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02-10-2011, 06:59 PM   #1
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Inexpensive Manual Wide Angle?

I'm traveling to Italy and would like a nice wide angle in my bag to capture architecture and cityscapes. And by nice I mean inexpensive. I'm ok with a manual focus (what better way to learn right?) but am not sure what range I should be looking in. Did I mention I am a newbie? (I already use a manual 50MM 1.4) edit- looking for best value- not necessarily the least expensive- at or around $100-$150)

02-10-2011, 07:05 PM   #2
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That depends on how wide you want to go. There are some M 28mm and some K 24mm out there for 50-150$. If you want to go wider then you will need to spend a lot more $ on newer lenses. Personally I think the kit 18-55 is a pretty good wide angle lens.
02-10-2011, 07:43 PM   #3
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there are no inexpensive manual wide angle lens due to their scarcity and rareness. your best bet would be just to buy a $50 DA18-55 AF kit lens.
02-10-2011, 07:50 PM   #4
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Manually, the 35mm or 28mm, even 24mm primes won't break your bank. If you are really wanted to go low, get a non- Pentax brand.

But again, if you want real real wide, with no money spend, use your kit lens Yep, the kit lens is a great wide angle, wide open!

02-10-2011, 07:54 PM   #5
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If you able to go a bit higher with your price, Carl Zeiss Jena 35/2.4 is very very good (~$200-$270). You can have a look at some comparisons here:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/121458-ultimate-30-35mm-lens.html
02-10-2011, 08:05 PM   #6
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The Sigma 24mm f/2.8 Super Wide II isn't a bank breaker and qualifies as wide angle on APS-C.
02-11-2011, 09:54 AM   #7
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First, it all depends on what you mean by 'wide'. And by 'cheap'. Next, as mentioned, there just ain't no real-wide cheap lenses, especially fast ones. But there are good compromises. And old manual glass usually costs less than new AF lenses. Except the 18-55 kit...

28mm is wide-normal, as opposed to long-normal 35mm. A decent 28 will have less distortion than any other focal length, which may or may not be significant in your architecture and 'scape shots. Pentax, Vivitar, Sigma, all have decent 28's around f/2.8-3.5, and often for under US$50. But a kit 18-55 will handle that focal length quite well.

24mm is a bit wide, and is my favorite focal length in this neighborhood (the Twenty's). 24's are much rarer than 28's, but decent ones around f/2.8-3.5 can still be found for under US$50. Vivitar, Soligor, Sigma, are decent. My fave here is a Vivitar-Komine 24/2 that cost US$130 -- slightly costly, but it's great and fast. But the kit 18-55 works there too.

Wider than 24mm, pickings are slim. There's a Tokina-made 21/3.8 that's variously branded as Vivitar, Soligor, Lentar etc that can be snagged for under US$100. It's my favorite 'street' prime, for well-lit streets -- stop-down to f/11, prefocus to 2m for DOF from 1m to infinity. But guess what? The 18-55 kit works well here also.

Wider than 21mm, nothing decent is especially cheap. My widest usable prime is a slightly fishy Zenitar 16/2.8, now going for around US$200. (Unless you buy a lot of 10 for US$1500, keep one, and sell the rest for US$200 each -- then you get a free lens and make US$300 profit!) Its fishiness may or may not be what you want for architecture and 'scapes. But it's the cheapest way to get wider than the 18-55 kit. De-fished, it's about equivalent to 12mm rectilinear.

So, in the 18-28 range, you might as well use an 18-55 kit lens. Primes wider than that ain't cheap, and ultrawide zooms are definitely beyond the budget you mention. Have fun!
02-11-2011, 11:25 AM   #8
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+1 what RioRico has well-summarized

Other possibilities are:

Rent a nice wide angle for the trip.

Bring your lens adapter(s) & browse the local camera shops (ake photos to show us please ) for used wide angles -- there are many more German & Russian than Asian lenses in that part of the world than US.

02-11-2011, 11:43 AM   #9
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Not sure about the recommendations for 35's - while they are wider than the 50 the OP is using, they aren't exactly wide.

Not quite the answer you are looking for, probably, but for low to mid $200's (I paid $240) you could replace your kit with a good used copy of the 16-45. The 16mm end equates to a little over 24mm in 35mm terms. I have this lens and it is very (very) good and it is considered to be one of the best values out there. If really need be, you could sell your kit lens to give you some more space in your budget.

I also like the renting solution as well, though. Get ahold of a nice Sigma 10-20 or Pentax 12-24 for the trip. I have traveled extensively in Italy and which I could always make do with 16mm, those extra 4 or 6mm would be very useful in Italy.

Last edited by amalongi; 02-11-2011 at 11:56 AM. Reason: change wording
02-11-2011, 02:11 PM   #10
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RioRico has pretty much summed it up.

Down to 24mm things can be pretty inexpensive but there are also some bad lenses in there too.

I have both tamron and Vivitar (kiron) 24mm lenses which are pretty good, I have tamron, kiron, 2 different vivitars, and a sigma 28.

the sigma mini-wide F2.8 is a KA mount but has serious CA. the others are all pretty equal in terms of IQ, all my other 24 and 28 mm lenses are F2.5 except for the Kiron ones which are F2. I had to take both kiron lenses apart due to oil on the shutter blades, which is a common problem for kiron WA lenses.

The only reason I like the primes is that they are faster than any zoom you can get.

As Rio said, below 24mm things get expensive, but none of my 24's or 28's cost more than $30 and all but 3 cost less than $15
02-11-2011, 02:27 PM   #11
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I agree with Rico, and Pentaxor. For the OP's K20d, there really isn't a cheap, wide option. Neither 28mm nor 35mm is particularly wide on APS-C. 24mm is the real start of wide angle (IMHO), but it is still not going to get you much Italian architecture in the frame. You are better off just using the 18-55mm kit lens at F8 or smaller or the Sigma 17-35, which is a bit larger but faster (brighter) and a little sharper. The Pentax FAJ 18-35 can also be picked up cheaply. You would probably find a decent manual focus lens wider than 24mm to be expensive.
02-11-2011, 02:32 PM   #12
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Lots of suggestions here! I think the OP is going to have to chime back in for anything more useful to be said - if for instance they are looking for something wider than the 18mm on the kit lens, the only options (outside the zenitar fish) are current digital lenses, and expensive.
02-11-2011, 05:07 PM   #13
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Well, there's not much more to say that hasn't been said, but I'll add my personal experience with my two favorites (both of them went with me on my trip to Italy this summer). In the 28mm length, I recommend the Pentax-M 28mm f3.5--very sharp, small and light, as well as cheep (the K28/3.5 may be slightly better, but it's a lot harder to find and commands a premium). The Sigma Super-Wide II 24mm 2.8 is a nice, sharp lens, probably a little sharper than the K24 (based on other's tests), but at the expense of more CA (still easily correctible in PP). It also has the advantage of close focusing (1:4) You can get the lens with AF, or even cheeper without AF. One thing to keep in mind is that in Italy, most of the buildings aren't that high, so you don't need ultra-wide angle lenses. With the small streets, I often find a slightly less-wide lens makes them look better. If I had to choose between the two I'd take the M28, simply because it's IQ is better and its distortion is lower. But I have never been comfortable with wide-angle focal lengths, so YMMV. Both did an excellent job in their roles (I used the 24mm more, actually, but had better success with the 28mm).
02-11-2011, 07:06 PM   #14
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Wow! Thanks for all the input! I apologize for not responding sooner- busy day at work. Everyone's info has been really helpful. The reason that I budgeted low was that I want to invest in an upgrade from my Kit (DA18*55) lens and had my husband and I budgeted at or around $500 for that (I am currently looking at the Pentax DA18-135mm but am not 100% sold yet) As a beginner I wasn't sure if a wide angle would get used much in my bag for my day to day photography so I didn't want to sink too my $ into this lens.

What i am hearing is that the 18-55 (or 18-135) might meet my needs at 18 at F8 or so- Music to my ears! I love the renting option and although the hubs is against me taking rented glass to Europe he encouraged me to rent some of more expensive wide angles (15 and 10-20) to do a test run. If I found one I really loved we would splurge on both lenses (replacement to kit and the wide angle) insure them and at the end of the trip I could only keep one.- ouch but fair. I'd list the other for sale. I'm currently looking at the Sigma 10-20mm and the Pentax 15mm f4… more research needed!

As far as the original question, I picked up a 28mm f3.5 on ebay today… I love me some inexpensive manual lenses!

thanks again

Last edited by abmouse; 02-11-2011 at 07:21 PM.
02-11-2011, 08:24 PM   #15
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I have a Tokina 17 3.5 M42 lens (I think I paid about $100). I used in on a trip last summer and got this image. The lens is built well and performed well for my armature skill level. To be honest, I did not use it that often. When I use the 17 or shorter lenses I tend to jam them directly into the subject and focus very closely. They show a large field of view and composition can be challenging this wide.



I have used wide lenses from (10 – 22), a 24, 28 and 35. My preference is the 24 or 28.

The wonderful Takumar 35 3.5 M42 that I have used is very close to the 50’s that I use, so not sure you will see a whole lot of difference if you purchase one.

On a 24 you will notice a much wider view than a 50 but not so wide that composition is a concern. I use the 24 much more often than the 17. With the 24 I am less apt to jam the lens into the subject and simply work with a broader panoramic field of view.

With the exception of the Tokina M42, the other lenses are Nikkors and used on a Canon body (I use M42 Pentax lenses and bellows – hence my interest in this forum).

If you have not shot with a wide lens, then you may want to review sites that describe ways to shoot with them. I found this one helpful when getting started – I suppose a search would generate other sites for ideas as well.

How to Use Ultra-Wide Lenses
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