Customer Review

122 of 141 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Soft in the corners, June 14, 2009
This review is from: Nikon 10-24mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S DX Nikkor Wide-Angle Zoom Lens for Nikon Digital SLR Cameras (Camera)
I have owned and shot with the Nikon 12-24, Tokina 12-24, and three copies of the Sigma 10-20. With the exception of one recent bad copy of the Sigma they were all notably better than the 10-24 in the corners. My copy of the 10-24 is nice in the center, but all four corners were uniformly degraded. Every other WA lens I have owned cleans up very fast in the corners at 10-12mm and by f/5.6 was nearly as good as f/11. Not so with 10-24, which is mushy in the corners at f/3.5 and improves only gradually as it is stopped down, with peak sharpness at a bit over f/11. At f/11 it mostly catches up with the third-party lenses mentioned above and Nikon's own 12-24. I have posted sample images on DPR, photo.net, [...], look them up to see what I am talking about.

The 10-24 range is ideal for my needs so it is a shame that the performance is not as good as the 12-24, even at 12-14mm. The MTF numbers would have suggested that it would be better. My copy is not. Since all four corners are nearly uniformly degraded I don't think that I have a lemon, it may be just inherent in the lens design. I am tempted to call it curvature of field, but with the extreme DOF at 10mm even at f/5.6 I am not sure this would be a reasonable explanation.

While not as terrible as the sample images I have seen from the Tamron 10-24mm, my copy of this lens would not seem to be as good with flat-field subjects (aka brick walls :-) as the other WA lenses I have owned. However, in real-life images with variable depth the corner softness is very difficult to see. Not sure if this is because of the possible field curvature mentioned above, or because it is very rare that I shoot something that has good detail all the way to the corners.

Overall I am a bit disappointed. Given the price it should have been unambiguously better than the competition. Not 2x better as other reviewers have suggested, I am prepared to pay a decent premium to Nikon just for the consistency of color rendition I would get between this and my other most used lens (70-200). However, my expectation was to be able to say "about the same as the Sigma 10-20 in most respects, better at X and Y". Right now I am not sure what X and Y would be, at least in comparison to the excellent copy of the Sigma 10-20 I used to have.

I will probably end up keeping the lens. The 10-24mm range is just too convenient for me, and there is no way I would consider replacing this with the Tamron 10-24, which is absolutely terrible in the corners at 10mm according to numerous reviews.

===========================
Update on 1/7

I need to amend the review. I am leaving the original text unchanged for reference purposes, so it is clear what I said earlier and how my views have evolved.

After using the lens for a few months I need to retract my "soft in the corners" assessment. Not sure how I came to this conclusion with the original tests, the softness was clearly there, but try as I might I cannot reproduce it now with careful focusing. My best guess is that I slightly mis-focused, AF can be unreliable on WA lenses. If you test it against a brick wall make sure to be square and use LiveView with manual focusing. With careful focusing the lens is at least as good as the Sigma 10-20 that I loved so much. Not corner-corner sharpness, that would be a small miracle at 10mm, but slightly better than anything I have seen from the competition. Overall the lens is still not a great value for the quality delivered, but if price is a secondary concern you will love the range and consistency of color rendition with your other Nikon lenses. If you want the absolute best bang for the buck go for the Sigma, just make sure you test it carefully, there are many documented instances of significant copy variation. The colors a slightly different, not better or worse, just different.
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Tracked by 1 customer

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Showing 1-3 of 3 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 4, 2010 8:23:55 PM PST
BoDean says:
Finally, a review one can sink their teeth into. I like the comparisons Sir with the other lens's, (All the ones I have been contemplating).

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 21, 2014 5:36:07 PM PST
Brian says:
its actually a bad review.
All lenses are "curved field" lenses. If you focus on a perfectly flat surface, especially at closer distances and wider angle settings and at max F-stop, you should see some softness in corners due to the design of the lens: the distance from the center of the wall to the CMOS chip and from the edge of the wall to the CMOS chip differ quite a bit. Enough for it to be almost impossible to have them both in focus (although should be achievable at smaller apertures).
Flat field lenses, on the other hand, are highly corrected lenses and not typically used by an average amateur. They were first developed for repro photography. Nikon makes them and they all have "micro" in their name.
Those will not give any distortion whatsoever and will focus a flat surface perfectly even in corners and at max f-stop.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 23, 2014 8:12:41 AM PST
GroovyGeek says:
You need to read up on DOF math, as well as the feedback all the way to the end, including the update from 1//7/2010 :-). At 10mm and f/11-f/16 the DOF range is such filed curvature will be irrelevant to corner performance unless you are focusing at 3 feet or less. This is not the case here.
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