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  1. #1

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    How useful is that 20mm?

    I'm more of a wide angle shooter and I'm currently shooting a 28mm FD that I like. I've thought recently about going wider but am wondering how useful something like a 20mm would be as a cityscape and landscape shooter. I'm wondering if it's a focal length that's just occasionally useful or is it something that you reach for often enough to justify it. Obviously it depends on the subject matter at hand, and your own preferences (likes), but where does it wind up with you? Is it worthwhile out to 11x14?

  2. #2
    Eric Rose's Avatar
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    Nov 2002
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    My wife has a 20mm and I use a 17mm. Both gets lots of use. You will notice a big difference between the 28 and a 20 for sure. Opens up all kinds of extra opportunities. Both are very sharp, but any extreme WA will show some distortion in the corners.
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  3. #3
    David Brown's Avatar
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    I have a 19mm. It's a long way from the 28!

  4. #4

    Join Date
    May 2006
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    Northern Aquitaine
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    Quote Originally Posted by waynecrider View Post
    I'm more of a wide angle shooter and I'm currently shooting a 28mm FD that I like. I've thought recently about going wider but am wondering how useful something like a 20mm would be as a cityscape and landscape shooter. I'm wondering if it's a focal length that's just occasionally useful or is it something that you reach for often enough to justify it. Obviously it depends on the subject matter at hand, and your own preferences (likes), but where does it wind up with you? Is it worthwhile out to 11x14?
    Well, I use 21 a lot, and 38mm on 44x66mm (almost exactly equivalent to 21mm). I also use 15mm, albeit rarely, and my wife's standard lens on 56x84mm (6x9 nominal) is 35mm, pretty close to 15mm on 35mm.

    But an awful lot depends on what you shoot...

    Cheers,

    R.

  5. #5
    Markauf's Avatar
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    I love to use the 20mm when I shot infrared. It adds the "dream-like" effect.

  6. #6
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    Jan 2007
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    I have a f/2.8 21mm Minolta Rokkor lens, manual focus - it has darkened corners due to the 1/(cos(theta)**4) loss . Usable for getting the interior of buildings, especially small rooms by shooting from the corner. Also good for outdoor use because I can have something very close in focus with the scene further back. I used it for overall scenes, but the individual objects appear really small. I do not use this camera any more, but I did use the lens a far amount. The f/2.8 lens looks like a headlight - great for available level light photographs.

    I now have a 20mm to 35mm Nikon AF Zoom that I have found much more useful. It does NOT have the darkened corners due to the 1/(cos(theta)**4) loss . The zoom capability makes the lens easier to use than the fixed focus [even more than one would think]. Both lenses have to be used carefully when shooting buildings [anything with vertical lines] because the wide angle makes the buildings appear to lean back. Therefore, care must be used to hold the camera level. Again an object that you want emphasized in the foreground is great. DOF is great. Overall landscapes and buildings come out better than the Minolta lens.

    I am much happier with the Nikon 20mm - 35mm lens than the 21mm lens due to the flexibility and better optics. I carry the Nikon lens with me when weight is not a constraint. If weight is going to be a problem I use my f/3.6 28mm - 300mm zoom because the wide zoom is heavier than the camera plus the 28mm - 300mm lens.

    As far as using the lens for 11x14, I do not know. I have only used it for 4"X6",12"X18" and 24"x36" prints.

    I would recommend buying the 20mm lens for 35mm photography. I would suggest, if possible, renting the lens for several days with the understanding that if you buy the lens the rental money gets credited to the lens purchase.

    Steve

  7. #7

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    Jun 2005
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    I have an 18mm for my Pentax. I will never part with it. I once had a 15mm, I'm still kicking myself for selling it.
    Wide is nice, but super-wide is super-nice.

    -- MW
    Men, said the Devil, are good to their brothers: they don’t want to mend their own ways, but each others.
    -- Piet Hein

  8. #8
    jstraw's Avatar
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    Aug 2006
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    I was so dependent on a 20mm when I shot for newspaper publication that when I went to digital and had chip that was smaller than the film frame I *had* to get the 14mm to achieve the same end.
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  9. #9

    Join Date
    Jul 2005
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    Toronto, ON
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    20's are incredibly useful in the city. I usually carry a 20, 35/50 and 85, and usually have either the 20 or the 85 mounted.

  10. #10
    David H. Bebbington's Avatar
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    Dec 2004
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    My favorite w/a is a 24 mm, I find with 20 mm it's hard to avoid your own shadow in a lot of shooting situations, but I do also have a Tamron 17 mm for when I'm in a super-wide mood.

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