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I know that the Sigma 10-20 is the wide-angle lens du jour at the moment, but I'd be very interested to hear from anyone who has used the 12-24, or even better, both.
Mainly for use on my D70s, I am aware that the 10-20 is wider, faster and cheaper, which does seem a no-brainer. However, I am also very attracted to the fact that I can use the 12-24 on a film camera as well, allowing me to take full advantage of the 12-18mm range for some proper wide-angle fun.
I am not much of a landscapist, and would mainly use it for architecture, interiors and general wide-angle madness.
Any input gratefully received....
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The Sigma 10-20 comes out best on all the tests I've seen Steve - especially for CA control. I've been fortunate enough to get my hands on the Nikkor 10.5mm ED 'Fisheye' for a few days and, if this is a yard-stick for the 12-24 Nikkor, then the CA is dreadful at the edges on the wide Nikkors... and that's with ED elements in the construction.
12-24 all the way - I have one and as you said yourself it is good for both cropped and full frame bodies
Just realised Steve that you are comparing Sigma for Sigma and not Sigma against Nikkor.
LOL - I knew that's what you thought, just thought I'd wait for you to realise before pointing it out...
Very happy with my 12-24, both on cropped-sensor and full-frame Canons.
Rectilinear distortion control and sharpness (at least on my one it is, there have been QC issues with this lens) is excellent, the only problem is using filters. It ain't designed t take them. I have rigged up the means to use Lee 100mmm filters when on a cropped-sensor camera, and Cokin X-Pro for full-frame - it "just" fits
Weeeellll!! It was only an hour and a half!
I also use the 12-24 on a 1.3 cropper and am a happy camper so far. As with Chris I have rigged the lens cap adaptor to accept Cokin Z pro filters. If you're interested, send me a PM and I'll run through what I did.
I have both the 10-20 and the 12-24 Sigmas. I have actually been a bit dissapoionted with the 10-20mm. It's not a bad lens in any way, but my example at least is very pinikity over it's focal point and fStop. After some serious missgiving the first time we used it on a job we did some thorough tests and came up with the following conclusions.
It's a very different beast to the 12-24. The 12-24 performs optimally between f11 and f16, which is ideal for me as it gets used primarily for indoor panoramics where the DOF is appreciated. The 10-20, on the other hand, performs at it's best stopped down between just one stop and then up to about f8. Stopping down beyond this gives a very noticeable softening to the images. Depth of field is also an issue, too. Despite shooting at 10mm indoors, setting at anything other than pretty much infinity renders anything over 10ft away rather soft. Not a problem with landscapes where the lens will probably live near to that setting, but a pain when shooting indoors. Couple this with the fact that out of focus areas display very bad colour fringing (I might even be gimpy enough to say bad bokeh!) and you have a recipe for dissapointing images.
My final gripe with the 10-20 is that either the glass or the coatings produce very distressed colour tones with a distinct lack of contrast.
Given careful focus and selecting the optimal aperture (at 10mm this is 5,6/6.7) the lens will return extremely sharp images for a ultrawide lens. As sharp as I've seen. But this sweet spot seems narrow and the pictures always need a little corrective RAW processing to really make them zing. My 12-24 on the other hand is never razor sharp, but IMO it consistently produces pleasing images with good colours, effective contrast and the ability to stop down and ge the near infinate DoF you expect with such a wide FoV. Not that the 12-24 has been all good news. It recently suffered diaphragm failure and is stuck at f11. I should send it away for fixing but, to be honest, I don't really care as that is where that lens lives in my use. So it's not really effecting me.
Just a few thoughts, I'm sure opther people have had much better experiences with their 10-20s than I have, but given the choice again I'd be more inclined to pay a few more quid and buy the Canon 10-22. But that's obviously not an option for a Nikonian.
Send your 10-20 back Lee.
If I set mine to 10mm length, 1M focus, f10, then it is in focus from about 40cm to infinity. I checked it by calculation and photo's.
Ever lens I have used on my camera needs corrective processing to make them zing, including Keiths 17-35 (or whatever it was). Normal RAW processing. Not noticed it drop off at sharpness, and I often use f16 or so. I must look for how it handles out of focus areas, I find you seldom have them given its wide angle range.
I tried the other sigma you mentioned and it had lower contrast and softer images. I like the colour response. Oh well so much for taste, mind you, you have bought a Nikon so deserve all you get
Quote: The 12-24 performs optimally between f11 and f16
How bad is this lens at the very widest end? I'm looking for something to replace my overworked EFS 10-22 when I change my 300D for a 1D MkII (one day). The thing is that I really need something that's sharp with a wide aperture and at the wide end of the zoom as I'm shooting sports.
Thanks all for your help. Good to know the 12-24 won't be a bad choice if I go that way.
When you go full frame, would a 17-40 not be the way to go?
Quote: How bad is this lens at the very widest end?
It's not the sharpest lens stopped right down, but at f11-16 it's quite acceptible for most uses. Wide open it's a bit wooly. It would have another problem for sport, too, as the AF is rather slow. The 10-20 Sig. has pretty decent AF (ours gets quite a bit of use down at the local wakeboarding club), but the 12-24 is clunky. It's not really what they're made for.
Quote: When you go full frame, would a 17-40 not be the way to go?
It would not be ideal. I'm not likely to go Full Frame. The 1D MkII is a 1.3 crop, so no EF-S but also no wide angle. A 17-40 would only give me the FoV of a 22-52mm. 22mm is not going to cut it (in fact 10mm rectilinear on the 1.6 crop is often limiting with what I want to shoot).
Also, it's F/4 which is a bit slow. AF speed is not really an issue for me, as I generally pre-focus or more often MF. No lens can AF fast enough for close up extreme sports IME.
What I'd really like is a 1.3x wideangle extender. Like the telephoto extenders but the other way around, specifically to give the 1D MkII the same FoV as a FF camera. That way I could get me the 15mm fisheye or 14mm rectilinear, or 16-35mm zoom and have full wide angle and a good wide aperture.
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