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01-20-2008, 04:26 PM   #1
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First post: looking for wide angle advice and more

I am needing to get back into SLR photography after many years in the wilderness of point-and-shoot. Way back in the day I used Pentax bodies and developed my own photos. I am keen on sticking with Pentax since the K10D offers so much for so little. I need some help deciding if this is the right way forward. I live in Ireland where there is not one single vendor of Pentax cameras, a situation I cannot comprehend. So there is no way I can try out cameras across the brands. I would be buying from the UK via the net, sight unseen. I have barely even used an SLR for years, except occasional shots snapped from EOS-type cameras. In other words, my hands-on experience sucks!

This will not be a professional (eg: paid) enterprise so keeping down cost is important. I simply could not afford to spend a couple of grand on glass.

I have a repetitive strain disorder that affects my hands so the lighter a camera the better. I realise this contraindicates the K10D but would I be happy with anything less? For me the image stabilisation would very much help my ability to get the shot. As far as I know there is no camera significantly lighter than would do the job.

When considering a lens I need to balance cost, weight and image quality. Most of my shooting will benefit from wide angle: architecture, indoor events, creative full-frame composition. For the same reason I need something rather fast, even if the sharpness is not totally there wide open (I don't expect the impossible). I'd like to consider only auto-focus lenses, since shooting with small DOF in low light would tax my manual abilities, I assume.

After doing a lot of reading here and throughout the net, I started by considering the Pentax 50mm f/1.4 SMC P-FA. This weighs the same as the kit lens but obviously has stellar IQ and light capture. However I don't think an effective 80mm is going to do it for me capturing events in smaller halls. (Likely I need this lens as a second one... later.)

Next I looked at the Pentax 20mm f/2.8 SMC P-FA, much-lauded in threads where it comes up. But this seems completely unobtainable, and if I find it maybe too expensive? Sources?

More available is the Pentax 21mm f/3.2 SMC P-DA which has the major advantage of being tiny and light. But f/3.2 is a long way down the scale... how will this function in a dark hall? The prices I see top 500 so it would have to be my only lens for a while. It had better be a perfect fit!

The Sigma 20mm f/1.8 EX DG Macro weighs twice as much as the Pentax 20mm. This might be a decisive factor for me... I don't really know. Reports are mixed on it, though I think that's mostly due to focus problems on bodies other than Pentax? I would B]really[/B] like the macro functionality for capturing items for website clients, but am concerned about the loud focus mechanism for shooting quiet performances.

I am thinking instead I may as well get the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC MACRO. It's cheaper and lighter, gives me 2mm more on the wide side and would replace the kit lens as an all-in-one. Thoughts on this versus the other options? Is it quieter than the lens above?

Willing to consider a non-SLR, I did read up on the Ricoh Caplio GX100, which looks good on paper but seems to have very poor image quality at anything but low ISO. Another alternative, the Sigma DP-1, is still vapourware. Any other cameras I should look at?

In the meantime I am off to find a block weighing 1.3kg so I can see if this is physically feasible for me at all.

01-20-2008, 04:45 PM   #2
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Hi

First, welcome to the forum!

If you are looking for a light DSLR, have a look at Olympus E410, which I think is (was?) the smallest/lightest DSLR on the market.

Re: wide angle lens, how about Pentax DA14/2.8? A 20mm lens on DSLR will give you the FoV of a 30mm lens on 35mm SLR, so not really that wide.

cheers
Kenny
01-20-2008, 05:44 PM   #3
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I think you are going to get a lot of different advise, so I will try to point you in the right direction, and remain neutral (or as neutral as a 25+ year shooter of pentax gear can be)


You indicate shooting interior and archetecture and wide angle.

Without wanting to slight any olympus owner, If that is your main area of interest I would never buy any 4/3 system, the smaller sensor seriously limits wide angle possibilities.

You will see a lot of people here debating between a pentax 12-24mm, sigma 10-20mm and 10-17mm fisheye,

You need to remember that with a 10mm on a pentax DSLR it will have the same field of view as a 15mm on film. Switch to a 4/3 system like olympus, and you need to get a 7mm-14mm zoom for the same field of view. Yes it is available, BUT it costs more tha a K10D, and the sigma 10-20mm lens combined.

Regardless of how small the camera is, that shoudl be secondary to some extent to being able to get lenses that actually suit your shooting.

You might want to look also at some of the 6mP cameras with smaller bodies perhaps an *istDS or DL. I think even the K100 is smaller than K10.

The real difference is only how big you might want to blow up a picture.

Don't get me wrong, the K10 is a great camera, but it is bigger. Personally I like that but I have a habit of putting a 300 or 400mm lens on it and I like the bigger body for that, My *istD almost disappears behind the lens.

Also the 6Megapixle cameras also have better low light performance (ISO 3200) again if you are concentrating on interiors that may be better for you if you don't indend to use a flash.


I also note you have a lot of primes planned. and as with the difference between 4/3 and the pentax ASP-C sensor which is 16 x 24 mm, you need to consider that you may need something wider. The widest thing you have listed is 18mm. for film this would be very wide, but on the smaller sensor this is like a 28mm. YOu will want something wider. For me, 24mm on film was never wide enough.

I now have a sigma 10-20, which would be equivelent to 15-30mm on film. I shot about 1500 frames with this on a recient trip to france and was able to take many shots that I could not take when I lived there 12 years ago.

You should seriously look at an ultra wide zoom.


Since you are planning a fair number of primes, and your total kit out weight will be quite high, although what you are holding in your hands is not. I guess this will be perhaps more of an issue based upon the type of physical limits your injury has placed on you. A 10-20 will be heavier than a prime, but lighter overall in your kit.

Regardless of final choices, I hope this has helped
01-20-2008, 07:19 PM   #4
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Considering your hands problem a good option is K100D (does have shake reduction) and DA21, about 800g all up including batteries. Don't be overly concerned with its f/3.2; if you consider 2.8 is ok then 3.2 just needs 1/3rd more shutter. 1/6sec is not going to be drastically worse than 1/8sec.

01-20-2008, 08:56 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by kjao Quote
If you are looking for a light DSLR, have a look at Olympus E410, which I think is (was?) the smallest/lightest DSLR on the market.
I think it still is, but I would suck up the 85g difference to get the better grip and image stabilisation on the E-510. But then doesn't the FourThirds system have 50% less sensor than that on the Pentax?

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
You need to remember that with a 10mm on a pentax DSLR it will have the same field of view as a 15mm on film. Switch to a 4/3 system like olympus, and you need to get a 7mm-14mm zoom for the same field of view. Yes it is available, BUT it costs more tha a K10D, and the sigma 10-20mm lens combined.
Ah yes, just what I was thinking! Though I'm not sure if ultra-wide angle is a requirement. I'll have to shoot a bit to see, no doubt. In any case I'd want something with as little distortion as possible. And if I don't want ultra-wide, there's less choice with Olympus lenses.

In terms of weight there is no comparison though. The K10D with Sigma 18-50mm (effective 28-75) is 1240g. The Olympus E-510 kit (effective 28-84) is 650 g. But the Sigma is faster and macro-capable.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I also note you have a lot of primes planned.
I was listing possible options but don't plan on a lot of lenses... famous last words!

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
The widest thing you have listed is 18mm. for film this would be very wide, but on the smaller sensor this is like a 28mm. YOu will want something wider. For me, 24mm on film was never wide enough.

I now have a sigma 10-20, which would be equivelent to 15-30mm on film. I shot about 1500 frames with this on a recient trip to france and was able to take many shots that I could not take when I lived there 12 years ago.

You should seriously look at an ultra wide zoom.
I will consider this!

QuoteOriginally posted by Kguru Quote
Considering your hands problem a good option is K100D (does have shake reduction) and DA21, about 800g all up including batteries. Don't be overly concerned with its f/3.2; if you consider 2.8 is ok then 3.2 just needs 1/3rd more shutter. 1/6sec is not going to be drastically worse than 1/8sec.
True enough. Not sure about the K100D -- it saves me 220g but sometimes I do design work for posters... maybe 5% of my shots could benefit from the extra pixel count on the K10D.

However the Pentax K100D Super kit is 200 euros less than the K10D... money I can put into lenses.

Food for thought all around... thanks everyone!
01-21-2008, 03:36 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
True enough. Not sure about the K100D -- it saves me 220g but sometimes I do design work for posters... maybe 5% of my shots could benefit from the extra pixel count on the K10D.

However the Pentax K100D Super kit is 200 euros less than the K10D... money I can put into lenses.
Since writing that I have checked out all the differences between the two camera. I do not think I would miss the difference between 6mp and 10mp most of the time, and the advantages of smaller file size and reduced noise are nice. I have Noise Ninja and have read (and seen) that with it the ISO 3200 setting is actually usable, getting better low light results than the K10D. I know this would matter to me. The difference in exposure adjustment range and firing speed are not deal breakers.

However, there are two gotchas. I am not sure I care to carry endless supplies of rechargeable NiMH batteries. With the K10D I could do everything I need for typical outings off one charge. Reports on the K100D vary. And the poorer viewfinder might bite me in just those low-light situations where I need the camera to excel.

Hoping this further info will help others.
01-21-2008, 06:18 PM   #7
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Hi rparmar

Re your query:

QuoteQuote:
Most of my shooting will benefit from wide angle: architecture......
If you enjoy photographing the interiors of buildings and prefer a 'rectilinear' image which requires minimal post-processing via software, Sigma's excellent 10-20mm wide-zoom get's my vote.......nothing can match it for sheer value !
Take a look at the following image captured by the Australian forum member Phil (Matix):

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/154307-post4.html

Incidentally, if you have an 'eye' for composing spectacular landscapes, then Sigma's 10-20mm would undoubtedly 'fit the bill' admirably. You'll find some superb examples taken with this lens by clicking on the 'links' below. They are best viewed by selecting either the 'All Sizes' (magnification) icon above each photo or 'Looks better LARGER' option a few lines under the picture:

Best regards
Richard

Emerald Pond on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

gothic symmetry on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Die ganze Welt on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Perurail on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Sunset at the Mount on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Last edited by Confused; 01-21-2008 at 06:41 PM.
01-22-2008, 08:11 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Confused Quote
If you enjoy photographing the interiors of buildings and prefer a 'rectilinear' image which requires minimal post-processing via software, Sigma's excellent 10-20mm wide-zoom get's my vote.......nothing can match it for sheer value !
Take a look at the following image captured by the Australian forum member Phil (Matix):

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/154307-post4.html
Amazing one can get a handheld shot in that environment, though of course there is significant noise in the mids. Regardless I have seen lots of recommendations for this lens, so I have no doubt it is good. I wonder what focal length was used? And if I really need a lens all the way down to 10mm? If I knew the photo was at 15mm, for example, I would not care so much about 10mm.

I can find less info on lenses like the Sigma 15mm f2.8, which might just be wide enough for me given that it's got 2 extra stops. It's 100g lighter but more expensive.

Or there's the Pentax DA 14mm f2.8 which is the same weight as the 10-20 but double the price. Unless it's a lot better quality I'd have to scratch it from my list for that reason.

My initial thinking was towards the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC MACRO as my all-purpose lens, with something to fill in the wide end as an option later. Now I am inclining towards keeping the kit lens and buying a wide-angle immediately, waiting until later to improve the light capture at higher lengths.

You guys are convincing me.

01-22-2008, 10:41 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by rparmar Quote
Amazing one can get a handheld shot in that environment, though of course there is significant noise in the mids. Regardless I have seen lots of recommendations for this lens, so I have no doubt it is good. I wonder what focal length was used? And if I really need a lens all the way down to 10mm? If I knew the photo was at 15mm, for example, I would not care so much about 10mm.

I can find less info on lenses like the Sigma 15mm f2.8, which might just be wide enough for me given that it's got 2 extra stops. It's 100g lighter but more expensive.

Or there's the Pentax DA 14mm f2.8 which is the same weight as the 10-20 but double the price. Unless it's a lot better quality I'd have to scratch it from my list for that reason.

My initial thinking was towards the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX DC MACRO as my all-purpose lens, with something to fill in the wide end as an option later. Now I am inclining towards keeping the kit lens and buying a wide-angle immediately, waiting until later to improve the light capture at higher lengths.

You guys are convincing me.
one question I have regarding any issue with respect to camera weight, and your physical limitations.

while I understand weight can be a problem, size can also be very restrictive, in terms of pressure.

Many years ago, a friend of mine was showing me his new (at the time) Pentax MX. It was the smallest lightest slr on the market at the time.

BUT, it was so small it was hard to hold onto with my hands, which I don't consider all that big. Because it was so small it felt heavier.


as to the 10-20 and focal length used, I wlll look back over 2007 to see what % of my shots were below 15mm since I got my 10-20 at the start of the year this will be fair

Edit note: 12% of all shots taken in 2007 were at 10mm, 20% all shots taken with my 10-20mm sigma

Last edited by Lowell Goudge; 01-22-2008 at 11:07 AM.
01-22-2008, 05:11 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
one question I have regarding any issue with respect to camera weight, and your physical limitations.

while I understand weight can be a problem, size can also be very restrictive, in terms of pressure.

Many years ago, a friend of mine was showing me his new (at the time) Pentax MX. It was the smallest lightest slr on the market at the time.

BUT, it was so small it was hard to hold onto with my hands, which I don't consider all that big. Because it was so small it felt heavier.


as to the 10-20 and focal length used, I wlll look back over 2007 to see what % of my shots were below 15mm since I got my 10-20 at the start of the year this will be fair

Edit note: 12% of all shots taken in 2007 were at 10mm, 20% all shots taken with my 10-20mm sigma
Lowell, I wonder if you have considered Pentax DA 10-17 as compared to Sigma 10-20. Would you consider Pentax DA 10-17 instead of Sigma 10-20? I know that you enjoy your Sigma 10-20 and I want to hear your opinion on Pentax DA 10-17. I am especially interested in Pentax DA 10-17 or Sigma 10-20 as I currently have Tokina 19-35 f/3.5-4.5 and Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 and I want to fill the wider end with a zoom first before I can save up enough for the primes such as the Pentax 21/43/70 as a trio.

Much thanks,
Hin

Last edited by hinman; 01-22-2008 at 05:23 PM.
01-22-2008, 06:12 PM   #11
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Hi again rparmar

The link below should tell you all you need to know:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/149592-post23.html

Click on the image in this link TWICE to magnify the photo and fill your screen......NOW do you want the coverage that this lens can achieve ??

Best regards
Richard

Last edited by Confused; 01-22-2008 at 06:19 PM.
01-22-2008, 06:43 PM   #12
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I shoot real estate interiors myself and find the DA 14mm to be a wonderful lens. The distortion is very well controlled for something that wide- I can see it a tad on the edges, but other than that it's not very noticable at all. the DA 14 is a heavy beast, though- lots of metal in it. I normally shoot with a tripod so that I can throw the aperture to f/11 and not worry bout sharpness or depth of field (to a degree). If you can stand using a tripod, sticking with the kit 18-55 isn't a bad choice, except for it's greater distortion. I only use my DA 14 at f/2.8 when I'm handholding it, and that is usually only 5% of the time when shooting interiors.
01-22-2008, 08:40 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by hinman Quote
Lowell, I wonder if you have considered Pentax DA 10-17 as compared to Sigma 10-20. Would you consider Pentax DA 10-17 instead of Sigma 10-20? I know that you enjoy your Sigma 10-20 and I want to hear your opinion on Pentax DA 10-17. I am especially interested in Pentax DA 10-17 or Sigma 10-20 as I currently have Tokina 19-35 f/3.5-4.5 and Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 and I want to fill the wider end with a zoom first before I can save up enough for the primes such as the Pentax 21/43/70 as a trio.

Much thanks,
Hin
I looked at the 10-17 when I decided on the 10-20 sigma.

main reason was I didn't want a fish eye at the time, still really am noit interested in one.

the sales man tried to push it on me saying that it came with a lens correction software package, but it is bad enough to do perspective correction when I need it, let alone barrel distortion correction also. I just decided it was too much post processing for what I wanted.

in the future I might play with it but when you consider the 10-20 gets 20% of my shots, and another 20% is above 300mm, I's say that I spread the use of lenses around enough now between my 3 main lenses, 10-20, 28-75 F2.8 and 70-200 F2.8 plus 1.4 and 2x TCs. Add on my 300 F4 plus 1,7x AF TC and that's enough for the moment when I travel.

Low light I use primes, 24 f2.5 50f1.4 and 135 F2.5, all MF
01-22-2008, 09:24 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I looked at the 10-17 when I decided on the 10-20 sigma.

main reason was I didn't want a fish eye at the time, still really am not interested in one.

the sales man tried to push it on me saying that it came with a lens correction software package, but it is bad enough to do perspective correction when I need it, let alone barrel distortion correction also. I just decided it was too much post processing for what I wanted.

in the future I might play with it but when you consider the 10-20 gets 20% of my shots, and another 20% is above 300mm, I's say that I spread the use of lenses around enough now between my 3 main lenses, 10-20, 28-75 F2.8 and 70-200 F2.8 plus 1.4 and 2x TCs. Add on my 300 F4 plus 1,7x AF TC and that's enough for the moment when I travel.

Low light I use primes, 24 f2.5 50f1.4 and 135 F2.5, all MF
Much thanks for the input, my current zooms are

1. under planning: Sigma 10-20 (*), Pentax DA 12-24, or Pentax DA 16-45
2. Tokina 19-35 f/3.5-4.5 (loving it)
3. Tamron 28-75 f/2.8 (scheduled tomorrow)
4. Pentax DA 50-200 (loving it)
5. Tamron 70-300 f/4.0 (planned)

and hence I have interest in either the Sigma 10-20 or Pentax 10-17 to fill in the gap for wider ends for zooms. Based on your input, now I have more interest to look into Sigma 10-20 and Pentax DA 12-24 closely. It is more likely I will go for Sigma 10-20 as it is very capable and cost less for a very usable wider end. And I can't afford any of the primes in limited like 21/43/70 as a great limited trio, instead I have the inexpensive manual primes in Vivitar 24mm f/2.8, Vivitar 28mm f/2.5, Jupiter9 85mm f/2.0, super tak 105mm f/2.8, along with my first prime with FA 50 f/1.4 which gets me all interested in primes with great color and contrast compared to zoom.

Much thanks for your thoughtful inputs,
Hin
01-23-2008, 07:40 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
12% of all shots taken in 2007 were at 10mm, 20% all shots taken with my 10-20mm sigma
Interesting stat. Thanks for taking the time to do this... it's fun to know if nothing else!

QuoteOriginally posted by Confused Quote
The link below should tell you all you need to know:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/149592-post23.html

Click on the image in this link TWICE to magnify the photo and fill your screen......NOW do you want the coverage that this lens can achieve ??
I already have that image saved to my hard drive... very useful. (It would be great to have an interior space version as well.) Of course I do want 10mm coverage, but my main question is whether limiting myself to something like 14mm and gaining two stops is a better compromise. I think for me it is... but I am not sure I can afford twice as much for the lens. No decision is ever easy when on a budget!

From everything I've read the Sigma 10-20 is a no-brainer for tripod use or things that stay still. But I will need to grab performers moving in low light interiors, and in situations where a tripod is no good to me... partially because of the added weight in shifting it around a space, partially because I cannot be so distracting in a dance/sound/art performance.

QuoteOriginally posted by clawhamemr Quote
I shoot real estate interiors myself and find the DA 14mm to be a wonderful lens. The distortion is very well controlled for something that wide- I can see it a tad on the edges, but other than that it's not very noticable at all. the DA 14 is a heavy beast, though- lots of metal in it.
Good to hear something about this lens. FWIW, my info has it at 420g, 50g less than the Sigma 10-20mm. Now, if it wasn't twice the cost...
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