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04-23-2011, 12:45 PM   #1
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Landscape photography.... Best lenses?

Which Pentax lenses are the best for landscape photography?

04-23-2011, 01:48 PM   #2
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Step one: use kit lens to ascertain exactly what focal lengths interest *you*.

Step two: buy the one and only prime offered at that focal length, unless it's 35mm.
04-23-2011, 02:51 PM   #3
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I have a Sigma 18-50mm f2.8. I like wide angle. I have taken a lot of shots with it at 18mm but I am wondering if there is a sharper lens out there at that focal length. Here is my website. Alabama, Fine Art, Travel, Entertainment, Photography . All of those pics were taken with the Sigma.
04-23-2011, 02:51 PM   #4
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I use my Tamron 28-75 quite a bit, but I especially love a 300/2.8 for its tight DOF and long reach / isolation of details.

I know many people sing the virtues of wide, ie: DA12-24 but I find personally I don't use that lens much for landscape except possibly for the WA distortion. I find it makes horizons and details far off in the distance quite small, which I don't personally like.

04-23-2011, 03:07 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by FunkyMonk Quote
I have taken a lot of shots with it at 18mm but I am wondering if there is a sharper lens out there at that focal length.
Take a look at Zeiss Distagon T* 21mm f/2.8 ZF for the k-mount.
04-23-2011, 03:40 PM   #6
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I rather like the DA 12-24, and the effect Andrew describes is desired in quite a few situations.
Another option is the DA 16-45, which gives you 2mm wider focal length (if that's what you'd like) and very good image quality at f/5.6 to f/11.

All the best in your decision.
04-23-2011, 04:00 PM   #7
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Thanks ASDF. I found a review for that lens. I will probably get that one. The pics are stunning in that review.

Field Tests and Sample Images - Page 2
04-23-2011, 05:04 PM   #8
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The majority of published landscape photos are shot at focal lengths equivalent to 18-55 on APS-C. Going beyond that range is up to you. Going within that range, as Marc suggested, note where you actually shoot. Keep in mind that landscapes tend not to move around too much (except in seismic zones) so AF isn't a requirement. Depending on your most-used focal lengths, you'll find excellent lower-cost manual-focus lenses at 24-28-35mm, in M42 or PK mount. Vivitar-Kiron 24/2; Vivitar-Komine Close-Focus 28/2; almost any Tak or SMC 28 or 35; etc.

04-23-2011, 05:26 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by FunkyMonk Quote
Thanks ASDF. I found a review for that lens. I will probably get that one. The pics are stunning in that review.

Field Tests and Sample Images - Page 2
I hope you have better luck than I have had looking for this lens. They are very rare and exceed (generally) $2000.

I have one for my Canon 5DII.....it is everything they say about it......but I hardly ever shoot my Canon anymore.

R
04-23-2011, 06:15 PM - 1 Like   #10
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DA21 or DA15 are very good landscape options
04-23-2011, 07:12 PM - 1 Like   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by FunkyMonk Quote
Thanks ASDF. I found a review for that lens. I will probably get that one. The pics are stunning in that review.

Field Tests and Sample Images - Page 2
If you are interested in Zeiss, then I'll go ahead and post.... Zeiss has discontinued the manufacturing of their lenses in the Pentax K format, about 6 months ago. So they are selling off their inventory.

There is an alternative to the new Zeiss, and depending on your specific focal length needs, you can reduce your costs, while maintaining the quality. Zeiss supplied lenses for the Contax professional line of film cameras. Production stopped in 2005. These specific lenses have what is called the C/Y or MM mount, and is very close to the Pentax K mount. There is a company in Spain that manufactures a conversion mount for about $100. You can search ebay and or craigslist for these Contax lenses acquire one, either convert it yourself - takes about 10 minutes, does not damage the lens, fully reverseable, or you can have the company in Spain do it, or have Eric Henderson do it. You can take a look at the link at...You will want to stay with the list of lenses listed on the Leitax website. You also ONLY want a lens that has a the largest f stop value in green. If its in white its the wrong (older) mount.

Cost -

18mm and 21mm are expensive - about $1800
25, 28 and 35 are much more reasonable at around $300 to $400

I acquired a 28/f2.8 mint condition for $250 and spent another $140 on conversion (parts, labor and postage) - I had Eric do my for me, because I did not want to butcher a really fine lens. So my total cost is a tad under $400, but compare that to a new Zeiss ZK for $1200 (28/2) and about the same price for a FA31 Ltd. Going this route reduces your price by about 2/3. Either way - you still only have a manual lens, and they will both be native K mount lenses. The older CZ lens are considered to be every bit as good as the new ones, so do not let their age put you off. For landscapes manual is just fine, since you are out to infinity anyway - focusing is relatively straight forward. Note - there are 2 Contax 28mm, one f2 and the other f2.8. The f2 runs high due to its popularity in that everyone believes that they need a very fast lens. f2.8 is wonderfully fast for landscapes (f4 is the sweep spot on this lens).

... so hope that helps some.

Last edited by interested_observer; 04-24-2011 at 10:11 AM.
04-24-2011, 03:45 PM   #12
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K35 f3.5
A50 f2.8
DA12-24
04-24-2011, 06:47 PM   #13
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Basically, I've used all of my primes and the DA12-24 for landscapes. My most used are the DA40 or other lenses in similar FL and the DA21, but that is also influenced by what I always have with me.
04-25-2011, 12:00 PM   #14
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Also, don't limit yourself to just wide angle lenses. Just because a landscape is broad doesn't mean you have to try to swallow the whole thing up in a single shot -- it's often much more difficult to compose effectively with a wide field of view. Obviously it can be done, and to great effect, but I've found some of my most satisfying landscape photos were done at 85mm.
04-25-2011, 12:23 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by v5planet Quote
Also, don't limit yourself to just wide angle lenses. Just because a landscape is broad doesn't mean you have to try to swallow the whole thing up in a single shot -- it's often much more difficult to compose effectively with a wide field of view. Obviously it can be done, and to great effect, but I've found some of my most satisfying landscape photos were done at 85mm.
That, and from a more sneaky note....you see an awesome landscape, shoot it at 15mm, and you're done. One awesome photo out of it, but still just one to show.


Shoot the individual sections that're pretty amazing on their own at, say, 50mm, and you now have 5 awesome photos instead of one.
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