Recommendations for D70 -- Sigma or Nikon 20mm?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Eager, Nov 17, 2004.

  1. Eager

    Eager Guest

    I'm shopping for a faster wide-angle lens -- the 18mm end of my D70's
    kit lens isn't fast enough for the indoor situations I need to shoot.

    I'm torn between the Nikon 20mm at 2.8 or the much faster Sigma 20mm at

    With the Nikon rbates, the lenses are within $30 of each other, but I'm
    really tempted by the speed of the Sigma. It'll bring down the ISO and
    give me some more shutter speed.

    Can anyone shed some light on these two? Thanks!

    Eager, Nov 17, 2004
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  2. Eager

    John Bean Guest

    I've used both these lenses. The Sigma is significantly larger and very soft
    wide-open. The Nikon is still sharper wide-open than the Sigma is at f/2.8.
    From f/4 onwards there's not a lot of difference but the Nikon has the edge
    in my book. I'd go for the Nikon without a second thought, it's the best
    20mm-ish lens I've had the pleasure to use over the years.
    John Bean, Nov 17, 2004
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  3. Eager

    Ken Tough Guest

    The 'review of reviews' at:

    pegs the Nikon 20mm f2.8 at 'average', with the Sigma at 'poor'.

    The Nikon 18mm f2.8 gets a bit higher at 'good'. I don't know
    about the size or price differences..
    Ken Tough, Nov 17, 2004
  4. Eager

    Eager Guest

    Thanks -- I really appreciate hearing from someone who's used both.

    I'm still thinking about the Sigma, because the Nikon isn't
    significantly faster than my D70's kit lens 18mm f/3.5. I do tons of
    available light work where motion blur ruins (or almost ruins) the
    shot, e.g.
    mber_18_2004_08.html>. In those cases I'd rather suffer the softness
    than lose the shot.

    I may go to B&H and take advantage of their 14 day money-back so I can
    swap the Sigma for the Nikon if I need to.

    Eager, Nov 18, 2004
  5. Sigma is junk. Just buy the Nikon and be done with it.
    Randall Ainsworth, Nov 18, 2004
  6. Eager

    John Bean Guest

    I see your point, but the zoom is not very good wide open whereas the 20mm
    Nikkor is very good indeed. I used the Nikkor with film and the Sigma on a
    dSLR so I have no comparisons with the same camera, but I was never very
    happy with the softness of the Sigma at f/1.8, I preferred to keep it at
    f/2.8 or less and use a faster ISO. A 20/1.8 lens is a major achievement,
    but its performance wide-open and huge size is probably the reason nobody
    else makes one. Filters (82mm) will bankrupt you too :-(
    John Bean, Nov 18, 2004
  7. Eager

    Owamanga Guest

    Wwwwoooosssh, another sweeping statement. They have a habit of being
    Owamanga, Nov 18, 2004
  8. How many times do we have to educate you morons? Sigma is a company
    that has always produced cheap hardware to sell to cheapskate amateurs.
    Buy it if you want to, but when you get mediocre results and it falls
    apart in a relatively short time, I'll be there to say "I TOLD YOU SO."
    Randall Ainsworth, Nov 19, 2004
  9. Eager

    M. Im Guest

    I've never been able to make any use or any sense of the photozone
    reviews. I have read some insightful reviews at other photographic
    websites, though.

    My previous film cameras of Leica and Contax are made so much better
    than any of these plastic toys by Canon and Nikon, lenses and bodies.
    so, I like to use these digital toys for fun and I like the high
    quality imaging. They are not made to last a lifetime, so I don't
    expect it to. I expect to have to frequently upgrade, in fact.

    That said, I just bought a Sigma 20mm, not just after reading reviews,
    but from seeing the results. I'm very impressed with the optical
    performance. True, it starts getting sharp at F2.8, but the Canon and
    Nikkor primes that start at f2.8 aren't known for their sharpness at
    F2.8. The Sigma does not focus very quickly when going from infinity
    to 2 inches (that's right, close focus is 2 inches from the front
    element) However, depending on the type of shooting you are doing, you
    could reduce the focus time by manually setting the focus to the range
    you want to start in, or even leaving it on manual, set the lens to F8
    and everything from 5 feet to infinity is in focus. Then the focus
    time is "0" for street shooting.

    I like the lens and it is worth the price.

    M. Im, Nov 24, 2004
  10. I'm torn between the Nikon 20mm at 2.8 or the much faster Sigma 20mm at
    Are you sure you need the extra shutter speed? If your objects aren't
    moving, you can generally get a shart hand-held shot at
    1/focal-length, so for a 50mm lens, 1/60 is recommended, but at 20mm,
    1/20 will give you a sharp hand-held picture. With a steady hand, you
    can get sharp pictures (of non-moving objexts) at 1/10 or 1/5 with a
    20mm lens.

    Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Dec 8, 2004
  11. I've never been able to make any use or any sense of the photozone

    It's still a growing database, but the point is that it's easy to add
    reviews, and easy to read the ones that are there.

    (And if you have one of these Nikon lenses, please add reports about
    it. It only takes 60 seconds.)

    Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Dec 8, 2004
  12. Eager

    Owamanga Guest

    Sharp at what print size? This rule doesn't stand up to being
    inspected at native resolution on a monitor, but is okay for prints at
    6x4. If that's all you'll ever print, then go for it. Hey, if you want
    to shoot slides and never enlarge them (ie only ever view them with a
    naked eye) you never need to worry about focus or shutter speed, do
    everything at 1/10th sec handheld fix-focus at 8m - it'll look fine.

    If people follow the 1/focal-length rule then they needn't bother with
    a camera with more than about 4Mpixels, because that extra resolution
    is only recording a blur.

    In real life though, I think it's always worth trying to find a stable
    surface, bean-bag, mini-pod, monopod or tripod as long as doing so
    doesn't affect composition or opportunity. Color and sharpness will
    improve drastically.
    Owamanga, Dec 8, 2004
  13. Eager

    Eager Guest

    Thanks for the note.

    I'm sure. I've shot thousands of images at f/3.5 (18mm with the kit
    lens)and 1/30 s -- I shoot in the NYC subways a lot -- and usually the
    ISO is pushed up quite a bit. See, e.g.,
    tml>, and

    But it's not my hand that isn't steady, it's my subjects. The subway
    really rocks and jerks and new yorkers move, move, move! I've lost
    plenty of good shots because someone's face is smeared with motion
    blur. I'd like to be shooting at *at least* 1/60 for that stuff. I
    don't mind the noise images at high ISOs -- that's just part of the
    look and Noise Ninja does a pretty good job of minimizing it.

    And the very close quarters of subway shooting also means that I really
    like the super-wide.

    So yea, shooting with a lens that gives me an extra couple stops might
    make a world of difference. I blow up prints to 10 x 8 and sometimes 14
    x 11 -- and occasionally even larger...

    I may pick up the Sigma at B&H which has a money-back satisfaction
    guarantee -- the risk being that I scratch the thing and then keep it
    no matter how much I'm unhappy with it.

    Eager, Dec 9, 2004
  14. Eager

    Dave Guest

    Yep. Sigma's 75-200 2.8-3.5 was a VERY sweet lens, as was their old
    90mm macro. I'd say give the 20mm a whirl. You should be able to tell
    pretty quickly if it meets your needs or not and get it returned if you
    have to.

    Dave, Dec 9, 2004
  15. Eager

    Eager Guest

    One of the greaet things about shooting digital is you can test a lens
    in a matter of minutes. Hell, I could carry my laptop into the store
    and test lenses, do some side by side zooming in with photoshop, but
    I'm not *that* fanatical...

    Eager, Dec 10, 2004
  16. Eager

    Dave Guest

    Good idea though. Even better - if they also sell printers you could
    just stick the CF card into one and view a couple of test prints. Ain't
    technology grand?
    Dave, Dec 10, 2004
  17. Eager

    Eager Guest

    They also sell mats and mailers. I could run a whole business out of
    that store!

    Eager, Dec 11, 2004
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