Exploring wide end options

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Mark Sloe Regular Member • Posts: 323
Exploring wide end options
1

Hi all,

I have A7R III with 24-105mm f4 and I sometimes find myself wanting to go a bit wider when shooting landscapes.

My considerations:

  • size (not weight) - I have a 5l Peak Design Sling and the lens has to fit there along with the camera and 24-105mm. 80mm dia x 120mm length is an optimal maximum size to squeeze a blower and filters in as well.
  • across the frame sharpness performance comparable to my 24-105mm @24mm
  • has to take standard screw-in filters
  • should be a reasonable astro performer
  • up to ~£600, I would not mind buying second-hand

There are some very appealing options in the 20-21mm (CV 21mm f3.5, Tamron 20mm f2.8) but it feels like the AoV difference between the 24mm and 20-21mm would not be enough to justify the expense.

This leaves me with 3 options:

Samyang 18mm f2.8 - very cheap way of dipping my toes into UWA territory, very compact, but according to reviews not the sharpest alternative across the frame with reputed large variation among copies due to which I was never a fan of Samyang.

CV 15mm f4.5 - I love the idea of this lens, but 15mm is quite wide, perhaps too wide? Unfortunately, CV does not do anything between 15mm and 21mm.

Tamron 17-28mm f2.8 - at the push of my budget, Tamron would give me the flexibility to explore the wide end a bit more (17-18mm look vs 20-21mm look), but I would probably be shooting it mostly at its widest, so I am questioning the real world benefit of the flexibility. How does it perform vs the Samyang 18mm?

Any opinions, user experience or alternative suggestions are welcome.

Many thanks!

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adventure_photo
adventure_photo Contributing Member • Posts: 839
Re: Exploring wide end options

Some options I would personally consider based on your needs:

Sony 20 f/1.8 FE - maybe too close to 24 for you? But amazing small lens with fast aperture useful for many things and for me I find 20mm the perfect focal length for the way I see ‘wide angle’ and I do not find it too close to 24mm.

Zeiss Batis 18mm - bulkier than the Samyang but better image quality.

Tamron 17-28mm - probably your best bet for best compromise and most versatility.

Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 - I love mine but may be too big for the 5L?

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OP Mark Sloe Regular Member • Posts: 323
Re: Exploring wide end options

adventure_photo wrote:

Some options I would personally consider based on your needs:

Sony 20 f/1.8 FE - maybe too close to 24 for you? But amazing small lens with fast aperture useful for many things and for me I find 20mm the perfect focal length for the way I see ‘wide angle’ and I do not find it too close to 24mm.

i were to stretch my budget in this focal length (which i will not this time around), i would go with loxia 21mm instead. but as mentioned, i would like something wider.

Zeiss Batis 18mm - bulkier than the Samyang but better image quality.

batis 18mm is very tempting, but fails on size and budget.

Tamron 17-28mm - probably your best bet for best compromise and most versatility.

Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 - I love mine but may be too big for the 5L?

it would fit, but i am not a fan. i would rather go for the tamron 17-28mm for the money.

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Rol Lei Nut Veteran Member • Posts: 5,272
Re: Exploring wide end options

I find that 18mm is the perfect FL complement for a 24mm.

Wider is often more difficult to compose well with and 20/21mm isn't different enough from 24mm.

I have the Samyang 18 2.8 (as well as some much larger and more expensive Zeiss and Leica UWAs) and think that there is probably some sample variation, as mine is very good in the corners stopped down a little. While the Zeisses and Leicas are "better" in various ways, I enjoy having the Samyang as a cheap, very light and tiny "always take along" lens, with very few regrets quality-wise.

There is the Zeiss Batis 18mm, which should be much better wide open (Astro), but also at a much higher price, more weight and much larger size.

I'd characterize it as a choice between a very good general use lens which will always fit in a corner of your bag, or an excellent performer (especially for Astro, etc.) which is less comfortable to carry.

Priorities... 

MikeInOr
MikeInOr Senior Member • Posts: 1,102
Re: Exploring wide end options
1

In my opinion about 20mm is all you really need to shoot landscapes. Wider than that isn't really of much use to get "more" into the frame.

About 6 years ago I purchased a 8-16mm (12 - 24 equivilant) for my APS A77 not really knowing what to expect but to enhance my landscape shooting mostly. After a lot of experimenting and shooting many really wide landscape shots I discovered that the power of ultrawide lenses is there exagerated perspective. The juxtaposition of objects in the foreground appearing REALLY big against the background feeling really tiny. This play on perspective brings a whole new dimension to my photograpy. One that I had not expected and did not intuitively understand at first but one that I really enjoy!

I would encourage you, when considering a wide angle lens, to just go for it, go really wide and see where it takes you.

My A77 (and my favorite lens, the 8-16) was recently stolen and I will be replacing it with an A7Riv with a 24-105 and 12-24 F4 (insurance settlement). If I can swing it I will be getting the Venus Laowa 9mm. My 8-16mm was F4.5 - 5.6, I never found myself to be wanting for a wider aperature, quite the opposite. With wide angle lenses they have a natural very deep DOF and "I" never came across a situation where I wanted to isolate a subject against a blurred background when shooting wide angle or very wide angle. Instead the subject is highlighted by its size against a sharp but tiny background.

P.S. For the telephoto end (which I find I rarely shoot) my plan is to zoom out to 105 and crop... we will see how that plan works. lol

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adventure_photo
adventure_photo Contributing Member • Posts: 839
Re: Exploring wide end options

Mark Sloe wrote:

adventure_photo wrote:

Some options I would personally consider based on your needs:

Sony 20 f/1.8 FE - maybe too close to 24 for you? But amazing small lens with fast aperture useful for many things and for me I find 20mm the perfect focal length for the way I see ‘wide angle’ and I do not find it too close to 24mm.

i were to stretch my budget in this focal length (which i will not this time around), i would go with loxia 21mm instead. but as mentioned, i would like something wider.

Understood, fwiw, I had the Zeiss Loxia 21 and it’s a fine lens for sure but 21mm was for me just too close to 24mm and overall I preferred the rendering from the Sony 20 1.8 and sold the Loxia to fund that. Plus the 20 is faster and better for Astro, AF when needed and shallow depth of field for creativity and closer focusing abilities were some of my main reasons.

Zeiss Batis 18mm - bulkier than the Samyang but better image quality.

batis 18mm is very tempting, but fails on size and budget.

Sounds like Batis would work in terms of focal length but is too big and more expensive. Why not just try the Samyang 18mm and go for it? Might be the perfect size and fits the budget. Sounds like many people get great copies and really like it. Maybe try that and you can always return it or sell it if you don’t like it. B&H has it for $100 off now and it also has a 4.5/5 rating from people who bought it

Tamron 17-28mm - probably your best bet for best compromise and most versatility.

Sony Zeiss 16-35mm f/4 - I love mine but may be too big for the 5L?

it would fit, but i am not a fan. i would rather go for the tamron 17-28mm for the money.

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ahaslett
ahaslett Veteran Member • Posts: 7,488
Re: Exploring wide end options

I have the Tamron 28-75/2.8 paired with a Loxia 21/2.8 and CV 15/4.5.  If you are happy with f2.8, then the Tamron 17-28/75 is the obvious answer.  If you want wider than 24mm and fast, then I’d pick the Sony 20mm or Laowa 15/2 Zero D.

There is a big gap between 24mm and 15mm, so you could get both, otherwise it depends on what you want to shoot.  Composing at 15mm is very different than at 24mm.

If you do choose the CV15/4.5, then don’t buy a used copy or non FE mount version - too many issues.

The other question is whether you like sun stars, in which case look at reviews, but Loxias and CVs are designed to be good at sun stars.

Andrew

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SunsetBk Regular Member • Posts: 467
Re: Exploring wide end options
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I have the cv15 and the tamron 17-28.  Can’t comment on the samyang.  I think the tamron zoom is very good.  It gives you the ultra wide range that is most useful and it’s fast so you can take amazing night shots.  I haven’t sold the cv 15 because it is such a cool lens, it has a different look and gives you great sun stars.  It is also very good for night city shots on a tripod because of the sun stars on all streetlights.  I’d probably recommend the 17-28 since the range would cover most wide shooting.

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BruceRH Senior Member • Posts: 2,677
Re: Exploring wide end options

SunsetBk wrote:

I have the cv15 and the tamron 17-28. Can’t comment on the samyang. I think the tamron zoom is very good. It gives you the ultra wide range that is most useful and it’s fast so you can take amazing night shots. I haven’t sold the cv 15 because it is such a cool lens, it has a different look and gives you great sun stars. It is also very good for night city shots on a tripod because of the sun stars on all streetlights. I’d probably recommend the 17-28 since the range would cover most wide shooting.

I have both as well and if I had to give one up, for me it would be the Tamron, the Voigtlander 15 just has so much more character plus it is very compact. I love sunstars though so I am biased towards the Voigtlander.

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OP Mark Sloe Regular Member • Posts: 323
Re: Exploring wide end options

ahaslett wrote:

I have the Tamron 28-75/2.8 paired with a Loxia 21/2.8 and CV 15/4.5. If you are happy with f2.8, then the Tamron 17-28/75 is the obvious answer. If you want wider than 24mm and fast, then I’d pick the Sony 20mm or Laowa 15/2 Zero D.

There is a big gap between 24mm and 15mm, so you could get both, otherwise it depends on what you want to shoot. Composing at 15mm is very different than at 24mm.

If you do choose the CV15/4.5, then don’t buy a used copy or non FE mount version - too many issues.

The other question is whether you like sun stars, in which case look at reviews, but Loxias and CVs are designed to be good at sun stars.

Andrew

thanks for the insight. i was considering a used cv 4.5/15, but horror stories about the first batch put me off.

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ahaslett
ahaslett Veteran Member • Posts: 7,488
Re: Exploring wide end options

Mark Sloe wrote:

ahaslett wrote:

I have the Tamron 28-75/2.8 paired with a Loxia 21/2.8 and CV 15/4.5. If you are happy with f2.8, then the Tamron 17-28/75 is the obvious answer. If you want wider than 24mm and fast, then I’d pick the Sony 20mm or Laowa 15/2 Zero D.

There is a big gap between 24mm and 15mm, so you could get both, otherwise it depends on what you want to shoot. Composing at 15mm is very different than at 24mm.

If you do choose the CV15/4.5, then don’t buy a used copy or non FE mount version - too many issues.

The other question is whether you like sun stars, in which case look at reviews, but Loxias and CVs are designed to be good at sun stars.

Andrew

thanks for the insight. i was considering a used cv 4.5/15, but horror stories about the first batch put me off.

My first 3 copies must be out there somewhere.

Andrew

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OP Mark Sloe Regular Member • Posts: 323
Re: Exploring wide end options

adventure_photo wrote:

Mark Sloe wrote:

adventure_photo wrote:

Some options I would personally consider based on your needs:

Sony 20 f/1.8 FE - maybe too close to 24 for you? But amazing small lens with fast aperture useful for many things and for me I find 20mm the perfect focal length for the way I see ‘wide angle’ and I do not find it too close to 24mm.

i were to stretch my budget in this focal length (which i will not this time around), i would go with loxia 21mm instead. but as mentioned, i would like something wider.

Understood, fwiw, I had the Zeiss Loxia 21 and it’s a fine lens for sure but 21mm was for me just too close to 24mm and overall I preferred the rendering from the Sony 20 1.8 and sold the Loxia to fund that. Plus the 20 is faster and better for Astro, AF when needed and shallow depth of field for creativity and closer focusing abilities were some of my main reasons.

it comes down to personal preference. i like the rendering of the loxia better, according to some reviews it is sharper across the frame (splitting hair really), solid astro performer, but this is a bonus for me as i get to shoot astro/nightscape rarely, sun stars are beautiful and the size is right. with my 24-105 @24mm  i shoot almost exclusively mf.

Zeiss Batis 18mm - bulkier than the Samyang but better image quality.

batis 18mm is very tempting, but fails on size and budget.

Sounds like Batis would work in terms of focal length but is too big and more expensive. Why not just try the Samyang 18mm and go for it? Might be the perfect size and fits the budget. Sounds like many people get great copies and really like it. Maybe try that and you can always return it or sell it if you don’t like it. B&H has it for $100 off now and it also has a 4.5/5 rating from people who bought it

samyang will be the direction i'll go making sure i get a decent copy. thank you very much for your thoughts.

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OP Mark Sloe Regular Member • Posts: 323
Re: Exploring wide end options
1

thank you all for your time and input.

i will go with the samyang 2.8/18 making sure i will get a good copy - it seems to be a very good performer stopped down and  that is where i will be using it most of the time. it will make for a nice foray into uwa territory and i can start building my kit from there.

the decision is also budget driven as i am upgrading my tripod at the same time and in this department i do not want to compromise.

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82DMC12
82DMC12 Regular Member • Posts: 435
Re: Exploring wide end options

I don't have a whole lot to add in terms of comparisons to other wide lenses, but I also have the A7RIII, 24-105, and I have a Loxia 21 as my widest lens.  I'd like to get something ultrawide sometime just to play with, but the Loxia does the trick for me currently.  I can't get enough of the sunstars and it's just a rewarding lens to use.  I will admit that the difference between 24 and 21 is not that great.  Maybe it has a better home as a 21 / 35/ 85 landscape kit.

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OP Mark Sloe Regular Member • Posts: 323
Re: Exploring wide end options

82DMC12 wrote:

I don't have a whole lot to add in terms of comparisons to other wide lenses, but I also have the A7RIII, 24-105, and I have a Loxia 21 as my widest lens. I'd like to get something ultrawide sometime just to play with, but the Loxia does the trick for me currently. I can't get enough of the sunstars and it's just a rewarding lens to use. I will admit that the difference between 24 and 21 is not that great. Maybe it has a better home as a 21 / 35/ 85 landscape kit.

i am eagerly anticipating the new sigma 35mm f2, which has a potential to be a brilliant little lens. in the future i intend to switch to small primes with 35mm being my most used fl, 21mm loxia or cv, 15mm cv (if my experiment with the samyang pushes me this way) and a portait lens (probably 85mm batis, but not sure yet).

with a 35mm and 18mm i will find out if i can live without the zoom, which i am currently using at the long end mostly for portraits. if so, i will sell it and get another 2 primes instead.

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