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PostPosted: Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:55 pm 
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Hey everyone,

The next lens on my list would probably be a wide angle, and I'm having a bit of trouble deciding between the Nikon 10.5mm fisheye and Tokina's 11-16mm wide angle zoom. In the past, I had always been biased towards Nikon lenses. I believed that they were sharper, overall better lenses. However, I've recently been looking at the 3rd party brands, and I've discovered that many of their lenses are just as good, at a lower price.

They both use a screw driven AF (so I'm assuming that they'd be the same in focusing speed), and have f/2.8 apertures. The main difference is (evidently) the fact that the Tokina is a wide angle zoom, whilst the Nikon is a fisheye prime. The Nikon looks very nice, but I'm worried that because it's such a specialized lens, it would only be useful for all-sky astrophotos. The Tokina, while not as useful for astrophotography would be a great walk-around wide angle. The extra glass on the Nikon also gives it a bit of an edge for astrophotos over the Tokina.

So which would you recommend?

Thanks,
-Evan

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:21 am 
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EvanK wrote:
The Nikon looks very nice, but I'm worried that because it's such a specialized lens, it would only be useful for all-sky astrophotos. The Tokina, while not as useful for astrophotography would be a great walk-around wide angle.

It seems you've hit the nail on the head. These are two pretty different lenses with pretty different uses. You need to decide which type of lens you need (fisheye or wide zoom), and then compare different lenses of the same type. Comparing these two lenses in quality won't be particularly helpful.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:06 am 
you should get the Tokina. you can make the fisheye effect in Photoshop,you cannot however correct the fisheye's distortsions & hope for good sharpness. also,no fisheye has the sharpness of the Tokina,because they are not meant to be sharp on the borders & corners.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 05, 2011 7:57 am 
Hi EvanK,

I own and use the Tokina and I have borrowed the Nikon fish-eye for some time in the past.

The Tokina is admittedly more versatile - not because of the 6mm zoom range, but because you can place the horizon anywhere you like. The fish-eye can be straightened out with the fish-eye hemi plug-in which is very good, but only if the horizon is somewhere near the middle. Other software will straighten out fish-eye pictures as well, but the price is cropping of the image.

The primary drawbacks of the Tokina is it's tendency towards very annoying flares...green blobs and large scarlet crescents. It's definitely NOT a shoot-into-the-sun-lens! On the other hand, the fish-eye does an amazing job of shooting into the sun..not flares...ever!

Furthermore the minimum focus distance of the Tokina is 30-some cm - the fish-eye can get very very close and still focus.

\\\Image

All said we cannot really consider the fish-eye a wide angle lens. Of course the angle/field of view is very wide on the fish-eye, but as mentioned elsewhere, it's specifically not intended to keep lines straight. It's an effect lens, whereas the Tokina is not.

I would eventually like to own both - the image quality of the Nikon 10.5mm is awesome, but for now I make do with the Tokina.

Good luck with your choice!

Cheers :-)


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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 2:18 am 
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Thanks for all the replies everyone!

Based on what you've said, I'm leaning towards the Tokina, however I'll try to rent both of them to try on my annual astronomy camping trip for some star trails or piggyback work.

-Evan

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:10 am 
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On the fisheye, I definitely wouldn't describe it as an "all sky astrophoto" only lens. For that application I'd go for a circular fisheye, like the Sigma 4.5mm. As it is a fisheye, you still get a wider field of view of 180 degrees, compared to "only" 104 degrees with the Tokina. Yes, the cost of the extra view is the distortion. You will use it differently for sure.

While not explicitly mentioned, is f/2.8 an important issue here? Of course being so wide angle you're not going to get much defocus going on, so the big aperture is more useful for light collection like the astrophoto use suggested. If you don't need the speed, consider getting the Samyang 8mm fisheye and/or the Sigma 8-16mm zoom too.

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PostPosted: Sat Aug 06, 2011 3:55 pm 
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Thanks for the reply, Popo

The Sigma and the Samyung are those 2mm wider, but I don't know if the loss of aperture would cause a problem. Of course, with astrophotos it's not only the aperture that matters, but also the physical amount of glass on the front.

I never really considered a circular fisheye. It would be good for astrophotos I guess, but then it becomes even more special purpose. I could see something like the Sigma 8mm or the Nikkor 10.5mm fisheyes being more useful for everyday photography than the 4.5mm, which would only be useful for astrophotography.

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Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 7:15 am 
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I use the Nikon 10.5 fisheye occasionally, was the owner of a Sigma 10-20mm, and was eyeing the Tokina AT-X 10-17mm 3.5-4.5 AF DX fisheye for some time. Here are my remarks/observations:
- Not sure about the astro-part: isn't the magnification of a 10.5 (even 11-16mm lens too small to catch stars?
- I have a set of photos here where you can see what kind of images you can produce
- My lens was tested there. You can see that it's very sharp even wide open, but has some color-fringing problems. My mini-review including results from "de-fishing" is over here.
- The Tok-fish was tested there.
- You can produce photos where the fish-eye effect is almost invisible (keep the horizon going through the center) but most of the times you get the typical distortions.
- get close, close, close and you get some very effective into-your-face perspective when you view the image up close
- With any wide angle but esp. so with a fisheye it is almost impossible to escape some very nasty into the sun shots. So any flare/glare could easily ruin a photo
- With such an extreme focal length a zoom is always handy, because zooming with your feet is a no-no when shooting landscapes.

B.t.w.: The Tokina 10-17 fisheye and the Nikon 10.5 have the added benefit of becoming a circular fisheye on an FX-body - if you dare to cut the short remnants of a shade off.

Summary: I rarely use the Nikon 10.5 today and would assume that I had more use for the Tokina 10-17 fisheye. As to straight ultra-wides I have restricted myself to 14-24mm by now, which is fine with me, even on a DX body.

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 9:28 am 
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A star can't get "too small", at best/worse an individual star will become a single pixel although with typical bayer pattern sensors and AA filters it'll be a small multi-pixel blob regardless. The only requirement is you get enough light to detect it. Now if you have a lot of stars, yes they could merge together and form other interesting patterns. Which reminds me I need to have another go at the milky way some time!

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:57 pm 
Decent points raised so far, Im not going to repeat any of that.

Id also take into account maximum focal length though.

Having a lens that goes out to 20 or even 24mm may save you having to bring another lens which may be handy if you like to travel light or backpack a lot.


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:34 am 
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Thanks for all of the useful replies so far

I have taken into consideration the zoom range, I'm a bit worried that the 5mm range of the Tokina would be too short. The 11-16mm focal length is all fine and dandy until you need to get something a bit further than 16mm, and switching lenses would be necessary.
Aside from price, how does the Tokina compare to the Nikkor 10-24 or 12-24?

Thanks,
-Evan

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Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:40 am 
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Sssshhhhhh! Whisper 14-24, 14-24, 14-24

I was lucky to get a good price on a mint 2nd hand copy (the same price as a new 10-24) so it was a no brainer for me.

Don't discount 2nd hand as the 14-24 is VERY wide on FX and generally lightly used and well looked after. It's one of those lenses that a a few people buy because it's raved about and then rarely use.

Whether 14mm is wide enough on DX for you would be another matter, but on DX I would have this as a great walkabout lens for street and travel


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:47 am 
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I'd love a 14-24, however I don't know if it would be wide enough for me. The only advantage that it has going over the 10-24 would be the f/2.8 aperture, and the ability to use it on FX cameras in the future. I've looked at some of the full frame cameras, but I don't see myself upgrading for another 3 or 4 years or so.

I do agree however that it could work as a great walkaround lens for street photography, with an equivalent focal length of 21-36mm.

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-Evan

Gear: 7 Nikon Nikkor AI-S and AF-S lenses, SB-700 flash, Nikon D7000, Nikon FM, variety of accessories

"There are no rules for good photographs, there are only good photographs."
- Ansel Adams


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