Shetland has wide open skies that are just waiting to be photographed either day or night. One thing you want to do is have the biggest view and you can only do this with a full frame camera.
For sometime I have been saving for and have just bought the Nikon D610 with a 14 mm Samyang Lens.
By doing this I also had to update from Lightroom 4 to 6 as the camera wasn't recognized in the old software.
For many years I have used a cropped DX Nikon camera with the Tokina 11-16 mm wide angle lens which has been very good. There has always been something missing, a wider view either to capture the Milky way or a dramatic sky.
I had read many reviews on the Samyang 14mm lens, its the same lens as the Rokinon, Vivitar and Opticka 14mm. For the money it has had some top reviews but some have said you have to watch out for soft edges.
The lens arrived and I was soon out undertaking test shots and instantly you could see very soft corners, which was nearly blurred. I sent this back and ask if others they had were from the same batch, they said not so asked for a replacement which came quick. Exactly the same problem occurred on the second lens, so this went back. I received excellent service from the seller not his problem, the lenses were below par.
I then move onto Amazon with a high turnover on lenses. This came in a different box, sealed with a 5 year guarantee so i was optimistic. Straight away it appeared sharp on the rear screen, so I did more test shots even though the weather wasn't great and downloaded them to find the corners were actually alot better, so third time lucky.
I was out that night hoping for an aurora or stars but neither appeared so I had to make do with some low light photos near the harbour. I was very impressed , it was very sharp at f/5.6 to f/8 and easy to find the focus (manual) with the chip (AE) in the Nikon version. (Canon have just released an AE version)
I didn't find flare a problem like some and it revealed pleasing colours and contrast. It covers around 115 degrees, so you get lots in . Then a better clear night arrived and I was out photographing the aurora and stars- you can see more examples on my last blog. I will also be looking at taking more landscapes with this lens
You have to get used to being close to objects, its all about getting to grips with the enormous field of view. I work alot with an 800 mm lens doing wildlife photos (shetlandsfp.blogspot.co.uk) so the field of view is about 2 degrees - some difference.
I decided to get the new filter holder for the Samyang 14mm lens, mine from Slovenia. It arrived quickly well packed and for 10euro it was an excellent find. Most in the UK come in around £27. One thing though, it is massive.
You have to fit an attachment over the lens hood, then attach the filter holder from the back of the lens, which I am not too keen on doing as it means you have to detach the lens allowing possible dust into the camera.
Another issue might be the wind, here in Shetland it can always be a problem, and with a massive hood it is going to collect alot of wind and could become unstable even if using a tripod, more later.
The other day we went to a very interesting talk on the moon, given by Mike Briemann and his wife Anna. Rather than delivering it the conventional way Mike brought a number of models made on his 3D printer together with video and slides, it worked very well