The search for something wider

Which Ultra Wide

 

As some of you might know, I’ve been on the hunt for a wide angle lens for my Fuji system.  Here’s the story of my little journey… so far.

 

I currently own the following lenses:

Almost enough to make a fort?

Almost enough to make a fort?

16-55 2.8 (I got this because I like to have a 24-70 2.8 style lens)

50-140 2.8 OIS (I got this because I like to have a 70-200 2.8 style lens)

100-400 OIS (sometimes you need reach)

23 1.4 (my favourite FOV)

35 f2 (light daily lens, waiting to be replaced by the 23 f/2)

56 1.2 and 90 f2 (portrait combo and 90mm is good for macro style work)

Samyang 8mm fisheye (great lens I think every Fuji user should pickup)

 

What I’m missing is something ultra wide angle…

Of course I can shoot with the 8mm fisheye and get a very wide FOV (I think it’s 180 degrees or something crazy) but that’s a fisheye and not always ideal.

Samyang/Rokinon 8mm 2.8 II fisheye lens for Fuji X-Mount... just buy one already...

Samyang/Rokinon 8mm 2.8 II fisheye lens for Fuji X-Mount… just buy one already…

 

The UWA lenses I’m choosing from are the following:

Fuji 10-24 f/4 OIS

Fuji 14mm 2.8

Fuji 16mm 1.4

Samyang 12mm f/2

Zeiss 12mm 2.8

 

I might buy more than one of these lenses for various reasons.  However, I’m trying to decide which one(s) would be best.  It’s quite a struggle.

 

So last night, I went shooting with my friend George.  He was kind enough to lend me his 10-24 to have a play with.  He also has a Samyang 12mm f/2 but it rained too hard and we gave up shooting before I got to try that lens out.

 

However, I did shoot at different focal lengths to see which focal length would be good for me.

 

Focal Length Comparisons

10mm vs 12mm (slide to compare)

12mm vs 14mm (slide to compare)

14mm vs 16mm (slide to compare)


WHAT DO I THINK?

 

At first I was a bit put off by a few things on the 10-24:

  1. Aperture ring doesn’t have hard stops
  2. F4 aperture can be restrictive
  3. Little bit large.
  4. No WR (it was raining a little during the shoot, so we had the umbrellas out).

But I also liked some things:

The OIS, it’s amazing, I got this shot at ½ second exposure:

0.5 second, hand held

0.5 second, hand held

 

Here it is at 100% crop

100% crop

100% crop

I also like that it can take filters, always a bonus for a UWA lens.

 

Despite some initial reservations and a feeling of “is this really good enough” right after the shoot, the proof of the pudding is in the eating and after reviewing the images and seeing some of the shots I got hand held and super sharp (down to 1/2 second slow as seen above). I’m beginning to like this lens again as a choice.

 

The Samyang 12mm and Fuji 16mm are another choice of course not to mention the 14mm 2.8 (oh and the Zeiss 12mm, but more on that later).

 

Here’s the pros and cons (IMHO) of alternative lenses:

Samyang 12mm f2

326fcc5b-2ff5-496c-8cbc-008c67710fbe_zps1e6bfd12

 

Pros:

  1. Cheap lens
  2. Fast (f2)

Cons:

  1. Manual focus
  2. No OIS
  3. Not made by Fuji

 

Fuji 16mm 1.4

fujifilm_xf_16mm_f_1_4_r_1138987

Pros:

  1. Very sharp
  2. Focuses close (15cm)
  3. FAST

Cons:

  1. Relatively expensive
  2. Not very wide (I already have a 16-55, though it’s not so fast or sharp)
  3. Pretty close to the 23mm (is the difference enough for me to warrant buying one?)
  4. No OIS (not really needed for a fast/wide lens like this, but still, it’s technically a con)

 

 

14mm 2.8

Fujifilm_XF_14mm_f_2_8_R_883533

Pros:

  1. Doesn’t need electronic correction
  2. Wider than the 16mm

Cons:

  1. It’s “only” 2.8
  2. No OIS
  3. The Samyang is wider, cheaper and faster.

 

 

 

 

Of these three it’s hard to choose really.  I kind of dismiss the 14mm as the only thing that really appeals to me with that lens is it doesn’t need correcting.

 

The 12mm is appealing because they say it’s quite good for shooting stars (something I plan to do in Australia quite a bit) and it’s a good jump down from the 23mm.  It’s also very cheap (especially here in Hong Kong).  I’m quite tempted to pick this one up despite whatever other lens I get.

 

The 16mm is tempting mainly because it’s FAST and might be good for event shooting, it also has a reputation as being one of the best Fuji lenses.  So it’s very tempting, however the price and the fact I already have 16mm covered by the 16-55 (which would do fine in most cases at an event) AND that it’s not too far off the 23mm f1.4 is putting me off it slightly. Certainly if it were half the price it is right now I’d probably already own one… maybe one day.

 

HOW ABOUT THE ZEISS 12mm 2.8

zeiss_2030_527_touit_12mm_f_2_8_lens_970839

Pros:

  1. Better build quality than the Samyang
  2. Autofocus

Cons:

  1. Price
  2. “Only” f/2.8

 

I really want to like the idea of getting this lens, however most people say the Samyang 12mm 2.8 is 90% as good at least, so the price premium for the Zeiss isn’t appealing.  IF they were the same or a similar price I’d consider the Zeiss.

 

EDIT: I have been doing a bit of research and found this lens is slightly better than the Samyang 12mm and it has Auto Focus.  IF I can find one at a price close to the Samyang I might pick this up instead of the Samyang.  I won’t pay too much for it though.

 

This video made me actually consider the Zeiss a LOT more… important not to just go by rumours. IF I can get one on sale later I think I MIGHT buy the Zeiss over the Samyang.

 

 

Conclusion…

There isn’t a conclusion (yet) for me.  I think I could be happy with any of the above lenses, even the much maligned 12mm 2.8 ZEISS.   However which will I buy?  I really don’t know.  Every day my mind seems to change.  I think until I actually go to the store and pay I won’t know.

Right now I’m thinking the 12mm f/2 is worth buying because it’s cheap and good for Astro photography.  However I might get the Zeiss if it’s on heavy sale…

The 10-24 is also worth buying because it’s flexible and good for travel.

16mm 1.4 is one I’m not too sure about, I WANT it, but I’m not sure I NEED it.  Also it’s expensive (but I’ve had people say they wish they got the 16mm instead of the 10-24 and that they don’t use the 10-24 after buying the 16mm… so it’s tempting).

Fuji 14mm 2.8  seems to be a nice lenses, but I think it’s not for me.

 

So… I think I’ll be buying a 10-24 AND 12mm f/2 first (or maybe the Zeiss if I can find one at a nice price).  This will give me something a bit wider and more flexible and something a bit faster for times I want that.  Then I’ll see about the 16mm… I’ll let you know after I go shopping if I stick with this plan. 😉

 

Thanks for reading, I’d love to hear your opinions in the comments,

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