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07-04-2010, 06:00 PM   #1
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Ultra-wide angle - are there little known gems?

I have a Pentax-A 28mm F2.8. I'd love to have something wider, even a fisheye would be fun.
It doesn't have to be AF, and it could be either K-Mount or M42.

I still don't know if I'd fall in love with ultra-wide or not, it would be more of an experiment, so I wouldn't want to spend more than $100. Looking around I only find lenses that are out of my budget.

The lens database is quite limited for little known ultra-wide gems that might be out there. I know there has to be some of you that might own or have tried some surprising ultra-wides that give good results.

Any suggestions? Maybe there aren't any. At least I'll know!

Thanks,

Flickeroo.

07-04-2010, 06:16 PM   #2
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Sadly, ultrawides tend to be expensive. I was on the same search a while back. I ended up breaking my manual focus only rule and buying a DA 12-24mm lens. The ones off the top of my head include the Jena Flektogon 20mm, the Vivitar 19mm f3.8 and some of the 15mm and 20mm Takumars.
07-04-2010, 06:31 PM   #3
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What focal length are you considering to be ultra-wide?
07-04-2010, 06:33 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Its been my experience that wide angle lenses tend to be a bit pricey. Your $100 budget may be a bit low, however waiting and watching the marketplace, evilbay and craigslist, may produce a find. There are several suggestions however that tend to be in the lower price range - at least used.

DA 16-45/f4 - is an excellent lens, and with its wide end at 16mm it is in the wide area. You can find it used for about $250. I would check the market place here on the forum. Its resolution and sharpness is very good. There are a lot of these lenses out there, and since it has been discontinued, I have watched quite a few of them go across the market place. At 16mm, I would think that this will probably be one of the most inexpensive high quality wide angle lenses you will be able to find - other than manual focus and possibly M42 lenses.

Zenitar-K 16mm f2.8 Fisheye - its a fisheye, however it is very useful. New, they go for about $200, but they again can be found in the marketplace.

DA 10-17 Fisheye - Again its a fisheye, with a field of view from 180 to 100 degrees, but on the long end, the fisheye effect is diminished. Its a very good lens, but it is a specialty lens. Again the marketplace.

Then comes the hard part. The wide angle rectilinear lens (non fisheye) that are 21mm and below. These tend to hold their price, and the price is relatively high (above $250 for the most part). The Pentax lenses run the highest, however the Sigma lenses though running less still offer great quality and very good value. So here is somewhat of a list - I do not guarantee that its complete, and I am sure where I was lacking others will fill the voids...
  • DA 14mm f2.8 - discontinued but is suppose to be excellent - same physical size as the DA 12-24, need to find one
  • DA*15mm f4 - excellent small prime
  • FA 20mm f2.8 - discontinued, excellent low light
  • DA* 21mm f3.2 - excellent, light weight, a small bit of distortion
  • SMC K 18mm f3.5 - discontinued, excellent - no AF, need to find one
  • SMC A 20mm f2.8 - discontinued, excellent - no AF, need to find one
  • Tokina 17mm f3.5 - discontinued, excellent, large lens (about the size of 12-24), no AF, need to find one. I see a couple become available every few months
  • Lentar (Tokina) 21/3.8 rumored to be relative inexpensive
  • DA 12-24 - excellent, rivals primes in IQ, 100 - 60 degrees FOV
  • Tamron 10-24 - reported to be not as good as Pentax and Sigma
  • Tamron 11-18 - reported to be not as good as Pentax and Sigma
  • Sigma 10-20 - excellent
  • Sigma 12-24 -excellent,
  • Sigma 8-16 - new just announced

Wide angle lenses tend to have a very large depth of field and as such, auto focusing in really not necessary, thus manual focusing will help with the budget. I think I would tend to look for M42 lenses in trying to hold down the cost.

Here is a link to an old Pentax Lens site, that you can search for good WA lenses that you might find available.
... hope that helps...


Last edited by interested_observer; 07-04-2010 at 06:50 PM.
07-04-2010, 08:40 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by hangu Quote
Sadly, ultrawides tend to be expensive. I was on the same search a while back. I ended up breaking my manual focus only rule and buying a DA 12-24mm lens. The ones off the top of my head include the Jena Flektogon 20mm, the Vivitar 19mm f3.8 and some of the 15mm and 20mm Takumars.
It'll help my search. Maybe I'll get lucky!

QuoteOriginally posted by CWyatt Quote
What focal length are you considering to be ultra-wide?
I'd say 20 and under. As I have a K-x, it would get me under 35mm...unless I'm mistaken. I still have to get my head around that ratio. Might not really be ultra-wide "for real", but it would give me a good place to start.

QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
Its been my experience that wide angle lenses tend to be a bit pricey. Your $100 budget may be a bit low, however waiting and watching the marketplace, evilbay and craigslist, may produce a find. There are several suggestions however that tend to be in the lower price range - at least used.

DA 16-45/f4 - is an excellent lens, and with its wide end at 16mm it is in the wide area. You can find it used for about $250. I would check the market place here on the forum. Its resolution and sharpness is very good. There are a lot of these lenses out there, and since it has been discontinued, I have watched quite a few of them go across the market place. At 16mm, I would think that this will probably be one of the most inexpensive high quality wide angle lenses you will be able to find - other than manual focus and possibly M42 lenses.

Zenitar-K 16mm f2.8 Fisheye - its a fisheye, however it is very useful. New, they go for about $200, but they again can be found in the marketplace.

DA 10-17 Fisheye - Again its a fisheye, with a field of view from 180 to 100 degrees, but on the long end, the fisheye effect is diminished. Its a very good lens, but it is a specialty lens. Again the marketplace.

Then comes the hard part. The wide angle rectilinear lens (non fisheye) that are 21mm and below. These tend to hold their price, and the price is relatively high (above $250 for the most part). The Pentax lenses run the highest, however the Sigma lenses though running less still offer great quality and very good value. So here is somewhat of a list - I do not guarantee that its complete, and I am sure where I was lacking others will fill the voids...
  • DA 14mm f2.8 - discontinued but is suppose to be excellent - same physical size as the DA 12-24, need to find one
  • DA*15mm f4 - excellent small prime
  • FA 20mm f2.8 - discontinued, excellent low light
  • DA* 21mm f3.2 - excellent, light weight, a small bit of distortion
  • SMC K 18mm f3.5 - discontinued, excellent - no AF, need to find one
  • SMC A 20mm f2.8 - discontinued, excellent - no AF, need to find one
  • Tokina 17mm f3.5 - discontinued, excellent, large lens (about the size of 12-24), no AF, need to find one. I see a couple become available every few months
  • Lentar (Tokina) 21/3.8 rumored to be relative inexpensive
  • DA 12-24 - excellent, rivals primes in IQ, 100 - 60 degrees FOV
  • Tamron 10-24 - reported to be not as good as Pentax and Sigma
  • Tamron 11-18 - reported to be not as good as Pentax and Sigma
  • Sigma 10-20 - excellent
  • Sigma 12-24 -excellent,
  • Sigma 8-16 - new just announced

Wide angle lenses tend to have a very large depth of field and as such, auto focusing in really not necessary, thus manual focusing will help with the budget. I think I would tend to look for M42 lenses in trying to hold down the cost.

Here is a link to an old Pentax Lens site, that you can search for good WA lenses that you might find available.
... hope that helps...

Wow. Well, yes, it does indeed! It's unfortunate that wider is more expensive. I guess the complexity of the optics is greater than a zoom or a macro. Often the first reaction of any new user of SLRs or DSLRs is to look for a bigger focal length rather than a shorter one (that's what I did)...then it switches once they become more experienced and start thinking of composition a bit more.

Thank you everyone.
07-04-2010, 08:45 PM   #6
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DA 14mm f/2.8 is definitely NOT discontinued.
Cheapest wideangle for Pentax is the ubiquitous DA 18-55mm kit lens.
Buy Photoshop and stitch during post processing... you'll be surprised how wide you can get.
07-04-2010, 09:14 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by creampuff Quote
DA 14mm f/2.8 is definitely NOT discontinued.
Cheapest wideangle for Pentax is the ubiquitous DA 18-55mm kit lens.
Buy Photoshop and stitch during post processing... you'll be surprised how wide you can get.
Thanks! I stand corrected. I guess I was just folding too many items together at once. That, and I completely forgot to include the Kit lens and stitching. I guess its the heat that is getting to me....
07-05-2010, 02:09 AM   #8
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I'd go for the above-mentioned Zenitar fish-eye. In fact, I did! It's a great lens, manual focus is convenient, it's very sharp stopped down, and can be had for somewhere around $100 I think. Depending on the scene, the fish-eye effect sometimes appears more natural to my eyes than rectilinear UWA, and if you want a shot rectilinear, you can always defish. the resulting picture is about as wide as from a 15mm normal UWA.



And here some of the other shot I made with it (probably not all, as I'm not tagging as well as I should): Flickr: Search urje's photostream

07-05-2010, 02:47 AM   #9
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Reports about the Samyang 8mm f3,5 are very good
And it's not so expensive but it's a fisheye.
07-05-2010, 05:38 AM   #10
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I recently bought a secondhand (but brand new) Zenitar 16mm f2.8
Went out this morning to take some first snapshots (nothing spectacular)


Good example how the fisheye works, the top roof of the church shows no distortion since it's in the middle of the picture, the bottom does show the known fisheye distortion.


However due to the smaller sized sensor of my k200d you can get wide-angle results without screaming fisheye all over it.


And one more B/W conversion

I'm sure the other options provide sharper results and get wider then the Zenitar but if you're in the same situation as me, wanting a wide angle lens (it is quite a bit wider then the 18mm of the kit lens) but not spend a fortune on it.....then the Zenitar seems like a very decent choice. I got mine for 130,- including shipping.

Build quality seems great sofar (although the lenscap seems the wrong way around for me with the tabs at the top and bottom). The biggest issue for me is focusing, which is kind of hard when everything is so tiny in the viewfinder...
07-05-2010, 10:38 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Flickeroo Quote
I'd say 20 and under. As I have a K-x, it would get me under 35mm...unless I'm mistaken. I still have to get my head around that ratio.
Do you have extensive experience with film cameras? If so, then it might be useful to *you* to make those sort of comparisons (20mm on K-x is like 30mm on your old film camera) - although even then, there's really no point in mentioning it here. And if you don't have a film camera, there's no point in even doing the comparison for your own benefit. That would be like me constantly asking myself how much I'd weigh on the moon every time I get on a scale. Who cares how much I weigh on a celestial body I'll never visit? Similarly, who cares what focal length would provide a similar FOV on a camera I'll never shoot?

Anyhow, I'd concur with the Zenitar 16 and the kit lens as the only obvious choices here for getting under 20mm for $100.
07-05-2010, 12:12 PM   #12
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Flickeroo, another thing to keep in mind is the resale value of the lenses. i think that the 15mm holds its value very well (as do other limited linses) so if you are worried about spending a bunch of money only to find out that an UWA is not your cup of tea you have the option of selling it and getting most of your money back.
07-05-2010, 12:45 PM   #13
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The kit lens is one of the best wide-angle lenses for the money (almost none). It would be unwise to discount it simply because it isn't a prime, made of metal, nor manual focus. Manual focus metal primes are not automatically better. (Autofocus metal primes...sometimes are )
07-05-2010, 01:11 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by jslifoaw Quote
... Manual focus metal primes are not automatically better....
Well, in the case of an UWA, I love to use the metal manual focus ring of the zen and zone-focus effortlessly while shooting from the hip. with the fiddly kitlens focus ring, I never felt confident doing that (though I didn't try that often)
07-05-2010, 05:15 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Do you have extensive experience with film cameras? If so, then it might be useful to *you* to make those sort of comparisons (20mm on K-x is like 30mm on your old film camera) - although even then, there's really no point in mentioning it here. And if you don't have a film camera, there's no point in even doing the comparison for your own benefit. That would be like me constantly asking myself how much I'd weigh on the moon every time I get on a scale. Who cares how much I weigh on a celestial body I'll never visit? Similarly, who cares what focal length would provide a similar FOV on a camera I'll never shoot?

Anyhow, I'd concur with the Zenitar 16 and the kit lens as the only obvious choices here for getting under 20mm for $100.
Hi Marc. I just didn't how to answer the question of how wide I'm looking for in another way.

I cannot say that I have "much" experience with film cameras, other than a quick introduction course 25 years ago where I had a Pentax K1000 for a short time. However, I am in the process of learning about photography by reading books. Many of these were written before the advent of digital, therefore I must base what I see as results a bit differently with a digital camera. I can't recreate an exercise using a lens of the same focal length, so I improvise. I also don't want to only read recent books because they often spend much more time on technical aspects like correcting lighting with a button on the camera or in PP instead of getting it right the first time around.


I do have a film camera which intend to use in the future once I control manual settings a bit more. It's an old Spotmatic in pristine shape. The reason why I'd use it is that film has it's own look that digital can't quite recreate...but I'm sure you know this before you think I'm being once again pointless or redundant.

As for the suggestions from everyone, it gives me a great headstart to search for particular lenses that do the job correctly and that I might enjoy. The Kit lens itself wasn't something I had specially considered at first, but it might very well be all I really need. I just get lazier with a zoom, while a prime forces me to think more.

Michel.



Michel.
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