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Thread: Landscape lens for D40X

  1. #1
    Member khendar's Avatar
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    Landscape lens for D40X

    Hi all.

    I've been shooting landscapes with my D40X using the standard kit lens for a while now, and I've been thinking about getting a lens especially for sweeping landscape shots. In the past I've tended to cheat and build panoramas in post but I'd like to be able to get a little bit "more" into my single shots.

    I was thinking about getting the Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 EX DC HSM or perhaps the f/3.5 but I'm not 100% certain that the focus motor is compatible with my body. From what I've read it SEEMS like it should work but I don't want to fork out $600 unless I'm sure. (just spotted the D40/X lens listing thread. Very handy list )

    Is it worth spending the extra $200 and getting the f/3.5 model ? It seems a lot to pay for an extra half-stop.

    Does anybody have experience shooting landscapes with this lens on a D40X or similar body ? Is there a better option that I've missed ?

    Cheers.
    Last edited by khendar; 01-06-2011 at 4:22pm.
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    Gear: Nikon D40X - Sigma 10-20mm f/4-5.6 - Sigma 50mm f/1.4

  2. #2
    It's all about the Light!
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    Seeing as landscapes are typically shot at around f/11 f/16 etc ... I'm not sure the wide open end matters

    I have the f/4-5.6 and am very happy with it
    regards, Kym Gallery Honest & Direct Constructive Critique Appreciated! ©
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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    I reckon the Sigma is the best option, on a value for money scale. I have the f/4-5.6 version myself.

    If you want f/3.5, then forget the Sigma 10-20mm version of that lens, go directly for the Tokina 11-16mm/2.8, and forget about autofocus.
    Manually focusing is easier than you think with short focal length lenses like these.
    (I generally tend to use liveview and manually focus with my Siggy 10-20 most of the time)
    Chances are high that in no time at all, you'll be lusting after a D7000 anyhow, so having AF-S ONLY lenses may be a short term liability that you may have to deal with.

    Also note there is also a Sigma 8-16mm lens also available and it has an excellent reputation, but it's hard, if not impossible, to get filters to work with it.
    If you don't think that you would ever use filters for balancing exposures, and are the type of person to use exposure blending and other such software measures, then seriously consider the wider 8-16mm lens instead.
    Nikon D800E, D300, D70s
    {Nikon} -> 50/1.2 : 500/8(CPU'd) : 105/2.8VR Micro : 180/2.8ais : 105mm f/1.8ais : 24mm/2ais
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    {Tamron}; -> 17-50/2.8 : 28-75/2.8 : 70-200/2.8 : 300/2.8 SP MF : 24-70/2.8VC


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    Thanks for the advice guys. I checked out a bunch of reviews on Youtube and they were all raving about the lens so it seems like its a good choice.

    Just placed an order for the 10-20mm f/4-5.6 model + Hoya 77mm CPL filter + Hoya 77mm UV filter. Should be arriving sometime next week

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    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Do yourself a favour and don't use the UV filter when using the lens.

    Polariser will work well in most situations, but the scene rendition through the viewfinder is not always exactly the same as the image turns out from the sensor.
    In a lot of instances it is how you saw it through the viewfinder, and this depends a lot on the specific situation conditions and so forth.
    The dreaded UWA dark blue spot in the sky is sometimes hard to gauge accurately through the viewfinder.

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    Well the UV lens came in a bundle; it was cheaper to buy all three than it was to just get the lens + a CPL filter.

    Just wondering though, what's the reason for not using the UV filter ? For normal shooting I normally leave the UV on more to protect the lens than for any effect as it the effect seems to be pretty minimal for the type of stuff I'm shooting, but if there is some compelling argument for not using the UV filter at all then I'll reconsider using it all the time.

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    UV filters were handy in the days of film as many film emulsions were susceptible to UV. Digital cameras do not suffer this fate and therefore a UV filter is just adding another bit of glass in front of your lens, nothing more. Salespeople will tell you to put a UV filter on to 'protect' the lens from damage. But what if the UV filter gets bumped, breaks and scratches the front element of your lens? There has also been many threads on AP about this, including one where tests showed that placing a UV filter on your lens softened the photo, and left it a lot less sharp, than without the filter in place.

    Some people still swear by having UV filters on their lenses and it is your choice to do so, but there is a myriad of discussions out there that show why you shouldn't.
    "It is one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it is another thing to make a portrait of who they are" - Paul Caponigro

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    Well my lens arrive this morning. I ordered on Thursday, so a (essentially) 2 working day turnaround is pretty impressive. The lens looks and feels great, nice and solid and well built. The only thing that feels slightly cheap is the lens cap, which takes a couple of goes to get on right, and doesn't feel all that secure. Other than that the only other problem which didn't occur to me is that the inbuilt flash on my D40X is largely useless with this lens, as the lens itself casts a visible shadow across the frame at 10mm. I should have thought about this before, but I guess its no big loss as most of the time I wont be needing the flash anyway, plus I'm planning on getting a SpeedLight at some point which should resolve the problem. Haven't had a chance to take any shots yet, but will post some when I do.

  9. #9
    A royal pain in the bum! arthurking83's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by khendar View Post
    ...... Other than that the only other problem which didn't occur to me is that the inbuilt flash on my D40X is largely useless with this lens, as the lens itself casts a visible shadow across the frame at 10mm. I should have thought about this before, but I guess its no big loss as most of the time I wont be needing the flash anyway, plus I'm planning on getting a SpeedLight at some point which should resolve the problem. .....

    AHA! you didn't mention the use of low light and flash in your original post.

    Most onboard flashes are pretty much useless in 99.9% of situations, other than for most nikon camera's where they act as wireless commanders for external speedlights(D40 doesn't tho!).

    I think most onboard flashes will cast a shadow up to about a 20mm FOV(depending on lens of course).
    That is, if you add a Nikon 14-24mmm lens onto a D40 and use the onboard flash, you'd expect shadowing up to the 24mm setting on the lens. The lens diameter is huge!. An 18-55 is a physically smaller lens, so you would expect less shadowing... etc, etc.

    A speedlight will help you immensely on this problem. SB700 looks like a very nice unit for the price.

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    First few pics (click for big versions):












    Zero post production other than some straightening and cropping. I left the camera on AutoISO so a couple of them look a bit grainy which I need to look at. It also appears as if my camera has a couple of hot pixels which is a little bit of a worry.

    The Bonython hall one is a reproduction of a shot I took with my old point and shoot, but the angle isn't quite right.
    Last edited by khendar; 06-06-2011 at 10:55pm.

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