FX lenses recommendations?

Started Aug 2, 2013 | Discussions thread
user_name Veteran Member • Posts: 3,134

Mostly landscape?

Generally, landscape is shot at the wide angle and ultra wide angle end of the spectrum. That means 14 to 25mm is usually the most used range.

The gold standard is the Zeiss 21mm. It is a manual focus lens, but for landscape work that does not matter. The performance of this lens is legendary. Not cheap, but uncompromised performance.

The Nikkor 14-24 is good second choice. Using filters is a little complicated with this lens, but third-party solutions do exist. I own and like this lens a lot, but you need to understand this lens's weaknesses and how to work around it to get the best from it. When you do it pays back big time.

The Nikkor 16-35 is not a bad lens, but its performance at either end of the zoom range is not nearly as good as it is in the middle range. The newer 18-35 may be a better choice. I see these lenses as good choices for someone that wants a versatile zoom and is okay with sacrificing some performance compared to a more purpose built lens.

For ultra wide angle the Zeiss 15mm is king, but costs about $3000. Many people like the Samyang (Rokinon) 14mm. Rokinon also makes a 24mm that is worth considering. Both Rokinons are reasonably priced and perform well. To get better requires at least 2X the price. All are manual focus.

For portraits, the 85mm 1.8G is excellent and relatively low cost. Its virtues are many and flaws few.

The Nikkor 24 - 70mm zoom is a good zoom. It is weak at the 24mm end, but a good general purpose lens. It seems a lot of wedding photographers like this lens.

50mm is a general purpose lens. I have the 50mm 1.8D, which is ultra cheap, ultra sharp, and light.

Lastly, rating lenses is a complex and tricky process. There are so many different attributes and details concerning lens performance that simply using something like DXOMark to rate a lens is misleading.

Things like field curvature and focus shift are issues for all lenses. Corner performance matters for some work and is unimportant for others. You really need to understand what your needs are and how various lenses meet those needs.

Renting lenses is one way to determine if a lens you are considering will perform as expected. In the grand scheme of the cost of quality lenses, renting is a good investment for peace of mind in your selection.

 user_name's gear list:user_name's gear list
Leica M8 Nikon D700 Nikon D800 Leica M Typ 240 +1 more
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