Would you choose a 20mm f/1.8 over a 14-30mm f/4?

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Jacques Cornell
Jacques Cornell Forum Pro • Posts: 13,506
Re: Would you choose a 20mm f/1.8 over a 14-30mm f/4?

Jambavan wrote:

I'm spending a lot of time on photography (on average about 4 to 5 hours a day, regularly more) and I think that justifies buying a little extra. I've been using the kit 24-70 f/4 zoom that came with my Nikon Z6 and I notice that more than half of my pictures are taken at 24mm. I shoot a lot of landscapes and I really love that wide angle. I now want to expand on the wide angle and buy either the 20mm prime lens or the 14-30mm zoom. There exists a 14-24mm f/2.8 but it's too expensive for my current skill level.

I have a hard time choosing between the prime lens and the zoom lens. The prime lens will obviously offer the best image quality - which will be nice if I later decide to upgrade to a higher resolution z7. (Which at some point I probably will, because landscapes.)

The Z7's additional pixels matter only if you're printing larger than poster-size or cropping substantially. Otherwise, 24MP is plenty. Don't expect more pixels to make a visible difference in your 20"x30" prints. At this size, a good 3-stage sharpening workflow will make a much bigger difference if you're currently just applying default sharpening in LR. If you want workflow suggestions, just ask.

I think that in most cases, 20mm will be more than wide enough. (I live in Flanders, a mostly flat part of Belgium with some of the highest population density in the world... and thus a lot of houses cluttering every nice view.) I can live with the size and weight of the lens. I am intrigued by the reviews stating that this is one of the best 20mm lenses ever designed!

The zoom lens would offer more flexibility at the obvious cost of image quality.

Whether the resolution difference matters will depend on 1) whether you stick with the Z6 or move to a higher-rez Z7, and 2) how big you print.

At times I would certainly use the 14mm for special effects. Furthermore I would definitely use all focal lengths on offer, up to 30mm. But I've read concerning reports about sample variability, and the corner sharpness looks kinda meh to me. (Due in part to extreme distortion correction.)

I'm thinking to invest in a superzoom bridge camera to complement my wide-angle ff camera. So either of these wide-angle lenses could eventually become semi-permanently attached to my camera.

What would you choose and why? Image quality or creative flexibility? (Or, for those in the know, would you wait for Sigma to release an alternative?)

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