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07-27-2011, 01:50 PM   #1
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A(n other?) wide angle dilemma

Hello everyone

I scanned the couple of threads that have been posted before and I guess I'm asking again the same thing as many other. But let's try.

I'm looking for a Wide Angle. I'm a complete (or almost complete) noob with my K7 at the moment but I do want to experiment and 'create' a little. I have several projects, including travelling and taking cityscapes as much as landscapes. I also, at some point want to take pictures of people in their rooms (probably their bedrooms), and I came to the conclusion that a Wide Angle was required at some point.
Hopefully, a zoom so that I will be able to have different uses. I guess everyone would advise me the 12-24 and trust me I wish I could afford such a lens. I guess the Sigma 10-20mm comes second for many people (I see less people coming up with excellent pics with the Tamron 12-24, and it's not so much cheaper), it seems indeed quite sharp, but I'm not a big fan of the kind of 'flat' distortion it makes on the borders. I tend to prefer the 'circular' distortion that the fish-eye lenses have, however not when it's 'too much'. I've seen a lot of great pics with the Samyang 8mm, but well, that won't really do for shooting simple 'souvenir' cityscapes I guess (though it'd be perfect for the bedroom project).
I heard the Pentax 10-17 isn't much loved, is there any comparison between Sigma 10-20 and Pentax 10-17 that I can find somewhere ? I guess it'll only be a matter of distortion, if Pentax 10-17 is still too distorted at 17mm, maybe it's not worth it.

Any other possibilities you could think of (maybe two primes that could go up to 600?) ?

I guess at the moment the reasonable thing to do is buy the Sigma 10-20mm. But isn't that a bit boring to be reasonable?

07-27-2011, 01:51 PM   #2
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Unless you are in very tight rooms, I think the DA 16-45 would serve your purposes very well.
07-27-2011, 02:02 PM   #3
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The 10-17 is well loved on this site and produces amazing color. Check out picks in the fish eye club. It is not very fishy on the long end. I would love to have it but I am saving for a rectilinear. I will probably buy the samyang 8 in the future as well.
07-27-2011, 02:18 PM   #4
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so you want a good, cheap wideangle with distortion? Samyang(rokinon for me) 14mm f/2.8. The only thing I can fault it for is it's distortion, which isn't really much of a bad thing since that's what you're looking for

07-27-2011, 02:21 PM   #5
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G'day, a WA lover here. I have the DA 10-17 FE and it is very much loved. The distortion is great if scenes are framed appropriately, and the field of view is amazing (near 180 degrees). I use it sparingly, but when I do I am impressed with it. I also have the DA 12-24, and it is both loved and used often. I found having the DA* 16-50, and at one stage the DA 16-45, was great but more often than not I desired a wider field of view.

For most landscapes and indoor shots, 16mm should suffice, but for a more dramatic perspective 12mm fits more in and projects the scene very well - the corner distortion on the 12-24 is very manageable, more so than with the Sigma 10-20 at the wide end, as you'd expect. But unless you have people in the photo, this kind of distortion can create a bold effect to your scenes.

There's little point in comparing a fish eye lens to a rectilinear one - they are totally different beasts.

Consider your needs, then your budget, and I'm sure you'll narrow down your choices quite quickly (sounds like a toss between the Sigma 10-20, Sigma 8-16 and Tamron 10-24)
07-27-2011, 02:26 PM - 1 Like   #6
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Projecting a round 3D world onto a flat 2D frame has bedeviled mapmakers for centuries, and lensmakers too. Any fisheye will seem to have rounded distortion -- although that's actually LESS distorted than rectilinear projections, but our visual systems don't like it too much. Any rectilinear lens will have s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d distortion -- I see this even with good 24mm primes. There is just no way that a single lens can encompass an ultrawide view without distortion.

Before I discuss ultrawides more, I'll repeat that these are NOT the best lenses for 'scapes. If you look at published collections of 'scapes, you'll find that the vast majority are shot with glass equivalent to the 18-55mm kit.lens range. My most-used 'scape lens is a 28/2; next is a 50/2.8. If you want an undistorted ultrawide shot, use a 28mm and stitch together a pano.

Ultrawides, whether fisheye or rectilinear, are best for small spaces. When I walked narrow downtown streets in Santa Fe NM with my excellent Tamron 10-24, I used the long end outside and the wide end indoors. My superb DA10-17 (which DOES get a lot of love -- see the reviews) has a similar dynamic. Any ultrawide emphasizes the near and shrinks the distant. Mountains become molehills; urban skylines become ragged bumps. Use an ultrawide to close in, not to try to capture everything.

Specific wide lenses: The best budget ultrawide is the manual Zenitar 16/2.8, under US$200. It is fast and sharp and only slightly fishy on a crop sensor. It defishes to an equivalent of 12mm. But any defishing stretches the edges, so it's best to downsample about 50%. Adroit handling can eliminate the need to defish -- just be careful with angles and verticals. I use this indoors a lot.

I bought the Tamron 10-24 because 1) with a coupon, it only cost me US$375 shipped a few months ago, and 2) I could have bought an old Sigma 10-20 but I've seen many reports of users returning 2-3-4 copies before they got a good one, and I've heard pros despise Sigma's QC. I am EXTREMELY happy with the Tamron; it backs up my DA18-250 as a standard walkaround lens.

The DA10-17 is the lens that drove me to Pentax; it's why I'm here. There is nothing like it. Yes, it's extremely fishy at 10mm; and mildly fishy at 17mm, like the Zen16 but noticeably slower. Colors and rendering are wonderful. I don't leave home without it. Being a fisheye, it's definitely a specialty tool. You'll likely find theen16 and the Tamron more useful.

Everybody has their favorites. These are mine and many other users' too. If you've scanned related threads you've seen me write all this before. It's still true. Good luck!
07-27-2011, 02:44 PM   #7
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+1 for the Zenithar given your description of your needs and tastes...It's not too fishy and it's got that circular look on the distorted parts. I've played with one but at the time i was saving for my Sigma 8-16 (wich i absolutely love...in fact i'm addicted to it).
The 10-20 can be found cheap, and if you get it from the forum you can check the seller 's feedback, see samples taken with the actual lens and talk to the owner before deciding (some fine fine images, have been taken with it).
Or you can try to score a used 15mm...either way you can't go wrong with the choices.
07-27-2011, 03:25 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by volthord Quote
Hello everyone

I guess everyone would advise me the 12-24 and trust me I wish I could afford such a lens.
I would recommend the 12-24 :-) Perhaps $600+ used if you can find it.


QuoteQuote:
I heard the Pentax 10-17 isn't much loved...
You heard wrong :-)

07-27-2011, 03:42 PM   #9
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I think I'll take my Pentax 10-17 fisheye out for a long walk this weekend. Love it to pieces!
07-27-2011, 07:15 PM   #10
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I have been lucky and carefully acquiring a lens setup aimed at land & city scapes. 10-17 FE, 12-24, 16-45, Contax 28, 31 Ltd, A 50, and another Contax 85 - all for landscapes, and I stitch with all of them - even the 55-300. I have not acquired all of these at once - the 12-24 took me a bit over a year to save for.

The 10-17 is a wonderful lens. As others have written, the colors are wonderful. at 10mm its has a fisheye bend to it, and you can manipulate it to where you want it to be (slight tip up or down, while having a level horizon). At 17mm at times you are hard pressed to find the fisheye effect it all - depending upon the photo subject and composure. Its Angle of View is from 180 to 100 degrees. However, its still a specialty lens and it can be overused. There are some subjects that it does not do well on - man made square, rectangular and linear objects - architecture. Fisheyes tend to treat natural objects trees, mountains, etc. much better, however there are always exceptions.

It complements the 12-24 and 16-45 very well. The only way you can compare coverage between a rectilinear and fisheye is through Angle of View.

All of that said - if you are into land and city scapes, you will (or should be) interested in tripods and heads also - in particular something that will give you level panning for panoramas, especially at dusk and at night.

There are no ends to the opportunities for spending your money here in photography.....

hope that helps....

Last edited by interested_observer; 07-27-2011 at 07:55 PM.
07-27-2011, 10:17 PM   #11
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The difficult part of deciding on a wide angle is that almost all of the choices available are very good lenses. For myself, I chose the 10-17 fisheye and the DA 15 Limited. The fisheye because I have always loved the look those lenses give. The DA 15 for it's small size. I hike and XC ski a lot in the mountains and I'm not getting any younger and the small size and light weight make it easy to always have along. I love them both. At some point I will probably add the DA 12-24 to my bag but for the time being, I am happy with what I now have.
07-28-2011, 05:58 PM   #12
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QuoteQuote:
is there any comparison between Sigma 10-20 and Pentax 10-17
You won't find many comparisons, because they're completely different. Each person will have their preferences; many people would prefer to have both if they could.

Paul
07-29-2011, 07:50 AM   #13
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Hi everyone, thanks very much for your answers! What's interesting is that I have an even wider choice now^^ (Samyang 14mm is indeed quite awesome, Samyang 8mm as well). I guess the prices I find will help me make a choice (for example, the Tamron 12-24 is around 340 euros while Sigma 10-20 cannot be found under 550 at the moment). I may settle for a rectilinear one, probably a zoom, just because it might end up being more useful (and as one of you say, it 'projects' you into the 'scape with more grandeur than a fisheye, but an extra fish eye prime might be useful in the next future, I'm thinking Samyang 8mm then).
I won't buy a second-hand lens for the moment, I need a good 3-year warranty^^ (I guess that means 'bye bye' Pentax 12-24).


paperbag846 "Unless you are in very tight rooms, I think the DA 16-45 would serve your purposes very well."

Well, at the moment I'm looking for something that can cover a range I'm not familiar with, as I already own the 18-55 kit lens. I know it's probably impossible to compare with the DA 16-45 in terms of quality but I won't be too picky for the moment (plus the 18-55 isn't truly that bad).


Ash "There's little point in comparing a fish eye lens to a rectilinear one - they are totally different beasts."
Yeah but it is precisely because they are very different while covering the same range that I would love a comparison at some point . I'm a total noob and that would be very helpful to have say, the Pentax 10-17 opposed to the Sigma 10-20 (and even considering the 18-55 at 18mm so as to see what major difference it makes!) with exactly the same shots and see what's best in what kind of environment, what kind of subjects etc.

RioRico "Before I discuss ultrawides more, I'll repeat that these are NOT the best lenses for 'scapes. If you look at published collections of 'scapes, you'll find that the vast majority are shot with glass equivalent to the 18-55mm kit.lens range. My most-used 'scape lens is a 28/2; next is a 50/2.8. If you want an undistorted ultrawide shot, use a 28mm and stitch together a pano."

I see your point but I like the way you are drawn into the centre of a pic on wide angle lens. However, I shot most of my travel pics at between 25-30 mm with my lenskit (that I'll still use again and again)

"Specific wide lenses: The best budget ultrawide is the manual Zenitar 16/2.8, under US$200. It is fast and sharp and only slightly fishy on a crop sensor. It defishes to an equivalent of 12mm. But any defishing stretches the edges, so it's best to downsample about 50%. Adroit handling can eliminate the need to defish -- just be careful with angles and verticals. I use this indoors a lot."

Thanks for the advice, I'll check this. I need to get better at manual focusing anyway! However, with the K7, won't I have to multiply it by 1,5 (I remember there is something like that with manual lenses, in general)
07-29-2011, 08:15 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by volthord Quote
QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico:
"Specific wide lenses: The best budget ultrawide is the manual Zenitar 16/2.8, under US$200. It is fast and sharp and only slightly fishy on a crop sensor. It defishes to an equivalent of 12mm. But any defishing stretches the edges, so it's best to downsample about 50%. Adroit handling can eliminate the need to defish -- just be careful with angles and verticals. I use this indoors a lot."
Thanks for the advice, I'll check this. I need to get better at manual focusing anyway! However, with the K7, won't I have to multiply it by 1,5 (I remember there is something like that with manual lenses, in general)
No no no no no, a lens doesn't magically change focal lengths on different cameras! 16mm is 16mm no matter what it's on. But different size sensors see different areas of the projected image -- that's why APS-C cams are called crop-sensor, they crop the picture internally. The Zen16 produces an image almost exactly the same as the DA10-17 at its longest. But the DA is only f/4.5 there while the Zen is f/2.8, an important difference in dim light.

Stopped down slightly, focusing on the Zen is trivial because of its immense DOF. And for critical focusing on any non-A-type lens, I (and my delaminating eyeballs) depend on catch-in-focus (CIF). Nope, the Zenitar is a whiz to use.

On a 135/FF camera like my K1000, the Zen is very fishy. With the image edges cropped by the APS-C sensor in my K20D, it's just slightly fishy. By framing subjects and backgrounds at various angles, I can minimize or enhance the fishiness. Straight lines at the edges, bend; centered, they stay straight. Fishiness isn't visible in shots WITHOUT straight lines nor subjects near edges.

Last edited by RioRico; 07-29-2011 at 08:36 AM.
07-30-2011, 02:22 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by volthord Quote

I heard the Pentax 10-17 isn't much loved, is there any comparison between Sigma 10-20 and Pentax 10-17 that I can find somewhere ? I guess it'll only be a matter of distortion, if Pentax 10-17 is still too distorted at 17mm, maybe it's not worth it.

you couldn't be more wrong about 10-17.
At least i will never part with my 10-17. It was an impulse buy for me but i am complete convert, i will never give this lens up.
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