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09-19-2012, 04:41 PM   #1
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Ideas on lens selection.

Hi all! I am a semi pro landscape photographer that has been featured in National Geographic and Canadian Geographic. I am looking at several lenses for landscape photography and wanted to know if anyone had any experience with any that I am looking at. I am currently using theTamron AF 17-50mm F2.8 XR LD Aspherical IF SP as my go to lens. Here are some examples of what I am taking. I am not quite satisfied with the sharpness on the borders and extreme borders and am looking at primes, but am finding that primes will not fit every occasion while I am out in the field.

jasonwilde on deviantART
jasonwilde on deviantART
jasonwilde on deviantART

Here is what I have narrowed down to for new lens selection.

Pentax SMC DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED

Pentax SMC-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited

Pentax SMC-FA* 24mm f/2 AL [IF]

Tokina RMC 17mm f/3.5

Sigma AF 24mm f/2.8 macro

Sigma AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC

I have read all the technical analysis over at and understand what I am looking for, but I wanted to get some personal opinions.

09-19-2012, 05:38 PM   #2
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Welcome Aboard. Heck of a first post. I don't have the experience you do and have not tried the sigmas but when I made my recent purchase for the same purpose I did a lot of research and ended up selecting a lens not on your list. The DA15 Limited is one I think you might look at if you haven't already.
09-19-2012, 05:49 PM   #3
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Welcome - and thanks for sharing those stunning pics!

While you wait for others to chime in, here is an in-depth review of a couple lenses for comparison sake:

DA* 16-50mm vs. Sigma and Tamron 17-50mm F2.8 Comparison - Introduction -
09-19-2012, 11:12 PM   #4
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I assume for landscapes you're mostly using the Tamron 17-50 at the wide end, correct? I know what you mean about the corners from my own experience. If you like the focal length range, the Sigma 17-50/2.8 is supposed to be better in corner sharpness.

You may also want to look at some of the ultra-wide zooms. The Sigma 12-24 is probably the best of the bunch optically, but because it has a large protruding front element, filters are a pain. There's an adapter ring that goes over the attached lens hood which is threaded for 82mm filters but you get a lot of vignetting. So your main option is to use gel insert filters that slide in at the back of the lens. I don't believe there's such a thing as a gel circular polarizer.

Some good reading on the ultra-wide options:

DA 12-24mm vs Sigma and Tamron 10-24mm Comparison - Introduction -
Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 vs F4.0-5.6 - Introduction -

09-20-2012, 10:57 AM   #5
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There are some ultra-wide zooms in the marketplace now.

I've rented the DA 21mm, and while I liked the lens it didn't fit what I wanted to do. If I were doing landscape etc, I'd be tempted by it because it's so small and portable.
I'd like to use the Sigma 24mm macro. I've rented the 28mm Macro and liked it for indoor close-range shots, it's really nice. It is huge, though.

I've got to think the 10-17 Fisheye might have a place in that kit, too.
09-20-2012, 12:14 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Docrwm Quote
The DA15 Limited is one I think you might look at if you haven't already.
+1 agree with this. Excellent lens, a joy to use, brilliant for landscapes.

DA 21 is also excellent too for your purposes although not nearly as wide as DA 15.

QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
I'd like to use the Sigma 24mm macro. I've rented the 28mm Macro and liked it for indoor close-range shots, it's really nice. It is huge, though.
The Sigma 24mm f/2.8 macro is the old legacy prime from the 1980s that is well-regarded and fairly inexpensive. It is definitely not huge (you're probably thinking about the new Sigma 24mm f/1.8 which is really big); it is not that much larger than a FA 50. Anyway, the only issue I have with my Sigma 24 f/2.8 is that it flares pretty easily, so you need a good hood. Otherwise it is sharp, sharp, sharp!!

It sounds like you might be happiest with a DA 12-24 if you can find one for sale.
09-20-2012, 07:34 PM   #7
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Wide for landscape

For landscape I find the DA 12-24 better than the DA 15 LTD, even stopped down to f11. The 15 is not sharp at infinity at the edges and the 12-24 is. I know I will get a lot of flack for this! I tried two copies of the 15 and they were both the same. I love the rendering (better color), size, build, flare resistance, etc, so I am sorry about the edges! The 15 may be a bit sharper at the center but the 12-24 kills it at the edges. I realize for some (most?) this does not matter and the 15 would be awesome. I looked at the OP's images and feel edge sharpness may be important to him so this is why I have chimed in. He also mentioned this in his post.

I think the problem is field curvature and there is apparently a lot of it with the 15. I would like to try the Samyang 14 for sharpness across the frame (apparently the DA 14 also suffers here?). My DA 17-70 is better across the frame on the wide end than 3 16-45's and 2 16-50's that I have tried. But I love my FA 20, FA35, and FA 50 1.4 stopped down for landscape-they are very sharp across the frame and easy to MF on a tripod. They appear to have less field curvature and so I can get better DOF opened up a bit wider than other lenses I've tried (I have not tried the DA 21). I don't see a lot of discussion about this, and maybe I am way off base but this is what I have experienced, and I show large prints in galleries so I am a SPP (super pixel peeper)!

Good luck on your search!
09-20-2012, 07:53 PM   #8
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Pentax SMC DA* 16-50mm f/2.8 ED: Not going to be sharper than the Tamron 17-50. Might render better though. And has WR.

Pentax SMC-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited: Not going to be sharper than the Tamron 17-50. Might render better though. Is a nice focal length for me.

Pentax SMC-FA* 24mm f/2 AL [IF]: Sharper than the Tamron 17-50. Good lens.

Tokina RMC 17mm f/3.5: Not a clue.

Sigma AF 24mm f/2.8 macro: Not a clue.

Sigma AF 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 DC: Definitely not as good as the Tamron 17-50.

Sigma 17-50 - Supposed to be sharper than the Tamron, and has HSM
DA 12-24 - Sharper than the Tamron in that range. Amazingly flare resistant. Super sexy.
DA 15 - As good as the DA 12-24, better flare resistance, and light and small.
FA 20 F2.8 - Sharper than the DA 21 I think.
FA 31 1.8 - How could you ignore this!

09-20-2012, 08:02 PM   #9
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Thanks a bunch for the advice. Will take all into consideration.
10-18-2012, 08:14 PM   #10
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After more and more research I've come down to two choices. Not in my original list.

Pentax SMC FA 31mm f/1.8 AL Limited

Zeiss f Pentax Distagon T 1:2.0/28 mm ZK

Any ideas?


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