What is a Wide Angle Lens For Nikon
In order to capture a big chunk of the scenery in one frame of the photo, let's say with the common 50mm lens, you have to get further away from your subject, which is not always possible for different reasons. In such situations, the wide angle lens comes to the rescue. As it derives from the name, they have a bigger angle of view due to the short focal length between the lens and the camera sensor. The lenses with the focal length below 35mm are called Wide Angle and named Ultra-Wide Angle if they have less than 15mm.
Along with the landscape, you can employ these lenses for taking photos in tight places like house rooms or narrow streets to show as much of it as possible. Another good example of its use can be found in a lot of Wes Anderson's movies, where he squeezes the most out of the wide angle to create beautiful and entertaining cinematography. This is also a great choice for taking full-body portraits but even better - for the group photos.
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G ED VR
Ready for Handheld Shots
Similarly to the red rings on Canon professional photographers, the Nikon encrusts its premium-class lenses with the golden strip near the top part of the barrel. What makes it so special? For starters, the lens boasts the VR unit that reduces the impact from the vibration in handheld shootings. This is also a part of the reason why this lens is so big (almost 5" long). Moreover, there are 17 optic elements, including aspheric, extra-low dispersion and the Nano Crystal coated elements for minimizing aberrations and improving image quality. The extra-wide 16mm focal length shows 107° angle of view on Full-Frame cameras and 83° on cropped APS-C sensors. One of the key features here is the constant f/4 aperture along all of the focal length range for delivering bright and sharp pictures with a nice rounded blur in the background. By switching from the manual to M/A mode, you can also turn the autofocus that you can still override at any given moment by turning the focusing ring with your fingers in order to tune the focus as you see it fit. This becomes especially useful in dull lighting, as the AF hunts noticeably longer in the dark conditions on any lens.
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 16-35mm f/4G weighs about 1.5 lbs. - not the number to take lightly. However, the quality of the barrel and the photos is almost impeccable. Therefore, it's totally justified, although you might need to buy a new camera bag.
All in all, this is a superb Nikon wide angle lens that will suit photographers with any levels of skills to take photos in different genres.
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED
One Step Closer
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 20mm f/1.8G ED designed for Full-Frame cameras, but of course, it works on APS-C sensors as well. Although the lens is fast, the slightly noticeable decline in sharpness can be seen at the corners when the diaphragm is wide open. However, in the illuminated city in the evening, the lens can boast a bright and sharp picture without much noise even at comparatively low 1600 ISO settings.
As we were favorably impressed with the high-contrast and color-rich photos that it takes, we've decided to check the insides of the lens. Among the total 13 elements, there are 2 extra-low dispersion (hence the "ED" mark) and 2 aspheric elements to decrease chromatic aberrations and light flares. The special nano crystal coat drastically reduces the ghosting that is so typical for lenses with a wide angle.
The lens has a 77mm filter thread, standard M/A-A switch for the autofocus and the medium 90° angle of view on a Full-Frame camera. Combined with the 0.66 ft. minimum focusing distance, it allows you to get closer to your model and shoot waist-ups or full-length portraits with the softly blurred background at wide apertures. The lens performs well on other subjects like architecture, nature and group portraits, too.
As a side note, you can also shoot nice Time-Lapse videos with this lens if you mount the camera on a tripod and set the long exposure and use the shutter timer or a remote control to keep your camera steady and get crisp photos.
Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Ultra Wide Angle
The Eye of the Beholder
In our review of the fisheye lenses for Canon, we've mentioned that you can often find the Rokinon lenses under other brands like Samyang, Pro-Optic or Bower because they all belong to the one and only Samyang Optics company that specializes in the manufacturing of the equipment for digital cameras and camcorders.
This Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Ultra-Wide angle lens for Nikon has exceptionally good assembly and also features the diaphragm ring near the camera mount that allows you to quickly adjust it to surrounding conditions and achieve the best results in less time.
As for the optics, the lens has some polarized issues. For instance, very short 14mm focal length delivers small fisheye curvature, bending the straight lines closer to the edges and bulging the subject in the center of the frame towards the viewer. However, this distortion can be quickly fixed with a photo editor or leave it as it is for artistic reasons. What's more, you can't attach the filters to it, due to the convex front glass. The lens doesn't have an image stabilization, so you might require to mount it on a tripod to get steady shots, for example, of the night city.
On the other hand, the lens delivers beautiful and crisp picture along all of the 115.7° diagonal view on the Full-Frame cameras so you could capture as many objects in one shot as possible. But the best part is that it shows no fringes at all under any lighting. Therefore, in our opinion, you can readily buy this ultra-wide angle lens if you want to shoot at weddings or take interesting portraits and architecture masterpieces with your Nikon camera.
Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM ELD SLD Aspherical
Cover the Landscape
Sigma is another optic equipment company that has a small number of cameras but a wide range of lenses for different brands, including Nikon, Canon, Sony, and others. Right from the start we want to point out that this lens is designed to work with APS-C format sensors only. In other respects, the lens is extremely well-done. The varying focal length brings ultra-wide 102.4° diagonal view at 10mm and 63.8° view at 20mm. The f/3.5 aperture is constant along full length too, permitting more light on the sensor for brighter shots. Or you can set it up to f/22 for shooting wonderful sunsets at long exposures or on a very bright day as well.
Anyway, Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM is an outstanding zoom wide angle lens for Nikon D3300, D5500, and similar bodies that have no integrated focusing motor because this lens actually has it. Moreover, as the focusing is fully internal, you can tune the focus manually even when the AF-mode is switched on. The 10 optical groups are designed to reduce the aberrations and light glares. However, we recommend using the included flower hood to protect the glass from the side sun rays. The lens also has 82mm filter thread, and we recommend using only a UV filter without a polarizer, because it may produce some nasty vignetting by blocking part of the incoming light.
For the record, any dust particles or spots on the wide-angle lens can be clearly visible in the photo. No matter how you try, they are inevitable. Therefore, don't forget to buy some cleaning tools for your camera kit as well.
As a result, Sigma wide angle lens for Nikon will be most suitable for beginners and advanced photographers who are looking for more ways to express their vision and experiment with different forms and perspectives by using a varying focal length.
Nikon AF-S FX NIKKOR 28mm f/1.8G Compact
On the Edge
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G is the first 28mm prime lens with the built-in focusing motor from the company. The 75° viewing angle is enough to spotlight your subject and capture some background to give the photo more context with the surrounding scenery. If you want to highlight only your subject, you can simply set the aperture to f/1.8, tightening up the in-focus range and smoothly blurring everything that appears out of it. Conversely, when you close the diaphragm, the 7 blades can produce the spine-tingling 14-pointed stars with the bright light sources like the sun or street lights.
Anyway, the lens has the high-quality plastic body with the metal mount. The N-mark indicates that one of the glasses has the special Nano Crystal Coat that reduces the backlight ghosting and flares. Like many other barrels from the professional series, Nikkor 28mm f/1.8G has the M/A-mode switch that allows you to tune the focus manually even when the AF is on. Finally, the plastic body has had a huge impact on the overall weight. At 0.72 lbs., this is one of the lightest lenses in its category.
Concluding, this bright Nikon wide angle lens is an awesome choice for urban photography, waist-ups, and even headshots, due to the medium angle of view and very sharp focus. Just don't forget to grab a spare memory card in case you stumble upon some very scenic places while walking with your camera and making breathtaking shots with it.
1. Josh Johnson A Beginner's Introduction to Wide Angle Photography, Evanto. March 22, 2012.
2. Andrew S. Gibson Wide-angle Lenses and the Landscape, Digital Photography School.
3. Bjorn Petersen Essential Wide-Angle Lenses for the Wedding Photographer, B&H.
4. Jeff Sinon Beyond the Wide Angle: Choosing a Landscape Photography Lens, Craftsy. September 5, 2014.
5. Joshua Dunlop The Ultimate Lens Buying Guide, Expert Photography.