Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S DX Nikkor Wide-Angle Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras – Product Description:
Offering a dramatic, ultra-wide 110-degree picture angle, the 2.4x AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens is ideal for landscapes, interiors, architecture and more. With two ED glass and three hybrid aspherical lens elements, Nikon Super Integrated Coating (SIC) and the exclusive Nikon Silent Wave Motor, the AF-S DX NIKKOR 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED lens delivers the exceptional image quality and fast handling that defines NIKKOR optics.
|Product Features :
Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S DX Nikkor Wide-Angle Zoom Lens – Review:
SUPERB! NIKON 10-24MM F/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S DX!
Nikon 10-24mm SOLD! This will be my last entry here, but please consider my original review as well, since it still applies.
If you notice in my original review, I never really mentioned that the Nikon 10-24mm is “very” sharp, clear, contrasty, etc. Though I’ve achieved fairly sharp landscape shots with the lens, it’s honestly been rather a struggle to do so. Shooting at 10mm really “pushes” the landscape into the distance where one may wish to see sharp details, whether grass, trees, hills/mountains, etc. The perspective is striking, especially with cloudscapes, yet distant details clearly suffer from lack of detail and can be “mushy.” In other words, background elements don’t resolve as well at 10mm as they would with a more normal lens such as my Nikon 16-85, 50, 70-300, etc. I would say that distant details are rendered about as well as my old 18-105mm kit lens, which is a decent lens, but not the sharpest lens in the bag. Therefore, I’ve reluctantly sold my 10-24 for more than I paid and started shooting most of my landscapes with the 16-85.
Here’s the really important part of this update: What the 10-24 excels in is achieving striking wide shots by getting close to subjects to depict expansive perspective. It’s actually a really good lens and renders fairly sharp images for that sort of photography. The problem with close shooting is, well, actually finding wide angle opportunities and then getting close enough to your subjects. The 10-24 also excels with striking cloudscapes. Long story short, the 10-24 shoots fairly sharp images with close subjects that fill the frame, though I find it’s soft on distant details. The 16-85 seems to fulfill my wide angle shots with enough resolution (close and distant) whereas the 10-24 fell short. So, if you’re okay the challenge of finding close subjects and exaggerating the relationship between near and far, then the 10-24 is still fantastic and my original review applies. For vista shots, there may be lenses that resolve distant details and can be sharper with better contrast. The 16-85 is such a lens. Still, I believe the 10-24 is a 5 star lens for what it’s capable of in the right hands!
Upon first inspection, fit & finish are on par with Nikon’s own 18-200, 16-85, etc. I would say that it’s very-very close to the build, size/weight of my 16-85. It’s a very decent build, solid plastic, and has smooth operating zoom and focus rings. This lens has a metal mount, weather seal gasket, and a focus distance window.
Why didn’t I buy the 12-24 f/4? The Nikon 10-24mm will give me 10mm at f/3.5, which works fine for me. The 12-24mm will give me 12mm at f/4, which is neither wide or bright enough. I hear so many folks state “but the 12-24 is a constant f/4.” I’ve also heard people say that “variable aperture” lenses are indicative of cheaper or consumer-grade lenses. I don’t necessarily agree with that. I believe most lenses are a touch sharper when stopped down from their maximum aperture anyway, therefore a constant f/4 with the 12-24mm doesn’t necessarily attract me to that lens. I wouldn’t shoot the 12-24mm at f/4 anyway, especially for landscapes. In my opinion, the 10-24mm makes more sense with it’s wider field of view.
Why I bought this lens:
1. Versatility. This is one of its best attributes. The 10-24mm is versatile due to ultra wide views for landscapes, yet can zoom to a more natural focal length for a quick snapshot or portrait at your home gathering or outing.
2. Landscape photography. For me, it comes down to real-world applications and benefits of having a wide angle. I love landscape shots and though you can make decent landscapes at 18mm, having an ultra wide in your bag allows you to capture expansive vistas, whether at the beach or the mountains.
3. Perspective. The perspective you’re able to get with this lens is tremendous. Though there is fair distortion on the 10mm side, it’s easily correctable with DxO or Photoshop, among other graphics programs. To be creative with wide angle, read Ken Rockwell’s page on using a wide angle lens. He and others will explain that a wide angle is for drawing people into the picture. Use your wide angle to emphasize the main subject. As Ken says, ultra wide lenses are for getting close and bringing the viewer into the photo, not for fitting a subject into a photo.
5. Range. Opting for the Nikon 10-24mm gives more range than both the Tokina 11-16mm and Sigma 10-20mm. It can easily be left on the camera all day, allowing landscape shooting and a decent portrait lens from 18-24mm without the need to switch lenses.
So how’s the lens? It’s outstanding, given the nature of ultra-wides. You’ll notice distortion in the far corners/sides of your images below 15mm or so. Those corners will be a little soft at times, depending on your aperture setting. Wide open at f/3.5, you’ll get softness away from the center of the image. Depending on your shooting habits, the large aperture will not detract from your images if you place your main subject in the center. Even wide open the main subject or center of the image will be sharp. Stopping down to f/5.6, f/8, and smaller apertures sharpens entire image. For landscapes, I routinely shoot at f/5.6-f/11 or smaller for optimal sharpness across the entire image.
Alternatives to Nikon:
A. Tokina 11-16mm. In my opinion the 11-16 at f/2.8, though a fine lens, is not necessarily a landscape lens. I don’t shoot landscapes at f/2.8, f/3.5, or f/4 for that matter. If I want captivating ultra-wide shots with foreground/background in clear focus, I’d set f/5.6 through f/16 or beyond, depending on the lens I’m using. This is not to say you can’t bring the Tokina to the Grand Canyon and shoot at f/11 to capture an expansive view at 11mm. You can surely do that with the Tokina, but you can see where I’m going with this. The Tokina’s maximum aperture of f/2.8 is not utilized when shooting in a landscape setting. The Tokina makes for a superb low light interior ultra-wide, whereas it’s hard to use a flash and light the entire room properly. I believe that lens serves a different purpose all together and you may find the zoom range too limited.
B. Tokina 12-24mm. It’s definitely a contender at half the price. Superb build – better than Nikon. However, wouldn’t you rather have Nikon for the ultimate in quality, dependability, and resale value?
C. Sigma 10-20mm. It’s worth looking at due to fair reviews, better range than the Tokina 11-16mm and its low price point compared to Nikon.
D. Tamron 10-24mm. Forget it. Too soft and check the poor user reviews and Ken’s review as well.
The filter for this lens is a Pro 77mm. I opted for a B&W multi-coated UV filter. B+W 77mm UVA (Ultra Violet) Haze MRC Filter #010 Filters in this size can be pricey, especially a 77mm circular polarizer, which isn’t recommended for this lens due to uneven darkening of skies. You’d be better off grabbing a Cokin Z or for UWA lenses, the X-Pro series filter. The Lee foundation kit utilizing 4×6 filters or Hitech’s 4×5’s would be a good option.
Neutral Density (ND) Filters. Many of you may wish to make cool wide angle shots of a waterfalls, creeks, rivers, or oceans with the silky smooth water movement you see so often in these pictures. To do that you need a neutral density filter if shooting in daylight conditions. I would recommend an inexpensive Hoya 77mm ND8X. Hoya HMC NDx8 – Filter – neutral density 8x – 77 mm If you’re worried about vignetting with the Hoya, please don’t. I use it on the Nikon 10-24mm and see absolutely no vignetting at 10mm. The ND8x is a 3 stop filter and will allow you to get between 1-2 second shutter speeds during broad daylight. With those speeds and by using a tripod, you’re able to get the silky water movement in your waterfalls and such. Better still would be to wait until later in the evening or find a shaded cove or dense foliage location with a waterfall or creek. Your shutter speeds in those conditions may be upwards to 5-6 sec or more.
Circular Polarizer’s (CPL): Not recommended for UWA lenses due to uneven darkening of skies. However, I carefully and strategically use a 77mm Marumi Super CPL with no issues with uneven darkening and no vignetting. The Marumi is fantastic with a solid 5mm thin build, superb polarization quality, and smooth operation. It’s almost equivalent to B&W’s top end CPL and less than half the price. What I mean by strategic use of a CPL is to use clouds, trees, buildings, etc, to “mask” any uneven darkening of skies. Moreover, you don’t have to use your CPL with its maximum effect. It works very well at giving you a touch more blue in your skies, while helping to bring out details is clouds and brighten & saturate your foregrounds. On cloudy days, the CPL can help you with your reflections, so it’s not only good for those sunny days. I would avoid using it for landscapes with clear blue skies that fill the frame. If you are to do that, you’ll clearly see a dark striation down the center of your image. The CPL effect can’t cover the field of view at 10mm and there’s no getting around it, less “masking” your shot with clouds, trees or buildings as mentioned earlier. Marumi CPL is here: Marumi DHG Super Circular Polarizer CPL PL.D 77 77mm Filter Japan By the way, I can stack the Marumi and the Hoya ND8x down to 11mm with no vignetting.