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04-01-2012, 08:33 AM   #1
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Wide angle lens for night sky photography?

I'm looking for a good wide angle lens that would be well suited for night time photography but am having a hard time deciding on what lens to get. I'm looking for something around 8-15mm in focal length and don't really want to spend much more than $500. I plan on using it mostly for pictures of space/sky shots and have a equatorial camera mount that I mount my K-5 to f-ratio isn't too big of a concern. My exposures are always limited by light pollution, not star trails or the aperture of the lens.

I've been seriously considering the DA LTD 15mm as I really like my DA 40mm. But I've read that its a little soft around the border and am wondering if there's anything out there that may have a more consistent and sharper throughout the entire field.

04-01-2012, 08:47 AM   #2
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I was gonna say that you might take a look at the DA14mm F2.8 because the Da15ltd is more expensive and over your $500,- budget but a quik look at B&H revealed that the Da14 is listed for $300,- more...
Strange, over here the 14 is cheaper than the 15ltd?
04-01-2012, 09:25 AM   #3
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Saw one example of the DA15 used for night sky in the DA15mm lens club
04-01-2012, 06:27 PM   #4
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My favorite Pentax lenses for night cityscapes with both my K200D and K-5 are the DA*16-50 f/2.8 SDM and the DA*50-135 f/2.8 SDM. They are sharp, fast, and weather resistant. Using them for available light shots on rainy nights in the city has been fun. The watery reflections are great.

04-01-2012, 06:51 PM   #5
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The softness of the 15's corners has been greatly exaggerated by those who fail to understand that the corners will almost never be in focus in a real world shot unless you are stopped *way* down. And stopped even a little, the alleged soft corners go away anyhow. So I wouldn't let that sway you. Plus, how much detail do you reall expect to caputre in a wide angle night sky picture anyhow? Sarpenss should be the elast of your concerns - distortion, CA, and perhaps even flare are much bigger concerns. And in these area, the DA beats all.

Still, it's at the long end of what you say you want. I'd cosider one of the 10-20-ish zooms as well.
04-01-2012, 09:05 PM   #6
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Well it could also depend on how much sky you want in the picture. Have you considered getting a fisheye?
04-02-2012, 06:13 AM   #7

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04-02-2012, 06:31 AM   #8
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I have had quite good results with my DA10-17, DA15 and DA12-24 for night sky shots. All 3 are great lenses in their own right so it would more depend on what else you want out of your lens. The DA15 is great for the size but when space is not a concern I take my DA12-24 every time. Sadly I don't have any shots to show you to compare on hand.

04-02-2012, 11:19 AM   #9
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I would love to get the DA 12-25, but its about twice my budget and same goes for the Sigma 12-24. I've been looking at the Sigma 10-20mm but I've read about a lot of copies having issues focusing to infinity which would obviously be a big issue for me. I also plan on using the lens for general photography and a lot of shots I take are indoors where 15mm would serve me well as I often take shots at 16mm with my DA 16-45.
04-03-2012, 07:05 AM   #10
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So I was all ready to go and purchase a new DA 15mm this morning since I couldn't find anything new and then I saw the front page of the forum. The price of a DA 15mm went up by almost $150! Damn you pentax! I guess I'll be going with a third party lens after all unless I can find a good deal on a used one.

Pentax lenses are already very expensive when compared to their competitors. Why in the hell would they jack up the pricing? Do they want to lose their market share?
04-17-2012, 04:19 AM   #11
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If you want to go cheap and don't mind manual focusing the Tokina 1:3.5 17 mm (or rebranded as Vivitar) might be an option. Since I got mine I did all my night shots with it. The image quality is fine and you should be able to get one for less than 150 $. But to be honest: I just odered the DA 15 mm because manual focusing can be a pain with wide angle lenses and such a small VF. For night images it's no problem because I just set the lens to hyperfocal distance and I'm ready to go. But in all other situation, esp with moving objects, it can be tricky.

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