Big ultra-wide zoom test

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Big ultra-wide zoom test

Postby Thomas » Sun Aug 19, 2007 10:18 pm

This summer I'll compare the
- Sigma 10-20 (second copy)
- Tamron 11-17
- Sigma 12-24
- Tokina 12-24
The Nikkor 12-24mm didn't make it on my list, cause at 1000EUR this is the lens of last resort...
But I'll include some comparisons to the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye and the Nikon 18-200mm at its widest setting!
So watch this space in the next two weeks. I'll keep y'all posted!
Detail reports are under the individual lens-threads, summary reporting/comparison will be posted here...
And the review of the Nikon 10.5mm is there.
------------------
Addendum: I'm currently reviewing the Nikon FX 14-24mm F/2.8 here.
Last edited by Thomas on Wed Dec 19, 2007 9:30 pm, edited 6 times in total.
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Postby Thomas » Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:14 pm

This is incredible, 12-400mm (33x) in one pic!
Look at this photo (clickable for larger versions):
Image
and tell me right away: Which is the 12-24mm, the 18-200mm, the 80-400mm :?:
Ok, the 80-400mm was easy, but would you believe the 18-200mm VR Nikkor is on the left and the third lens from the left is a 12-24mm (the Sigma FF-lens) :?:

Here are all shorts in one shot:
Image
Last edited by Thomas on Thu Aug 23, 2007 9:38 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Gordon Laing » Mon Aug 20, 2007 9:49 pm

Hi Thomas, looking forward to your test! If you have time, try also comparing the actual coverage of each lens by mounting your D80 on a tripod and taking shots fully zoomed-in and out. You may find your two 12-24s don't share exactly the same coverage...
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Postby Thomas » Thu Aug 23, 2007 8:46 pm

A first test showed that the short end of the wide-angle zooms are really what they say: 10mm (the Sigma), 11mm (the Tamron) and 12mm (the other Sigma and the Tokina). So no "cheating" here.
At the long end the same result: the Tamron is shortest (18mm), next comes the short Sigma (20mm) and the longest are the other Sigma and the Tokina (24mm).
At least in this respect you get, what you pay for...

Some other remarks, that seem trivial but things can be really annoying...
Lens caps:
- Sigma lens-cap of the 10-20 is cr*p: No way to get it on/off the lens with the lens-shade attached :cry:
- Tokina lens-caps are much better, but at the grip a little too rounded and thus slippery :)
- Tamron and Nikon lens-caps are the best! :D
Rear-cap:
- I don't get it, why Tamron and Sigma rear-caps have to be mounted in one and only one position. The Nikon and Tokina rear-caps mount in three positions! That's state of the art. You don't believe how much fiddling around those cr*ppy rear-caps can cause you :roll:

A summary of features:
- only the Sigma 12-24 is FF
- only the Sigmas have HSM and thus work on the D40/x plus let you immediately override the AF
- To MF with Tokina: pull the focus-ring. With the Tamron switch AF off at the body
- only the Sigmas have lens-cases
- Tamron's the smallest/lightest, the Sigma 12-24mm the biggest and heaviest
- all have lens shades, the 12-24mm Sigma's and the 10.5mm Nikon's are built-in

First impressions on the IQ: Tamron seems worst, with the others you have to look more closely. The second copy of the Sigma 10-20mm seems to be better than my first one.
With three contenders, that will be a hard decision as to which lens to keep...

B.t.w.: practically all JPGs you'll see in this test were "developed" with CaptureNX or came directly out of the camera at default settings, no D-lighting, no curves, no extra sharpening - only in some cases an exposure-correction of max +-2EV
Last edited by Thomas on Mon Sep 03, 2007 10:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Summary

Postby Thomas » Sun Sep 02, 2007 6:05 pm

Now that some test-shots have been made, the winner is...:
:!: :!: The Sigma 10-20mm :!: :!:
It is the sharpest near and far (absolutely important) :D :D :D
It is the widest (second most important) :D :D
It has only little distortion (ok, don't bother too much) :D
The colors are clear (if a little too blue) :)
It has a pouch (not a decisive factor) :)
It is not a FF-lens (well, if you don't have money for a FF-body this is irrelevant) :(
It produces some nasty contra-light artefacts (so make sure you read the detail review with hints and tipps on how to avoid those artefacts) :(
It has a cr*ppy lens cap (not a decisive factor) :cry:

The Sigma 12-24mm is certainly the straightest (tested) and lowest vignetting (not tested), but it has the worst color-fringing of all tested lenses and tends to come out brown-red in high-contrast situations. It is sharp in the middle and at the edges but in the end not as contrasty as the Sigma 10-20mm. For people having or planning for a FF-body this could be the killer-wide-angle-zoom as it is wider than the all the other 14mm+ wide-angle lenses/zooms for FF-bodies! On a FF-body its fov is equivalent to a 8-16mm (!) on a APS-C-body. It has the most pronounced problems with contra-light leading to ugly red-brown stripes under a lot of conditions, but otherwise has a very colorful reproduction.

The Tokina 12-24mm was not the worst lens: It did fine with contra light, not giving the dreadful brown-red stripes of the Sigmas and it was quite sharp (clearly better in the lower left corner than the upper right one). But it had the most obvious difference in lateral vs tangential sharpness in the corners. And it suffered from blown-out highlights (twigs of trees against the sky). And it is the brightest lens (f4) at all lengths in this test.

The Tamron 11-18mm is not too bad in the centre but deteriorates quite pronouncedly at the borders/corners plus has some heavy color-fringing at the borders. In that respect it is the worst of all tested lenses! With respect to flare and ghosting it is better controlled than the Sigmas.

B.t.w.: I also tested the Nikon VR 18-200mm in this group. Here's how it performed comparatively:
At 18mm almost as sharp as the Sigma 10-20mm, but the borders show color fringing and the contrast is a little less than the winner. These findings hold true for wide open as well as as for f8. This is a truely astonishing feat as the Nikon is f3.5 wide open vs 5.3 for the Sigma 10-20mm.

With regard to macro-power (:P) the results are as follows:
Tokina 12-24mm=20.3cm/2.36cm=8.6:1 @ 0.30m
Sigma 12-24mm=15.8cm/2.36cm=6.7:1 @ 0.28m
Sigma 10-20mm=16.4cm/2.36cm=6.9:1 @ 0.24m
Tamron 11-18mm=18.9cm/2.36cm=8.0:1 @ 0.25m
So the clear winner here are both Sigmas. But only if you don't count the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye...

Read more in the upcoming detail-reviews with strange things like "White-Dwarfs", "Siemens-Stars", etc. ... 8)
-------------
P.S.: And don't forget: Your copy of this lens could be cr*p (as examplified in my review of a former copy here) so make sure you get a good one...
Last edited by Thomas on Fri Sep 07, 2007 8:29 pm, edited 11 times in total.
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Postby Gordon Laing » Sun Sep 02, 2007 9:34 pm

Hi Thomas, just a quickie to say I'm really enjoying your lens group tests! Some really useful stuff there... keep up the good work!
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Postby zorro » Mon Sep 03, 2007 4:37 pm

Good reviews here mate.

Any copy of any lens could be crap. My Tokina 12-24mm had a faulty clutch mechanism, so sample variability is not the sole preserve of Sigma.

As for the Sigma lens cap, yes, it's an abomination. I bought a Nikon replacement for my Sigma for £7. Done deal.

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Postby Thomas » Mon Sep 03, 2007 10:15 pm

I've added some links in my summary. Enjoy!
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Postby zorro » Mon Sep 03, 2007 11:20 pm

I wouldn't say the Sigma 10-20mm lens is wide, but I do have rather a lot of vertical landscapes which feature my feet :lol:

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Postby Thomas » Sat Sep 08, 2007 9:50 am

There is also a nice additional thread on ultra-wide zooms including fisheyes here.
And a direct comparison of fisheye vs. ultra-wide-zoom perspective / fov there.
See comparative shots with the Nikon VR 18-200mm lens here.
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Postby Thomas » Mon Dec 17, 2007 10:11 pm

Just to give you the heads-up: Another lens-review is coming your way: The brand-spanking new Nikon FX 14-24mm F/2.8 lens will soon arrive and get a thorough work-out on the bench and in the woods :lol:
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Postby Gordon Laing » Mon Dec 17, 2007 11:39 pm

Excellent news Thomas! Looking forward to it!
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Postby DavidL » Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:54 am

FX huh Thomas ? :roll: :wink:
Got a D3 with you ? :D
looking forward to it.. !
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