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08-13-2012, 09:00 AM   #1
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Kit lens for landscapes?

I have a bit of a predicament and looking for some opinions.

After trying and buying/selling lots of lenses over the past couple years, I have finally settled on a lens selection that I am very happy with. The only focal length I am lacking now is a nice wide angle lens. I've done my research, and have pretty much settled on the DA 21 Ltd. My second/other choice is the DA 15 Ltd.

But before I go and spend that kind of money, I get to wondering if my choice of focal length is going to suit me well. I hate to spend 500+ on a lens only to find I don't like it. So in my strange thought process, I am thinking that I should possibly get myself a kit lens so I can try/see what the different focal lenghts are like in my own world. I would likely pick up a DA 18-55 WR kit lens to try.

I've read through the reviews of this lens, and they haven't really scared me away. I just get to wondering if I am going to be really displeased with the WR kit lens since I am so used to the beautiful IQ of my current lenses (in my sig).

Any thoughts or opinions?

08-13-2012, 09:09 AM   #2
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You could get the DA15 and 21 from Lens Rentals.com and compare 'em. I find my DA21 is a pretty good focal length for landscapes but the lens is not really known for sharpness (though contrast and color is good). I don't have any personal experience with the DA15 but like what I've seen on the forums.

To further complicate things, I tried a Sigma 17-50 the other day and it seemed like a nice lens. Much larger than a nice little prime though.

I have a feeling the kit is going to be a letdown, but on the other hand, it would give you a WR backup for rainy days.
08-13-2012, 09:10 AM   #3
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Have you considered the DA 12-24? It has very good IQ, and you can choose 21 or 15 as you wish. On my Flickr site there are a few snaps with it, I think. If not, let me know and I'll send you an image or two.
08-13-2012, 09:21 AM   #4
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The 18-55 can be quite a surprising lens actually:











Taken with DA 18-55 II.

08-13-2012, 10:08 AM   #5
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Albert - yes, I have considered the 12-24, but I don't know if I want to spend that kind of money for a WA yet. I guess I should also explain that I really don't think I have a lot of opportunity to shoot sweeping landscapes as I do 99% of my shooting at home here in the mountains. I am looking at something wider than my 35mm for the odd occasion that I would be out and about where I might be able to capture a nice sweeping farm scene. So with that said, I am kind of leaning to trying out a wider lens than I have to see if I would in fact use it enough to justify a large purchase.

Johnbee - very impressive! I've had a couple "slower zooms" in the past, and going in I realize that the lens would need to be stopped down some and to try not to shoot at the zoom extremes. All this would be OK since I would likely be stopping down for more depth of field for landscape shots anyway. Your sample images are very nice and giving me some confidence in trying this lens out.

Thanks for the help so far folks!
08-13-2012, 10:13 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by sb in ak Quote
I have a feeling the kit is going to be a letdown, but on the other hand, it would give you a WR backup for rainy days.
That is my main concern right now that the WR kit lens would be a such a letdown to the point that I am back to where I am right now plus having another lens that I need to sell.
08-13-2012, 10:18 AM   #7
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the wr kit isn't bad at all as a kit lens goes (certainly win's on a value for money proposition)
it's best where you already have a lens that is better though (around 35mm)

it is capable of producing good images though (provided the photographer is - i'm not always ) - some samples with FL and F stop info

18mm f11.0


18mm f11


this was a 5 shot long exposure HDR at 55mm I believe


42.5mm f7.1


18MM F4.5
08-13-2012, 10:29 AM   #8
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Some great examples Eddie - thanks. I am most interested in the wider end photos since I already have 35mm and 50mm primes. My main use would be in the 18- 35 range.

Also to add - I did have the DA 16-45 a while back that I was generally satisfied with as far a IQ, but to buy that lens again now used would be 2.5x the cost of the 18-55 WR lens.

08-13-2012, 10:36 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
Some great examples Eddie - thanks. I am most interested in the wider end photos since I already have 35mm and 50mm primes. My main use would be in the 18- 35 range.

Also to add - I did have the DA 16-45 a while back that I was generally satisfied with as far a IQ, but to buy that lens again now used would be 2.5x the cost of the 18-55 WR lens.
16-45 is the better lens, but not by as much as you would think

i added the ones at 18 because i knew you were looking there, though mostly i seem to shoot landscapes proper around 28-50 myself. the only time i used the 18-55wr extensively is single in february last year (where these came from)

my flickr has 2 sets for it (with many less than inspiring mid winter blahs shots)

Single in February - a set on Flickr

February Alternates - a set on Flickr

this hdr would have been more around 20-24


08-13-2012, 10:42 AM   #10
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Stan, one of my great landscape lenses (really a great all around'er) is the Sigma 15~30mm EX - this lens satisfies my wide angle to semi-wide angle needs by covering the 15mm wide end and everything in between through 28mm and up to 30. This lens is very very [VERY] sharp, as sharp as pentax [star] glass and resolves extremely high. Another bonus with this lens is it is a FF lens so it is only one of a couple of wide lenses that work with FF bodies for pentax. Looking at the reviews here on the forum, it is rated a 9.67 (puts it near the top of all lenses in the database here) and that is not including my review of "10" which is not in there yet.

I probably got you all pumped up for it, now for the downside - there were very few of them produced for K-mount and it is pretty hard to find.

I guess I am with Canada_Rockies on this one, maybe pick up something that covers both focal-lengths you mentioned.
08-13-2012, 10:51 AM   #11
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FYR: Here are some shot with the 15~30 I mentioned:








If you want to borrow mine for a week or so let me know and I will send it up to you...
08-13-2012, 11:20 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stormtech Quote
That is my main concern right now that the WR kit lens would be a such a letdown to the point that I am back to where I am right now plus having another lens that I need to sell.
Maybe it will be so good you'll wonder why you have all those other lenses. Still might be selling but making more money.

I know my DA 16-45 is better than my DA 18-55 WR, but I have never seen comparison tests after using software correction. I would not be surprised to find that correction levels the playing field.
08-13-2012, 11:34 AM   #13
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The kit lens is pretty good for landscapes, since landscapes you're going to stop down to F5.6-F11.

Full resolution pictures linked below (don't want to imgtag them).

http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6089/6138645519_a7f84241f4_o.jpg <-F8
http://farm7.staticflickr.com/6203/6060681385_d7154e6477_o.jpg <-F11

Pixel peeing isn't it's forte, but it holds well in my opinion.

For comparison - compare the first picture above to this:
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7145/6562547761_0a758f37e7_o.jpg <-F8 at 16mm on Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6

The Sigma is sharper in the center, but once you get towards the sides, they aren't so different.

(All shots done with manual focusing with 10x magnification in LV, so they are definitely in focus in the center).
08-13-2012, 12:26 PM   #14
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Don't overlook the possibility of taking several shots and using stitching software to create a panorama. If you don't shoot wide angle landscapes often it might be the best way to go. The bonus is you get a higher resolution image once your stitching is complete.
08-13-2012, 01:17 PM   #15
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Joe - those images with the Sigma are fantastic - the last one especially pops! More LBA now with that lens especially since it is hard to find. And thanks so much for the generous offer to borrow the lens!

Just1moredave - agreed about software correction. I usually run all my raw images through DxO and it did wonders with the 16-45. I assume I would have similar results with the 18-55.

Thanks for the high Res images JimDesu. While I am fanatical about sharpness with my long lenses where I find it critical for good wildlife images, I am thinking that that kind of sharpness isn't really as important for landscape scenes. The onesyou posted are just great and I would be more than satisfied with results like that.
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