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01-07-2012, 10:59 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by AdamfromCanada Quote
I currently am planning a rather large trip where I'm likely to take a lot of photos. Typically, I enjoy taking landscape & wildlife photos.
...
I'm considering adding a quality lens on the wide angle side. Having talked to a few people, the recommendation I keep getting is that I should be looking for something with a large aperture for low light. It appears the best Pentax has in that range is f2.8, and most of the 3rd party lenses I've looked at are about the same.
You won't find any zooms faster than f/2.8. None nada zero zilch. And we generally don't want ultra-fast lenses for 'scapes. Stop-down to f/8 and use a tripod.

If you want undistorted 'scapes, use a 28-31mm lens. I see some edge distortion in all lenses shorter than 28mm on APS-C. If you don't mind a wee bit of edge-stretching, go to 24mm or 21mm. For undistorted ultra-wide images, shoot a series in portrait mode at 28-31mm and stitch them together into a pano.

Maybe you want wider. Ultrawide (UWA) and fisheye (FE) lenses shrink the distant, turning mountains into molehills. UWA and FE are usually best in very tight spaces, or when shooting something close and you want the surroundings (context) sharp also.

I'll let others recommend specific lenses. I'm passing out now. [/me head goes THUNK]

01-08-2012, 09:49 AM   #17
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Just another note - you don't really need f./2.8 for wide angle in most case. Especially not for landscapes. When shooting wide angle, you can get away with quite slow shutter speeds. And DOF is going to be fairly deep at any aperture except at very close range, where it is going to be quite shallow at any aperture. I'm not saying you'd never fond a way to use it, but of all the focal lengths in the world, wide angles are the ones whee you need large apertures the *least*.

as for the advantage of prime over zoom, there are zillion threads on that debate you can read here, but it comes down to personal preference. Primes offer better IQ and smaller size for the same price or maximum aperture. You can get equally good quality in a zoom in many case, but you will pay a lot more it it, and it will be huge compared to the prime, and should you find a focal length where you need better than f/2.8, you won't find that in a zoom at any price. But of course, a zoom is also more flexible. So one high quality zoom might replace 2 or 3 primes in your bag. Only you can decide how you feel about those tradeoffs.
01-08-2012, 10:12 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Just another note - you don't really need f./2.8 for wide angle in most case.
That's been my experience too. Especially with a high ISO camera, I've found the DA 15mm Ltd to be very useful in poor light indoors, hand-held at around 1/10th-1/30th second.

I have used a combination of the 18-250 (Tamron) and 15 Ltd on holiday. I found it a good combination. I would have preferred better IQ than the 18-250 provided, but it was convenient. I have since used different kit at the medium to long range, but the 15mm is indispensable.
01-08-2012, 02:03 PM   #19
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Zooms are always a compromise ! I have the Tamron 17 to 50 F2.8 From 24mm to 50mm its a superb lens, but the 17mm end it sucks !
It suffers from very high CAs strong focus curvature and substantial destortion. Its fine when stopped down to F8 at 17mm.
Its far easier to design a prime lens for a single focal lengh. In therory all of these areas should be considerably better.

01-08-2012, 02:15 PM   #20
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I agree with these suggestions:

- use a tripod for landscapes.
- fast lenses are not a big advantage for landscapes.
- the DA12-24 is a fine lens.

I disagree with these suggestions:

- panorama stitching negates the desirability of a wide angle lens.
- wide-angle zooms are undesirable.
- the Tamron 17-50/2.8 is not good at the wide end.
01-08-2012, 02:48 PM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by westmill Quote
I have the Tamron 17 to 50 F2.8 From 24mm to 50mm its a superb lens, but the 17mm end it sucks !
It suffers from very high CAs strong focus curvature and substantial destortion.
I'd send it back if you still have warranty on it, because my copy displays none of the characteristics you're describing... I agree that a zoom lens is a compromise on the IQ of a prime (at least traditionally) but I don't find my copy any worse at 17mm than 24mm...
01-08-2012, 03:23 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by DaveHolmes Quote
I'd send it back if you still have warranty on it, because my copy displays none of the characteristics you're describing... I agree that a zoom lens is a compromise on the IQ of a prime (at least traditionally) but I don't find my copy any worse at 17mm than 24mm...
Tamron AF 17-50mm f/2.8 SP XR Di II LD Aspherical [IF] (Nikon) - Review / Test Report
This is normal for this lens and the findings of tests show this. If you have this lens and it doesnt you are very lucky.
I see these flaws in my pics and are pretty much exactly as described in testing.
01-09-2012, 11:12 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by wlachan Quote
The only quality Pentax wide that is landscape worthy is the DA12-24/4. DA14/15 are more suitable for snaps where corner to corner sharpness isn't important.
Completely untrue. It's only at wide aperture where the DA15 has any issues with corner sharpness, and the corners will never be infocus in a landscape at those apertures, anyhow due to DOF. Stopped down to typical landscape apertures (eg, f/8 or f/11), the DA15 outperforms all comers, including the DA12-24. Not by much, but it's inaccurate to say it doesn't do well corner to corner. Throw in the better flare resistance and it's really hard to beat, if the focal length works for you. That's really the main benefit of the 12-24 - focal length flexibility.

01-09-2012, 11:28 PM   #24
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Well said Marc, agree 100%
06-22-2012, 08:52 PM   #25
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Very unfair views about the Tamron 17-50 in my view. I shoot most of my landscapes with it and I think it is a very high quality lens with great resolution and cotntrast.
It has some distortions, which is usual for wide angle zooms. But I do not find the distortions extreme and by now most of it can be easily corrected with DXO.
06-22-2012, 09:23 PM   #26
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I'm settling in with a Sigma EX 15/2.8 fisheye. While I would have liked a DA15, I found this for a great price; I had considered them equally appealing in advance so I'm quite happy. Potential positives are its max aperture of f/2.8, can focus closer for dramatic imaging, and it's full-frame friendly & has an aperture ring so my ME film body can use it. On the down side, it's larger and heavier than the DA15 and of course its distortions are unabashedly visible. Not very fishy on aps-c cameras but it's there for sure - but it does have wider coverage than the DA15 as a result. Either is a great companion for a kit that otherwise starts at 18mm.


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