Let's discuss MANUAL-FOCUS ONLY, THIRD PARTY ONLY, Super-Wide-Angle Lenses

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xkaes

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There are a lot of them, but....

First, this means manual-focusing ONLY lenses. I know that auto-focusing lenses can be used in manual-focus mode, but that's not the point of this discussion. If you want to discuss them -- start your own thread.

This also means let's NOT talk about EOM super-wide-angle lenses. Sure, Minolta, Pentax, Canon, Yashica, Contax, Nikon, Olympus and other camera manufacturers made super-wide-angle lenses, but if you want to discuss them -- start your own thread. Camera manufacturers' lenses are made to fit on their cameras, while 3rd party lenses are made to fit on multiple cameras.

This thread is about independent lens manufacturers' manual-focusing, super-wide-angle lenses. By "Super-Wide-Angle", I mean anything wider than 24mm -- and NON-FISHEYE lenses. If you want to discuss them -- start your own thread. I also don't mean wide-angle adapters. If you want to discuss them -- start your own thread.

I had the opportunity to examine five 3rd-Party, super-wide-angle lenses, but this is not meant to cover the entire range available. There are other 3rd-Party companies that made super-wide-angle lenses, and there are other super-wide-angle lenses in other focal lengths than the five I had access to.

I did not have the opportunity to test these lenses – just to look at their features –- but perhaps some of you have.


Tokina 21mm – I’ll start with a Vivitar 21mm f3.8, made by Tokina. This one has an interchangeable TX lens mount, and Vivitar may have sold other 21mm lenses with other interchangeable mounts or fixed mount – from Tokina or other lens makers.
This Tokina 21mm f3.8 that I examined has a 72mm filter thread, stops down to f16, and focuses to 11 inches.with a 225° turn for very precise focusing. Heavy, all-metal contruction.


Kino 20mm – Next up is a Vivitar 20mm f3.8, made by Kino of Kiro fame. This one has a fixed mount and may only have been available under the Vivitar label – I don’t know.

This Kino 20mm f3.8 that I examined has an extra-wide 82mm filter thread, stops down to f22, and focuses to 6 inches.with a 225° turn for very precise focusing. Heavy, all-metal contruction.


Vivitar 19mm – I have no idea who made this 19mm f3.8 lens -- there is no serial #. A guess would be Cosina. This one has a fixed mount and may only have been available under the Vivitar label – I don’t know.

This “Vivitar” 19mm f3.8 that I examined has an 62mm filter thread, stops down to f22, and focuses to 8 inches.with a 90° turn. It’s the smallest of these five.


Sigma 18mm – Sigma made different 18mm lenses with different maximum apertures – and features. I believe some had the interchangeable YS mount. This one has a fixed mount, a fast f2.8 aperture and four built-in filters.

This Sigma 18mm f2.8 that I examined has an 62mm filter thread, stops down to f22, and focuses to 8 inches.with a 180° turn.


Tamron 17mm -- Tamron probably made more 17mm models that anyone else – varying in the filter size, the maximum aperture, the lens mount, and other features.

The Tamron 17mm f3.5 that I examined has an 67mm front -- but no filter thread, and no built-in filters -- stops down to f32, and focuses to 10 inches.with a 180° turn.


Unlike some super-wide-angle lenses, all of these lenses allow filters on the front of the lens, but vignetting has to be watched carefully.

There are several of other super-wide-angle lenses that were made by Tokina, Kino, Tamron, and Sigma. Some of these were probably sold under other names.

And there were other 3rd Party super-wide-angle lenses, too, such as Asanuma. I don’t know much about them – but I bet some of you do.
 

ags2mikon

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The Tokina made Vivitar and Soligor with tx/t4 interchangeable mounts came to me with a bunch of Miranda stuff. At first I figured just more junk so it sat in a drawer a couple of years before I even tried it. Is it as good as a Nikkor, Canon or any other oem? Not wide open, but stopped down to f 8 or f 11 it's pretty close. My Miranda has mount adapters to enable me to use Nikkor or M-42 lenses and the main thing I noticed was the Tokina had lower contrast than the Nikkor or Asahi 20mm lenses. 72mm filters is a nice feature too. I have shot it side by side with the following lenses Nikkor UD 20mm f3.5 the Nikkor is better. Nikkor 20mm f 4.0 about the same. That lens is now gone. I don't know if I got a lemon or they are all that way, but I got it to replace my Nikkor UD to save space and use 52mm filters. Flektagon 20mm f 4.0, it is better than the Tokina, about the same as the Nikkor UD. The SMC Takumar 20mm f 3.5 is better than the Tokina 21mm with punchier colors than the Nikkor or the flektagon. Canon FL 19mm It is better too, but a PITA to use. 77mm filter thread but 77mm filters all cut off image. The filter holder that canon supplied was for series 9 and did not have a provision for a shade. Then there is my 21mm biogon for the RF Contax / Nikon RF cameras. It is the best of them all, and by a large margin. But it is clunky to use. Very little distortion, good in the corners, flare resistant and high contrast. I also have the 17mm Tamron SP the one you refer to above. I have not compared it with anything else so ignorance is bliss as they say. It too is a PITA to use, It takes 82mm filters that thread into the funky shade and if you have fat stubby fingers you are in for a treat. But I have to state that every Tamron SP lens that I have bought has been a high performance lens. YMMV.
 
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xkaes

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Tamron made the 17mm SP is a few varieties -- 67mm front and 82mm front. No built-in filter threads. But they also made the 67 and 82mm versions with built-in filters. They just couldn't make up their mind.

Does the 20mm Flektogon just come in the M42 thread -- I assume? What does the 21mm Biogon have a L39 or M39?

Never mind -- both are out of my price range.
 
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flavio81

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God forbid me to use such a thing again. I had a Soligor 21mm in M42 mount and it was a horrible lens.

For reference, the other super wide angles i've had: Canon FL 19/3.5R, Nikon 20/4 AI, Nikkor-UD 20/3.5, Pentax M 20/4, Flektogon 20/4.

The Flektogon wasn't very good either, sold it promptly.
 

flavio81

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. I have shot it side by side with the following lenses Nikkor UD 20mm f3.5 the Nikkor is better. Nikkor 20mm f 4.0 about the same. That lens is now gone. I don't know if I got a lemon or they are all that way, but I got it to replace my Nikkor UD to save space and use 52mm filters. Flektagon 20mm f 4.0, it is better than the Tokina, about the same as the Nikkor UD. The SMC Takumar 20mm f 3.5 is better than the Tokina 21mm with punchier colors than the Nikkor or the flektagon. Canon FL 19mm It is better too, but a PITA to use. 77mm filter thread but 77mm filters all cut off image.

My experience agrees with yours mostly. And yes, the Canon FL was too big for its own good, despite having really good performance.
 

Sirius Glass

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I do not shoot any lens wide open often but if saving some money t purchase a lens that I cannot shoot wide open is definitely a "just pass and walk on by". Invest a little more to get a lot more.
 

ags2mikon

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This is the problem with most aftermarket or third party lenses, who made it? I have seen Soligor, Vivitar ect. all the same spec. f 3. whatever same focal length and all had a different daddy. Some were good and some were pretty poor. Wide angle lenses are much harder to make than 135mm or 200mm. So the moral of the story is my 21mm f 3.8 may have had a different daddy than your 21mm f3.8. Both with the same name.
 

ags2mikon

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I just looked on evil bay and the difference between the 21mm Tokina made and the Tamron 17mm is about 100 usd. That's about 25 cents a day for a year. How many starving kids a day can you feed with that? My advice is just spend the extra c note and be happy. I have liked mine. Just make sure you have a way adjust your viewfinder for poor eyesight if you have any, because image magnification is very small.
 
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xkaes

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Are you talking about the 11-16mm zoom?

I hadn't been thinking about super-wide-angle zooms.
 

Mick Fagan

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I have a Sigma 18mm f/2.8 in a Nikon mount which has been a fantastic lens.

Similar to it's Nikkor equivalent it has floating elements, so close focusing is very good. From memory around 300mm from the front of the lens it is possible to get very good focus and if the f/stop selected is around f/8 or higher, then within reason the entire background seems to be in apparent focus. It isn't, but it looks like it is.

Mine has a 72mm filter mount and the angle of view is 100º.

I compared it alongside the Nikkor lens using two F3 bodies and a waistlevel viewfinder with a 6x magnification possibility. The upshot was that the Nikkor showed higher contrast in the viewfinder which was confirmed by the slight contrast difference on the respective films.

From a colour perspective, there was a very slight difference on the E6 films, with the Nikkor being slightly more pleasing to the eye if you liked contrast. The Sigma was ever so slightly muted in comparison and this would probably suit portrait photography people. That said, I hardly ever used this for portraits, although it has been very handy for group portraits in tight spaces. Landscape, architectural and really close street photography is where I've found it very useful.

The deciding factor in choosing this 18mm Sigma over the 18mm Nikkor, was purely cost. I bought mine in 1986 secondhand from a professional photographer for around $200. The Nikkor version secondhand, was around $1,000 for a beat up lens and somewhere around $1,500 for something pristine. My Sigma lens was pristine, sort of still is, but it has been carried around and used quite a lot.

It matches my experience with my Sigma 24mm f/2.8, but we cannot go there in this thread.
 

Mick Fagan

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I had the Tamron 17mm lens, reasonably nice lens, but the colour fringing in certain conditions made me look elsewhere. To that end. I picked up a Sigma 18mm f/2.8.

See my previous post.
 
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xkaes

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I was unaware that the Sigma 18mm f2.8 came in a 72mm filter thread version. I would have preferred that, but they obviously "played around with it". I'm pretty sure it also came out with a YS mount, and it's also possible that some did not have the built-in filters.
And I think they made an f3.8 version, as well -- but I was draw to the FAST f2.8 aspect.
 
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Mick Fagan

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Just thought of something else, the Sigma lenses that I have, 18mm and 24mm, have half stop clicks, something the Nikkors don't have and something I wish the Nikkor lenses had.

They also focus the same way as the Nikkor lenses, which makes life easy.
 

jtk

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There are a lot of them, but....

First, this means manual-focusing ONLY lenses. I know that auto-focusing lenses can be used in manual-focus mode, but that's not the point of this discussion. If you want to discuss them -- start your own thread.

This also means let's NOT talk about EOM super-wide-angle lenses. Sure, Minolta, Pentax, Canon, Yashica, Contax, Nikon, Olympus and other camera manufacturers made super-wide-angle lenses, but if you want to discuss them -- start your own thread. Camera manufacturers' lenses are made to fit on their cameras, while 3rd party lenses are made to fit on multiple cameras.

This thread is about independent lens manufacturers' manual-focusing, super-wide-angle lenses. By "Super-Wide-Angle", I mean anything wider than 24mm -- and NON-FISHEYE lenses. If you want to discuss them -- start your own thread. I also don't mean wide-angle adapters. If you want to discuss them -- start your own thread.

I had the opportunity to examine five 3rd-Party, super-wide-angle lenses, but this is not meant to cover the entire range available. There are other 3rd-Party companies that made super-wide-angle lenses, and there are other super-wide-angle lenses in other focal lengths than the five I had access to.

I did not have the opportunity to test these lenses – just to look at their features –- but perhaps some of you have.


Tokina 21mm – I’ll start with a Vivitar 21mm f3.8, made by Tokina. This one has an interchangeable TX lens mount, and Vivitar may have sold other 21mm lenses with other interchangeable mounts or fixed mount – from Tokina or other lens makers.
This Tokina 21mm f3.8 that I examined has a 72mm filter thread, stops down to f16, and focuses to 11 inches.with a 225° turn for very precise focusing. Heavy, all-metal contruction.


Kino 20mm – Next up is a Vivitar 20mm f3.8, made by Kino of Kiro fame. This one has a fixed mount and may only have been available under the Vivitar label – I don’t know.

This Kino 20mm f3.8 that I examined has an extra-wide 82mm filter thread, stops down to f22, and focuses to 6 inches.with a 225° turn for very precise focusing. Heavy, all-metal contruction.


Vivitar 19mm – I have no idea who made this 19mm f3.8 lens -- there is no serial #. A guess would be Cosina. This one has a fixed mount and may only have been available under the Vivitar label – I don’t know.

This “Vivitar” 19mm f3.8 that I examined has an 62mm filter thread, stops down to f22, and focuses to 8 inches.with a 90° turn. It’s the smallest of these five.


Sigma 18mm – Sigma made different 18mm lenses with different maximum apertures – and features. I believe some had the interchangeable YS mount. This one has a fixed mount, a fast f2.8 aperture and four built-in filters.

This Sigma 18mm f2.8 that I examined has an 62mm filter thread, stops down to f22, and focuses to 8 inches.with a 180° turn.


Tamron 17mm -- Tamron probably made more 17mm models that anyone else – varying in the filter size, the maximum aperture, the lens mount, and other features.

The Tamron 17mm f3.5 that I examined has an 67mm front -- but no filter thread, and no built-in filters -- stops down to f32, and focuses to 10 inches.with a 180° turn.


Unlike some super-wide-angle lenses, all of these lenses allow filters on the front of the lens, but vignetting has to be watched carefully.

There are several of other super-wide-angle lenses that were made by Tokina, Kino, Tamron, and Sigma. Some of these were probably sold under other names.

And there were other 3rd Party super-wide-angle lenses, too, such as Asanuma. I don’t know much about them – but I bet some of you do.

The best come from Samsung. Highest detail resolution, most compact, most rugged. Focus if you really think you need to....better to avoid that.
 
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dynachrome

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The 21mm f/3.8 Vivitar was not a TX model but an older T4 model. I have some beautiful 11X14s made with it on Kodachrome 25. I have a number of Vivitar 20/3.8 lenses, 19/3.8 Vivitar and an 18/3.2 Sigma. I also have a 17/3.5 Vivitar and one of those marked Soligor. My wide OEMs include 21mm f4 and f/2.8 Konica Hexanons and a 20/4 Nikkor.
 

reddesert

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Sigma made a line of lenses labeled XQ-Filtermatic that had four internal filters exchanged by a click-stopped front collar. There were a 16/2.8 fisheye, 18/2.8, 24/2.8, and 28/2.8 (don't know if any others). I got the 18 and 24 used from a camera store back in the 1990s. They had the fisheye too but it was more expensive so I skipped it. The 18mm is presumably the one the OP has examined, but I'm sure the one I have is a 72mm filter diameter. Recently I also found the 28mm.

The filters in these lenses are clear, yellow Y48, orange O56, and blue (tungsten to daylight). If you wanted to do a lot of wide angle photography with such a filter (B&W, or indoor) they might be convenient, as screw on filters can be a PITA with ultrawides. A Sigma brochure describing this era of Sigma lenses can be seen at mflenses: http://forum.mflenses.com/sigma-xq-lenses-t73290.html but only the 16 and 24 are filtermatic'ed in that brochure.

I have never tested the optical quality painstakingly. The Sigmas I have are Nikon AI, which implies late 70s-early 80s. Some of the older ultra wide angle lenses from say the early 70s don't have such a great reputation, I've found a couple of these (eg 21mm sold under a variety of names) but have not tested them at any length.
 

benjiboy

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Tamron made the 17mm SP is a few varieties -- 67mm front and 82mm front. No built-in filter threads. But they also made the 67 and 82mm versions with built-in filters. They just couldn't make up their mind.

Does the 20mm Flektogon just come in the M42 thread -- I assume? What does the 21mm Biogon have a L39 or M39?

Never mind -- both are out of my price range.

I have the Tamron SP 17 mm f3.5 lens, the one that doesn't have a filter thread, the filter thread is in the huge rubber hood that was a very expensive optional accessory at the time, and few people bought it so it's nowadays very rare.
The lens is very good, as good as anything the main manufacturers make, it produces lectilinear images with the minimum of distortion, I've had mine for more than twenty years, and am very happy with it.
I once had the Vivitar 17 mm lens, and it was garbage, and quickly sold it.
 
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mtnbkr

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Does Voigtlander (actually Cosina) count as a 3rd party manufacturer because they provide lenses in a variety of mounts or a camera manufacturer because they've made cameras in the past?

If the former, I'm surprised there's no comments about their super wide RF lenses (12mm, 15mm, etc).

I have the 15/4.6 LTM for my Canon rangefinder. Brilliant lens quality-wise, but almost too wide for general use. I bought it because it was the most accessible non-fisheye super-wide for any of my platforms.

Chris
 
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xkaes

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Yes, the ULTRA-super-wide-angle lenses are part of this mix too-- but not often discussed. As I recall Sigma (?) might have made a 14mm (?) rectilinear wide-angle.

I have a Voigtlander (actually Cosina) 12mm f5.6. Talk about wide-angle. The light-fall-off is tremendous, and I need to try it out with a CENTER neutral density filter, but the results are stunning.

To use it on an SLR, you need one with MIRROR LOCK-UP -- like this PANDA -- but regardless, any viewfinder is helpful.

panda12.jpg
 
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flavio81

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I do not shoot any lens wide open often but if saving some money t purchase a lens that I cannot shoot wide open is definitely a "just pass and walk on by". Invest a little more to get a lot more.

Agree. Nothing beats a great piece of glass!
 

Dali

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Does Voigtlander (actually Cosina) count as a 3rd party manufacturer because they provide lenses in a variety of mounts or a camera manufacturer because they've made cameras in the past?

If the former, I'm surprised there's no comments about their super wide RF lenses (12mm, 15mm, etc).

I have the 15/4.6 LTM for my Canon rangefinder. Brilliant lens quality-wise, but almost too wide for general use. I bought it because it was the most accessible non-fisheye super-wide for any of my platforms.

Chris

21mm f/4 Color Skopar is also very decent.
 
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