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02-17-2013, 11:32 AM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by tclausen Quote
So, let me just toss this out there: Pentax 10-17?

It's my go-to landscape lens...I find that it is orders of magnitude sharper than my 14/2.8, at about the same size. Around 10mm, it's fisheye-y (it better be, given that it's sold as such) but from about 15ish mm it's almost rectilinear (and easy to compensate for any distortion in post-processing).

If I know I go for landscapes, the 10-17 and the 31ltd are what goes with me, and none of the others.

Now I remember who said this.....I never thought of using my 10-17 as such. I played around with it a bit with a walk around my property last week. I set it at 13mm and went shooting. Practiced with holding the camera at slightly different angles to get a feel of where I should have the horizon etc. in the view. I am so glad I did this (with your suggestion) as I thought I needed a DA 12-24.

02-18-2013, 02:01 PM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by tclausen Quote
So, let me just toss this out there: Pentax 10-17?
There's this in the first post:

QuoteOriginally posted by slip Quote
...I like the distortion effect for the odd people shot that happens a 15mm and under (hate fisheye)
I prefer the opposite so I have the DA 10-17. When fisheye doesn't work, I zoom in the field or adjust the distortion slider in processing or some combination. I think with 14-16 megapixels, it's not a big quality loss.
02-24-2013, 10:24 AM   #18
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I think I am going with the DA 15 f4 once I have the cash.
Sports, portrait, bug lens coming...throw in the DA 15 for landscape I will have everything I need...

I am going to beat this LBA!!!!
My "don't really need that equipment will be next
Thanks everyone for the help

Randy
02-24-2013, 11:11 AM   #19
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Let me warn you...buying a Limited is NOT gonna cure your LBA, on the contrary... that might be the beginning of the end

02-24-2013, 11:17 AM - 1 Like   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by TenZ.NL Quote
Let me warn you...buying a Limited is NOT gonna cure your LBA, on the contrary... that might be the beginning of the end
No, but once you have all of them, you do tend to slow down just a bit.....so getting started early still is recommended.
02-24-2013, 12:03 PM   #21
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I just want to add a couple of points. Filters on wide and ultra wide angle lenses - in particular circular polarizing filters - potentially DON'T. The reason why - beyond about 28mm, the angle of view becomes so wide, the polarizing filter can not affect the entire view (its just a matter of optical physics). The effect is most noticeable on the sky. The result is an area that it does affect, with the remainder of the view getting progressively less of the affect. Now, if you like the progressive effect and not a uniform application - then by all means go ahead.Now, I understood the problem and went ahead with a CPL for my 12-24. Its a 77mm filter and they are not cheap - especially the thin variety. However, if there is a lot of sky - I remove it. I do like its application on shots that do not have a lot of sky, and it works especially well for water, where I do not want reflections. Out here in the desert, we have sun - waaay toooo much sun. I use the filter to eliminate some of the sun, rather than stop way down. Also, the polarization helps with the washing out of colors, under extremely bright sun. So, I can run at f8, which is usually the sweet spot for IQ in the lens. With the CPL, I can keep the filter, add polarization for the effect, and reduce the sunlight by a stop.

Wide angle lenses, in and of themselves, then to be very contrasty and have great color. So, when compared with other focal lengths, the WAs and UWAs will tend to have a more deep colorful images - even without the filters.

As to your original question, if you are going with just a single lens, then (and I am talking generalities here) ....
  • Budget - Wide angle lenses are not cheap. They are more difficult to design and build, due to the complexities of having to bend light, in order to pull in a wider view. That is where the complexities come into play. The bending of the light creates the distortions - and the lens designs needs to mitigate them. The Tamron 10-24 is probably the most affordable, and it does a very good job.
  • Physical Size - The lenses tend to be somewhat large. The DA*15 is the exception. You currently have a couple of large lenses, so I'm guessing that the size will not matter that much.
  • Zoom vs Prime - Zooms offer more versatility. Primes offer better image quality. The DA 12-24 and the Sigma 12-24 have some pretty high image quality coming very close if not equaling the DA*15 in some ways. Wanting a single lens solution, I would suggest a zoom, just for the versatility.
  • Distortion - This is picking up from where the budget discussion left off. The wider you go the more distortion you gain. Its just a matter of optical physics again. The fisheye effect is just the uncorrected effect. Rectilinear lenses on the other hand corrects the distortion. I'v found that a very good middle ground is the 12-24, 10-20 range. You are always going to get some, and these lenses tend to offer a very good balance.
  • Focal Length - What focal length is best. As said earlier, the wider you go, the more distortion. For zooms, a good zoom range is 2x. Normally, for lenses - 4x is usually the norm (the ratio between the lower and higher focal length i.e., 50-200 is 200/50=4). Again, due to the optical design complexities, WAs and UWAs are usually 2x. In terms of primes, well they are by definition single focal lengths - 14, 15mm. Each mm wider you go, the Angle of View tends to increase. With the increased in AoV comes the increased in distortion. That is why I personally like the 12-24 range.
Here is a comparison of three of the most used WA lenses.So, what would I do - or what have I done to address the perspective? Well, I like wide angles - to the extent that I have the 10-17 Fisheye, 8-16, 12-24, 16-45, 25, a couple of 28's, and the 31 Ltd. My suggestion for a single lens solution would be either the 12-24 or the 8-16, for several reasons, one of which are they are essentially the same price ~ $700 (no - not inexpensive)..
  • If you are going to go wide - just go all the way - with the Sigma 8-16. It is wide - possibly too wide at times (at 8). But you always have the other end at 16 to bring it in. It is a well corrected lens for distortion. Its is still there, but better corrected that other lenses. It is contrasty and very colorful - can't use filters, but you really do not need them.
  • All around useful - the 12-24. Not as wide as the 8-16, the 12-24 is a wonderful focal length range for everything (and its stitchable too). You have a couple of excellent choices here, Pentax, Sigma.
Now, there is yet another option - stitching. You can use any lens for landscapes (wide angle), and stitch them together. The benefits are that with longer focal lengths you get more detail, while removing the distortion inherent in wide angle lenses. Its really easy to do, and the software can be free. Take a look at Microsoft ICE.

Last edited by interested_observer; 02-24-2013 at 12:34 PM.
02-24-2013, 12:11 PM   #22
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What about the Samyang 14mm? It's big and a bit akward, and you can forget about filters, but it's much cheaper than the DA 15. I picked up the Vivitar variant (which is labeled as 13mm, but it's the same lens) for $300 new. I'm sure the DA 15 is a little better, but not enough to justify double the price. I'm more than happy with my Korean knockoff .

This picture illustrates the worst of what you'll see with it. The Arizona sun is burning just above the frame, causing that little bit of flare you see. Personally, this is my biggest gripe: the DA 15 seems immune to flare. Also, you can see a little distortion in the signposts. Unless you're shooting architecture or a very flat horizon, it's unnoticable. It shouldn't be hard to correct in post, either.

The colors are great, and sharpness is outstanding. It's MF, but really, that's not an issue. At 14mm and f/5.6, the DOF covers everything between 1m and infinity. Just set the focus to infinity and go. As a bonus, it covers full frame, in case Pentax ever decides to make one .

Edit: Ignore the EXIF. I accidentally told the camera I was using a 24mm. That's another possible gripe: the lens doesn't tell the camera its focal length.
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02-24-2013, 04:20 PM   #23
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How much difference is there really between a cheap lens and an expensive lens when you are at f8-16, the apertures where you will most likely be using for landscapes?

02-24-2013, 05:04 PM   #24
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I have used both the DA15 and the Sigma 8-16, and I ended up selling the DA 15 to buy the 8-16. That is not to say the DA 15 isn't a good lens, if size, weight and ability to use cheap filters were a concern, I would still use the DA15, but found that it had to be stopped down to f8 to get good corner sharpness. I dont find the 8-16 very big or heavy and I really love how wide it can go 12mm in FF terms is nothing to scoff at!
02-24-2013, 05:20 PM   #25
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Wide angle lenses have a pretty deep Depth of Field wide open. You really do not need to stop down in order to get a good DoF. You are stopping down for a bit of sharpness, but then you need to remember they are not going to be as sharp as a 35, 50 or 85 due to the extremely wide view that they are stuffing into the same sensor size. One pixel will be representing a tremendously larger amount of area with in the scene as compared to other focal lengths.

I don't think that you will find any "cheap" wide angle lenses around. 15mm was about as wide as full frame film lenses got, and they were expensive. There are not really any cheap ones available. That said... the Samyang 14mm is a bit over $300, with the Tamron 10-24 at about $450, are not particularly cheap, but on the low end. The Pentax is $700+ for the 12-24 and $500+ for the 15mm, while Sigma lenses are $700 (8-16) to about $950 (12-24).

Probably the cheapest is the Zenitar 16/2.8 but its a fisheye that runs about $200+. On an APS-C sensor, the fisheye effect is pretty minimal since its a full frame lens.

Used prices would be a bit less.

02-24-2013, 05:51 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by selar Quote
I have used both the DA15 and the Sigma 8-16, and I ended up selling the DA 15 to buy the 8-16. That is not to say the DA 15 isn't a good lens, if size, weight and ability to use cheap filters were a concern, I would still use the DA15, but found that it had to be stopped down to f8 to get good corner sharpness. I dont find the 8-16 very big or heavy and I really love how wide it can go 12mm in FF terms is nothing to scoff at!
I consider the weight, and the versatility that is lost by the inability to use filters on the Sigma 8-16mm to be the price for the extra image quality it provides at 15mm, the differences between the two lenses are only really visible in the corners:

Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5.-5.6 Vs Pentax DA15mm f/4 ED ASPH on the Pentax K5IIs.

With Software correction tools there isn't much that can distinguish the two lenses from each other - certainly the Sigma is sharper in the corners, but I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.
02-24-2013, 06:07 PM   #27
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QuoteQuote:
One pixel will be representing a tremendously larger amount of area with in the scene as compared to other focal lengths.
Wouldn't this fact make sharpness even more important?
When I compare my Sigma 17 - 70mm 2.8 - 4.5 to my *50-135mm f2.8 the Sigma is fairly sharp with near subjects, but the telling tail between the 2 is when I shoot subjects at medium distance...the Sigma has "smudgey" pixels were the *50-135mm stays tack sharp

Thanks

Randy
02-24-2013, 06:10 PM   #28
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I consider the weight, and the versatility that is lost by the inability to use filters on the Sigma 8-16mm to be the price for the extra image quality it provides at 15mm
Very true, and one of the reasons I kissed the DA 15 goodbye. Hard to digest the fact that a consumer zoom from a third party manufacturer beats a Pentax Limited - but I have always felt that Pentax are barking up the wrong tree with the DA Limiteds, sacrificing performance for compactness.
02-24-2013, 08:20 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by slip Quote
Wouldn't this fact make sharpness even more important?
When I compare my Sigma 17 - 70mm 2.8 - 4.5 to my *50-135mm f2.8 the Sigma is fairly sharp with near subjects, but the telling tail between the 2 is when I shoot subjects at medium distance...the Sigma has "smudgey" pixels were the *50-135mm stays tack sharp

Thanks

Randy
Yes, having a lens with excellent sharpness which is part of Image Quality will always be important. I have the DA 12-24, which I like a lot. Its a very good lens, good IQ, good color and contrast. It also is sharp. I have posted this story previously - but there is this little hillside a few minutes drive from the house, that I use to practice. Just as something to do one day, I shot the 10-17, 12-24 and a set of stitches from the 31 Ltd. I was always happy with the results from the 12-24. Anyway, I stitched the output from the 31 and compared it to the 12-24. Obviously the stitched 31 blew away the 12-24. After thinking about it for a while, I came to several conclusions....
  • The 31 was just a better lens. Yup - pretty difficult to beat it. Its just an all around good performer, as its optimized to provide wonderful images, not necessarily to be the sharpest, have the absolute best IQ, be best in the center or corners.
  • The other aspect of this is the amount of area that each lens has in its Angle of View. You can do the math (using a photographers calculator). By stitching multiple images together, you essentially add more pixels into the resulting final image. With a lens like the 31 the pixels are of better IQ, are sharper - yes, but equally as important, each pixel represents a substantially smaller area - thus their quality is higher. The stitched image from the 31 had twice as many pixels.
Now, there are a lot of reasons to use a WA or UWA lens, as opposed to stitching.
  • Its just easier and faster to take a single image.
  • Sometime, its just not possible to stitch a scene, things may be in motion. I was out on a Navy ship for a couple of weeks, several years ago. We were along side another ship, and I went out on the starboard elevator and took an image. Both ships were in moving and it would have been impossible to get a stitch shot. Its one of my best images - I needed the 10-17 Fisheye at 10mm to get everything in - from edge to edge.
  • Other times, stitching is possible, but its just not going to work. The reason why I purchased the 8-16 was to shoot "tall ships" - i.e., square rigged sailing ships, like the USS Constitution. One shot from the water line up to the top of the main mast. Its really difficult to keep things all together, so that the rigging is all in alignment. Plus, with the wind and tide, the ship can move just enough between shots that it just turns out to not be good.
  • Also, at times stitching may require additional support equipment, such as a panorama head, in order to maintain the perspective for certain shots.
So, going back to your question - yes sharpness is a very good quality to have. That said, you have to compare apples to apples. What I mean is that, there is no way that a 12-24 lens is going to have the same perceived sharpness as a 30mm, 50mm, or 85mm lens. Its not possible. However, its been noted a couple of places that the 12-24 is very close to the 15 Ltd in terms of sharpness. For its focal range it is very good. Then, its a comparison among the WA and UWA lenses. This is where you really want to compare the sharpness of this type of lens. I think that its a fair comparison to set a zoom up against a prime. The prime is always going to have an edge here, just as the zoom will have an edge in versatility. The comparison is in the eye of the beholder - you, the photographer and purchaser. That really is the only opinion that counts.

Another aspect to keep in mind, is the type of lens. The Sigma 17-70 is a consumer lens. The *50-135 is one of Pentax's top lenses - with an excellent reputation. The two are of different price categories. Sigma lenses, especially the 8-16 and 12-24 have established very good reputations. Their 30/1.4 is among one of the best of its type.
_____________________

Also, I have been meaning to post that Norm of normhead has written that he likes the 8-16 a lot, especially for its control of barrel distortion, and has found its sharpness to be excellent (for a UWA). If I can put words in his mouth.


Last edited by interested_observer; 02-24-2013 at 08:27 PM.
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