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02-02-2013, 10:11 AM   #1
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Wideangle / fisheye: what to get?

Hi all,

I'm looking for a wide angle or fisheye lens for my K-30. I've done some googling around but I haven't really come across anything really convincing or a (seemingly) comprehensive list of K-mount wide angle / fisheye lenses. I also haven't really settled on one of those types so I'd love the flexibility of a zoom lens that combines both. Can you name some lenses that do not cost more than $700 which would fit my needs?


02-02-2013, 10:44 AM   #3
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Welcome to the forum. Pentax DA10-17/3.5-4.5 and Sigma 10-20/4-5.6, former is a fisheye that latter is a rectilinear lens. Spend another 100, you can probably pick up both here in the Marketplace.
02-02-2013, 11:16 AM   #4
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Pentax Primes: DA 14mm, DA 15mm, DA 21mm
Pentax Zooms: DA 10-17mm, DA 12-24mm, DA 16-45mm
Cheap MF ultra wide angles: Samyang 8mm, Samyang 14mm (also sold as Vivitar, Bower, Pro Optic, Falcon,...)
Modern "Soviet" fisheye lenses: Peleng 8mm, Zenitar 16mm
Sigma and Tamron make a bunch. Sigma has the highly regarded 8-16mm and the popular 10-20mm.
Check out the Lens reviews section for Pentax and Third party ultra wide angle lenses. You can also search by focal length. There are quite a few options, from cheap Soviet and South Korean lenses to moderately priced Pentax and Sigma lenses. You can also buy used, but there aren't many very old very wide angle lenses. Back then 24mm was considered veeery wide angle. Though with a 700euro budget you can probably find a nice Pentax prime

02-02-2013, 11:19 AM   #5
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Great! Thanks for the help!
02-02-2013, 11:27 AM   #6
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Welcome to the Forum!

A couple things first. What are your intentions in terms of subject matter? The reason why I ask is, I have both and each lens treats the subject matter differently, and in many respects these lenses are complementary, as they support each other. First, the wider you go, the more contrast and richness in color you tend to get. Fisheye lenses tend to treat things with natural curves better than straight lines and squares - unless you intend to emphasis these items. Rectilinear treats lines and squares much better - i.e., the eye sees what it expects to see with the rectilinear or normal lenses. There are some scenes, where a fisheye would appear to be the way to go and it just does not work. Another aspect is stitching. You can stitch with both, and there are times when its really beneficial to do so. Also, having a fisheye has given me the opportunity to catch some of my best images. Things in motion, where stitching will not work - where its one shot or nothing, and you need wide - the fisheye.

Just a suggestion - if you really intend to go with a fisheye, I would go with a zoom rather than a prime, since it does offer more versatility. The only available fisheye zoom is the DA 10-17. I have it and it is wonderful. Just a note, based on how you frame the subject you can put the bend anywhere you wish, by slightly tipping up or down. Also, watch out where your shoes are. Guaranteed within the first few shots you will have your shoes in the picture. Also, the focal length is not a really good indicator for fisheye lenses since they all catch 180 degrees on the diagonal (corner to corner).

You can get prime fisheyes from 8mm to 16mm from a number of companies. Bower, Sigma, Rokinon, Zenitar, Samyang, Vivitar, Pelangi are some of the names. Also, the prime fisheye lenses tend to be faster at f2.8.

The DA 12-24 is very well corrected for distortion, and complements the 10-17 in terms of Angle of View where the 10-17 leaves off, the 12-24 takes over. You would not expect this from looking at the focal lengths. Sigma and Tamron have similar offerings, inn 10-20, 10-24, etc.

The Sigma 8-16 is wonderful, and at times a bit too wide, but the contrast and color richness is excellent. I picked it up for one specific reason (since I like the DA 12-24). I like to shoot square rigged sailing ships (think the USS Constitution, or the tall ships), and its the only lens that was sufficiently wide to grab from the waterline to the top of the mast in a single frame, pierside. Stitching didn't work too well. I wanted straight lines and thus the fisheye would not provide what I wanted.
One last item. A number of these lenses may appear to be relatively slow. However with such a wide field/angle of view, they are really pulling in a lot of light, and thus appear to be faster than what their aperture shows.

Last edited by interested_observer; 02-02-2013 at 11:41 AM.
02-02-2013, 11:28 AM   #7
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Fisheye- Pentax 10-17
Rectilinear SIgma 8-16
Prime DA 15

Those would be my choices.

If you are just going to buy one lens... the Sigma 8-16 would probably be my choice. It completely resolves barrel distortion by 12mm, for use in panoramas. I don't think you can beat that in a rectilinear lens.
02-02-2013, 11:31 AM   #8
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Consider that the angle of view for the 'long' 17mm end of the Pentax 10-17 is pretty close to that of the 12-24 -- meaning that despite the overlapping nominal focal lengths, the 10-17 sort of picks up where the 12-24 leaves off. I'm happy enough with this pair. At 17mm, the fisheye distortion of the 10-17 is relatively subtle. Also, the 10-17 is about the size of the 18-55 kit, so it's much smaller than the ultra-wide zooms.

Another approach might be to use the tiny 15/4 limited to fill the gap between a standard zoom and a fisheye. The 15 is very small, and has minimal distortion and excellent flare resistance.

02-02-2013, 11:41 AM   #9
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I had hoped for a gently-used DA15 and shopped around, then bumped into the Sigma 15/2.8 fisheye at a great price and grabbed it. This is a fun lens with more potential than I have utilized: sharp, fast, close focus, full-frame friendly (I did use it with film once for max fisheye effect). Great sunpoints too with minimal flare. It's not as small as the DA15 but still compact. Very nice build and IQ, and highly recommended.

Last edited by jimr-pdx; 02-02-2013 at 02:28 PM.
02-02-2013, 01:19 PM   #10
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Id love to see a comprasion between the DA15 and the DA10-17 @17mm, same f-stop. I just ordered the latter for the following reasons:
- More versatile and cheaper than the DA15
- Excelent color and contrast, sky rendering (from reviews and pictures Ive seen)
- Quite small and light for a zoom (similar to 18-55 sizewise and weighs 320gr)

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