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10-27-2011, 04:04 PM   #1
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Best Available-Light Wide-Angle Zoom

I'm looking for a wide-angle available-light zoom for indoor use. I've read the reviews for Pentax 12-24 f4, Sigma 10-20 f3.5 and Sigma 8-16. I'm sure I'm not the first to wish the Tokina 11-16 came in Pentax mount, but since it doesn't, which of these (or another I missed) gives best results for indoor, low-light photography? Or maybe my best bet is a really wide, fast prime that I can crop?

10-27-2011, 04:31 PM   #2
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There are no low-light UWA zooms. (And you left the Tamron 10-24 off your list. I like mine.) The fastest is the Sigma 10-20/3.5. Once users get a good copy, they're happy. Fastest UWAs are primes: the big DA14/2.8 and the little Zenitar 16/2.8. The Zen is a bit fishy on APS-C.

My experience in that area are the DA10-17 FE (the lens that drove me to Pentax), the Tamron 10-24, and the Zenitar. I use the Zen when light is low and edges needn't be square. I use the DA10-17 in very tight spaces, or to exploit angles. I use the Tamron when light is better.

My recommendations: If you need a zoom, the Sigma 10-20/3.5 is the fastest you'll find. If you have the money, the DA14/2.8 is best. For less money and more fishiness, the Zenitar is a bargain. Don't forget that SR gives you a 2-3 f-stop advantage when shooting handheld.
10-27-2011, 05:14 PM   #3
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Remember with a UWA and speed, there is the 1/shutter speed ratio to consider, I often handhold my wide angles at 1/8, to 1/2 second shutter speed with no problems whatsoever. I have taken pictures in dark churches ect in Europe up to 2sec shutter speeds.
10-27-2011, 05:18 PM   #4
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Sigma 8-16 and as high ISO on a K-5 as you need.

10-27-2011, 06:43 PM   #5
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I just noticed you are in Brisbane too, I don't have my 10-20 anymore, but I have 8-16, 12-24 ect ect if you want to have a look at them and what hand holding at slow speeds produces.
10-27-2011, 11:42 PM   #6
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Or even wider, sigma circular fisheye 4.5mm f2.8.
Consider the lens as an very expensive toy ;-)
Sharp at the center, also wide open. Usable accross the frame. IQ surprised me.
10-27-2011, 11:57 PM   #7
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Thanks for the offer, cmohr. I'm leaning towards the 8-16 but none of the stores here stock it (that I can find) so seeing how it actually works would be great. And thanks all for the advice. Hadn't thought about the 1/ rule, so at that focal length (and k5's iso performance) guess speed isn't as important. Photos I've seen on the forum using 8-16 look terrific, and that's crazy-wide. Nice fit with my 17-70.
10-28-2011, 12:24 AM   #8
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jr, I walked into Photo Continental one afternoon looking for camera bags and walked out with my 8-16, they had it instock.... I think I was so shocked they had one that I bought it on impulse :0

10-28-2011, 01:18 AM   #9
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Everybody's artistic taste is different. I've had the Sigma 10-20 f4-f5.6 for a coupla years now, but i don't feel any need to go to 8mm and many times, 10mm seems a bit too far. Many times i feel the 12-24 mm range suits my style of photography much better, particularly because of the 24mm end, fewer lens changes in a walk around environment.

What i've noticed with extreme FL is miniturization. Features that aren't taken close to the camera, tend to get extremely small. A second problem is that the fall-off in size for like items begins to appear freakish. Look at the motorcycle in this image https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/107938-sigma-8-16mm-club.html#post1692324
The front tire of the motorcycle appears unusually small compared to the back tire. That doesn't make the image bad or anything, its quite a dramatic image. But there is a "look" to images taken at 8 and 10 mm that isn't always appealing. On the other hand, i have an image taken close up at 10 mm that is one of my favorites.

Its expensive to always be changing out lenses, i'd suggest you look good and hard at the type of images produced by any of these lenses, and decide what range of focal lengths you really want to push for.
10-28-2011, 02:51 AM - 1 Like   #10
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Right on, philbaum. I like my Tamron 10-24 because, besides sharpness and rendering and color and all that, 10mm is exuberantly wide and useful in tight spaces, and 24mm is fine for many 'scapes. (Otherwise it's a bit slow at the long end, so I always keep a Vivitar-Kiron 24/2 around.)

Any very wide lens will diminish the distant. Mountains become molehills, urban skylines devolve into low jagged edges; perspective bloats-up. The nearby is large and the distant shrinks away. Short lenses demand close work. I've a 12mm fisheye that I can only use at 5cm working distance.

Upgrading and swapping-out lenses can be expensive. Testing them, isn't. Buy a lens from a dealer with a no-questions return+refund policy. Shoot the sh!t out of it. If you like the lens, great! If not, return it and try another. We no longer need remain married to our purchases. Divorce is easy.

Personal note: Since I got the versatile Tamron 10-24, I've cut way back on my use of Zenitar 16/2.8, Tokina 21/3.8, all 24's, and less of the DA10-17. 10-24mm really is a handy focal range. The wide end of my kit now contains: DA10-17 (just in case), Tamron 10-24, DA18-250 (just in case), Komine 28/2 CFWA (for 'normal' shots). I'll take the Zenitar 16/2.8 or the Kiron 24/2 if I think I'll need their speed in right-size spaces; those are my low-light wides.
10-28-2011, 02:36 PM   #11
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Good advice, thanks. What I'm finding is my 17-70 isn't wide enough for some shots. I have the DA10-17, which I'll use quite a bit, mainly at the wide end, but being a fisheye there's a lot of distortion. I like it for fun, playing around party photos and such but want something without the distortion for architectural photos, both indoor and outdoor when I can't get far enough away to catch the shot at 17mm. Thanks for the link to the 8-16 shots. I actually rather like those so the perspective distortion when shooting subjects out of plane is appealing. 10mm might be wide enough and since I'm now less worried about light capture I think the best thing to do is try a couple in the store (if I can find them). I'll be in Los Angeles right after Christmas and don't need the lens before that. Anyone know a good store there that carries Pentax and Sigma lenses?
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