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

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i_Coon
i_Coon Forum Member • Posts: 69
Would you choose a 20mm f/1.8 over a 14-30mm f/4?

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.) 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. 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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NowHearThis
NowHearThis Veteran Member • Posts: 4,051
Re: Would you choose a 20mm f/1.8 over a 14-30mm f/4?
2

Astrophotography/Low Light.

Maxim sharpness.

That person just prefer primes.

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NHT

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robgendreau Veteran Member • Posts: 8,197
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.) 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. 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?)

You don't mention lens speed.

For a lot of us, in various types of shooting situations, that might be as if not more important than the angle of view or sharpness. IOW, we might sacrifice some of that for speed. Which also affects things like DOF too. Light gathering for astro. And so on.

John Crowe
John Crowe Senior Member • Posts: 1,043
Re: Would you choose a 20mm f/1.8 over a 14-30mm f/4?
1

I am primarily a landscape and architectural photographer.  I would not find enough of a difference between 24mm and 20mm.  My primary lens is 17mm and just added a 12mm which is not for everyone.  I would be happier with the 14-30mm zoom even though it overlaps a lot with your other one.  Not sure what your budget is but perhaps a wider single focal length lens?

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rich_cx139 Senior Member • Posts: 1,682
Re: Would you choose a 20mm f/1.8 over a 14-30mm f/4?
1

Depends on whether you need the aperture or not. I find a fast wide useful for indoor shots but I would favour 24.

For general outdoor photography I find that f4 of the 14-30 is fast enough.   Not seen issues with corners/edges or that is not enough to bother me for the image size I want.

BBbuilder467 Veteran Member • Posts: 5,290
Re: Would you choose a 20mm f/1.8 over a 14-30mm f/4?

My nature landscapes would be at narrow apertures anyway, so I'd get far more use from the ultra-wide zoom.

yardcoyote Forum Pro • Posts: 13,450
Re: Would you choose a 20mm f/1.8 over a 14-30mm f/4?

I have no interest in wide angle, but I would always choose a prime over a zoom except for telephoto.

It has very little to do with image quality, slightly more with a larger maximum aperture-- handy when you move inside and don't use flash-- and everything to do with shooting experience. My feelings are pretty much the exact opposite of yours. I find shooting with primes involving and exciting, while using zooms just makes me feel like I'm a camera operator standing there twisting a dial.

Personal taste, of course.

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Jacques Cornell
Jacques Cornell Forum Pro • Posts: 13,551
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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i_Coon
OP i_Coon Forum Member • Posts: 69
Re: Would you choose a 20mm f/1.8 over a 14-30mm f/4?

Thanks for all the replies! I don't really need a fast lens, since 99% of my works are made outdoors. I do regularly shoot in dim or dark outdoors -during twilight and early night- but a tripod would help me more with that than a large aperture. And for what I do with a wide angle lens, a shallow DOF is not necessary either. My primary concern is lens sharpness.

Reports about the 14-30 f/4 sharpness are mixed. Some people say they have the corner problem and saw sample variation across different samples. Others say they have no problem whatsoever. When I see images made by that lens I think they come out nicely, but most of them aren't available at full resolution so I can't say for sure. I am an unashamed pixel peeper so there's that...

The goal is to eventually print and sell my works as really large posters. I also do crop images every single time. (3/2 is rarely the right choice for my shots. Also, I find that cropping can make or brake a composition.)

So, the Z7 II will definitely be a thing in the future. But the wide-angle lens I'll buy now, and use it with the Z6 for now. Just need to pick the right one. It's still not that easy for me...

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i_Coon
OP i_Coon Forum Member • Posts: 69
Re: Would you choose a 20mm f/1.8 over a 14-30mm f/4?
3

In the end, I ordered the 14-30 f/4. I should have it by the end of the week. Really looking forward to it - if it's as good as my 24-70 f/4, I'm gonna be very happy with it!

Glad with the help I got here (and on Flickr) - I'm sure I made the right call. The 20mm would only have made sense if I did indoor shooting or astro, which isn't the case.

Thanks guys!

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Tim Reidy Productions
Tim Reidy Productions Veteran Member • Posts: 4,493
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.

You mean it is too expensive for my budget, do not buy a lens for a skill level, leave that up to a body.

I have a hard time choosing between the prime lens and the zoom lens.

Borrow or rent to find out is a good option.

I tend to not mind a prime wide angle, but that does not mean I don't appreciate a zoom.

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Mark Sloe Regular Member • Posts: 377
Re: Would you choose a 20mm f/1.8 over a 14-30mm f/4?

Jambavan wrote:

In the end, I ordered the 14-30 f/4. I should have it by the end of the week. Really looking forward to it - if it's as good as my 24-70 f/4, I'm gonna be very happy with it!

Glad with the help I got here (and on Flickr) - I'm sure I made the right call. The 20mm would only have made sense if I did indoor shooting or astro, which isn't the case.

Thanks guys!

i believe you made a good decision. for me, 20mm is too close to 24mm. i personally opted for an 18mm prime to complement my 24-105mm f4 mostly to keep my system small and light (samyang fe 18mm f2.8).

please, let us know how you get along with the z 14-30mm and how it compares to 24-70 f4.

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