Home  New  Search  Gallery  How-To  Books  Links  Workshops  About  Contact

Nikon Ultra-Ultra Wide Lenses
© 2008 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

Please help KenRockwell..com

Nikon Ultra Wides

Nikon 13mm f/5.615mm f/5.6, 15mm f/3.5, 14mm f/2.8 and 14-24mm f/2.8.

(click to enlarge)

It helps me keep adding these old lens reviews to this website when you use these links to Adorama, Amazon, B&H, Calumet, Ritz, J&R and eBay to get your goodies. Thanks! Ken.

December 2008      More Nikon Reviews

Introduction

Intro   Specs   Performance   Usage   Recommendations

Nikon has made the world's widest lenses.

When the 15mm f/5.6 came out in 1973, it was the world's widest non-distorting SLR lens.

When the Nikon 13mm f/5.6 came out in 1976, it became the world's widest non-distorting SLR lens, and today, even out of production, it remains the world's widest non-distortion pro SLR lens ever created.

Nikon has made a total of five models of 13mm, 14mm and 15mm lenses.

Let's compare them head-to head.

This is an FX and film article only; if you're a DX shooter, forget these and get the Nikon 12-24mm or Tokina 11-16mm instead, which for little-sensor cameras, are much better than any of these FX lenses.

 

Specifications        top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Usage   Recommendations

 
Era
Diameter
Weight
(measured)
Optics
Filters
13mm f/5.6
1976-1998
4.53"
115 mm
43.200 oz.
1,224.7g
16/12
Bayonet
15mm f/5.6
1973-1978
3.618"
91.90 mm
22.920 oz.
649.8g
14/12
Turret and gels
15mm f/3.5
1978-2006
3.543"
90.00 mm
22.120 oz.
627.15g
14/11
Bayonet
14mm f/2.8D
1999-today
3.427"
87.05 mm
23.518 oz.
666.7g
14/12 ASPH
Gel
14-24mm f/2.8G
2007-today
3.9"
98 mm
35.3 oz.
1,000g
14/11 ASPH
None

 

Performance        top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Usage   Recommendations

On a Nikon D3, 12MP FX:

 
Angle of View
Widest
Least Least More than 14-24mm zoom
Less than 14mm, more than 15mm
Distortion
None
None
None
Strong, hard to fix
Strong, easy to fix.
Sharpness
OK
Better
Better
Better
Extraordinary
Blue Blob Ghosts
Some
Few
Awful
Some
None
Color Balance
Neutral
Yellow
Neutral
Neutral
Neutral
Peripheral Color Balance Shift
Strong
Strong
Strong
Strong
None

 

Recommendations        top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Usage   Recommendations

For FX cameras

For most people, the 14-24mm f/2.8 is by far the sharpest and most popular today for popular FX cameras.

The 14mm f/2.8 is also worth a very close look, because it's a lot smaller and lighter than the 14-24mm. The fixed 14mm weighs 12 ounces (333g) less than the 14-24mm!

 
Good for
Bad for
13mm f/5.6 Digital cameras, Widest of the wide, no distortion. Too heavy, too expensive, impossible to find
15mm f/5.6 Digital cameras, No distortion, resistant to blue-blob ghosts. Dim finder for use with manual-focus film cameras
15mm f/3.5 Digital and film cameras, least distortion of any of these lenses. Awful blue ghost blobs caused by large, bright areas.
14mm f/2.8D Great for all cameras and almost all applications. Weighs far less than 14-24mm. Worst distortion of any of these, but if that's not a problem, its' also the most practical of any of these for every kind of camera.
14-24mm f/2.8G Digital only. Awful for film because it can't take filters.

 

For AF Film Cameras

The 14mm f/2.8 fixed lens is the best idea.

Also, if you have an F6 or F4 or other hot Nikon, any of the others except the 14-24mm can be worth a look, but your finder image will be dimmer.

 

For Manual-Focus Film cameras

I prefer the fixed 14mm AF because it's fast f/2.8 speed makes it so much easier to view and focus through the finder. Distortion isn't a problem for me, but if it is. use the 15mm f/3.5 instead.

My second choice, or first choice if distortion matters, is the 15mm f/3.5. The gotcha is that you've got to be careful about shielding the bright sky or open windows indoors from shining into the lens and creating big blue glare globs on the bottoms and sides of your images.

Oddly, the 15mm and 13mm f/5.6 lenses are not a good idea because their finder images are so dark and therefore not fun.

Forget the 14-24mm G, since you can't use filters with it. If you shoot without filters you're probably not an experienced film shooter, but if you're happy without filters, the 14-24mm otherwise works great on most AF film cameras made since the F4.

 

For DX cameras

Get out of here, these are big-boy lenses.

FOr DX cameras, use the Nikon 12-24mm or Tokina 11-16mm instead.

 

PLUG

I support my growing family through this website.

If you find this as helpful as a book you might have had to buy or a workshop you may have had to take, feel free to help me continue helping everyone.

If you've gotten your gear through one of my links or helped otherwise, you're family. It's great people like you who allow me to keep adding to this site full-time. Thanks!

If you haven't helped yet, please do, and consider helping me with a gift of $5.00.

The biggest help is to use these links to Adorama, Amazon, B&H, Calumet, Ritz, J&R and when you get your goodies. It costs you nothing and is a huge help to me. eBay is always a gamble, but all the other places have the best prices and service, which is why I've used them since before this website existed. I recommend them all personally.

Thanks for reading!

Ken

Home  New  Search  Gallery  How-To  Books  Links  Workshops  About  Contact