Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

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Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Fri Oct 29, 2010 2:47 am

Actual purchase probably won't happen until spring, but I'm getting the itch for a rectilinear, ultrawide zoom. I'm shooting with Canon EOS and a crop-factor body, so the logical choice would be the Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5 USM, but this lens routinely retails for $700+ in spite of having neither fixed aperture nor image stabilization, and that makes me alternately laugh and choke in a fashion that can't possibly be healthy.

A challenger appears: Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 ATX. Nice. Still in the $700 range, but given the f/2.8 constant aperture, that might be worth it. It also uses a clutched focus wheel that mimics Canon's full-time manual focus system, albeit without the ultrasonic motor. I'm somewhat baffled by the fact that the Canon version of this lens costs $100 more than the Nikon version, but it gets good reviews at any rate.

Other contestants, albeit with a loss of the f/2.8 minimum aperture: the Tokina 12-24mm f/4 Pro, the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX, and the Tamron 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5 Di-II.

I really like the constant f/2.8 of the Tokina but might have to cut myself off around $500 or so, in which case the Sigma and Tamron lenses are more attractive. And this doesn't even cover ALL options for ultrawide zooms; there are a lot of options for crop-factor cameras in this focal range, but they can't all be good. Which lens is the best price/performance ratio here? Anything new on the horizon that might be a better choice than the above?
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:18 am

Last edited by JustAnEngineer on Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Fri Oct 29, 2010 5:36 am

The Sigma 8-16/4.5-5.6 does very well in tests
http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/515-sigma816f4556apsc

It's not constant aperture, either, but unless you're shooting telephoto zoom or movies, that's not a big deal in a UWAZ. Ultra wide angles don't need a fast shutter speed to avoid camera shake, and I find myself using my m4/3 7-14/4 on a tripod more often than not.

My only concern would be Sigma's infamous variation in guild and optical quality, so if you were going to buy, I'd recommend testing said lens on your camera before pulling the trigger.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Fri Oct 29, 2010 10:59 am

JAE -- nice review, hadn't seen that yet. Surprised that the Tamron does so poorly, I think that one's out of the running.

I don't think a lens with an f/5.6 or higher base aperture at any setting is what I'm looking for, unless it compensates with an IS/VC system, since I shoot in low light quite a bit.

That would leave the Canon, the Tokina, and the Sigma 10-20 f/3.5 as contenders. Must...rob...bank...
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Fri Oct 29, 2010 3:54 pm

I've been in this same boat. I still have the Tokina 11-16 2.8 as my lead contender (not even considering any of Nikon's glass in the DX wide-angle spectrum), but I've been seeing indications that their 12-24 f/4, while lacking that extra stop, is sharper at f/4 than the 11-16. On the other hand, the 11-16 hardly seems like a slouch, either, and the faster shutter speeds could counter-balance any motion or camera shake blur that would otherwise be incurred...

And then I think about the extra wideness of the Sigma 8-16; for daytime shooting, the aperture difference is negligible for me. On the other hand, I also do a lot of low-light, no-flash photography...

So many trade-offs. I'll probably be making my purchase early next year, too.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Wed Nov 03, 2010 1:21 am

I've been itching for the Zuiko 9-18mm for my E-620 as well. The question is when to pull the trigger. It's currently priced at $469 at Amazon. Since 4/3 is "dead", I don't know if the price of 4/3 lenses will dip or soar.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Wed Nov 03, 2010 5:22 am

The Sigma 8-16 is popular, but there are reports that many units need to be returned because they're not centered in some way (focus, etc.). If you don't mind that you'll have to rigorously test your lens when you get it to see if you need to return it, the Sigma 8-16 is a great choice. The 10-22 is an amazing lens, though.

Personally, I have the Canon 17-40L and that suffices for all my wide angle needs. I want the 10-22 as icing on my glass cake, but for running around and taking pictures at parties, or getting wide angle shots outdoors, opening up to 17mm on a crop body is sufficient. Any wider than that and I start to see distortion. The pictures are great wider, but it's a real challenge to shoot them right.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Thu Nov 04, 2010 11:59 am

FireGryphon wrote:Personally, I have the Canon 17-40L and that suffices for all my wide angle needs.

I have the Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 as my walkaround lens (it's good enough that I actually sold off my Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 recently, as it wasn't getting used) but now and then the 17mm still isn't wide enough for some of the indoor and short-range outdoor effects I want to try.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Sun Nov 14, 2010 6:07 pm

Was near a Mike's Camera this afternoon and decided to stop in and see what their ultrawide stock looked like. They had the Tamron 10-24 in the store and handed it to me on a 60D body. It held its own much better than I was expecting after reading the Juzaphoto review. Also, Tamron is offering a $100 rebate on the lens through 12/31, which would push it a hair under $400. If I decide to give up on the Tokina, I might actually buy the Tamron around the beginning of December.

They also had a Nikon version of the Tokina 10-17 fisheye, which I got to play with on a D90. Was that ever fun. There's something both wrong and oddly enticing about hearing a shutter actuation and then seeing roughly 160 degrees FoV appear on the display.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Tue Nov 16, 2010 8:33 am

Voldenuit wrote:The Sigma 8-16/4.5-5.6 does very well in tests
http://www.photozone.de/canon-eos/515-sigma816f4556apsc

It's not constant aperture, either, but unless you're shooting telephoto zoom or movies, that's not a big deal in a UWAZ. Ultra wide angles don't need a fast shutter speed to avoid camera shake, and I find myself using my m4/3 7-14/4 on a tripod more often than not.

My only concern would be Sigma's infamous variation in guild and optical quality, so if you were going to buy, I'd recommend testing said lens on your camera before pulling the trigger.



I got a friend using that. He was looking at nikon's wide angle lenses, and when I showed him this, that extra 4mm enticed him ;) 8mm on the nikon 1.5crop returns 121 degrees!

At these levels, the notorious sigma AF quirks become less of an issue. At 8mm, DOF is insane.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Tue Nov 16, 2010 9:38 am

Beomagi wrote:At these levels, the notorious sigma AF quirks become less of an issue. At 8mm, DOF is insane.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/19942094@N00/5091803021/


Oooo. Nice pic :D .
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Fri Nov 19, 2010 7:34 pm

Voldenuit wrote:
Beomagi wrote:At these levels, the notorious sigma AF quirks become less of an issue. At 8mm, DOF is insane.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/19942094@N00/5091803021/


Oooo. Nice pic :D .


Yeah, he's pretty good. I'm just a script kiddie getting into photography. He however has magic ;)
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Fri Nov 19, 2010 9:19 pm

I can't comment on the third-party lenses you've mentioned, but I have the Canon 10-22mm in my arsenal. Beautiful lens. UW lenses can be a bitch to learn how to use effectively - you're going to get distortion at the extreme edges (making people look fatter, for example, than they really are) - but they can produce some absolutely stunning results.

There have been comments that, apart from the lack of weather sealing and the slightly lesser quality build of the lens, the 10-22mm is one of two EF-S L class lenses (the other is the 17-55mm f/2.8 IS.) Optically, I'd definitely agree with that assessment.

IS, at the ultra wide end of the scale, is less of a concern than you might think; sure, it'd be nice to have it, but I doubt that you'd get the claimed 2-3 (or even 4) stops of stabilisation that you get at the longer end.

The only other ultra wides I've played with are the 16-35mm f/2.8 L II (nice, but too expensive for me to be willing to keep it in my kit, and you'd need a 5D or 1Ds series camera in any case to get the ultra wide goodness out of it) and the Tokina 10-17mm fisheye zoom (you've already said you want rectilinear, so that's out.)

Short version: lenses are always going to be expensive (you know you have problems when you look at Canon's 400mm f/2.8, 500mm f/4, 600mm f/4, and 800mm f/5.6 and think, "They're not that expensive for what they are ..."), and I don't think the price for the 10-22mm is unreasonable. That's not to knock the third-party alternatives, mind - there's plenty of goodness to be had in the Sigma, Tokina, and Tamron lineup - just that I can't personally comment on them.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Sat Nov 20, 2010 9:40 am

I havent used the Sigma or Tokina UW-zooms, but the Canon 10-22 is as sjl says, a good lense. A great lense even. I would say its almost equal to the 17-40 on a 135-format, except in build quality. It doesnt have the sealing. But having 10-22 in one hand and the 17-40 in the other right now, I can tell you there are differenses. The zoom has much tighter mechanics on the 17-40, which just feels more expensive. Is the 10-22 bad, not at all, although the 17-55 is much closer than 10-22 to L-quality. That said, I have used the 10-22 since it came it in various weather-types, banged it around, and the quality is good. It has a tad too much distorsion at the edges, but hey, its an ultra wide angle so...

And for APS-C, there is no alternatives really, not if you want to stay with Canon. I got the 17-40 since I upgraded to the 5D mark 2, but I've been thinking of keeping the 20D and the 10-22 for use with IR and do an IR-conversion of it.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:22 am

The sigma is definitely one tick better than the 10-22. As for the 17-40/4L, I was always a bit disappointed by it, especially for an L lens. The numbers don't lie, either - edge performance is pretty poor at wide angle, where the edges are more important than on, say a fast portrait lens.

I guess there's a reason the 17-40 is priced relatively cheap for a L lens. It's more for APS-C users who want a better normal zoom than the kit lens than it is for a pro shooter on FF.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:31 am

The thing is that the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM and the Tamron Di-II 17-50mm f/2.8 are better wide-normal zoom lenses than the EF 17-40mm f/4L USM for APS-C cameras. The 17-40 is there to provide an ultra-wide zoom for full frame.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:37 am

PS If you want low light, you might want to consider a prime. Sadly, Canon doesn't make any fast, wide primes for EF-S, but Samyang's 14/2.8 is surprisingly good at only $300. They've made a number of really good manual lenses at unbeatable prices lately.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:39 am

JustAnEngineer wrote:The thing is that the EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS USM and the Tamron Di-II 17-50mm f/2.8 are better wide-normal zoom lenses than the EF 17-40mm f/4L USM for APS-C cameras. The 17-40 is there to provide an ultra-wide zoom for full frame.


Yeah, but many people still buy the 17-40 for their x0D in anticipation of upgrading to a 5D or 1Ds later. And it has that enticing "red strip", which means it must be bettar! :P
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:41 am

Voldenuit wrote:Sadly, Canon doesn't make any fast, wide primes for EF-S, but Samyang's 14/2.8 is surprisingly good at only $300. They've made a number of really good manual lenses at unbeatable prices lately.
The biggest thing wrong with the EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM is its insanely-high price.


Voldenuit wrote:It has that enticing "red strip", which means it must be bettar! :P
http://photography-on-the.net/forum/sho ... p?t=957554 :lol:


I still believe that the Sigma DC 8-16mm or the Canon EF-S 10-22mm is likely to be the best choice.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Sat Nov 20, 2010 7:51 pm

Voldenuit wrote:The sigma is definitely one tick better than the 10-22. As for the 17-40/4L, I was always a bit disappointed by it, especially for an L lens. The numbers don't lie, either - edge performance is pretty poor at wide angle, where the edges are more important than on, say a fast portrait lens.

I guess there's a reason the 17-40 is priced relatively cheap for a L lens. It's more for APS-C users who want a better normal zoom than the kit lens than it is for a pro shooter on FF.
Not really, especially not since they came out with the 17-55 IS. Which point did you really find fault with in the comparison between the Canon 10-22 and Sigma? MTF is better for the Sigma in the middle, but similar or worse at the edges. Both are quite high and well enough. Canon has lower vignetting, but looses to the Sigma in CA measurments, but is still low for an UW lense.

The 17-40 isnt not that bad except in the extreme corners when used at 135-format sensor, but then, most ultra wide angle lenses have a really hard time there. Considering what it has, and is less then half the price of the 16-35/2.8 II, it clearly has its uses at its pricepoint. Beyond weather sealing, both boque and color-balance is things that goes into being an L-lense. But yeah, the distorsion could be better, but nowdays, most photo editors can use a lense-profile to correct for that easily enough. Same goes for vignetting, although I usually add to the vignetting manually in the post-processing.

All of the above lenses perform more then good enough to do the job thats needed, the question is just the pricepoint and what other features you need. Even though tests are good, they arent always a good indicator if it works in practice. A good example is a lense that may be very sharp but at a few aperture settings, its quite worthless because the boque it produces make me want to put out my eye or something.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Sat Nov 20, 2010 10:05 pm

Aphasia wrote: Which point did you really find fault with in the comparison between the Canon 10-22 and Sigma? MTF is better for the Sigma in the middle, but similar or worse at the edges. Both are quite high and well enough. Canon has lower vignetting, but looses to the Sigma in CA measurments, but is still low for an UW lense.


Notice I said "one tick better", not "significantly or astoundingly better". I would also disagree that the Canon is better at the edges - its edge performance is more variable than the Sigma, although it has the advantage (and burden) of being slightly faster (half to 2/3 stops). The Sigma is cheaper, more consistent across its frame and wider (13mm eq. FOV vs 16mm). The tradeoff is that it is slower and has worse vignetting. For an ultrawide, those are good compromises. Photozone probably agreed, which is why they gave the Sigma 4 stars for optics and the Canon 3.

Agree that there are IQ qualities beyond MTF that are important. For a wide angle, flare handling is very important, and often overlooked (pz.de didn't test that). If one is shooting movies, focus breathing can be another deal killer (but then one would want a constant aperture lens anyway). I'd say bokeh is less important in a slow ultra wide than in most other cases, since DOF is usually insanely high, but it might be important in a faster ultra wide zoom/prime.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Sun Nov 21, 2010 9:23 am

Yeah, flare handling in UW is a huge deal, even more so then many other things. Havent tried the Sigma, but the 10-22 is actually very good, no, great in regards to flare. Actually looked through my shots with it but really couldnt find a single example where I had flare that was bad, actually had a hard time finding any flare at all, found a single dot of purple flare in something like 3 or 4 shots out of a few hundred.

As for boque, as you say, not really an area for UW, but it really starts come into play for closer things when you use are going up into the range of normals... so 30mm and upwards on APS-C sized sensor, 50mm or so on 135-format.

Oh, yeah, I could as well post a few shots I've done with the 10-22 as well. Most of them are at 10mm at F/3.5 or F/4. Except the wooden stairs which is at 22mm.

Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
Image
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Sun Nov 21, 2010 10:23 am

Yeah, that's very nice flare handling, especially in the second shot where the sun is in the corner of the frame. There may be a trace of lost contrast in the 6th shot, but even then, it's not appreciable. Nice shots, btw.

My Panny 7-14/4 gets very good resolution results, but it will flare up even with indoor light sources, although thankfully it doesn't lose much contrast even when it does flare, and I haven't seen any veiling flare yet. More expensive than the 10-22 (m4/3 tax in action), but it's so portable - smaller than my EF 50/1.4 USM and about 2/3 the weight.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Sun Nov 21, 2010 6:14 pm

Voldenuit wrote:PS If you want low light, you might want to consider a prime. Sadly, Canon doesn't make any fast, wide primes for EF-S, but Samyang's 14/2.8 is surprisingly good at only $300. They've made a number of really good manual lenses at unbeatable prices lately.

FWIW, in the US the Samyang lenses are commonly sold under the Rokinon marque.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Wed Nov 24, 2010 2:54 pm

Well, it happened...and the winner was neither of my original finalists. A couple Tokina 12-24 f/4 (Mark 1) lenses came up on eBay in the $350 range and I snagged one of them. Not being the Mark II, this one has a slightly rougher surface finish on the lens body and uses a conventional AF/MF switch rather than the snap clutch in the focus ring. Neither of those means much to me. So I'll try this out for a while, and then decide next year if I really want to flip it and spend $600+ on the f/2.8 version.

The other thing that swayed me toward this or the Tamron is the 24mm top-end range. First, I shoot quite a bit in the 17-24mm range on my Tamron 17-50, so the 11-16mm would be rather limiting. Second, I've had to wet-clean my 40D's sensor twice now to remove some rather obnoxiously sticky dust, and I do not like doing that, so anything that keeps me from swapping lenses too often is an arguable plus.
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Re: Ultrawide zooms (but not fisheye)

Postposted on Thu Dec 02, 2010 1:56 am

Sweet sweetener of sweetness -- the seller botched the listing using standard PR photos, my new (to me) lens is actually a Mark II version! Definitely a good buy for $350. Feels solid, focuses almost as fast as a Canon USM lens, and both the zoom ring and the clutched focus ring are significantly damped. In fact the zoom ring won't even free-spin when the lens is in autofocus mode, you can twist it as much as you want but it immediately stops.

Have to wait for daylight to get a good feel for optical performance but this ought to do nicely for a while. Nothing tickles the dopamine triggers like being able to capture an entire standard door while standing three feet away from it.
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