9 out of 10 points and recommendedThe wide angle lens that make the DX format useableNot many...
I've had this lens since it became available in 2003 and have taken tens of thousands of images with it so far using the D100, D2h & D2x. I've even used it on the F5 (18mm and longer).reviewed November 4th, 2005 (purchased for $1,100)
This lens has made the Nikon D series cameras finally useable.
My workhorse lens for many years was the Nikon 17-35mm lens, not only relatively fast, but quite sharp. It was heavy and had some weird moustatsh distortion, but lovely ghosting when shot into the sun.
Coupled with an F5, it was unbeatable for a wide angle combo.
The 12-24 is the DX equivalent. Though it is a stop slower, that isn't a problem with the variable ISO we enjoy with digital. It is lighter that the 17-35 and even on film, does a great job at 18mm and longer.
Coupled with the D2x, this is the wide angle combo equivalent of the F5+17-35, but lighter in weight and less distortion.
Its only draw-back seems to be that it has a little red-cyan chromatic abberation wide open and at wide focal lengths. Not a real problem since you can correct this problem using ACR.
Image quality is excellant, even wide open. I've made many 20x30 prints from this lens and am quite amazed. Even at this magnification, the quality is better than film with the 17-35mm and I feel I can probably go to even 40x60 inches before starting to push this lens. It is quite amazing!
Next to the 70-200 VR, the 12-24 is probably one of the sharpest lenses I've used in 30 years of Nikon shooting.
If you shoot wide angle, you need this lens!
10 out of 10 points and recommendedOne of the sharpest Nikon lensesLarger and heavier than the 80-200 2.8
No doubt about it. This is one of the sharpest lenses in the Nikon line-up.reviewed November 4th, 2005 (purchased for $1,500)
I've had many Nikon zooms, starting with the old 80-200 4.5, the second-gen 80-200 2.8 ED and the two-touch. The two-touch was my choice of zooms when I last shot film. It was nice and sharp and well built.
Then I bought the 70-200 for the VR. Wow! Even on film with an 8x loupe, you can see the snap of the 70-200. On the D2x, it is even better!
It does have a little red-cyan chromatic aberration at certain focal lengths and at wider apertures, but this is minor and is easily corrected in ACR with a slight adjustment.
Even with the TC-14e, this lens is hard to beat. Next to my 12-24, this is one of my workhorse lenses.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedGreat for film and a bargain compared to the 70-200Not quite the 70-200
This is my second version of this lens. I had the original AF version (one-touch) and replaced it with newer a number of years ago.reviewed November 4th, 2005 (purchased for $700)
For film, this is an excellent lens. With digital, not quite as nice but more than adequate. If you can't afford the 70-200 VR, this is a nice lens to have for telephoto shooting.
It is rugged and well constructed and fairly sharp throughout its range. On film, there is a slight vignetting on the corners. Digital doesn't seem to be affected by the vignetting and is pretty well minimized.
I still have this lens as a back-up and still use it occasionally. I prefer the 70-200 for its slightly wider range on digital, but this lens does not disappoint.
9 out of 10 points and recommendedSmall and lightweightNot the best build for heavy usage
This is a Nikon sleeper in the league of the 36-72 and 70-150 Series-E lenses.reviewed November 5th, 2005 (purchased for $250)
Cheap and optically sharp. Light weight and compact.
Not a bullet-proof build, but much cheaper than the 17-55. A good range with a 35mm equivalent of about 27-105.
Even on a D2x, this is a very good lens and covers a very adequate range with a longer reach than the 17-55 at less than 25% its cost.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedOne fun lens!Soft on the edges when corrected for distortion
This is one fun lens!reviewed November 5th, 2005 (purchased for $500)
It is sharp and if you are careful, you won't notice the barrel distortion.
Its only draw back is that when you correct the distortion in Nikon View, the edges are soft and you are stuck with red-cyan CA on the edges.
Keeping the image distorted and imported via ACR, the CA is easily corrected.
Rather than fight it, I leave the images distorted and just have fun.
If you want a fun lens, this is it. Just watch for your feet, fingers and hat when you shoot with this lens!
10 out of 10 points and recommendedSharp and built wellExpensive and bulky.
The 24mm PCE on an FX camera is the next best thing to a view camera without the bulk and inconvenience. It works with both FX & DX formats but really is designed for the D3 and D3x. Image control is not quite as versatile as when using a view camera but for most applications, it does a fine job.reviewed June 18th, 2009 (purchased for $1,700)
Compared to most DX lenses, this lens is big and bulky especially compared to both the 28mm PC and the 35mm PC from the 20th century. Compared to both, image quality is a generation ahead.
It's sharp and a joy to use, though there are limitations to rotation and shift when using this lens on the D700 and D300 bodies, making it a PIA when you need to shift in certain directions. You need to be aware of these idiosyncrasies.
Out of the box the tilt is at 90 degrees to the shift. Officially, you must send this lens to Nikon to rotate title and shift to the same axis. With a cross-point driver and a little care, it takes but a few minutes to change the tilt vs. shift axis.
On a DX camera, this lens is about 36mm in focal length and is similar in focal length to the old standard 35mm PC on a film camera. On FX, you get a bit wider than the old mainstay 28 PC.
On an FX camera at full shift along the long image axis, you will have vignetted corners at full shift, 11.5mm. If this is a concern, reduce the shift to 8mm. Full shift should be fine on DX.
For panos, this is a cool lens in either direction. No muss and no fuss when you assemble the pieces. Best bet is to take a top-middle-bottom or left-center-right to have lots of overlap.
Using a modified TC-14e, this lens is still quite spectacular, though a full stop slower, about f/4.5. You won't get the undated data, but it works pretty well and without the shift limitations imposed by the over-hanging viewfinder.
With the electronically-controlled aperture, this lens is fairly easy to shoot hand-held with practice, but best results are of course obtained using your camera on a tripod and using a spirit level to properly level your camera.
Compared to making your geometric corrections in Photoshop, this is a much better way to go. Get the image right at the start and spend less time pushing pixel later with the bonus of outstanding image quality.
Compared to using both the original manual focus and preset 28mm and 35mm PC lenses, this is a little more complex yet easier on today's digital bodies. Compared to the 85mm PC (not the current PC-E), it's a step beyond in ease of use.
By the way, this lens focuses to within a few inches of the front element so it can be used pretty tightly.
In the overall scheme of things, this is one sharp lenses, especially once you get over sticker shock. Another home run for Nikon!
10 out of 10 points and recommendedSIze and rangeThe rubber focus ring is sloppy and and be a PIA, could use a little more range
This is one of two lenses that I use on a regular bases with my GX7 bodies. I've had mine for a year and bought it used and in great condition.reviewed December 15th, 2014 (purchased for $365)
I've used this lens for many things, from landscape to portraits to general shooting. Compared to my full-frame and DX all-in-one lenses, this one is better constructed and is pretty sharp throughout its range.
I've used it in low-light and the stabilization seems to help in hand-holding.
All in all, this is a great basic lens for an M43 system where speed isn't needed. What would make it even better is to either be a couple of mm wider (12mm) or perhaps a little longer, more than 150mm, but wider would be my choice.
The only issue I've had with this lens is that the rubber focus grip became sloppy in some hot weather and is still loose months later. It sometimes becomes an issue when I need to zoom and the rubber is askew.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedSize and qualityPaint issue and infinity focus
I've used fisheye lenses for most of my career and for the past 20 years have had to learn to use the circular fisheye lenses for one of my clients.reviewed December 15th, 2014 (purchased for $591)
The Nikon 8mm 2.8 fisheye was the best during film days, but finding one years after discontinuance makes them pricy. Also, the Nikkor 8mm 2.8 is a humungous and heavy optic.
The Sigma 8mm lens is both compact and lightweight. It has little flare with point source lighting which is a plus and stopped down to f/11 or so creates a nice star effect.
For my application, Serbo-Byzantine iconography, this is my go-to lens to shoot entire church interiors and domed ceilings. No other lens will do.
I use mine on a D800 for maximum image size and quality. My f/3.5 replaces my f/4 version for a couple of reasons, mainly that the image circle gets very close to the edge of the frame. The f/4 is about 1mm smaller in diameter and since every pixel counts, this lens covers the frame better.
However, like my f/4 version, this lens has a focus issue in that infinity focus as marked isn't infinity focus. Both my circular Sigma fisheye lenses achieve infinity focus about 1.5 meters instead of the marked infinity.
Knowing this and that the lens has such great depth of field, one only needs to be aware, turn off the autofocus and wing it with zone focusing, just like the good old days, thus nailing the sharpness at its prime.
10 out of 10 points and recommendedSize and sharpnessNot much to dislike
This is one of my workhorses for m4/3. I bought mine 2nd hand and it was like new.reviewed December 15th, 2014 (purchased for $720)
Now that I have a year on this lens, I can say that it is one of my favorites. I have the Nikon 14-24 2.8 and the only advantage over the Panasonic 7-14 is that it is one stop faster. However, with that extra stop and having to cover a 35mm frame means that it is large, heavy and subject to lots of lens flare, even when the source is out of the frame. The 7-14 flares less and on my Panasonic GX7 bodies is just right. Flare is well controlled, it's sharp and it is just the right size and weight.
On a GX7 body combined with this lens, It is smaller than my 14-24mm and weighs less!
When I traveled to Serbia this year, this lens was an ace in the hole for some of the photos I needed to crate in a tight space. Combined with the GX7, the size was just right. I had to photograph in a tight space and the full-frame camera with my normal workhorse lens, a 17-35mm was not quite wide enough. The 7-14 saved me for these photos.
Later in my trip, I simply left the full-frame behind and shot with the 7-14 and a 14-140mm on the GX7. This lens looks too small to be professional, but everywhere I used it, I was able to shoot without drawing attention to myself and size was one of my stealth measures. Even in low light, shooting hand-held with this small lens was easy, much more than with my other system.
For both street shooting and tight spaces, one could not go wrong with this lens. The only drawback I can say is that at f/4 it's a little slow, but then the lens would be larger, heavier, cost more and probably have flare issues.
I've also used this lens for landscape work. It's liberating not to have to deal with the size and weight of a full-frame camera and lens yet still get very good image quality.
Overall, this lens is a good balance when one needs an ultra wide angle lens that isn't a fisheye.