14-24mm to 18mm
For many years now I have had the 14-24mm AF-S f/2.8 lens in my camera bag. When it comes to landscape photography you really want to be able to go wide at times. Not every shot, but there are those occasions where the wide shot can tell a more complete story. That range of the 14-24mm is a really great range, which is one of the major factors that drew me to that lens. Over time I have discovered that I was using the lens less and less for one particular reason. The Aspherical Lens element, which if you’ve seen the lens it’s the very curved front element allowing for 114 degrees at 14mm for FX format, allows for a great perspective. But because it is so wide and so curved the lens does have a tendency to be a little distorted around the edges.
While there is nothing wrong with the lens, it is in fact a very sharp lens, it does create a certain look. It creates that curved, draw your eye into the center, ignore the edges look. In some instances that works really well. In others it’s not as desired. If you have a foreground that is important to the story you might not want that slight distortion. The above image is taken with the 14-24. The bottom image is taken with the 18mm.
To be honest it’s not the greatest example but that’s partly because I couldn’t find a great example. I have shot with the 14-24 that little. The one area where I found this difference to really come into play is when working with straight lines. Since I work a lot with Aviation straight lines are important, having that slight distortion can cause problems. Both lenses are great tools, but each have their own purposes. Depending on your style, you have to decide which is better. For my purposes right now I’m eager to work with the 18mm some more.