I preface every review with the same disclosure. I am not a professional. I do not shoot test charts. I do not try every lens with every camera. All opinions are my own, and are only based upon my own experiences with the gear. I haven’t had a ton of gear, or all of the expensive gear. I won’t list every specification or test for every specification. My review is not meant for professionals – if you are a professional, you shouldn’t need a review from an amateur. The information below is simply my own observations while doing normal photography, and is for other car enthusiasts and amateurs like myself.
At wide open on a full frame camera sensor, it’s a little soft on the edges – but liveable. Crop sensor cameras wouldn’t have this issue, but full frames will show it. If you stop the lens down just one stop though, it gets sharp all the way across. At f/8, its great for its cost.
Distortion isn’t too bad, but I never have found a lens profile for it for Lightroom, so manual adjustment is the only real option.
This lens is stated to be a 19mm, but it always show 20mm as the widest in Lightroom, and that is what it really appears to be. That may seem minor, but it is a sizeable difference between 19mm and 20mm on the wide end.
The sweet spot of this lens is very narrow at 24-30mm. It performs the best for me around there.
Focusing is decent, but starts to hunt when you are pretty close to the subject. Speed of focus is also decent, but once the light starts to fade, I found it does hunt at times to lock. If it does have an issue finding focus, its really easy to get manual focus with it, since it is a wide angle.
Mine came with an aftermarket SK plastic screw-in hood, and it was of no use, as I needed to be able to use filters. I found that I would just use my hand to block light from the lens.
Lens flare on this lens is noticeable – it shows flare very easily. It’s strong flare. Probably would be fine for most shooters, if you don’t shoot into a lot of light sources.
Filter size is 77mm. The front element is recessed so that a filter works easily on it. It’s designed well enough that I can use a slim CPL without vignetting. Once you stack an ND and a CPL though, you will get some corner vignetting.
The lens does extend when zooming, but only a little bit. The focus ring spins when you use AF.
The lens mount is metal, not plastic. It’s built pretty well.
This is one of the best hidden values for a wide angle, as you can usually get them under $100. I wouldn’t mind getting another one. At f/8 it’s a great value.
If you want to find one, KEH is a great source for old lenses like this.
If you can be limited to 20mm, and you don’t need a wide angle f/2.8 zoom, i’s a cheap option – but if you need fast glass, or one with a built-in motor, it is not for you. It’s cheap to try it out though and see if you like it.
I’ve sold mine and am shooting my Nikon 20mm f/2.8 when I want to go wider than 24mm. I might pick up a Tokina 16-28mm later if I need wider than 20mm.