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04-20-2012, 04:31 AM   #16
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Cheers guys (and it does seem to be all guys!)

Looking at images and opinions, I do respect the idea that a fish eye lens is more 'truthful' and that it can technically be de-fished, but not sure I'm convinced by the demonstrations of de-fishing, and fishiness is not what I'm after - I quite often take photos of straight lines.

I've seen this.. what do you think? seems cheaper than the others. Do I pounce?

@ Carl Zeiss Jena FLEKTOGON MC 20mm f/2.8 [20 2.8 M42 NEX 5d 7d 60d G3 G1 GH2] @ | eBay

04-20-2012, 04:50 AM   #17
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I know that it's over my original 200 budget, but as they say, getting something fit for the job is better value in the long run
04-20-2012, 05:05 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxLearner Quote
I know that it's over my original 200 budget, but as they say, getting something fit for the job is better value in the long run
The Fleck 20mm isn't really wide, just moderately, with FOV close to a 28mm on FF. To go WIDE, it's the Zenitar-K2 16/2.8 for about US$200 (K2 means PK-M mount); or the DA10-17 for upwards of US$400; or the (rectilinear) Tamron 10-24 for maybe a little more. The Zen is about as budget ultrawide as can be found. The others are more flexible tools, and cost more. I used to carry the Zen always; now I carry the others always, but if mass+bulk were a concern, I *could* substitute the Zen for them. But hay, it's only money!
04-20-2012, 05:15 AM   #19
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I don't really have a thing for the 'ultimate wide wide angle', I just want a sharp and good 'wide enough' alternative to my 50mm 1.4 smc, which is beautiful but too close for indoor shooting. I take it an old 20mm like the link above is very similar in FOV to 20mm on my kit lens? I just tried 50mm on my kit versus 50mm on my old prime lens and they seem to be the same. 20mm on the kit lens is wide enough for my purposes and probably more versatile than anything much wider for me.

04-20-2012, 05:21 AM   #20
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Agree with RioRico and stevebrot. Go with the Zenitar. You can actually "defish" it with careful framing. In addition the lens is an excellent close focuser, and like all FE's it's DOF is amazing. For some examples of what it can do check out these shots of mine on smug mug
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04-20-2012, 06:02 AM   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxLearner Quote
I don't really have a thing for the 'ultimate wide wide angle', I just want a sharp and good 'wide enough' alternative to my 50mm 1.4 smc, which is beautiful but too close for indoor shooting. I take it an old 20mm like the link above is very similar in FOV to 20mm on my kit lens? I just tried 50mm on my kit versus 50mm on my old prime lens and they seem to be the same. 20mm on the kit lens is wide enough for my purposes and probably more versatile than anything much wider for me.
Here are a few items to consider in your quest. The shorter the focal length (i.e., going from 50mm to 20mm), the wider the angle of view (27 degrees to 61 degrees for the 20 mm). Your sensor size is going to remain the same size. So using the 50 to 20 comparison again, each pixel will be recording almost 3 times the view. You are not going to get the "sharpness" of the 50 using a 20. You will however, maintain the "sharpness" of the 50, if you stitch about 4 shots from a 50 together (you need to have some overlap). Of course you are going to wind up with a long skinny image.

I saved for a long time for a 12-24, and really like it. I found a used 21 one day in a used online photo shop and ordered it, - a small mistake was made and a 31 was delivered (same s/n that was advertised). That is when this concept really crystallized for me. I really liked the shots from the 12-24, however the 31 images were so much better. Stitching solved this for the most part. Photography is always dealing with various sets of compromises. Where stitching does not work well - when items in the frame are moving - that's one instant that does not work well. However for the most part - stitching is wonderful, and the post processing utilities are very easy and automatic.

I would suggest going out and giving it a try with the glass you have - and Microsoft ICE is free, so you have everything you need to start off with. You can stitch horizontally as well as vertically. You can even stitch multiple rows of images together, and they do not need to be perfectly aligned. The "film" is free as well as the processing...

04-20-2012, 11:31 AM   #22
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Yes, as @interested_observer mentions, stitching is a low-cost alternative. In my experience, the best setup for wide 'scapes is to use a 28-31mm 'normal' lens or set the kit.lens to around 28mm, and stop-down to f/8 or so with ISO as low as possible. This may require a tripod. I choose 28-31mm because the normal focal length gives the least distortion. You could use 24mm if a little distortion doesn't matter. Shoot in portrait (vertical) aspect. I haven't used ICE, can't get it to install, but free AUTOSTITCH works well.

If you insist on spending money, I'll mention other possibilities. The DA21/3.2Ltd is tiny and well-liked, but it ain't cheap. My M42 Tokina-made 21/3.8 (branded as Lentar, also as Soligor, Vivitar, etc) is quite decent and pretty cheap. My PK-A Vivitar-Cosina Series 1 19-35/3.5-4.5 is damn sharp and was (recently) even cheaper. How cheap? Around US$35 but the 21/3.8 goes for around 2x-3x that now. That Series 1 is becoming my favored LOTD (lens-of-the-day). I just need a good hood to fight flare. And other 19-20-21mm lenses exist, but usually not for under US$200. The Zenitar remains a bargain. (*)
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(*) How to get one for free: I occasionally see eBay offers for 10 Zenitars for US$1500. So, invest in the batch, keep one, sell the rest for US$200 each. Gross US$1800, keep US$300 profit and a free lens! Ain't free enterprise wonderful?
04-21-2012, 03:41 PM   #23
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Thanks everyone! RioRico, do you know how the Vivitar 19-35 compares with the 18-55 d-xenon kit lens?

Thanks for the idea of stiching, it's an interesting concept and i'll probably try it sometime, but I like to take photos of things that move around as well as 'still lives', so would be good to have a dedicated lens for the job.

04-21-2012, 04:45 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by PentaxLearner Quote
RioRico, do you knoood.w how the Vivitar 19-35 compares with the 18-55 d-xenon kit lens?
Xenon? Sounds like you got the Samsung version, exactly the same as the DA18-55/3.5-5.6 v1. Mine is 1000mi / 1600km away at the moment, along with my image archive. I just got the Vivitar-Cosina 19-35/3.5-4.5 a couple weeks ago during this sojourn away from my home base. Thus, I have not been able to directly compare them. What I *can* say about their comparative qualities:

* The two have equivalent speed in their shared focal range.
* The Viv isn't SMC, is more prone to glare, and needs a hood.
* I don't see ANY barrel distortion with the Viv at the 19mm end.
* The Viv is A-type and so lacks the AF and auto-SR of the DA18-55.
* The Viv is a two-ring zoom. No zoom creep, but using it takes practice.
* The DA18-55 is a ~3x zoom. The Viv 19-35 is ~2x and should be sharper.
* The DA18-55 has a 52mm thread; the Viv is 77mm, so filters etc cost more.

About that last point: I've mentioned that I use my DA18-55 mostly as a test-bed, a place to hang filters and optics. The Viv isn't suitable for such use.

Bottom line: The Viv and the DA (or Xenon) are quite different birds. The DA is more a general-purpose lens, and at it's wide end is good for from-the-hip street shooting, in P mode exploiting AF and SR. The Viv *can* be used for such, if stopped-down to f/11 and hyperfocused to 2m for DOF from 1m to infinity. The DA works better in lower light. The Viv seems better for slower work. That's about all I can say now.
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