Nikon Ultra-Ultra Wide Lenses
December 2008 More Nikon Reviews
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.
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!
For AF Film Cameras
The 14mm f/2.8 fixed lens is the best idea.
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.
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23 December 2008