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02-09-2008, 07:23 AM   #1
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Need WA back-up for DA 16-50

Well I just sent my DA 16-50 in to Pentax. I like that lens a lot but it isn't focussing well at 16mm and appears to be a little off-center. We'll see about that but in the meantime I have no WA lens to use. (My others are FA-50/1.4, Sigma 70/2.8 Macro, and DA 50-135 ----my Tamron 1.4x TC arrives Monday from Cord Camera.)

So I've got LBA! I was thinking of the Pentax 21/3.2 Ltd, or the Pentax 12-24/4.
The 21 would be a nice compact lens for travel; coupled with the 50-135 + TC I think it would make a decent kit. However it falls in the middle of the 16-50's range and I worry it wouldn't get used much ($$ wasted) after I get the 16-50 back from Pentax Service (although that could be AT LEAST a month). Plus the 21 wouldn't be nearly as wide as either the 16-50 or 12-24 at their wide ends.

The 12-24 sounds interesting, especially because it goes really wide, but a little slow at f4. And again, some of it's range would be overlapped by the 16-50. Then again, if it proved really useful, the 16-50 might be the one left sitting on the shelf. (Who says two zooms have to meet each other at their opposite focal lengths? I always thought 16-50 and 50-135 were a little redundant.) Another nice thing about the 12-24 is it would use the same filters as I already have for the 16-50 (77mm).

One little thing that bothers me about the 16-50 and would be the same for the 12-24 is the shadow cast by the lens barrel when using the pop-up flash. This would not happen with the 21, which would make it very nice for any quick grab shots of people indoors using the pop-up flash. (Yes the 540 does solve that for me but it's awful huge.)

Looking back at some of my photos with the 16-50, most of them are taken either in the 16-20mm range or else out at 50mm, very few in between, if that says anything.
So I figure I'm going to buy one or the other- any opinions out there to help me choose?

02-09-2008, 12:04 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by NeverSatisfied Quote
So I've got LBA! I was thinking of the Pentax 21/3.2 Ltd, or the Pentax 12-24/4.
The 21 would be a nice compact lens for travel; coupled with the 50-135 + TC I think it would make a decent kit. However it falls in the middle of the 16-50's range and I worry it wouldn't get used much ($$ wasted) after I get the 16-50 back from Pentax Service (although that could be AT LEAST a month). Plus the 21 wouldn't be nearly as wide as either the 16-50 or 12-24 at their wide ends.

One little thing that bothers me about the 16-50 and would be the same for the 12-24 is the shadow cast by the lens barrel when using the pop-up flash. This would not happen with the 21, which would make it very nice for any quick grab shots of people indoors using the pop-up flash. (Yes the 540 does solve that for me but it's awful huge.)

Looking back at some of my photos with the 16-50, most of them are taken either in the 16-20mm range or else out at 50mm, very few in between, if that says anything.
So I figure I'm going to buy one or the other- any opinions out there to help me choose?
Since you're looking for opinions, I would go with the 21mm prime.

I wouldn't worry about it not being wide enough, because having the angle of view of a 31.5mm lens (approximately) in the 35mm format, this is just about perfect for indoor people group shots. For the 25 years that I used my Canon film cameras, I found that my 35mm f2.8 lens took the lion's share of shots at weddings, parties and general photography. It was wide enough to be used indoors, but wasn't too wide to cause distortion if a little care was used composing the shot. For candids of 2 to 6 people, I think is was perfect. It also brings in enough of the surroundings to let people remember exactly where the photo was taken.

Also, if all you have is the 21mm to work with, you will soon become used to its angle of view, and adjust your shots accordingly.

Here are two examples of the 16-45 in this range:

16-45 @ 28mm @ 1/90sec @ f5.6 Metz 36C-2 flash into Sto-fen Omni bounce diffuser. If I had been using the 21mm, I simply would have moved in a little closer.


16-45 @ 20mm @ 1/60sec @ f5.6 Flash same as above. 20mm - perfect for 4 people with enough of the surroundings brought in allow people to remember where the photo was taken years from now.

Good luck with your choice.

Mike

Last edited by Mike Bokeh; 02-09-2008 at 12:09 PM.
02-09-2008, 04:46 PM   #3
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Nice shots, Mike. Another point regarding something as wide as 16mm, is that one must get almost uncomfortably close depending on how you want to frame it. So the 21 might be just right, and, it's probably less intimidating to the subject(s) than having a gigantic zoom pointed at them. Even if my 16-50 comes back sharp as a tack I'd probably find a reason to still use the 21. I think I like your idea of disciplining oneself with a prime.
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