SLR wides

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by puketronic, Nov 30, 2011.

  1. puketronic

    puketronic Member

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    I'm thinking of getting an SLR because I want some wide-angle lenses: 28mm and 35mm. I prefer rangefinders, but I'm thinking of trying an SLR because there are no rangefinders that I'm 100% happy with outside of Leica M series which is way too much for me.

    This is probably a silly question, so excuse me if it is so basic, but is barrel distortion a huge deal with these lenses? I'm undecided in which brand to go with but Nikon seems like a safe bet so I was just thinking Nikon with a 35mm/f2 and 28mm/f2.8 lens or Possibly an Olympus OM with an equivalent set of lenses. I'm don't care about any auto features.
     
  2. tessar

    tessar Subscriber

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    I've used manual-focus Nikons with 35mm and 28mm lenses for years and have never been troubled with barrel distortion. My favorite wide-angle is a 24mm, haven't found any barrel distortion there either. On occasion I've used a friend's OM-1 with 35 and 28mm lenses too, same story. A Nikon FE might be your best bet. I've used one since the model came out 30 years ago, never failed me. FEs are compact and solid. The price of an FE body is low now, the price of Nikkor lenses relatively somewhat higher.
     
  3. Jeff L

    Jeff L Subscriber

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    Olympus OM, Nikon FM/FE or Contax - you can't really go wrong.
     
  4. ColdEye

    ColdEye Member

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    The OM1 is nice, really compact and a joy to use. Plus I like their 28/2.8 lens. Tho in terms of of 28mm and 35mm, I prefer the Nikon one, Specially the clous focus 28/2.8. Either way is a good choice. :smile:
     
  5. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    Have you tried a Bessa RF with a Voightlander 12 or 15mm lens? If you haven't, you don't know what you are missing. Pretty much any of the makers have good wides but barrel distortion will tend to be the least of your worries if your not used to wides. A good 20 or 24mm lens will set you back a few bucks but most first time users tend to think in terms of standard or zoom lenses and so the subjects get swallowed up in the scene.
     
  6. Aja B

    Aja B Member

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    The Nikon 28mm f2.8 AIS is regarded as having a very low level of distortion and is well-respected on many levels, more so than all other 28/2.8's offered by Nikon including pre-AI, AI, E, AF and AF-D.
     
  7. Mike Wilde

    Mike Wilde Member

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    If you are not ideologically welded to Nikon or Canon, there are reasonably priced manual glass offerings to be found for many other vendors.

    You may find the glass annd SLR from other vendors for the cost of just the Nikon glass.

    I have an non oem (maida braind - I had never heard of it before either) 24mm wide angle f/3.5 that I use with my Minolta manual focus bodies that I am very happy with. It landed in my lap for under $30 all up from the *bay about 5 or more years ago.
     
  8. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Used the Nikkor 35mm 2.0 AIS for many years and consider it a solid "good", though now not my favorite or best. Distortion with that lens is certainly not a "huge deal", but is present and may be visible in critical applications (architecture, reproductions, etc.).
    Same goes for the Nikkor 24mm 2.8 AI/AIS.

    My favorite 35mm lenses in order of preference (roughly, as what's important can change):
    Zeiss 35mm 1.4 (Rolleiflex)
    Leica R Summicron 35mm 2.0, last version (Leica R)
    Leica M Summicron 35mm 2.0, Mk. IV (Leica M - Yes, I find the SLR R Summicron better than the rangefinder M one...)
    Leica Elmarit 35mm 2.8, last type (Leica R)
    Zeiss 35mm 2.8 (Rolleiflex)
    (Up to this point I consider these lenses as being close to "perfect")
    Pentax 35mm 3.5 (M42 + K?)
    Schneider Curtagon 35mm 2.8 (M42, Exakta)
    Nikkor 35mm 2.0 (Nikon)
    Nikkor 35mm 1.4 (Nikon)
    Jupiter 12 35mm 2.8 (M39)
    Voigtländer 35mm 3.4 (Bessamatic, M42)
    Zeiss Jena 3mm 2.8 (Exakta)
    Nikon 35mm 2.8 AI (Nikon)
    & Several others...

    YMMV!!!!
     
  9. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    Most of the brand-name 28's and 35's are pretty darn good.
    Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, Minolta..

    There is not much distortion and they are sufficiently sharp.
     
  10. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Not silly at all!

    When you consider distortion and other performance parameters, I would suggest benchmarking against the very best. And it can be fairly argued that the very highest performance wide lenses you can get your hands on are the Zeiss lenses. In Nikon mount these are called "ZFs"; other mounts exist for other systems. These lenses are very expensive though. So, I suggest looking at the performance of those; you can look at dpreview and photodo and read user reviews at b&h and other sites. Then you can compare those with the Nikon and Olympus counterparts.

    The isn't a single "correct" answer: you have to decide what you need, how much you are able to invest, and how important the performance is.
     
  11. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    A rectilinear lens will have been corrected for inherent optical distortion, but it will have perspective distortion when raised or lowered from level. darinwc is quite correct to state that brand-name wide-to ultra-wide primes are pretty darn good — much, much better than what was available in the 1980s and 1990s. But it's important to understand and differentiate the types of distortion. Not even Zeiss is immune from the silly twists and turns at the edges that come about from odd shooting angles.
     
  12. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    There are a few lenses to stay away from..
    The Nikon series E 28mm f2.8 is one of them.
     
  13. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I love my 24mm and also 17mm. The 17 does have some distortion but I like it.

    Jeff
     
  14. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

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    My go to wides are the 24mm and 28mm primes, the range is very nice and easy to use and nice and fast f2/f2.8. I also have had a lot of use out of a 19-35mm tokina, its a very nice range though not as fast F3.5-4.5. And recently I picked up a sigma 14mm f3.5, its ridiculously wide for a rectilinear.

    Much easier to use something that is very wide on a SLR than a rangefinder too.
     
  15. John R.

    John R. Member

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    Give Contax G a try before going SLR
     
  16. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    That is a good suggestion as well.
    I would also like to question what you like/dont like about the rangefinders. that may help narrow down your search for an SLR.
     
  17. puketronic

    puketronic Member

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    Good question.

    The truth is, I started shooting a few months ago; mostly with 35mm fixed-lens rangefinders and 120 folders.

    I like rangefinders because of the framing, quietness, focusing, compactness, and lack of a mirror. Just about everything but most of these things aren't really that big of a deal to me. I find that many SLR's are quiet and compact enough, the mirror kick isn't that big of a deal, and the split-image focusing screens work pretty well. The blackout can't be avoided, but I can probably get used to it. I'm not really trying to be stealthy so I can live with the "limitations". I've never owned one but I've only handled them at my photography store, so I think I can be OK with one.

    As for alternatives: I'm not so interested in the Canon's because the patches are dim, the Bessas I fear feel too cheap, and the Contax's and high-end point and shoots auto-focus is a turn-off . I figured that for less, i can get a pretty good SLR and an array of lenses.

    In an SLR: I don't care for auto-focus, auto-exposure is a plus but not a necessity, size might matter but it might not. I'd prefer something that is rugged, mechanical, not-so-expensive, and reliable. I don't plan on using it on a tripod so mirror-lockup isn't important if the mirror is well-damped. I'd much rather use a MF camera on a tripod.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 1, 2011
  18. mrosenlof

    mrosenlof Member

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    Lens makers have known how to make good lenses in the OP's 28-35mm range for many years now, especially at the 35mm length. If you pick any of the "good name" 35s from about 1960 or newer (maybe even earlier), or a 28 from maybe 1980 or newer, you're probably going to get a fine lens.

    I think SLR wides made some real optical progress in the 1980s. 35mm isn't that wide.

    As you move toward a lens that was marketed more for cheap price, your chances of a less than fine lens increase.
     
  19. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    I use rangefinders and SLRs. Either works well with 28 and 35mm lenses.

    I use 28mm and 35mm Nikon wide-angle lenses. With these lenses, I have never had problems with barreling.

    I have used Olympus cameras and lenses but I have never used the Olympus OM. The Olympus is capable of producing images that are equal in quality to those produced by Nikon.

    I have also used M42 screw-mount wide-angle lenses made by Pentax, Fuji, and Vivitar. They also produce images of high quality.

    Bottom line: barrel distortion is not a “huge deal” with these lenses. I have, however, had problems with barrel distortion from some bargain-priced wide-angle zoom lenses.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11336821@N00/6179456359/
     

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  20. John R.

    John R. Member

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    Don't overlook that the Contax G2 has a easy to use manual focus dial on the face of the body. The G1 has a manual override but it is awkward in my opinion, I never use it on my G1. I might add that the G1 and G2 autofocus works extremely well and I think after some experience with it you may learn to like it a lot.

    If you are looking for a simple, reliable manual SLR like that in your description I would look at some nice older bodies along the lines of the F2, F3, RTS, F1, OM-T. All of those cameras are terrific and there are others as well.