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03-28-2011, 12:00 PM   #1
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Architecture Photography: Lens Suggestions

Hey errrbody, I have been shooting with my K20D since summer of '08 and have learned a lot. My current lens collection is as follows:

Pentax SMC DA 16-45mm for general walking around,
DA 55-300mm for zoom,
FA 50mm f/1.4 for low light and portraits (and bokeh!),
Sigma 180mm APO DG Macro for macro of course.

My question is, I am wanting to get into architecture photography, and I need some suggestions on a wide angle (not fish-eye) lenses around or less than $350 either new or used. I am open to any brand, and would actually like to try a Tamron or something besides Pentax and Sigma. Currently I'm looking at the Pentax DA 12-24mm f/4, the DA 14mm f/2.8, and some of the pancake primes.

To sum up, I want something that will add to my capabilities, fit my budget, and not overlap with my current lenses capabilities. Oh, and I'd like to be able to have good quality in low light situations as well. Thanks!

03-28-2011, 12:09 PM   #2
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it is hard to get anything these days for $350

BUT, I use 2 UWA lenses,

one is a sigma 10-20 F4-5.6, but this is rather slow, and forces the use of high ISO< although High ISO is pretty good.
the second is a newly aquired Samyang 14mmF2.8.

Both lenses exhibit a little barrel distortion (which is easily corrected in any good image editor.

I have started a thread in the lens clubs forum for samyang lenses, look at the posts there from the 14mm, i think you will find pretty impressive.
03-28-2011, 12:15 PM   #3
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Great, looks like the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 for pentax is around $380. That's about right price-wise for me and the reviews I scanned looked decent, never even heard of the brand before until you mentioned it, thanks! One more question, 2x teleconverter for my 55-300. Any suggestions there?
03-28-2011, 12:48 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by nron Quote
Great, looks like the Samyang 14mm f/2.8 for pentax is around $380. That's about right price-wise for me and the reviews I scanned looked decent, never even heard of the brand before until you mentioned it, thanks! One more question, 2x teleconverter for my 55-300. Any suggestions there?
it's a bit off topic, but in a word DON'T

Really, the lens is too slow to gaurantee AF will function with any TC.

But, if you are looking at TCs, note that sigma TCs only wirk with a select range of large fast tele lenses, because the TC front element protrudes into the rear of the lens.

The Pentax AF adaptor (which has 1.7x magnification) is a very good TC for general use, but again , your lens may be too slow to use it with,

People talk about tamron and kenko, but I have no experience with them

As a general rule, for a TC to work and AF to remain functional, the combined aperture, when considering adding 1 stop for a 1.4x, 1.5 stops for 1.7x or 2 stops for a 2 x converter , needs to remain below about F6.7. any slower and the camera probably will AF only in very bright light, if at all

03-28-2011, 01:03 PM   #5
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Samyang looks like a pretty decent lens, but personally I suggest to pony up for the Sigma instead. Sometimes 10mm is just necessary to use. 14mm is a good length for architecture, but not as versatile.

my 2c
03-28-2011, 01:29 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
Samyang looks like a pretty decent lens, but personally I suggest to pony up for the Sigma instead. Sometimes 10mm is just necessary to use. 14mm is a good length for architecture, but not as versatile.

my 2c
I think it depends, but in some areas I agree, I do use the 10-20 a lot (60% of the time) at 10mm. Maybe, although expensive is the new 8-16
03-28-2011, 01:38 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I think it depends, but in some areas I agree, I do use the 10-20 a lot (60% of the time) at 10mm. Maybe, although expensive is the new 8-16
Sigma has access to 10mm and 14mm, while with Samyang you have to be "creative" (read: compensate) for the lack of 10mm. You're right that it really depends on the kind of architectural photography though.
03-28-2011, 01:51 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Andi Lo Quote
Sigma has access to 10mm and 14mm, while with Samyang you have to be "creative" (read: compensate) for the lack of 10mm. You're right that it really depends on the kind of architectural photography though.
note for me, and I own both the sigma 10-20 and now the samyang 14 as well, that "creative, in terms of getting a shot with the 14 when it is not wide enough is actually really really simple, I use my PZ-1. No joke here, one of the beauties of the samyang lens is it is a full frame lens, and shows very very little vignetting on a film body.

The other thing which could be an advantage, and this might or might not be a deal breaker, is F2.8. while the newer sigma 10-20 is F3.5 and I think constant aperture, it is a lot more

03-28-2011, 09:54 PM   #9
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Beyond 16mm, you are going to have to pay more for a good WA. I think the sigma zoom would be more bang for the buck than paying close to 400 dollars just for a couple MM wider than your 16mm.
03-28-2011, 10:24 PM   #10
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If you want to get in to architectural photography, make sure which ever lens you choose is a rectilinear lens. Ie straight lines stay straight and Di not become curved.
I use the sigma10-20 quite a lot for my work. I very rarely shoot below 14 mm. I tends to visually distort building elements in a very obvious manner. You can get away with this in landscape shots. But imho not with buildings. Wide angle distortion becomes very obvious.
Having said that the 10-20 is a great and versatile lens. The speed doesn't matter as if your shooting building you'll be on a tripod and most likely at F11 or up. Drop me line if you have any questions.
Andrew
03-29-2011, 12:43 AM   #11
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If you can get the K28shift. It's also very good for architecture. Not as wide in DSLR, but awesome result on FF. I know 2 Canon users use this with an adapter on their 5Dm2. Not cheap, ~$900 if one find it for sale.
03-29-2011, 04:23 AM   #12
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If you're serious about architectural shooting, the DA 10-17mm fisheye and DA 12-24mm combo go very well together. Where the fisheye ends at 17mm is where the rectilinear ultra wide angle begins in terms of angle of view.
03-29-2011, 04:53 AM   #13
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Can't you just use your 16?
03-29-2011, 05:08 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Beyond 16mm, you are going to have to pay more for a good WA. I think the sigma zoom would be more bang for the buck than paying close to 400 dollars just for a couple MM wider than your 16mm.
I think there is a lot that depends on where the photographer is now, and what he wants to do.

I have the sigma 10-20, first version F4-5.6 and thoroughly have enjoyed the lens, (used it for 5 years now. But I still went out and got the samyang 14.

There are a few reasons, first, F2.8 is 1 1/2 stops faster than my sigma at 14mm. think about this, 3 times the shutter speed, in low light situations. that is a big incentive, even with shake reduction.

Also consider this is a full frame lens. need something wider, get a film body, and shoot, Now, on full frame the lens has a wider angle of view than the sigma 10-20 on a dslr. That is somethign to consider. I have already used my samyang 14 on my PZ-1, there is no noticible vignetting even on film, there are very few lenses at 10mm on digital that have no visible vignetting.

So the samyang provides some options. speed and overall very well optically designed, it probably compares favourably with other offerings, at a bargin price.

this is not a sales pitch for the samyang, but just pointing out the strengths.

OK now for the weaknesses, it is big almost as big as my sigma 10-20 but lighter, has a permenant hood which is designed for full frame not digital, the lens is a plastic barrel, there are no provisions for filters either front or rear, and it is MF

But for those who want a low cost UWA which performs well, it is worth a look
03-29-2011, 08:18 PM   #15
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QuoteQuote:
nron: My question is, I am wanting to get into architecture photography, and I need some suggestions on a wide angle (not fish-eye) lenses around or less than $350 either new or used. I am open to any brand, and would actually like to try a Tamron or something besides Pentax and Sigma. Currently I'm looking at the Pentax DA 12-24mm f/4, the DA 14mm f/2.8, and some of the pancake primes.

To sum up, I want something that will add to my capabilities, fit my budget, and not overlap with my current lenses capabilities. Oh, and I'd like to be able to have good quality in low light situations as well. Thanks!
I own the 10-20 f4-5.6 & highly recommend it. I saw one recently in our Marketplace for $375--very close to budget. After you are done shooting architecture, you can begin shooting it for pure fun.
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