Monday, 24 September 2012

DX wide angle candidates

In my last post I bemoaned the fact that Nikon (or anyone else for that matter), don't offer a wide angle prime for DX shooters.

Further research has proven that this isn't quite true - although it may as well be - depending on your wallet size, and definition of 'wide'.

Nikon's rare 18mm f2.8D
From 1994 to 2006, Nikon produced an 18mm f2.8D prime lens to cater largely to the photojournalism market. Unfortunately, Nikon only sold 7000 over the 12 years it was in production, mainly due to its incredible price! It was the first lens to include an aspherical element in its construction and this didn't come cheap (well over $2k for a prime lens I do believe).

As an 18mm f2.8 lens, it would be a prime (excuse the pun) candidate for a wide angle for a DX shooter - but its rarity and price all but disqualify it from being a serious contender. Pity, because the focal length is prefect. Anybody from Nikon want to resurrect this lens for the digital age?

But all hope is not lost, depending on how much you want to stretch your definition of 'wide'. Because Nikon also make a 20mm f2.8, and with the 1.5x conversion factor, you get a reasonably respectable 30mm lens.

Nikon 20mm f2.8. A real wide angle option?
Built almost as solidly, and certainly as good optically, the Nikkor 20mm f2.8 seems to be the only real option we Nikon shooters have for an 'affordable' DX wide angle prime. Sigma also make a 20mm, but theirs is a f1.8 which is twice the size and twice the weight of this Nikkor - and it's a Sigma :-)

I'd rather stick with Nikon - so this 20mm f2.8 is really it. There's one going on Trademe at the moment for $500NZ, but I don't have the money, so it is apt to pass me by. And even then, I have to ask myself, "Is 30mm really wide enough?"

My answer, if I'm honest, is beggars can't be choosers. And while I'd rather it was 28mm (I've always felt the most comfortable at this focal length for wide angle shooting), 30mm will do. Now all I have to do is be able to afford to buy it :-)

18-105mm f4/5.6G ED VR.

In the meantime, I will have to make do with the wide angle coverage I get from my 18-105mm VR lens. Yes, I've decided to keep this lens over my beloved 18-70mm f3.5/4.5 - even though it has a plastic lens mount!

I'm very impressed with the fit and finish of this lens, not to mention the image quality and extended reach I get with it. And I suppose I've been charmed somewhat by the VR.

So it's out with the old and in with the new. At least until I can afford that 20mm :-)

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