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05-30-2010, 11:42 PM   #1
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Sharpest Wide Angle?

Hello all,

I recently bought the K7 and am looking for the sharpest wide-angle lens available for a pentax. I've been reading some reviews and it seems to be between either the Limited series 15mm prime or the 12-24mm zoom; however, reports on image quality seem to depend somewhat on the reviewer. Does anyone have any opinions one way or the other on these lenses? Also, if you'd suggest another wide angle available for a Pentax, I'm all ears.

Thanks for your help or advice in advance.

Nick

05-30-2010, 11:46 PM   #2
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You should consider the DA 21mm as well- it's compact and provides 3/4th of a stop more light than the other two

Adam
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05-30-2010, 11:48 PM   #3
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from what ive read the da 12-24mm is sharper from edge to edge than the da15mm
05-30-2010, 11:53 PM   #4
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DA12-24/4 should be the sharpest offered by Pentax, but with CA as trade-off.

05-31-2010, 01:06 AM   #5
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I don't think just sharpness is an issue, but barrel distortion is troubling as well.

If you go to photozone.de and compare Sigma 10-20 at 14mm to DA-15, it gives it a run for its money - this is what i wrote from anohter thread:

QuoteQuote:
I love my Sigma 10-20, but have always heard that "oh, the distortion is too high on it". I suspect what people are talking about is the 10mm end of the zoom.
I've looked at the Photozone.de tests of the 10-20 f4-f5.6 at 14mm and the DA 15. At F4 and F5.6, the DA-15 is sharper than the Siggy in the center (both are easily in the highest resolution category) but less sharp than the siggy at the border and extreme edge. At F8 and F11, the DA 15 was slightly ahead everywhere. In terms of barrel distortion, the Siggy wins with only 1.14% while the DA-15 had 1.4%. They didn't test the Siggy at 15mm so can't compare directly. If anything, comparing the 14mm fl to the 15mm Pentax is to Sigma's disadvantage since the Sig is better at longer FLs.
If you want the sharpest lens then get the DA-12-24, but you will lose out on the 10mm FL. The pictures for the new Sig 8-16 look very sharp and consistent across the focal lengths - you might consider it but there is not yet a Pentax version, but one has been predicted.
05-31-2010, 02:28 AM   #6
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Zeiss Distagon 21mm f2,8 may be the sharpest wide angle available for Pentax.
05-31-2010, 02:52 AM   #7
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I'll vouch for the 12-24: always sharp at all focal lengths and apertures, and I personally haven't seen any significant CA to speak of.

My 10-17 fish eye is very sharp indeed, but it's a different kettle of fish altogether (pun intended).
05-31-2010, 04:27 AM   #8
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If you consider 30mm wide and Photozone's tests to be reliable, then I'd say that honor rightfully belongs to the Sigma 30mm F1.4. At F4 it cuts diamonds. Even at F1.4 it's pretty amazing from the samples I've seen. Mine should arrive sometime this week.

05-31-2010, 09:27 AM   #9
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DA 14mm f2.8

QuoteOriginally posted by ntlegg Quote
Hello all,

I recently bought the K7 and am looking for the sharpest wide-angle lens available for a pentax. I've been reading some reviews and it seems to be between either the Limited series 15mm prime or the 12-24mm zoom; however, reports on image quality seem to depend somewhat on the reviewer. Does anyone have any opinions one way or the other on these lenses? Also, if you'd suggest another wide angle available for a Pentax, I'm all ears.

Thanks for your help or advice in advance.

Nick
Great lens. At f=5.6/8 or so, you don't even need to focus...sharp from about 1' to infinity.

Cheers,
Cameron
05-31-2010, 09:34 AM   #10
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Good Morning, I have both the 12-24 and the 16-45 and like them both very much. I do think that the 12-24 is a tad sharper than the 16-45. Maybe I have a great copy of the 12-24 and a soft copy of the 16-45 - I don't know, something I should probably look into, one of these days. Its been said that the 12-24 is like a set of primes. It is definitely sharper on the low side and softens on the high end of the FL range. That said, according to Photozone, where the 12-24 and 16-45 overlap, the 16-45 is sharper in the center.

I was going down a similar part as you are now. See https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/78232-20-21mm-...der-zeiss.html Through a happenstance, I wound up with a FA 31 that I use for stitching. It is extremely sharp, across both the center and boarders. The Sigma 30 is sharper in the center but much softer on the edges according to Photozone. The reason I touch on this is that stitching a couple of vertical images from the 31 is sharper than anything, any wide angle can produce. This is not too surprising, in that a couple of stitched 31mm panels (portrait with overlap) has about 50% more pixels (horizontal) than a wide angle lens. It is all what you are going after, and how you use the lens.

There are countless threads comparing the Pentax 12-24 and the Sigma 10-20 here. Both are great lenses. The 2mm difference on the low side does make a difference in both width and quality (my opinion). The width is wider, however to gain the width you need to bend that light into the sensor, and that increases edge distortion. So, for me the compromise was the 12-24. I find it both sufficiently wide (at times a bit too wide) with a sharp, crisp image - with little distortion.

The Zeiss wide angle lenses are wonderful, extremely sharp - along with the pot hole left in your budget. As was pointed out in the referenced thread above, Pentax has some additional WA lenses that are out of production that are also extremely sharp - but they take some searching to find and acquire.

All of this bring up a question - Prime or Zoom, since you have a choice between the two in these wide angle lenses. Size and weight plays here across the two lens types. Depends on what you want to carry, and how large a ding you want to put in your checkbook.


Last edited by interested_observer; 05-31-2010 at 09:40 AM.
05-31-2010, 09:47 AM   #11
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I've never tried the 14 F2.8, the 15 F 4. I have the 18-55, 16-45 and just got the 12-24.

Among the wide angle lenses i own the 12-24 is the sharpest.

I also have the 10-17 and it is very sharp, although a fisheye.
05-31-2010, 10:08 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
from what ive read the da 12-24mm is sharper from edge to edge than the da15mm
Not true at all. The *only* place the 12-24 beats the 15 is in the corners, and *only* at large apertures. In the centers at all apertures, or in the corners stopped down (where you'd normally shoot anyhow particularly if you need the corners in focus), the 15 beats the 12-24, and pretty much all other lenses tested by Photozone.
05-31-2010, 11:42 AM   #13
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stitching

On the subject of stitching, it also seems to be a great option to stitch with the Pentax Limited 40mm as it is rather sharp from the center to border. In some cases it may require three stitched photos to attain "wide-angle", but the sharpness across the board seems to make it worthwhile. Especially considering the reasonable pricetag of under $400.

Anyway, enjoying the discussion. Thanks!

Nick
05-31-2010, 02:57 PM   #14
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DA* 16-50mm

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Not true at all. The *only* place the 12-24 beats the 15 is in the corners, and *only* at large apertures. In the centers at all apertures, or in the corners stopped down (where you'd normally shoot anyhow particularly if you need the corners in focus), the 15 beats the 12-24, and pretty much all other lenses
tested by Photozone.
The 12-24 has not been tested by Photozone at 15mm, only 12mm, 18mm and 24mm which makes it hard to make actual comparisons.

But the DA* 16-50mm beats both lens at f/4, by a hair maybe, but still after all the bad reputation of this SDM lens I thought it was worth mentioning. I did some tests myself and my 16-50 is sharper than my 12-24 on the overlapping range. Not by much and you have to see the pictures side by side at 100%. Unfortunately at 16mm, the DA* has a lot of barrel distortion.
05-31-2010, 02:59 PM   #15
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The DA 15 has gotta be the sharpest in the center. But what do you do when the subject is not in the center?
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