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10-10-2011, 04:41 AM   #1
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Lens for landscapes and architecture

Hi,

I'm a new K-r user, and very happy with it !

I'm starting to see the limits of the DAL 18-55 though, and would like to acquire a new lens, mainly for architecture and landscape shots.

A wide angle could be useful as I do a lot of interior architecture shots, such as churches, museums...

I got to try the Sigma 10-20, and even if the reviews are great, i did not find the images it produced much sharper than those taken with the kit lens.

Even if it is not a "true" wide angle, I could grab a Pentax 16-45 for pretty cheap, would that be a significant boost compared to the kit lens ?

Thanks in advance for the help,

Mat

10-10-2011, 05:14 AM   #2
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Here's an extensive thread discussing the Sigma 10-20..............yes, I have one and love it........

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/84539-sigma-10-20mm-club.html
10-10-2011, 05:47 AM   #3
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Thanks for the answer.

I'm especially afraid of distortion at 10mm, as I would be mainly be shooting between 10 and 14 mm if I had a wide angle lens.
10-10-2011, 06:00 AM   #4
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I'm thinking the best (most expensive) 10-14 lens in the world probably has distortion................maybe someone more experienced than me can expand on this.............

10-10-2011, 07:22 AM   #5
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Every wide lens produces distorted images. I see edge-stretching on 24mm lenses on my APS-C dSLR. Only 28mm and longer are undistorted. Wider lenses are more distorted. It's exactly the same problem mapmakers have dealt with for centuries, trying to project a round reality onto a flat plane. For undistorted wide images, I stitch 28mm shots together into pano- or verto-ramas. For single-lens wide shots, I live with the distortion.

These are the ultrawide options:

* A true panorama film camera, like a 24x65mm 135/35mm, or a 617 or 624 MF cam
* Stitch-ups of normal-focal-length shots for minimal distortion
* Ultrawide or fisheye lens with distortion

Sorry, we're limited by physics, the laws of optics. The decisions here come down to, going to a bit of trouble for a distortion-free shot, or living with and exploiting the distortion inherent in your captured images. Or, playing with distortion-correction in PP. But any correction produces other distortions. Oh bother...
10-10-2011, 07:58 AM   #6
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Well I've done quite a few pano-and verto-ramas with the 18-55 kit lens, some of them look nice, but I'd rather have a little distortion than have to spend hours creating panoramas.

On the other hand 16mm should be sufficient for landscapes.

What I really want to know is how much sharper and more uniform than the kit lens are the 16-45 and the Sigma 10-20.

I'm starting to lean towards the 10-20, but I can get the 16-45 for cheap so I'm still torn !
10-10-2011, 08:28 AM   #7
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DA 15mm Limited? Very little distortion and quite wide. Not the sharpest in the world fully open, but you don't need that for architecture and landscape (tripod)
10-10-2011, 08:41 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by odyn Quote
DA 15mm Limited? Very little distortion and quite wide. Not the sharpest in the world fully open, but you don't need that for architecture and landscape (tripod)
Well this one looks great, but I don't want to spend that much money in a prime lens.

10-10-2011, 08:44 AM   #9
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K28shift. Or OM35shift. Shift is really good for architecture.
10-10-2011, 08:45 AM   #10
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Some people use long lenses for landscapes to avoid the distortion, but that also opens a whole new can of worms. In the end, what works for you personally is best. In your shoes, I'd go through my photos of the type that you want to take, see what focal lengths you use most, then get a prime near that length.
10-10-2011, 09:00 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Don From The Radio Quote
Some people use long lenses for landscapes to avoid the distortion, but that also opens a whole new can of worms. In the end, what works for you personally is best. In your shoes, I'd go through my photos of the type that you want to take, see what focal lengths you use most, then get a prime near that length.
Most of my pictures are taken between 18 and 30, but I find that I lack a bit of angle for some interior shots, and some landscapes as well.

That's why I was thinking about a slightly wider and supposedly sharper lens, such as the 16-45.

On the other hand a 10-20 would allow me to create really different compositions.
10-10-2011, 09:29 AM   #12
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Ultrawides aren't really landscape lenses. Ultrawides and fisheyes (UWAs and FEs) shrink the distant, turning mountains into molehills, skylines into rusty bumps. UWAs and FEs are very good for focusing on the nearby and including the context. If you look a published collections of 'scapes, you'll see that most were shot within a range equivalent to 16-45 or 18-55 on APS-C.

I don't see my Tamron 10-24 as a 'scape lens. Its wide end is great for tight spaces; the long end is useful in moderate spaces. I usually don't use my Zenitar 16/2.8 (mildly fishy on APS-C) for 'scapes as much as for small spaces. And I save my DA10-17 FE (strongly fishy at the wide end) for tight and rounded spaces, and to exploit angles and intersected lines and distortion.

Photography of architecture and 'scapes (land, sea, sky, town, whatever) might intersect, might not. As hoanpham suggested, tilt-shift (TS) lenses are great for perspective correction (PC), vital for much architectural shooting. But PC in software has greatly supplanted the need for TS lenses. Alas, any solution for both 'scapes and architecture on PAS-C camera is imperfect.
10-10-2011, 10:22 AM   #13
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I will agree with RioRico that wide angle lenses are not always the best idea for landscapes. Although it's true you need a wide FOV to swallow a sweeping vista, I find they do indeed turn "mountains into molehills". As he said, UWA's often work best for placing some smaller objects into the context of a much larger scene, but in those situations, the focus will be on the foreground generally.

But if you want to show the drama of a mountain in the distance, the more intimate FOV of a moderate telephoto is what generally works best for me. It leaves a bit of mystery along the edges of the frame. ;-)
10-10-2011, 10:41 AM   #14
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Thanks again for the detailed answers Rio and v5 !

As a matter of fact I dislike fisheye perspectives, and while I could use 10mm for tight spaces, I think I'll go for another standard zoom, and if I really feel the need I'll get a UWA next.

Are there any strong contenders to the 16-45 in his price range ?
10-10-2011, 10:46 AM   #15
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I have the 15mm Limited, and at about f-11 (which is easy with decent light and a tripod), it is the sharpest lens I've used in 40 serious years of photography. It has very little noticable distortion or bending, unless you have a tree or pole running up one side. I love it for architecture, but agree it is not the best for sweeping vistas--really great for tight spots, and especially good if you want to use a prominent foreground feature. It is a very creative lens and renders as if it had a built-in polorizer.
I actually use all kinds of FLs for scenics, up to 100mm, depending upon the scene and what I want to feature. The most important tool for scenic shots is a good tripod, and if you use delay or remote on a Pentax, you automatically disable SR and get mirror-up function: a very good feature.
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