Going Wider than 18mm – Part 1

Going Wider than 18mm – Part 1

Being an enthusiast cityscape photographer shooting at twilight and dusk (a.k.a. blue hour), I’m a bit obsessed with shooting wider.

Going from 27mm (Cropped Sensor DSLR) to 18mm (Full Frame DSLR): A Real Game Changer

Firstly, replacing Nikon D7000 (cropped sensor DSLR) with Nikon D610 (full frame DSLR) back in 2014 let me go much wider. Since then, I’ve been shooting with so-called “true 18mm” using my trusty Nikon 18-35mm (f/3.5-4.5) lens while in the past I was only able to shoot as wide as 27mm on D7000 using the same 18-35mm lens. This is due to “crop factor” where a focal length on cropped sensor DSLR gets multiplied by 1.5 (18mm x 1.5 = 27mm). Going from 27mm to 18mm was a real game changer, as you can see in the below comparison.

18mm Lens on Full Frame DSLR (Outside) and Cropped Sensor DSLR (Inside)

Comparing the same scene shot with 18mm lens on full frame DSLR (outside) and cropped sensor DSLR (inside).

Still, I’ve occasionally come across situations that require a lens a little wider than 18mm. Then, I reconsidered getting Nikon 16-35mm (f/4) again although I once shot this idea down in the past because the added features of this lens (i.e. Vibration Reduction [VR] and constant f4) hardly benefit me as I always shoot on tripod with VR turned off and never use such large aperture.

16mm Wasn’t Significantly Wider than 18mm

To put a final end to this 18-35mm vs. 16-35mm saga, I rented 16-35mm lens for 5 days to test extensively, but in the end, I wasn’t really impressed with its image quality (particularly sharpness). To be honest, I felt my trusty 18-35mm is somewhat sharper although it sits at the bottom of Nikon’s wide angle lenses in terms of price tag. Another important finding was that 16mm wasn’t significantly wider than 18mm, as seen in the below comparison.

16mm (Outside) and 18mm (Inside) Lens on Full Frame DSLR

Comparing the same scene shot with 16mm lens (outside) and 18mm lens (inside) on full frame DSLR.

I’m now leaning toward keeping my 18-35mm, and rent Nikon 14-24mm (f/2.8) , the crown jewel in Nikon’s wide angle lineup that I’ve never got my hands on before, when I need a lens wider than 18mm, because such an occasion only occurs once or twice a year. Or, I may consider purchasing Samyang 14mm (f/2.8) , affordable yet quality ultra-wide prime lens recommended by some fellow photographers.

I’ll keep you updated on how I go about shooting with rented Nikon 14-24mm or Samyang 14mm. Stay tuned!


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