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12-23-2011, 10:33 AM   #1
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400 budget- which lens should I go for?

Hey,
I know there is no right or wrong answer to this, and that the lens database probably answers this anyway, but I would really appreciate a first-hand opinion on this taking into account my current relatively limited selection of lenses.
I have:
Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7
Pentax-A 70-210 mm f4
Awful Chinon 28mm f/2.8
18-55mm kit lens.

I am more interested in landscapes. What do you suggest? Would you go for a pentax da limited 21 mm over a 12-24mm or sigma 10-20mm ?
What would you do im my position. I have a tripod so I am not too worried about aperture, though a large one wouldn't do any harm! I shoot with a kr.

Any recommendations greatly appreciated. I am also open to other suggestions which exceed the landscape focal length.

Oh, MERRY CHRISTMAS AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

Charles.

12-23-2011, 11:10 AM   #2
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What ever you wind up doing, I doubt that you can go wrong. The various items that come to mind would be...
  • Sigma - Getting a good copy. It has been said that it might take an exchange or two to get a good copy. They also have the longest warranty. It does have some distortion.
  • Pentax 12-24 - I have had one for several years and its one of my favorites. At times it is too wide and at other times too narrow. Putting it in portrait orientation and stitching works extremely well. It controls the distortion extremely well. All wide angle lenses will have some distortion along the edges. Its a very sharp lens with excellent image quality.
  • Pentax 21 Ltd - I found a copy in a used camera shop online and ordered it. A 31 Ltd showed up - they were selling the serial number. Offered to exchange it if I was dissatisfied... So, I still do not have the 21. Looking back at images from my 12-24 it seems that I shoot a lot at around 20mm.

12-23-2011, 11:13 AM   #3
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Sigma makes 2 different 10-20 the 3.5 is the one to go for out of those 2. Personally I shoot landscapes mostly at 28mm though. If I shoot with my 14 it's because there is a foreground point of interest as well. UWA has a tendency to really compact anything distant down making for some pretty bland Pictures sometimes. If I had a 24 prime I would go to it more frequently than 28 (on film I found 35mm was an excellent portrait width, but at 28 it was a little wider than i wanted a lot of the time)
unfortunately Pentax doesn't make a 24mm prime so the sigma is the choice there
The 12-24 Pentax has a great rep but is next to impossible to find new (at least over here) You can find it in Canada (where I am) but the price is out to lunch
sigma made a 12-24 (and have said they will release the new version in Pentax eventually - Probably faster if a FF Pentax releases)
I wouldn't go wider than the 21 myself in a prime (and it has a good rep, just a little slow for my tastes)
12-23-2011, 11:17 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
[*]Pentax 21 Ltd - I found a copy in a used camera shop online and ordered it. A 31 Ltd showed up - they were selling the serial number. Offered to exchange it if I was dissatisfied... So, I still do not have the 21. Looking back at images from my 12-24 it seems that I shoot a lot at around 20mm.[/LIST]
You Lucky B*stard
offered to exchange if you were dissatisfied. HMMMMM let me think about that 31 LTD avg resale about $900 21 LTD average Resale about $350..... nope i'm very satisfied thanks

12-23-2011, 11:21 AM   #5
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The Pentax 12-24mm is a great lens that is slightly better than the DA 21 and DA 15 in terms of IQ. It's also more expensive and much larger. So if portability is important I would go with one of the primes. The IQ is close enough to not make a difference.

The Sigma is a good lens as well but if you opt for it, make sure you pick it up from a store and check it closely. The lens is notorious for poor QC. I have a friend who had to send it back a couple of times. At least the warranty is good.

And just to make it more complicated, I think there are two versions of the 10-20mm and by most accounts the older one is slightly better.

Good Luck!
12-23-2011, 11:26 AM   #6
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I have the Sigma 10-20mm and really like it. It's quite a heavy lens though. The other lens that comes to mind is the Pentax 40mm pancake - love that lens. But a Pentax 21mm might be better for landscapes. Good luck deciding!

This might help you decide on the Sigma: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/84539-sigma-10-20mm-club.html
12-23-2011, 11:32 AM   #7
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I have the DA 12-24 and DA12 limited. I really prefer the versatility of the DA 12-24 for landscapes. That's not to say that the DA 21 is not a great lens but for me for landscapes, it's the DA 12-24 I'll be reaching for. The DA 21 is for street shooting or when I want to go a small as possible with camera and lens.
12-23-2011, 11:51 AM   #8
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If you can find the 12-24 in stock, I'd pick one up


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12-23-2011, 12:12 PM   #9
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it is a tough call

I personally have the older sigma 10-20, and quite like it for city shots, especially in tight places. I find that since a lot of my shots are at 10mm I would miss the extra 2 mm if I went to the 12-24.

BUT, unless you are into extreme landscapes, where you over-emphasize the foreground by getting really close, an ultra wide is not necessairly the right lens for landscapes. many times the backgrounds can become insignificant. Just something to consider. you might be happier with an improvement on your kit lens. But if you really want ultra wide, go for the 10-20

just my 2p worth
12-23-2011, 12:16 PM   #10
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Landscapes usually don't move around a lot except in seismically active areas, so automation (focus and exposure) and high speed / wide aperture aren't really needed. Much money can be saved here.

If you want images without optical distortion, don't use a wide lens -- I see edge distortion in everything wider than 28mm on my K20D. The best budget landscape lens is thus something like a K30/2.8 (see the reviews). Although I'll admit loving my Vivitar-Komine 28/2 CFWA.

If you don't mind just a little edge distortion, it's fairly minimal at 24mm and not terribly significant at 20mm. I can't suggest any Pentax 24s; I love my Vivitar-Kiron 24/2; a budget solution might be the Lentar-Tokina 25/3.5. Better at 20mm: the K20/4, or for about the same price, a DA21/3.2 Ltd.

If you look at published collections of 'scapes, you'll see that most were shot within a focal range equivalent to 18-55mm on APS-C. Wider glass is more specialized. But whatever works!
12-23-2011, 12:32 PM   #11
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If you want AF then what about the Tamron 10-24? Don't see it mentioned but its a great alternative that is readily available and far less expensive. QA/QC is more consistent with Tamron than Sigma, its less expensive, and it has a better warranty. It has the added advantage over the Sigma that it goes to 24mm instead of 20mm.

Last edited by Docrwm; 12-23-2011 at 12:42 PM.
12-23-2011, 01:35 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by eddie1960 Quote
You Lucky B*stard
offered to exchange if you were dissatisfied. HMMMMM let me think about that 31 LTD avg resale about $900 21 LTD average Resale about $350..... nope i'm very satisfied thanks
I have been VERY satisfied with it. I do have to say, that I would have NEVER spent the money for it - myself (too cheap), and it has opened up an entirely new view on photography for me - especially low light stitched landscapes.... Here is the thread starting while I was thinking about looking for something in the 20's range. It may be appropriate for this discussion. This is also the thread, that got me thinking about the old Contax Carl Zeiss lens (I came across on craigslist), wondering what differences it would have when compared to the Pentax glass. I now have 2 old CZ lenses - the 28 and 85 - they are both wonderful, small, light, built like a tank, sharp, etc.


Last edited by interested_observer; 12-23-2011 at 01:49 PM.
12-23-2011, 02:28 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
it is a tough call

I personally have the older sigma 10-20, and quite like it for city shots, especially in tight places. I find that since a lot of my shots are at 10mm I would miss the extra 2 mm if I went to the 12-24.

BUT, unless you are into extreme landscapes, where you over-emphasize the foreground by getting really close, an ultra wide is not necessairly the right lens for landscapes. many times the backgrounds can become insignificant. Just something to consider. you might be happier with an improvement on your kit lens. But if you really want ultra wide, go for the 10-20

just my 2p worth
I agree completely with Lowell. An UWA zoom (I have the 10-20) is not the right lens for landscapes. Max 24mm but preferably 28mm is better (lowest distortion vs. widest FL). Since you are not too concerned with aperture and shoot landscapes (I'm presuming on a tripod) then I'd suggest the Contax Zeiss 28/2.8. at around US$400 including conversion to PK mount, it's a superb lens on a par with the 31 Ltd but for less than 1/2 the price (no AF of course but then at landscape range it is an AF lens anyway ). There are a few comparison / review links on the Zeiss I'll put up later (it's after 05.00 here and I'm off to bed) !
12-23-2011, 05:29 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
If you want AF then what about the Tamron 10-24? Don't see it mentioned but its a great alternative that is readily available and far less expensive. QA/QC is more consistent with Tamron than Sigma, its less expensive, and it has a better warranty. It has the added advantage over the Sigma that it goes to 24mm instead of 20mm.
The 10-24 is fine and I agree with all the above. I chose it over the DA12-24 and Sigma 10-20s. Yes, it's a most useful range. But as Lowell mentioned, the wide end is a bit much for 'scapes. I find 20-24mm good for 'scapes, 14-20mm for crowded streets etc, and 10-14mm for tight interiors. IMHO an ideal 'scape zoom for APS-C would be around 15-45mm. !No existe!

EDIT: But 16-45 is close enough. Rethinking, I'll say that Pentax needs a good 12-48/3.5 'scape zoom. !No existe!

Last edited by RioRico; 12-24-2011 at 02:55 AM.
12-23-2011, 05:46 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
In MHO an ideal 'scape zoom for APS-C would be around 15-45mm. !No existe!
that's why I suggested upgrading the kit
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