3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars
Great value, 24 Oct 2013
I bought this as a cheap wideangle for my D800. I don't do much wideangle work and so could not justify the brilliant Nikon 14-24 F2.8. For the occasional landscape and internal architecture shots i do, i thought this was worth a punt. I did a lot of research and there were multiple reviews (including DXO) that said (and showed samples) this lens is as sharp as the Nikon when its set to 14mm. I was sceptical as it 4 times cheaper but at the end of the day, a prime without autofocus is going to be a lot cheaper and simpler to manufacture. Also the lack of Nikon gold label clearly makes it cheaper as well.
I'm usually the first person to pay the extra money and stick with OEM kit but I'm glad I went for this. Good solid build quality, a beautiful big bulbous front element, and an integrated hood. The focus ring is smooth without being too light, and its great having a proper aperture ring (for when I use this with an adaptor on my NEX 7).
As anyone who is considering this lens should know, using a wide angle like this does need care. You're more likely to use this in a slow methodical manner and often on a tripod so i consider manual focus not an issue. Do note however that the distance markings on the lens for focusing are way off. Also, the throw of the focus ring is so long that for a good portion of the turn the focus indicator in your viewfindee will tell you you're 'good to go' but in reality you are only fully in focus at one end of this indicated "in focus" movement. So, 'chimping' will be required to make sure you're fully happy until you get used to this. Again, I dont consider this a major issue for how i'll be using this lens but its still a bit annoying which is why i knocked off a star.
The reported and dreaded (hard to fix) moustache distortion is evident if you take shots with clear horizontal lines going across the frame. By my standards, you dont notice if for 'natural' landscapes but if you go taking shots of buildings it could well cause a problem. I believe it is now possible to download a correction profile for this but please check this yourself though. You will NOT be able to fix all of the distortion by simply applying a bit of "pincushion" like you could do with reasonably good results on some other wide angle lenses.
Relatively cheap (I believe the cheapst way to go this wide on full frame)
- Very good build quality and it looks good (doesn't look like a cheap peice of crap on the front of your camera)
- Good image quality
- Aperture ring
- No good for taking quick shots. You'll have to carefully optically focus AND zoom check afterwards to fine adjust.
- Dodgy distortion if you mainly want it for architecture
- Like the Nikon 14-24, the design of the front element does not allow the use of any round or square filters (unless you pay hundreds for the special Lee custom set up)
Hope this helps