also make it less expensive.) The lack of AF-S means it's louder and (marginly) slower. Also this lens does NOT focus close (1.5 feet minimum.)

Does anyone have any experience with these lenses, or at least opinions? I would love to hear them before I make any expensive decisions.


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