Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
05-12-2012, 03:42 PM   #1
Forum Member
Jake21209's Avatar

Join Date: May 2007
Location: Maryland
Posts: 81
Lenses for landscape

I recently upgraded from my old, but still trusty Spotmatic 35mm to the K-5. This has been a bit of a cultural shock, the Spotmatic manual was only 35 pages vs the K-5 at 374 pages. I am working to understand how to take advantage of, and setting up, the K-5 for my needs and I have also changed my interest from almost exclusively macro with the Spotmatic to landscape, nature and macro with a future look at wildlife with the K-5.

I currently have 8 prime lenses ranging from a Vivitar 28mm f2.5 to 7 Takumars ranging from a 35mm f2.8 to a 300mm F4. These are too many to carry around, at my age, and I am considering upgrading to new glass. These would be all new k-mount telezooms to take advantage of the multitude of features in the K-5 and would range from an ultra wide to a max of 200mm. I have already purchased the Pentax D FA 100mm F2.8 macro and am very please with the lens.

Based on an article in Outdoor Photographer, I have divided my selection into 3 types or tiers:

Tier 1 very wide - in the 8 - 24 mm range, the Tier 2 midrange in the 17 - 70 mm range and the Tier 3 classic 70 - 200 mm telephoto zoom. While Pentax offers a number of telezooms in the Tier 1 and Tier 2 categories, so does Sigma. I have done some online research and read the reviews on the forum, but I am looking to members who have purchased in both the Tier 1 and Tier 2 areas.

I intend to purchase one lens in both the Tier 1 and Tier 2 and want to know which to purchase first. The telephoto can wait, since the 70 -200mm will be mostly for wildlife photography. Landscape photography is new to me and I am seeking user/members advice as to which to purchase first, the very wide Tier 1 or the next step up Tier 2.

The selection of lenses from Sigma with the Pentax mount is quite extensive.
For Tier 1 they offer a 10 - 20mm F3.5, a 10 - 20mm F4-5.6, an 8 -16mm F4.5-5.6 and the 12-24mm F4.5-5.6.

For Tier 2 they offer a 17 - 50mm F2.8, and a 17 - 70mm F2.8 - 4.

Pricing for Sigma seems to be comparable to Pentax and B&H stocks both brands. My thinking is to go with the fixed aperture but I am willing to listen to other opinions.

Thanks in advance for your advice -

Jay

05-12-2012, 04:07 PM   #2
Veteran Member
liukaitc's Avatar

Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: New York
Photos: Albums
Posts: 1,008
I just purchased sigma 8-16. IMO if I want to go wide, I would go extreme. so now I have 8-16 and 16-50. no overlap in focal length.
beside, if you take a look of those 8mm shot by other members, you will be amazed.
of course 10mm is still plenty wide. but I personally would not go with 12mm.
05-12-2012, 04:18 PM - 1 Like   #3
Veteran Member
RioRico's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Limbo, California
Posts: 11,264
Some points:

* If you look at published collections of 'scapes you'll see that *most* were shot within a range equivalent to 18-55mm on APS. A Sigma 17-70, or Sigma or Tamron 17-50, covers that range well, as does the DA16-45. Such kit.lens replacements are popular..

* UWA (ultra wideangle) and FE (fisheye) lenses aren't great for many 'scapes. They shrink the distant, turning mountains into molehills, urban skylines into jagged bumps. I use my Tamron 10-24 @10-12mm for very tight spaces, @20-24mm for 'scapes.

* Sigma has known QC issues. Many owners of Sigma 10-20s are very happy with their lenses -- once they get a good copy, which may take 2-3-4 returns and exchanges. Tamron seems to beat Sigma in QC, and definitely beats Pentax in price and warranty.

* Except in seismically active areas and cyclones, most 'scapes don't move around a lot. AF and high speed (wide aperture) really aren't needed. A cheap solution is to shoot a series in portrait apect with a manual 28mm, and stitch them together into a pano.

My own favorite zooms (old and newish) for 'scapes in your tiers:

1: AF Tamron 10-24/3.5-4.5; AF SMC-DA10-17/3.5-4.5 fisheye (very specialized)
2: MF (also in AF) Vivitar Series 1 (Cosina) 19-35/3.5-4.5; AF SMC-F 35-70/3.5-4.5
3: MF Sears (Tokina) 55-135/3.5; MF Vivitar Series 1 v3 (Kiron) 70-210/2.8-4

As you may notice, I don't bother much with 17-50 and 70-200 AF zooms. Your mileage may vary.
05-12-2012, 06:22 PM   #4
Site Supporter
Vylen's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Sydney, Australia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,250
I recently got the Sigma 10-20 f/3.5 I really like it. That wide-angle goodness is really great for taking photos in tight/small spots. I have yet to use it for landscape photos but I intend to sometime in the future.

05-12-2012, 11:01 PM   #5
Veteran Member
vrrattko's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Photos: Albums
Posts: 734
I used only 16-45 for landscapes, but didn't like it much, maybe it had too high CA and purple fringing. So I moved to old manual focus primes - in sequence: Tamron SP 17/3.5 (mediocre), Pentax 18/3.5 (mediocre/good), Olympus 21/3.5 (very good) and currently my landscape lens is Pentax SMC 20/4 a very good lens, well corrected for distortions, no noticeable chromatic aberations, very sharp in the centre, sharp in the corners stopped down. Only flaw is it flares sometimes - i believe SMC-M 20/4 is bit better in handling the flare. So if you don't mind primes, I can wholeheartly recommend k20/4.
05-13-2012, 12:22 AM - 2 Likes   #6
Veteran Member
sterretje's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Roodepoort, South Africa
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,534
For the reasons RioRico gave, I'm not a strong believer in UWA zooms for landscapes; I used to use 28mm (my widest lens; basically just wide) on film for that mostly. Where I think UWAs will work well is for architecture (both indoors and outdoors).

My style has changed a bit since those days and I now shoot landscapes with the FA31Ltd on APSc (basically normal filed-of-view); from your collection I would start with the 28mm and see how you like it for landscapes; if it's not wide enough you can stitch two or more images together or indeed buy a lens starting somewhere between 16 and 20mm (18-55, 17-70, 16-45 or Sigma/Tamron equivalents).

Maybe interesting: Why you Need a Telephoto Zoom Lens for Landscape Photography
05-13-2012, 01:14 AM   #7
Veteran Member
RioRico's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Limbo, California
Posts: 11,264
QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
+1. This is forcing a re-think of what to haul in my carry-bag on my upcoming Central America drive. I may need to add a longer lens in the range suggested by the article: 70-210mm. (The DA18-250 is great, but not for high-detail far 'scapes.) My best glass there is heavy: Vivitar-Kiron 70-210/3.5 (880g). My smallest is the Sears-Samyang 80-200/4 (590g). But my lightest is the FA100-300 (silver; 380g), so that will probably be my long-landscape lens. Oh, my bag is gonna be stuffed...
05-13-2012, 01:23 AM - 1 Like   #8
Site Supporter
Vylen's Avatar

Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Sydney, Australia
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 1,250
Unsurprisingly, it all depends on what sort of landscape are you going to take. As previously mentioned, if you're taking photos where there's things like mountains or buildings in the horizon, you would want a long zoom to "compress" the perspective. But, if you're taking photos where the main subject are fields (essentially the ground and things immediately infront of you) then something wider makes sense.

That said, increase your lens repertoire and experiment!

05-13-2012, 02:46 AM   #9
Veteran Member
vrrattko's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Photos: Albums
Posts: 734
QuoteOriginally posted by sterretje Quote
For the reasons RioRico gave, I'm not a strong believer in UWA zooms for landscapes; I used to use 28mm (my widest lens; basically just wide) on film for that mostly. Where I think UWAs will work well is for architecture (both indoors and outdoors).

My style has changed a bit since those days and I now shoot landscapes with the FA31Ltd on APSc (basically normal filed-of-view); from your collection I would start with the 28mm and see how you like it for landscapes; if it's not wide enough you can stitch two or more images together or indeed buy a lens starting somewhere between 16 and 20mm (18-55, 17-70, 16-45 or Sigma/Tamron equivalents).

Maybe interesting: Why you Need a Telephoto Zoom Lens for Landscape Photography
I partly agree with that....some of my best landscapes and my technically best landscape photos were taken with FA43 and A100/2.8 lenses. However sometimes the dramatic field of view and huge depth of focus are more important than resolution or contrast....and there you find UWA and WA lenses invaluable. Of course they will never match the performance of standard or short telephotos, AFAIK even Ansel Adams used telephotos for his lanscapes
Btw. I forgot to mention one special lens I used for couple of months - Samyang 14/2.8 UMC ....very impressive lens
05-13-2012, 09:25 AM   #10
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tumbleweed, Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 5,107
QuoteOriginally posted by RioRico Quote
+1. This is forcing a re-think of what to haul in my carry-bag on my upcoming Central America drive. I may need to add a longer lens in the range suggested by the article: 70-210mm. (The DA18-250 is great, but not for high-detail far 'scapes.) My best glass there is heavy: Vivitar-Kiron 70-210/3.5 (880g). My smallest is the Sears-Samyang 80-200/4 (590g). But my lightest is the FA100-300 (silver; 380g), so that will probably be my long-landscape lens. Oh, my bag is gonna be stuffed...
QuoteOriginally posted by Vylen Quote
Unsurprisingly, it all depends on what sort of landscape are you going to take. As previously mentioned, if you're taking photos where there's things like mountains or buildings in the horizon, you would want a long zoom to "compress" the perspective. But, if you're taking photos where the main subject are fields (essentially the ground and things immediately infront of you) then something wider makes sense.

That said, increase your lens repertoire and experiment!
QuoteOriginally posted by vrrattko Quote
I partly agree with that....some of my best landscapes and my technically best landscape photos were taken with FA43 and A100/2.8 lenses. However sometimes the dramatic field of view and huge depth of focus are more important than resolution or contrast....and there you find UWA and WA lenses invaluable. Of course they will never match the performance of standard or short telephotos, AFAIK even Ansel Adams used telephotos for his lanscapes
Btw. I forgot to mention one special lens I used for couple of months - Samyang 14/2.8 UMC ....very impressive lens
In many respects, I can't agree with these strongly enough. I started out wide - very wide, and now I am coming in to the pretty long focal lengths for landscapes. I picked up an 85/f2.8 for the long end, and am thinking that maybe a 200 or 300 will be my last lens. Also, for landscapes - f4 is sufficiently fast, you really do NOT need f2.8. That said, a tripod is a really good investment (along with a head that pans level).

I have noticed that up in Alaska, the scenery is just so large, that it is breathtaking in all respects. This moves you automatically to the wider angle lenses. However, unless you want long skinny stitches, you actually need to get closer, to some degree. Also, regardless of how wide a lens you have - you will stitch, even with a fisheye (given the right scene).

05-13-2012, 10:06 AM   #11
Pentaxian




Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Eureka, CA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,977
I have both a zoom and prime kits for landscape photography. My zoom landscape kit consists of the following lenses: DA 10-17, DA 16-45, FA 24-90, and the F 70-210. The 16-45 and 24-90 get the most use, with the 24-90 getting the most use of all. I use zooms when I need quick access to many different focal ranges, so the fact that these two lenses overlap is a tremendous convenience for me, as both lenses allow access to both wide and telephoto ranges, and I can use whichever lens is most useful for the type of landscape I'm confronted with. I don't agree that there is a specific focal range for landscapes in general, or that wide angles are better for landscapes than telephotos, or vice versa. It depends on the type of landscape you're trying to photograph, the effect you're trying to capture, and on weather conditions. Ultrawides can be useful when you have dramatic skies or when you're in a very tight place. I find Angel Lake in Nevada, for instance, to be too tight even for the DA 10-17. But when I was in Canyonlands, Arches, and San Juan Mountains, I found the DA 12-24 too wide; which is a major reason I end up selling the 12-24 and replacing it with the 16-45. I could probably be content taking at least 95% of my landscape shots between 15mm and 90mm. There are compelling shots that can be taken at longer or wider ranges; but those tend to be exceptions to the general rule.

If I were starting a zoom landscape kit, I would start with a standard range zoom, like the DA 16-45 (or a 17-70) and build from there, depending on your needs. Keep in mind that short range zooms tend to have more consistent performance across their entire zoom range, particularly in terms of border to border sharpness, which is important for landscapes. That's one thing I appreciate about the DA 16-45: it has the best border to border sharpness of any zoom lens I've ever used, better even than the DA 12-24 (which is well-reputed in that respect). Having never used any of the 17-70s (whether Pentax or Sigma), I can't comment on how well they would perform in terms of focal range consistency. But often with longer range zoom lenses, you can run into poor corner to corner performance at either the long or short end of the lens, and diminishing resolution across the whole frame toward the long end.
05-13-2012, 12:59 PM   #12
Pentaxian
cali92rs's Avatar

Join Date: May 2011
Location: Long Beach, CA
Posts: 3,346
I know this was stated above, but I just would like to reiterate, an ultrawide is generally used to accentuate depth and distort perception. Think Dirty Harrys 44 magnum barrel in your face.
For my money a good normalish-short telephoto zoom is fine for landscapes. They don't even need to be the expensive fast zooms because you are going to step down to f8-f16 anyway.
05-14-2012, 01:14 AM   #13
Pentaxian
hoanpham's Avatar

Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Strand
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 1,366
I will try out the pentax A24-50/4 with a heavy tripod for landscape.
Normal uses had been proved to be very good.
05-14-2012, 02:55 AM   #14
Veteran Member
vrrattko's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2010
Photos: Albums
Posts: 734
QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
In many respects, I can't agree with these strongly enough. I started out wide - very wide, and now I am coming in to the pretty long focal lengths for landscapes. I picked up an 85/f2.8 for the long end, and am thinking that maybe a 200 or 300 will be my last lens. Also, for landscapes - f4 is sufficiently fast, you really do NOT need f2.8. That said, a tripod is a really good investment (along with a head that pans level).

I have noticed that up in Alaska, the scenery is just so large, that it is breathtaking in all respects. This moves you automatically to the wider angle lenses. However, unless you want long skinny stitches, you actually need to get closer, to some degree. Also, regardless of how wide a lens you have - you will stitch, even with a fisheye (given the right scene).

I agree if you plan to take photos of vast open spaces than there's not a problem with longer focal lenghts for landscapes, because there are not obstructions. However what happens if you like to take a photo of os some scenery in limited space - like small canyon or cave for example? Telephoto won't help you there much. I did some landscapes in scotland with 100mm and 300mm lens..300mm was absolutely impractical because you really need vast space for such photos - I'm speaking of tens of kilometres. 100mm was okay, but my object was approx 3 km away and the background maybe 30km far . So for 200, 300mm lens were really talking about some huge vast open spaces.....and that may be quite a problem. But on the other hand going ultrawide in open landscape is also usually at the expense of optical quality. 20mm + lenses suit we well - the real question is how to position the camera in relation to foreground and background.

Last edited by vrrattko; 05-14-2012 at 03:11 AM.
05-14-2012, 06:23 AM   #15
Loyal Site Supporter




Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Tumbleweed, Arizona
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 5,107
One image comes to mind - a shot of the San Diego downtown city skyline at dusk. Location, location and location along with timing. During the day it looks terrible, with houses in the neighborhood and the scene way too distant. However, at dusk with the sun just barley down, the lights of downtown on and the very distant scenery - well defined, a long lens is able to essentially shoot over the muddled foreground and capture a really great view. You are only talking a few degrees wide at 300mm, so in a crowded area, the long lens also works when you are able to see the shot you want to frame and exclude the 99% that surrounds it.

Wide angle pulls in the foreground, telephoto allows its exclusion. It all comes down the the shot, location, timing, the composition and the tools that you have to work with.

Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
f2.8, k-5, k-mount, lenses, mm, pentax, pentax lens, purchase, range, sigma, slr lens, spotmatic
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
P52-3-46 - Landscape - Portrait Landscape jmschrei Weekly Photo Challenges 11 06-13-2011 12:32 AM
Landscape photography.... Best lenses? FunkyMonk Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 20 04-27-2011 05:40 PM
kx for landscape kuau Pentax DSLR Discussion 14 07-17-2010 06:03 PM
Lenses for Architecture + Landscape jcleary47 Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 14 12-24-2007 01:03 AM
Why long range lenses for landscape shots? Photochop Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 5 04-03-2007 07:09 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 07:57 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top