Photographers utilizing APS-C cameras right this moment have a reasonably good vary of third-party lenses available on the market that may ship skilled outcomes, and that is very true within the ultra-wide area.
I’ve an nearly insatiable curiosity to strive when a brand new lens is launched. I am additionally a great fan of ultra-wide-angle lenses, so to date I’ve a reasonably in depth assortment of super-wide lenses for my Fujifilm X Collection cameras.
On this article, I’ll clarify my views and experiences with 4 third-party ultra-wide-angle fastened lenses for the X-Mount, though they’re all out there for the Sony E-Mount and another APS-C digicam techniques. The 4 lenses are Viltrox 13mm f/1.4, Rokinon 12mm f/2, 7Artisans 12mm f/2.8 and Laowa 9mm f/2.8.
A lens with such options is an important a part of my package and I take advantage of them repeatedly for structure, actual property, print photojournalism, astrophotography, panorama, video and documentary work. For these functions I want prime lenses over zoom, my necessities are wider than 14mm and have an aperture of f/2.8 or brighter. I’ve owned every for about six months or extra, and every has discovered a use case in my skilled or private work.
Do not count on any brick wall photographs on this publish. Whereas such critiques definitely have their place within the trade, my method to how glass finds a spot in my bag is way more comfy primarily based on real-world taking pictures and is straight tied to how a lens suits my wants and price range. performs effectively sufficient to make use of professionally. I additionally really feel that the manufacturing variance between replicas makes pixel peeking a bit pointless when evaluating a lens to buy on-line.
I particularly selected to not embody native Fujifilm X-Collection lenses on this assessment, though I personal just a few. Whereas I like the native huge Fuji glass, this text is all about third events, I imagine some potential patrons could also be extra involved about this, as a result of native lenses are all very respected, though they might not meet everybody’s potential wants. For instance, Fuji’s widest low-light ultra-wide-angle prime is the XF 14mm f/2.8. It is an ideal lens with wonderful picture high quality, however 14mm is not sufficient for many and a few are used to brighter apertures as effectively.
Additionally, I will not point out the Zeiss 12mm f/2.8 as I’ve no expertise in any respect.
Viltrox 13mm f/1.4
First I needed to the touch on the elephant within the room, which on this case is the one elephant amongst these 4 lenses with autofocus. This Viltrox 13mm Because of this alone, it’s the UWA I take advantage of essentially the most. Whereas autofocus is way from important for really huge glass as a result of very giant space of the targeted focal aircraft, autofocus opens the door for shifting topics like youngsters, pets, automobiles and extra. It is also very helpful when profiting from the very quick f/1.4 aperture on the Viltrox, successfully bringing out the flexibility to get ultra-wide-angle portraits by separating the topic a bit. Alternatively, it helps you utilize shut focusing talents for some so-called macro handheld duties with out worrying about drifting out of focus by involuntary physique motion. Focus is quick and correct sufficient to satisfy my wants on all my Fujis and works very effectively for video work too.
The identical quick aperture, which creates some bokeh in the suitable taking pictures circumstances with the Viltrox, makes this lens my alternative for evening pictures as effectively. The Utah desert could have astrophotography or evening cityscapes, however the Viltrox is an absolute unit relating to getting extra gentle, and I worth that rather a lot. It has turn into particularly important for my cityscape and evening road workflow as I wish to work with out a tripod when navigating a metropolitan space, and the f/1.4 mixed with Fuji’s comparatively good IBIS gave me plenty of flexibility when navigating round. metropolis evening
Picture high quality on my Viltrox copy is superb with the middle totally open, and stopping all the way down to f/2 cleans up the corners properly. Distinction and colour rendering are additionally top-notch, particularly from f/2.
The principle draw back to this lens, not less than for me, is its measurement and weight in comparison with others. It weighs 14.6 ounces and dwarfs the others (particularly the smaller Laowa). It feels effectively balanced on my XH sequence cameras, but it surely’s awkward and entrance heavy on my X-S10 and X-T20. One other problem is that I do not see 13mm as huge sufficient on a crop sensor for skilled actual property or architectural work, which is one thing I do very often.
Additionally, of those 4 lenses, the Viltrox is definitely my favourite for video. Whereas some individuals want a mechanical guide focus lens for video work, in my expertise the autofocus on this lens is so good that between that and the flexibility to blur your background with f/1.4, the Viltrox is my definitive decide. video work.
Total, at $429 at B&H Photograph on the time of this text, this lens presents rather a lot. It is considerably dearer than the Rokinon and nearly 3 times the price of the 7Artisans 12mm, but it surely’s simply value it for what it presents.
Roquinone 12mm f/2
This Roquinone 12mm f/2 It was my first ultra-wide-angle lens for my Fuji X Collection cameras. At its launch, it was extraordinarily in style with astrophotographers as a consequence of its good worth and quick f/2 aperture. On the time of its launch, the Zeiss 12mm f/2.8 was its essential competitor, as Fuji’s widest quick prime on the time was the 14mm f/2.8, leaving some to be desired for one of these work. However Zeiss was greater than double the price of Rokinon. The Rokinon, which has been out there for fairly a while, is presently out there very cheaply on the used market and on the time of this writing, a brand new one is accessible for simply $249.
Though the Viltrox lacks autofocus, focusing may be very straightforward as a result of you may set it to infinity, and something a few meter and above is in focus when focusing, even when shot at f/2. Nonetheless, my copy was not useless with the factory-written infinity signal (a difficulty I’ve examine others having). I used a metallic everlasting marker to mark the suitable spot for infinity focus and did not suppose a lot of it, however new patrons ought to hold that in thoughts in the event that they resolve to purchase one.
The recognition of the Roquinon 12mm for astrophotography is for good cause. My copy was fairly sharp at f/2 and fully manageable within the corners at f/2.8. It’s totally sharp at f/4, however since my major use was the astro once I purchased this lens, I often shot at f/2.5 to maintain the ISO as little as potential and was getting outcomes I used to be very proud of. .
Maybe my greatest problem with the Roquinon 12mm is the “petal” fashion six-point photo voltaic stars, which I do not discover engaging in comparison with the solar stars within the different three lenses on this article. It is a minor factor, however in my evening cityscape work I discovered this notably disagreeable as a result of the town lights are so quite a few and specular that it typically leads to odd-looking six-pointed stars that dot the picture after taking pictures previous f//. 5.6.
Total, the Rokinon is a superb lens, particularly since its worth level has dropped rather a lot since its launch. Its wonderful picture high quality, small measurement and weight, and succesful f/2 aperture make it a winner for anybody who would not thoughts ugly solar stars and would not thoughts working with guide focus and aperture settings.
7 Craftsmen 12mm f/2.8
This 7 Craftsmen 12mm f/2.8 It’s the newest addition to my fastened ultra-wide-angle prime lenses, and its experience is clearly useful. At simply $149, the entry level may be very low to have this totally guide lens, and it nonetheless presents good picture high quality and a comparatively quick f/2.8 aperture. That is the lens I like to recommend to anybody who wants a great ultra-wide-angle prime however would not have a lot to spend.
On my 7Artisans 12mm copy, the middle may be very sharp, and stopping at f/4-5.6 turns it into an edge-to-edge efficiency.
In contrast to the Roquinon 12mm, the infinity marks on my copy of the lens are right, and the brilliant 14-pointed sunstars produced by the lens’s 7-bladed diaphragm are even perhaps higher. As such, I’d simply select the 7Artisans over the Rokinon 12mm for work in cityscapes, however the Rokinon’s purely single-stop brighter aperture offers it a slight benefit for astro work.
The construct high quality of 7Artisans lenses has continued to enhance since they hit the scene, and their 12mm lens is an effective instance. Made with loads of steel, good tolerances, and a creamy focus ring, my copy packs rather a lot increased punch than its in any other case very low cost worth level would suggest. It is related in measurement and type issue to the Rokinon, however positively feels higher by way of total construct high quality and focus. Utilizing the lens is an actual pleasure.
If you happen to’re getting a brand new one in every of these 4 lenses, your price range could require 7Artisans, however you should not really feel cheated by any means. Not way back, a lens of this high quality and options would have price much more, and listen to me out once I say it is greater than able to producing professional-quality pictures. Worth is king. An improved revision of the lens was launched lately and its worth is identical.
Laowa 9mm f/2.8
At a particularly huge 9mm, Laowa 9mm f/2.8 Zero-D It offers you a a lot wider area of view than different lenses. This, mixed with the near-zero distortion lens design, makes it top-of-the-line selections for actual property and architectural work. On the time of scripting this, B&H has a model new worth of $399, about $100 off its common worth.
For me, this lens is admittedly all about structure, particularly inside work, and it is completely good in that space. My copy would not provide as robust optical efficiency as the opposite three, however in the event you want the 13.5mm full-frame equal area of view it presents, you may deal with among the optical compromises.
Probably the most evident compromise on the Laowa 9mm is undoubtedly the dreaded vignetting that by no means goes away regardless of how a lot you pause it (although it does get superb at f/8 and better apertures). Happily, vignetting is definitely remedied in each extensively out there picture enhancing app, so I did not see it as an insurmountable drawback.
Laowa is brilliantly small and compact. The Rokinon and 7Artisans 12mm lenses outshine it, as Viltrox dwarfs the previous two. The construct high quality and really feel is not fairly nearly as good because the Viltrox and 7Artisans, however not at all does it really feel notably low cost.
All in all, the Laowa is a lens you purchase for one of some very particular causes. You will not discover something wider on this worth vary, and you will not discover something smaller by way of focal vary and aperture. It fulfills a really particular want for my skilled workflow, performs admirably when you get previous its shortcomings, and takes up nearly no area in my bag.
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