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10-04-2011, 09:27 PM   #1
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Wide angle - Completing my lens line-up

Hi All,

For the past year I’ve been very busy trying to find-buy/trade-test-keep manual lenses that complemented my passion for photography. The most number of lenses I had was 11 and I’m not comfortable keeping these lenses without the intention of using them again so I am trying to limit my lens collection to as much as 7 max.

Here are my requirements in choosing a lens for keeps…
A) First and foremost, should be a Manual lens and
B) Affordable (max 150usd)

But right now, I am more incline on choosing lenses with the 3 listed below:
1) A certain focal length that I am more comfortable shooting with
2) Image quality of a certain lens plays a very important part on what lens I want to keep in the end and
3) Personal preference on the over-all character of the lens
Problem is, I will know about these 3 listed above only after testing a certain lens… For 1 & 3 no one can really decide these 2 qualities except me. That’s why I am asking for everyone’s opinion regarding No. 2.

Here’s what I currently own:
1) Super Takumar 35mm 3.5 (Extremely sharp from center & to the corners)
- Traded with my Vivitar 135mm 2.8 (good trade for me)
2) SMC M 50mm 1.7 (Very sharp and love the character)
- Traded with SMC M100 f4 + 15usd. Why?
a) I never liked the 100mm focal length;
b) Not impressed with macro, extension tube with K55 for me is better;
c) With fungus (this is meaningless because if I really wanted to keep it, I can always send it for cleaning), so it all goes back to a)…
3) SMC K 55mm 1.8 (Very sharp, love the focal length and character of the lens)
- Traded with my kit DAL lens (couldn’t be happier as I wanted to get rid of the DAL kit)
4) Jupiter 37A 135mm 3.5 (Very sharp, love the focal length and lovely bokeh)
- Traded with my Super Takumar 50mm 1.4.
Why? I never like the character of the lens, I have the SMC A 50mm 1.4 before that and traded as well (Now am very happy with the SMC M 50mm 1.7)
5) Vivitar (Komine) 200mm 3.5 (Very sharp even at 100% crop)
- 50usd
6) Tamron 28-75mm 2.8 (need I say more?)
- Only lens I bought brand new

Now the last missing part to complete the lens line-up:
What I need?
1) Manual 24mm or 28mm / Auto Zoom range from 16 to 55mm (max 150usd)
2) Image quality from center to the corners (very important because I will only use this for landscapes)
3) 3rd party are ok if No. 2 is ok

With this said, can anybody recommend a lens with the above requirement?

Thanks in advance…

10-04-2011, 10:13 PM   #2
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Vivitar-Kiron 24/2 in KM mount
Vivitar-Komine 28/2 CFWA in M42

Anything longer than 24mm isn't really wide-angle on your Kx. My favourite 'scape lenses on APS-C are those, and:

Lentar-Tokina 21/3.8 in M42
Zenitar-K2 16/2.8 in KM mount

The Zenitar of course is a mild fisheye on APS-C and in landscape mode is only suitable for 'scapes without verticals at the sides.

Those are all lenses I have and know, with good IQ and sharpness. All but the Zenitar should be US$150 or less; the Zen will be a little more, still under US$200. I've also had a couple very cheap and sharp Lentar-Cimko 25/3.5 in M42 but they both had aperture problems. Maybe I was just unlucky.
10-04-2011, 10:24 PM   #3
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Hi Rico,

I know i can always count on you for opinions... appreciate it a lot man.

I don't really know the focal limit for the term wide angle but for me 28 is wide enough since 35 is just a little narrow for my landscape preference.

By the way, I forgot to mention that i don't like fish eye (character/effect).

Hope to find the 3 lenses you mentioned in this part of the world

Again thanks a lot...
10-04-2011, 10:42 PM   #4
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Also the Pentax A 24/2.8 or K 24/3.5, then of course the great and cheap Super Tak 28/3.5 - trick is finding one. For a more accessible lens and pretty good for your purposes, you could even spoil yourself with a DA 21 Ltd - AF isn't bad if you can quick shift.

10-04-2011, 11:07 PM   #5
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Tamron Adaptall-2 01B, 24/2.5. Lens can be obtained for fairly reasonable sum but the PK/A adapter will push the total purchase price beyond your budget of 150.00, but if you can live with PK/M adapter you can stay well within your budget for a sharp wide angle lens.
10-05-2011, 12:12 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by HoBykoYan Quote
I don't really know the focal limit for the term wide angle but for me 28 is wide enough since 35 is just a little narrow for my landscape preference.
Yeah, 35mm on APS-C is long-normal, rather limiting for many 'scapes. For my K20D's sensor, 28mm is precisely 'normal' and 24mm is just slightly wide. I'm likely to use 28mm when I want that totally 'normal' FOV; 24mm in many close indoor situations; 21mm for town'scapes. I see some slight edge-stretching on any lens 25mm and shorter, which I haven't seen on any 28mm.

Some other good 28's I've used that should be well within your budget include:

Vivitar-Kiron 28/2.5 (but some complain of sticky iris)
Tamron BBAR 28/2.5 (but the Adaptall mount can cost)
Chinon, Makinon, Tokina 28/2.8's (but they're not sexy)

And I hear that slower Pentax 28's are pretty damn good. I haven't really encountered any 'bad' 28's. But I'm so happy with my f/2 and f/2.5's that I haven't really exercised the others enough. I must force them into my lens-of-the-day rotation, yes I must.
10-05-2011, 12:14 AM   #7
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You are in luck, because most primes, and still many zooms, will be more than sharp enough at landscape apertures (f8 - f16).

I love the 28mm for landscapes, but to be honest, a 24 might be the better bet (just that much wider, some cropping flexibility).

I would look at the Vivitar-Komine lenses Rico suggested. The Pentax 28 f2.8 lens I once had was ultra-sharp, but had kind of lame colours for a landscape lens if you ask me. The 28mm f2 might be a different story (as would be, possibly, the 24mm).

The Zenitar would also be a good pick IF you are willing to de-fish and de-barrel distort every landscape with photoshop. That is going to be some work.

I will also vouch for the vivitar komine 28mm f2.8, which is deadly sharp at f8 with great colours. My only complaint with it is that I find it a little soft wide open (so its not a great low-light lens with my old K20d).
10-05-2011, 12:42 AM   #8
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Hi All. I am currently listing all your recommendations and whichever comes first that i think is good enough as per your recommendations then i will grab it right away

@ Ash
I agree with you, hardest part is finding the lens... I don't think i would want to own the DA ltd's as i will only use this lens for landscapes, which I seldom shoot. Am just making sure that if the need arises i have the lens at hand.

@ excanonfd
Thanks. any mount (PK, M42, adaptall-2) is ok with me as long as it's sharp enough on the corners.

@RioRico
I've seen the Chino/Makinon/Tokina 28's go on sale before but failed to grab one for me
do you have the M28? how is it compared to these 3?

@paperbag846
Nice point with the cropping flexibility Someone's selling to me thee Super Tak 24 3.5 but review is not good with flares...

By the way, rating of K 24 3.5 is only 7.75? why is that!!! but i did looked at the sharpness and it's 9 whew... confusing but for me sharpness speaks for the lens.

10-05-2011, 01:06 AM   #9
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I got my K24/2.8 cheap, but the lens needs to adjust and clean. After got it back, it is among my sharpest.
The sharpest i have in 28-24 range are
K28/3.5, ensinor24/2.8, vivitar 28/2.8 pka close focus (K06), vivitar 28/2.8 sms (K02), K24/2.8, (range 20-100usd)
And faster are A28/2, kiron 28/2 (from 100 usd)

M28/2.8 and A28/2.8 are sharp too, but not as sharp. I also found the close focus vivitars allow me to get really close, sharper wide open, easier to manual focus. Color rending of the vivitar K06 is better than both A and M 28/2.8.

The Ensinor24/2.8 also allow close focus. I use this lens more than the K24/2.8. Unknown for most, but truely awesome lens.

Last edited by hoanpham; 10-05-2011 at 01:17 AM.
10-05-2011, 01:31 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by HoBykoYan Quote
I've seen the Chino/Makinon/Tokina 28's go on sale before but failed to grab one for me
do you have the M28? how is it compared to these 3?
I have the M28/2.8 and I like it. I use it more than the other 28/2.8's but I still prefer my faster ones. I have two of the Makinon, one labeled Focal, the other labeled Makinon with original case and caps that I'll list on eBay soon, along with a Takumar Bayonet 28/2.8. As mentioned, almost any 28 stopped down to f/11 will be pretty damn sharp as long as it's not damaged. My Chinon 28/2.8 is great even wide-open. Some claim that Tak or SMC f/3.5's are sharper wide open -- but almost ANY slower lens is sharper wide-open. My Meyer Primagon 35/4.5? Whew, what a beauty! Rather slow, though.

QuoteQuote:
Someone's selling to me thee Super Tak 24 3.5 but review is not good with flares....
Flare can usually be controlled with a good hood. And just don't aim directly into lights! I'll repeat my point about 25mm and wider: all that I've used on APS-C show some edge distortion, a little stretching, which I've not seen on any 28. If I'm in a hurry, I'll shoot 'scapes with my Tamron 10-24 near the long end, or my Komine or Cimko 24s, and just accept the stretching. If I want a true image, I'll shoot a series with a 28 in portrait mode and stitch them together into a pano.
10-05-2011, 01:57 AM   #11
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Learning a few things about wide through all of you guys, thanks.

@ hoanpham
Are you in Saigon? If you decide to sell one of those beauty please do contact me right away waiting!!!

@RioRico
I didn't know that Focal is Makinon (i saw one before, let it pass )
10-05-2011, 03:12 AM   #12
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How about DA 18-55 II? a lot of reviews i've read mentioned about the good performance at lower focal say 18-28... Is it comparable to the IQ of primes in this range? (never mind 35-55mm)

How about Tamron 17-35?
10-05-2011, 05:41 AM   #13
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No, i am not in Saigon. Perhaps once every two years for a month or two. I let you know next time, but have no plan yet. ;-)
10-05-2011, 07:52 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by HoBykoYan Quote
I didn't know that Focal is Makinon (i saw one before, let it pass )
Focal (KMart) was supplied by some of the same lensmakers as Sears. My Focal 135/2.8 (KR mount) is apparently a rebadged Rikenon and is a fine FF headshot portrait lens. My decent Focal 200/3.5 (M42) is by Cimko. I had no idea of the maker when I bought the Focal 28/2.8 (M42). Then I found that it's an exact twin of my Makinon 28/2.8 (M42), which I'll sell because I really don't need two copies of that same lens. I have yet to find a bad Focal or Sears prime lens; these are sleepers IMHO.
10-05-2011, 11:40 AM   #15
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I like my K24/2.8 a lot but I haven't even compared it to my M28/2.8 or later model Viv 28/2.8 (A version) much less all of the good lenses in this thread.

I wouldn't be concerned about the K24/3.5 low rating. Statistically 4 samples is insignificant. It's also probably the same optically as the takumar version except in Kmount and possibly an updated coating.
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