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01-28-2008, 07:32 PM   #1
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Cheap ultra wide angle lens?

Currently I can't afford to buy the Sigma 10-20 or Pentax 14mm lens for Ultra wide angle photography. I'm a bit confused by the old lenses and I don't know exactly what's out there to be purchased. Are there any ultra wide angle lenses in the 10-20 range (primes or zooms) that are the cheap (less than $200), used, manual focus variety? Or do I have to wait to buy a more expensive new lens?

01-28-2008, 07:34 PM   #2
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I don't normally promote stores on line, but I found this site and was wondering what the russian lens quality was like

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01-28-2008, 07:36 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I don't normally promote stores on line, but I found this site and was wondering what the russian lens quality was like

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I've heard high praises about the 16mm.

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01-28-2008, 08:46 PM   #4
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I think you should save it up and get the one you want, dont' settle with cheap manual lens. I'm not talking about the convinience of autofocus. It's the IQ difference that you will get. Russian lenses were good for their time, but now, especially at extreme wide angle, i don't think they can compete well with lenses nowadays.

Since you're set on the Sigma 10-20 or DA 14, I bet you that even if you buy the cheap lens, it's just quick fix for your LBA. Eventually, you will buy the Sig or DA, and in turn the cheap old lens becomes the liability.

The only time to justify for the quick fix would be you want to try out certain focal length. Even then, if you purchase the new, modern one, you can return it easily in case it doesn't fit your style.

Sometimes you pay more to regret less .

01-28-2008, 10:07 PM   #5
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if you want to see what the russian lens can do vi can post up a bunch of shots

i use it alot, it works very well, and for 150 bones you cant go wrong (thats with shipping)


also the sigma is a rectalinear lens, totaly different view than a fisheye
01-29-2008, 04:34 AM   #6
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I have got a Tokina 17/3.5 manual focus (and manual aperture) lens and it is quite good as long as you watch out for flare.

I have got some photos here that you are welcome to have a look:
Index of /~kennyjao/photography/photos/tokina17

cheers
Kenny
01-29-2008, 05:18 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by aegisphan Quote
I think you should save it up and get the one you want, dont' settle with cheap manual lens. I'm not talking about the convinience of autofocus. It's the IQ difference that you will get. Russian lenses were good for their time, but now, especially at extreme wide angle, i don't think they can compete well with lenses nowadays.

Since you're set on the Sigma 10-20 or DA 14, I bet you that even if you buy the cheap lens, it's just quick fix for your LBA. Eventually, you will buy the Sig or DA, and in turn the cheap old lens becomes the liability.

The only time to justify for the quick fix would be you want to try out certain focal length. Even then, if you purchase the new, modern one, you can return it easily in case it doesn't fit your style.

Sometimes you pay more to regret less .

I believe your response is too generalized. Perhaps the OP should have asked for inexpensive. Cheap implies poor quality even at the price offered.

Remember quality is a function of performance over price.

I think we need to see comparisons of some of these lenses to today's modern ones, before declaring them a waste of time.

If the OP gets one and shoots several thousand photos over the next year with it, has fun and learns something along the way has he really wasted his money?

For that matter, he can look on the used market, and maybe get the sigma for a better price, assuming someone bought it and for what ever reason didn't like it.

I agree the Sigma 10-20 is a great lens, I really have enjoyed mine, but there are other options out there to explore.
01-29-2008, 06:00 AM   #8
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I'm in basic agreement with Lowell here on a lens like this. The Zenitar fisheye is reported to be a great lens and many have shot with it for years. There are a few other Fisheye's out there that will sell on the used market from time to time at $100-150 that are 30 years old and still do a fine job.

Several Zenitar owners have learned and shot with this lens and then a year or 2 later decide it was one area of photography they wanted to explore further so added a 10-20 or 12-24 to their kit to enhance the options in the camera bag. Salty's thread the other day is a perfect example of this having added a 12-24mm to his kit. Most don't sell the fisheye lens. For under $200, you can learn how to shoot wide and see if it's an area you might want to expand your lens lineup down the road.

01-29-2008, 06:58 AM   #9
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There is also the Tamron 17/3.5 Adaptall lens, which is a good performer and extremely well made. They tend to go for ~175-200. The K/M Adaptall mount is $30 new at B&H.

The problem with film-era ultra wide angles is that they have way more glass than necessary for an APS-C sensor. As a result they tend to be prone to flare, as well as having somewhat lower IQ as a result of the compromises inherent in their production. Dare I say it, the kit zoom is at least as good as most old ultra-wide primes at the wide end, although it suffers from serious vignetting at 18mm.
01-29-2008, 08:34 AM   #10
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Original Poster
Thanks for all the responses. I'm not quite sure what I want to do yet. The sigma 17-70 is my main lens right now, so I actually have quite a wide angle to play with. I like the fish eye effect and the Russian lens may be a possibility. I really want an ultra wide for traveling- we're planning a trip to Belize next January that it would be perfect for. I guess we'll have to see how money goes in the next year...
01-29-2008, 11:01 AM   #11
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I did use lots of cheap old lenses on my dSLR in the past. Some were good, some weren't. I know that inexpensive doesn't mean poor performance for these old lenses.
However, since the OP is interested in 10-20 range, I have to say this is the range that even now, modern optics still struggle to control all the common issues (vignetting, CA, distortion,...). And I assumed from his original post that he's looking for non-fish ultra wide, thus I made my suggestion. If he's interested in fish-eye, then Zenitar or Peleng would do.
Modern optics offer better coating and design gear toward digital sensor. Old lenses have larger air to glass ratio so flare is also a noticeable problem. Hence, many old stellar performers on film don't do as well on digital format.
In addition, if he wants to explore this range, I would suggest new glass, since he can return and gets full refund easily at his local store in case he doesn't like this range.

In all, I just want to make myself clearer. I do have respect for old lenses (I, myself, have several in the kit). But if the OP ask whether to buy old lens or save up for new one in 10-20 range, I would suggest new.

QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
I believe your response is too generalized. Perhaps the OP should have asked for inexpensive. Cheap implies poor quality even at the price offered.

Remember quality is a function of performance over price.

I think we need to see comparisons of some of these lenses to today's modern ones, before declaring them a waste of time.

If the OP gets one and shoots several thousand photos over the next year with it, has fun and learns something along the way has he really wasted his money?

For that matter, he can look on the used market, and maybe get the sigma for a better price, assuming someone bought it and for what ever reason didn't like it.

I agree the Sigma 10-20 is a great lens, I really have enjoyed mine, but there are other options out there to explore.
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