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10-09-2010, 09:30 PM - 1 Like   #1
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Pentax DA 12-24mm in action

A Flickr set of a hike up a mountain draw* near my home in Sparwood, BC, Canada demonstrates the pluses and minuses of this lens. The only post processing done to the images was to adjust exposure. The last in the set, where my friend Rick is on the phone from the top of the draw, demonstrates the dreaded purple fringe with a vengeance. Go to the original size and you will see this. As a plus, the renditions of colour are very, very good, and the sweep of the valley in which I live is captured from the viewpoint at the top of the hike.

For those of you whose mother tongue is not English, a Draw is a valley that climbs up a mountain side.

Flickr Set "Matevic Draw"

10-10-2010, 10:15 AM   #2
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Thanks for this, Albert. It's very helpful in making my imminent decision about a UWA lens purchase. A very nice set. You're right... I can see the fringing in the trees toward the top of the frame. I can also see a bit of distortion at the upper right.... but nothing I can't live with. In fact, it is for landscape photography like this that I'll probably be using my UWA lens the most.

I'm beginning to reach the conclusion that I can probably live with 12mm at the wide end - as long as I can exploit that 12mm without a lot of vignetting and other problems. If I really need a wider angle of view, then Sigma's 8-16 may make the most sense. It's the same price as the Pentax 12-24, but it is big and heavy. I'm not sure I can envision taking such a lens on a hike like this.

Plus, if I want to get crazy, I can always add the Samyang 8mm fisheye for $250 later. BTW, do you use any filters on your 12-24... and, if so, do they create vignetting problems at 12mm? Thanks again.
10-10-2010, 10:34 AM   #3
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Keep in mind that the distortion you're seeing is from the ultra wide aspect of the lens, all ultra wide lenses have this issue.

The DA12-24 is a fabulous lens but you need to know its strengths and weaknesses to use it well. It would not be the lens I take on nature hikes, it's huge and anything in front of a clear sky will show PF. It's very rare that you would need the full 12mm to fit a landscape into a frame. The K24/3.5 or K28/3.5 would be a much better choice in my opinion.

I love the DA12-24 for cramped indoor event spaces as well as car photography, where space might be limited.

You will need the thin filters to avoid vignetting. The Hoya HD filters work very well.

Last edited by hangu; 10-10-2010 at 10:44 AM.
10-10-2010, 10:44 AM   #4
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Nice set Albert, thanks for sharing...

10-10-2010, 12:53 PM   #5
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Tx Albert--looks like a fun hike. I had a tough time making my UWA choice. In the end, 2 more mm at the wide end (already have redundant coverage in 20-24 end) along with better ca/pf performance sent me the way of the Sigma. I'm with Hangu: not the focal range I rely on for hiking. It is easy for me to understand why anyone would select either lens--all comes down to priorities, unless your pockets are bottomless.

That said, you sure put the 12-24 to good use for your hike.
10-10-2010, 01:15 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by hangu Quote
Keep in mind that the distortion you're seeing is from the ultra wide aspect of the lens, all ultra wide lenses have this issue.

The DA12-24 is a fabulous lens but you need to know its strengths and weaknesses to use it well. It would not be the lens I take on nature hikes, it's huge and anything in front of a clear sky will show PF. It's very rare that you would need the full 12mm to fit a landscape into a frame. The K24/3.5 or K28/3.5 would be a much better choice in my opinion.

I love the DA12-24 for cramped indoor event spaces as well as car photography, where space might be limited.

You will need the thin filters to avoid vignetting. The Hoya HD filters work very well.
I use B+W filters....they must be thin, as I've never noticed vignetting.
10-10-2010, 02:53 PM   #7
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I have a thinline B+W UV filter on my Pentax 18-250 vacation lens. It seems to work fine there. I suspect I'd have to use something like that on any UWA lens... assuming I use anything at all. All of my other filters (including a 77mm set for my DA* 16-50) are Tiffens - but not their cheap ones. The filters work fine but I don't think they're slimlines.

Hangu... yes, I'm aware of the distortion inherent in UWA lenses... one of the main issues I've been wrestling with is the extra 2mm of the Sigma 10-20 versus the Pentax 12-24 with additional distortion taken into consideration.

If I can drag my sorry butt out of bed early enough tomorrow morning, I'll try to hit B&H Photo on the way into work in New York (yes, I work even on Columbus Day). I think if I can get each lens in hand even for only a few minutes, I'll probably make up my mind very quickly.
10-10-2010, 07:39 PM   #8
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can i ask what might be a stupid question here - but ill ask anyway.

If you have to look as hard as you do to see the PF (as in you have to go full size and zoom in to really see it) then why do we care if there is any PF - i can understand if you are going to print in a massive size, but lets face it most people wont or dont - so i can see why we worry all that much about it

hopefully someone can teach me why?

10-10-2010, 08:00 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
Hangu... yes, I'm aware of the distortion inherent in UWA lenses... one of the main issues I've been wrestling with is the extra 2mm of the Sigma 10-20 versus the Pentax 12-24 with additional distortion taken into consideration.
I don't see what the issue is, you can simply zoom 10mm to 12m to negate the UWA distortion. The 12-24 should have better barrel distortion control though.


QuoteOriginally posted by milesy Quote
If you have to look as hard as you do to see the PF (as in you have to go full size and zoom in to really see it) then why do we care if there is any PF - i can understand if you are going to print in a massive size, but lets face it most people wont or dont - so i can see why we worry all that much about it
Really great question.

My thoughts are that it probably will be evident on large prints as it decreases contrast/sharpness. However, it can be easily fixed in PP in LR3. Furthermore, PF control is another one of those things that people constantly and needlessly obsess over just like they do with sharpness. It's not a huge deal and too many times we forget the intangibles such as rendering style and general handling. Instead, we like to use easily detected qualities to judge one lens to another. As if sharpness and PF control automatically makes a lens better. Utter BS in my opinion.
10-10-2010, 08:39 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
Thanks for this, Albert. It's very helpful in making my imminent decision about a UWA lens purchase. A very nice set. You're right... I can see the fringing in the trees toward the top of the frame. I can also see a bit of distortion at the upper right.... but nothing I can't live with. In fact, it is for landscape photography like this that I'll probably be using my UWA lens the most.

I'm beginning to reach the conclusion that I can probably live with 12mm at the wide end - as long as I can exploit that 12mm without a lot of vignetting and other problems. If I really need a wider angle of view, then Sigma's 8-16 may make the most sense. It's the same price as the Pentax 12-24, but it is big and heavy. I'm not sure I can envision taking such a lens on a hike like this.

Plus, if I want to get crazy, I can always add the Samyang 8mm fisheye for $250 later. BTW, do you use any filters on your 12-24... and, if so, do they create vignetting problems at 12mm? Thanks again.
Biro, I was in the same situation years ago to decide if I should get the 12-24mm or the 10-20mm (both 2x). And I decided to take the 12-24mm instead of the 10-20mm. First, the 24mm end is more usable in my opinion as a walk around lens - in fact I use 24mm end a majority of the time. Besides, the 12-24mm lens is a constant f4 sharp wide-open already; also I like the SMC coating better. However, the 12-24mm is quite a bit more expensive though compare to the 10-20mm Sigma.
10-10-2010, 09:32 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Jewelltrail Quote
Tx Albert--looks like a fun hike. I had a tough time making my UWA choice. In the end, 2 more mm at the wide end (already have redundant coverage in 20-24 end) along with better ca/pf performance sent me the way of the Sigma. I'm with Hangu: not the focal range I rely on for hiking. It is easy for me to understand why anyone would select either lens--all comes down to priorities, unless your pockets are bottomless.

That said, you sure put the 12-24 to good use for your hike.
I brought the DA* 16-50 with me, but never put it on. The last time I did this climb, I was using the MZ-S and FA 24-90 (equivalent to 16-60), and found the field of view too narrow for the vista at the top. If the day were more sunlit, you would see just how wide this lens goes. It is very hard to see the width of the field of view of these ultra wides without a geometric subject such as an interior.

Being as out of shape as I am - I wish I had left that half-kilo 16-50 at home. Every ounce counts, and my hip is telling me how much.
10-10-2010, 09:52 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by milesy Quote
can i ask what might be a stupid question here - but ill ask anyway.

If you have to look as hard as you do to see the PF (as in you have to go full size and zoom in to really see it) then why do we care if there is any PF - i can understand if you are going to print in a massive size, but lets face it most people wont or dont - so i can see why we worry all that much about it

hopefully someone can teach me why?
I hated darkroom work when working with film, and I feel the same about Lightroom. I want the picture straight out of the camera. It's obvious to me when I look at the image at 11x14 (A3) size that the branches against the sky are not as crisp as they should be, thanks to the PF. For an image that will only be enlarged to 8x10 (A4) it really should not show up too much, I agree.

However, I am trying to get a 20x30 or 24x36 inch print of the panorama shot of the whole District of Sparwood. I have some work to do to clean up the original before I try for the print. I will be doing an awful lot of pixel peeping for that one!
10-10-2010, 10:45 PM   #13
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Comparison of "Cell Phone" developed by DxO 6

I used DxO to extract the images from the SD Card and develop them before importing them into Lightroom 3. No other changes were done, and I am using the default K10D settings in DxO, which includes all three of my DA lenses in its library. The difference is rather striking. The amount of purple fringing has been greatly reduced. I've uploaded the DxO developed copy with the original file name into the same Flickr Matevic Draw Set as the previous images.

This is why I feel good about coughing up US$150 for DxO. If you want to see what it will do with your images, they offer a 30 day free trial.
10-11-2010, 08:04 AM   #14
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Well, I actually dragged myself into New York an hour early and dropped in at B&H Photo as they were opening. I checked out the Pentax 10-17 fisheye, the Pentax 12-24, the Sigma 8-16 and both verisons of the Sigma 10-20 on a K-7 body. And I walked out with... the Pentax 12-24.

The Sigmas were fine, nice build quality and all. I can certainly understand why many Pentaxians go for them. For me, while the difference between 10mm and 12mm was definitely noticeable, it wasn't dramatic. I walked around the store and found that, in nearly all cases, a single step back compensated for whatever wide-angle shortcomings the Pentax 12-24 had vs. the Sigma 10-20.

I also liked handling the Pentax better. It was smaller than the f/3.5 version of the Sigma 10-20 but a bit heavier and "denser." But the Pentax was actually smaller and lighter than I imagined - certainly smaller and lighter than my DA* 16-50. I was exepecting it to be about the same.

The Sigma 8-16? Now there's a lens that had some real appeal to me... and if I ever decide that the Pentax isn't wide enough, that's the lens I'll be going for. But, in this case, the Sigma's slower speed (f/4.5-5.6) and my natural tendency to opt for a lens that's the same brand as the camera body won out.

B&H sales staffers don't work on commission, so they don't try to hustle you into something you don't want or need. My guy firmly supported opting for the Pentax 12-24. No lens is perfect and I can certainly understand why anyone would would buy one of the Sigmas. In this particular case, it was the Pentax for me. Thanks everyone for all your input and help.
10-11-2010, 08:37 AM   #15
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Biro, I am sure you will enjoy the 12-24. It is an almost great lens. If somehow the optical formula could have been tweaked to cut the PF down, it would be a great lens.
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