Nikon AI 24mm f/2.8 is cheap at KEH and it looks nice on an 11x14 print.
Using film since before it was hip.
"One of the most singular characters of the hyposulphites, is the property their solutions possess of dissolving muriate of silver and retaining it in considerable quantity in permanent solution" — Sir John Frederick William Herschel, "On the Hyposulphurous Acid and its Compounds." The Edinburgh Philosophical Journal
, Vol. 1 (8 Jan. 1819): 8-29. p. 11
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Yeah, the Sigma tends to have a really notchy aperture ring and sheds the rubber focus ring easily. But optically it's surprisingly good, as good as the Nikkor unless you have both near and far subjects in focus (Where the Nikkor's Close-Range-Correction shows its benefit). And the sigma goes to 1:4 magnification.
Originally Posted by Soeren
I've got four lenses in that range:
- Mir-47K 20mm f/2.5 -- This is a fairly inexpensive (~$195 at RuGift, to name one seller) Russian lens. I like its performance when stopped down to f/8 or so, but at wider apertures, its edge performance is quite poor -- "soft" is too kind a word, IMHO. My -47K version is for K-mount, but an M42 version (Mir-47M) is also available.
- Mir-20 20mm f/3.5 -- This is another inexpensive (~$145) Russian lens. Mine is fairly old and was made for the Kiev 10/15, but new M42 versions (Mir-47M) are available. I like mine better than my Mir-47K. I don't use it much just because my Kiev 15 is in bad shape. One advantage is that it focuses very close (to 0.18m, vs. 0.3m for my Mir-47K or 0.25m for my Tamron 24mm), which makes it great for wide-angle shots of fairly small objects -- I've even photographed large insects with it. Mine is quite sharp even wide-open.
- Tamron 24mm f/2.5 -- I find this lens to be quite sharp, even wide open. (I've got an 11x14-inch print framed on my wall taken with this lens.) It's a Tamron Adaptall 2 lens, so it can be mounted to almost any 35mm SLR. Personally, I find the 24mm focal length is a little too close to the 28-70mm range of a mid-range zoom I use a lot, so I don't use the 24mm all that much. Based on this experience, I'd say that if you've already got 28mm covered, you'd probably do well to go a bit wider -- but OTOH, your habits and preferences might differ from mine. I got mine on eBay for a real bargain price, but I see that B&H has them new for $180.
- Variozenitar-K 25-45mm -- This is a rather rare lens, but RuGift has them new for $259, unfortunately only in K-mount. Surprisingly, it's even sharper than the Tamron 24mm at 25mm at most apertures, but it suffers badly from flare and is fairly low in contrast. It also doesn't focus very close (0.8m). For these reasons, I can't really give it a good endorsement. I personally like the zoom range, though -- it's a small range, but it suits my shooting style pretty well.
Overall, I'd say that if you've already got a 28mm lens, the Mir-20M would be the one to get, of those I own. If not, or if you think the difference from 24mm to 28mm would be significant to you, the Tamron would be about as good. The Mir-47K's poor edge performance when wide open (or even remotely close to wide open) is a real problem, as is the Variozenitar's flare. I've never used any other lenses in this range, so I can't compare to the lenses others are recommending.
I'm leaning more towards a 20. I do have a canon 28 f/2.8 which IMO performs fine, at least for 8*10 prints.
But 24 is also fine, especially if it's an f/2
I am not so sure.
I've owned a Carl Zeiss Flektogon 20mm/f4. It was pretty good and the price wasn't awful compared to other lenses. It comes in m42 mounts among others. There is a m42 fujinon 20mm w/ built in filters. I would put my money on that one if I could find one.
I've no experience with sigma or nikon wides, just the flektogon. There are multicoated 20mm flektogon f2.8 which go for the most. These are multicoated. Mine was single-coated, but was coated well and I felt it to be quite contrasty.
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If you're willing to use a rangefinder, the Cosina-Voigtlander wide angles are pretty low priced and have excellent performance. I use a 21/4 in Leica thread mount on an adapter for Leica M and the lens is outstanding. Pick up a cheap Zorki or Fed that takes the 39mm LTM lenses or a used Bessa L and the whole package wouldn't be costly. The 25mm CV in LTM is also reputed to be excellent but it's not rangefinder coupled--makes no difference really since DOF is so great.
I've also had good experience with manual focus Nikkor 24/2.8 lenses. I'm not so happy with the Canon auto focus 24/2.8 I have--very soft at all apertures.
I wouldn't mind a rangefinder for the wideangle at all.
Originally Posted by Lee Shively
I have the 25mm CV Skopar and I'm very happy with it. Plenty sharp with good contrast.
Another vote for this lens (CV 25mm/f4, no RF coupling), it comes new with the viewfinder.
Originally Posted by Lol999
The C/V 25mm options have changed lately. The older style, non-rangefinder coupled screw mount lens has been discontinued, but is still in stock some places, and typically comes with a hot shoe bright-line finder. It's priced pretty low. The replacement C/V 25mm is a Leica M (bayonet) mount, comes without a viewfinder, is rangefinder coupled, and costs on the order of $100 more.
I use the 21mm f:4 C/V screwmount lens, and am very happy with its performance.