Unlike Fisheye-Nikkor lenses, ultra-wideangle Nikkor lenses have a very unique optical characteristic with its rectilinear feature - meaning they will render straight lines as straight lines in a photograph. When you combine this element with another optical behavior of this lens with its truly expansive picture coverage, you will have lenses which are ideally suited for photographing in small interiors, large building or panoramic landscapes. Another important optical characteristic found in these lenses is, except in the cases of using their maximum aperture at closest focusing range, these lenses will provide an immensely wide depth of field at all working apertures. A common trick often used by seasoned photographer is to make good use of the well illustrated depth of field scales on the chrome aperture ring, by just pre-focus a lens with an aperture that ensures the subject is within a specific zone of sharpness, and its enormous range of sharp focus zone will usually have all your pictures come out sharply focused.
Another interesting aspect of these ultra-wideangle lenses present is its tendency to exaggerate sizes of any object that is close to the them. By stretching out the apparent space between foreground and background, an ultra-wideangle lens will create a striking 3-dimensions effect. The creative aspect of these wideangle lenses are virtually limitless and often require your imagination to take the best out of these lenses can offer.
Some of the most appealing visual results in ultra-wideangle photography are those combining strong graphical elements such as shadows and clever arrangement of picture elements to enhance their respective optical characteristic. The Nikkor MF ultra-wideangle lens group comprised of 20mm at its longest focal length to the extreme wide picture coverage at 13mm, where Nikon still holds the honor of having the world's widest wideangle lens in 35mm photography. Considering that lense was introduced almost 30 years ago, this record still stands proudly with the respectful Nikkor flag still holding high.
Each of these Nikkor ultra-wideangle lenses have quite a rich lens development history behind them. Over the years, they have been continuously improve, update and enhanced both optical and physically which has resulted in such a perfect state that even many of the equivalent AF versions introduced today have a strong shadow of these MF Nikkor lenses. Except in the case of some oddly-spec autofocus Nikon SLR bodies, in way or another most of these MF Nikkor ultra-wide lenses should still be able to adapt and be used on some selective high-end Nikon AF SLR models..
Naturally, I think with current on going trend of users' interest shifting to AF and digital photography, it needs some wisdom to invest into one of these lenses as new item. Many users must have also been even wondering what is the logic of investing further into a prime ultra-wideangle lens which has limitation in a fixed focal length. However, unless you have worked with a fixed focal length prime lens before - you may never be fully enjoy what a prime lens can offer to you in your photography. Anyway, as photography is not entirely about technology while autofocus may not totally at its strength in this category of ultra-wideangle picture coverage, these lenses will be here to stay and serve purposefully for those who are in such needs. Personally, prime lenses do have their strength and charm. In many ways, the biggest advantage offer to photographer is its clear relation of its specific picture angle it produces. IF you often used a particular lens, you can almost pre-visualize how will the effect in a eventual image will be look like. This is not entirely possible in the case of zoom lenses as with ultrawide lenses, the constant variable picture angles presents by a ultrawide zoom lense often lead you unable to be sure of the relation and has to fall back to use the viewfinder in the camera to be certain of a specific visual effect. Lastly, as most MF Nikkor ultrawides have been either replaced with AF euivalent or being phased out, many of the older MF versions of the Nikkor ultra-wides present greater value for a mre logical investment in particular if you can scout them in a cheaper but in good, used condition.
"... Here's a 14mm Nikkor image for your site. It was shot on Velvia 50 with my Nikon F5 and then scanned with my Nikon Super Coolscan 8800ED. You have my permission to use this. I own the ©...."
Dan Lindsay Santa Barbara.
<<< ---- Credit: Dan Lindsay <Lindsay437@cox.net> copyright © 2004. All rights reserved. Please respect the visual property of the contributing photographer(s).
Anyway, as we all know, given what a modern high-tech AF SLR camera can offer today in their amazing capabilities in particular on exposure control and handling, when it is couples with a good performing optical lens - it is just impossible to take badly exposed pictures anymore. That reason alone could probably be good enough to pursuade many new crop of SLR photographers queuing up to buy latest Nikon and Nikkor hardware aiming highly to take the best exposed pictures.... Modern zoom lenses have such an exotic and amazing zoom range and features embedded inside which previously deemed impossible to produce during MF era. For an instance, AF Nikkor series has introduced two zoom lenses with mind boggling features, AF-S 17-35mm f/2.8 ED D and a scaled down version, AF-D Zoom Nikkor 18-35mm f3.5-4.5 ED where both of these high-zoom ratio lenses would easily make it a perfect one -lens-for-all outfit to fulfill virtually all your wideangle needs.
Anyway, good news is, Nikon never abandon the importance of prime focal length lenses which leads to the debut of an AF-D Nikkor 18mm f/2.8s in October, 1993 which replaced the decade old MF Nikkor 18mm f/3.5 version as well as another amazing feat with the AF-D Nikkor 14mm f/2.8 ED which was introduced in June, 29th 2000.
Credit: Image of the AF-D Nikkor 14mm f/2.8 ED courtesy of Mr. Richard Risemberg <http://www.melpiercecamera.com>
UPDATE: Instruction Manual for Nikkor 13mm f/5.6 is available now.
Other new uploads: Instruction Manual for 6mm Fisheye-Nikkor
Unlike the special order MF Nikkor 13mm ultrawideangle lens, the new focal length of 14mm lens is a regular commercial production unit and a more comforting news is, it came with an "affordable" price tag than that of the special order 13mm Nikkor ultra-wideangle. The current fixed focal length AF Nikkor ultrawides (as of October 2002) comprised of an 14mm, 16mm, 18mm and 20mm AF Nikkor.
The introduction of the Nikkor 14mm f/2.8 lens was almost 1-1/2 decade later than the CANON which smartly introduced the 14mm lens which fits nicely between the regular commercial production lens of Nikkor 15mm and the special order Nikkor 13mm f/5.6. One strange feature of this lens is, despite most ultrawides lenses has immense depth of field; next, unlike others who uses optical glass with high refractive index, Nikon uses ED (extra-low dispersion) glass instead in its optical design of this lens where most of the time, these rare earth glass was widely publicized by Nikon using them to offset Chromatic Aberration which usually becomes apparent for lenses at focal length - well, that sounds as if all these years, all Nikkor wideangle do have similar problems but was swept under the carpet and all of a sudden they think they should use the ED glass to resolve these long pending issues...hehe..
<<< --- Credit: Also many to Mr. thanks Dan Lindsay from Santa Barbara for rectifying a mistake made in this page relating to 14mm Nikkor. Image shown here was downloaded from Nion USA website. (LEFT) The current version of AF-S Nikkor 14mm f/2.8 D; (RIGHT) the AF-D Zoom Nikkor 18-35mm f/3.5-4.5 ED.
Nikkor Ultra-Wideangle Lenses: 13mm | 15mm | 18mm | 20mm
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Recommended links to understand more technical details related to the Nikkor F-mount and production Serial Number:
http://rick_oleson.tripod.com/index-153.html by: my friend, Rick Oleson
http://www.zi.ku.dk/personal/lhhansen/photo/fmount.htm by: Hansen, Lars Holst
Recommended Reading Reference on Nikon cameras and Nikkor lenses | about this photographic web site
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Co-developed with my web buddy, Rick Oleson® & Denmark, Creator of the Nikon Repair Group Mailing-List; A contributing effort to Michael Liu's Classic Nikon SLRs and Nikkor optic site.
Credit: MCLau®, who has helped to rewrite some of the content appeared this site. Chuck Hester® who has been helping me all along with the development of all these Nikon websites; Lars Holst Hansen, 'Hawkeye' who shares the same passion I have; Ms Rissa, Sales manager from Nikon Corporation Malaysia for granting permission to use some of the official content; Ted Wengelaar, Holland who has helped to provide many useful input relating to older Nikkor lenses; Some of the references on production serial numbers used in this site were extracted from Roland Vink's website; Hiura Shinsaku from Nikomat Club Japan. Lastly, to all the good people who has contributed their own expeience, resources or kind enough granted permission to use their images of their respective optic in this site. It is also a site to remember a long lost friend on the Net. Note:certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets & brochures published by Nikon and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for may discrepancies arise from such dispute except rectifying them after verification. "Nikon", "Nikkormat", "Nippon Kokagu KK" & "Nikkor" are registered tradename of Nikon Corporation Inc., Japan. Site made with an Apple IMac.