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02-19-2013, 07:49 PM   #1
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Rectilinear vs Fisheye

I want to pull the trigger for my first wide angle lens and I can't decide between a fisheye or rectilinear, prime or zoom. I am intrigued by the 10-17 fisheye due to the 10 being fisheye and the 17 being more of a rectilinear but I also like the 180 FOV. My preference is rectilinear and if I want fisheye can't I just use the fisheye digital filter in my K-30? My experiences are novice with editing software but would software be more or less viable to add or minimize the fisheye look?

I understand a Prime lens will provide a better image compared to a zoom but I would like to use the lens for a variety of uses since I do have a limited budget. My K-30 includes the 18-55 and 50-200 but I find I enjoy composing shots using lower focal lengths for landscape and group photos best. I figure a prime would force me to plan my shots better and ultimately receive better results but a zoom would allow me to vary my options using the same location.

Sigma 10-20, Pentax 12-24, Pentax 15, Sigma 15, Pentax 10-17, Sigma 8-16

Decisions, decisions, decisions.....

02-19-2013, 08:37 PM   #2
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Each type has a particular distortion to get a lot of stuff into the frame. My decision was based on this. I didn't like the distortion from rectilinear lenses, so I went with a fisheye. Also, I like a zoom at very wide angle because composition is a lot easier.

I looked at the lens club threads for examples. (You sort of have to overlook the people who are way more talented than they should be. They make any lens look good.)
02-19-2013, 08:43 PM - 1 Like   #3

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Like everything else in life, it all depends on what you like and what you use it for.

I use my DA 12-24 ten times more than I use my DA 10-17 FE. The fish-eye lens is fun, but doesn't work in real estate.

I would get a rectilinear before a fish-eye.

If you don't mind the size, I suggest a zoom.
02-19-2013, 09:37 PM   #4
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It's is a bit difficult in comparing fisheye and rectilinear lenses, as the focal length is not really an effective approach. The best approach is to use Angle of View. The 10-17 has an AoV of 180 to 100 degrees wide. The 12-24 has an AoV of 100 to 60 degrees wide. So, essentially the two lenses complement each other, rather than compete.

The 10-17 fisheye is less fishey at 17 than at 10, but its still a fisheye. You can use various utilities to defish the images, but depending on the perspective it is at time less effective that what you may want. The fisheye is great for extremely wide views. These views are obtained at the expense of the center which is essentially "push back", so that the additional view is able to be pulled in around the edges (top, bottom, and each side).

The rectilinears are great at keeping straight lines - straight, especially square things square.

Which type to get - really depends on your intended usage. The fisheye is really a specialty lens. Having said that, some of my best images were taken with it. For instance, things in motion where you need a really wiiiiideeee shot - the fisheye. The fisheye is great where you would need to stitch with a rectilinear.

You can stitch with both types and the results are great. The colors and contrast are excellent with both types also.

If you have not tried stitching, I would encourage you to give it a try. Just downloads a copy of Microsoft Ice for free. The zooms are much more versatile than the primes. I have over the years acquired the 10-17, 12-24 and 8-16. The 8-16 is a wonderful lens. I picked it up so that I could shoot the square rigged "tall ships", single shot from the top of the mast to the waterline. I also wanted all the rigging lines to be straight. The 12-24 just was not wide enough for this - otherwise, I would have been satisfied with it.

I too would go rectilinear before the fisheye (but I acquired mine the other way around).

02-19-2013, 09:42 PM   #5
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Angle of View and Focal Length

I just went through the same process myself and here are MY reasons for picking the DA10-17:
- minimum size and weight are very important to me.
- 15mm is not THAT wide on APS-C (see
- Interior use would take advantage of AoV bigger than 100°
- I use 20mm+ Focal Length for landscape
- I donīt like rectilinear rendering at ultra wide angles. It makes things to sharp and "edgy" (is it a word in english?)

So now I have covered:
180° - 100° (DA10-17)
76° - 29° (DA18-55)
20° - 8.2 (F80-200)

The gap between 100° and 76° (25% difference) could be filled by either:
99°- 61° (DA12-24)
88° (DA15)
for example.

What I mean is: How much wide do you need to cover? (I used diagonal coverage values, horizontal is a bit less of course)
A good point to start is thinking that if you stand in the corner of a room with a focal length smaller than 14mm you will see the walls gain a lot of attention.

Hope it helps with your choice but I think the best you cand do is actually try out the focal lengths / angles of view to see which one fits your needs.

PD: Also, the DA10-17 renders beatiful colors, most vissible with blue -kind of polarized- skies.
02-19-2013, 09:54 PM   #6
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I wish I had included the fisheye at 10mm, but this may help.
02-19-2013, 10:04 PM   #7
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And for the OP, FWIW, I have the Siggy 8-16mm, and it's a pretty stellar lens. Sharp and nice and wide. The bummer for me is it's not quite so easy to filter it, due to the bulbous front element. That could be something you'd want to take into consideration. Otherwise I love it. Goes from 'ridiculous' to... 'pretty darn wide'
02-19-2013, 10:53 PM - 4 Likes   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by John Poirier Quote
I'm serious. Why use language rooted in violence when discussing a peaceful activity?
The reason is that cameras were associated with firearms for a long time and that is seen in how photography uses terms such as "taking a shot", "a shot", "shooting session", "aiming the camera", "remote shutter trigger", and so on and so forth. And do you remember those preset lenses for which you had to "cock the aperture" before, ahem, "taking a shot"? The very early Takumars worked like that. Both cameras and guns operate the same way - you point them, you aim them, and then you shoot them. The terminology just reflects this operational similarity.

Many people know the Russian Fotosnaiper, but did you know that cameras were used for gunnery training in WWII? Many cameras borrowed gun styles - just check the Photo Revolver de Poche from 1882.

Cameras may not kill people directly, but they can cause deaths or harm nevertheless. The use of cameras for gunnery training did lead to actual combat kills. The use of cameras by paparazzi did lead to tragic deadly accidents. The use of cameras does enable blackmailing and child pornography. So let's not pretend that cameras are innocuous or that photography is harmless. Any piece of technology can be used for good or for bad - that is true since the Stone Age.

02-19-2013, 11:00 PM - 2 Likes   #9
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Well, I mostly shoot birds with my Sigma 70-200. It's a heavy weapon of a lens, with a huge barrell and a 9-blade
aperture that can produce shots of a very high calibre indeed. Not exactly razor sharp, but the colours are certainly punchy.
I don't have a wide zoom in my arsenal, but I'd like to bust out and slap some cash down on one.
I like the look of the Samyang 8mm, though it's not a zoom, but it's built like a tank and does come in bayonet mount.
That one's definitely in my sights.......

02-19-2013, 11:05 PM   #10
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My first ultra wide was the DA 10-17 Fisheye. I have always loved the fisheye look but my biggest surprise was how versatile a lens the DA 10-17 is. You can focus incredibly close and it's tack sharp. It's awesome for doing closeups of flowers. While the distortion never completely goes away, you can minimize the look by framing your shot in a way that it isn't as noticeable. I use it an awful lot more than I ever thought I would. I have since added the DA 15 Limited as my rectilinear wide lens. There are a lot of wide choices and all of them are pretty good lenses. I chose the fisheye because I like the look and the DA15 because of it's size.
02-19-2013, 11:48 PM   #11

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My 12-24mm is my favorite lens, which is good since its easily my most expensive purchase. If I soon break down and buy a K30, maybe I won't be able to say that any more. (Mostly, I buy older manual lenses). I would highly recommend that lens, depending on what all you want to do with it. Generally speaking, a fish-eye is different animal and you have to decide if you like working with that look.

I wish I could compare it to an 8-16mm or a 10-17mm, but my budget has never allowed more purchases like those. (I have owned fish-eye lenses many years ago in the film days).

Kudos to all those who stay on topic.
02-20-2013, 12:11 AM   #12
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Don't forget to think about what aperture you want as well as focal length... It's easy to forget when you have your heart set on a particular focal length.
ie, maybe you need speed more than width and the DA14 2.8 might suit your needs?

My 10-20 is very nice, especially for interiors and I wouldn't part with it at (insert choice of lethal implement) point. However, my 15 is a great performer in strong sun, whilst the 10-20 drops contrast and flares easily if the sun is towards the front side of the camera. However the 10-20 is much easier to frame shots due to zoom.

I probably haven't helped at all! Sorry.
02-20-2013, 12:14 AM   #13

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BTW, I have Sigma 8mm that doesn't seem to distort as much as I expected from a fisheye. Stitched panoramas work well. But stitched panos won't work with moving subjects. Stitching software is easy to use. The biggest thing about stitched panos isn't the software, but setting up the shots images before taking the pictures. If the sequence of images aren't done correctly, no software is going to work.

Last edited by ihasa; 02-20-2013 at 10:39 AM. Reason: Off topic discussion
02-20-2013, 02:35 AM - 1 Like   #14
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I recently got the 14mm Samyang and honestly, it is almost too wide. Have to be careful not to get my own feet or clothes into the shot. This kind of lens also takes quite a bit of time to master. The MF and framing are quite hard, since you have to be really close to the object you are photographing. Before I got this lens I was even thinking "I should have bought the 8mm, on crop 14mm is not wide enough!" but now I see I was completely wrong and could easily have gotten 20 or 21mm lens. And I'm really glad I didn't get a fisheye

QuoteOriginally posted by John Poirier Quote
can't we humans have a conversation without thoughtlessly throwing in violence-based terminology?
Nope. And isn't even "thoughtlessly throwing" violence-based terminology? Either way, our language has evolved from all sorts of things. A lot of our words have vulgar or violent roots, but no longer have those specific meanings.
02-20-2013, 05:55 AM   #15
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It has been said before, but I think the choice of fisheye or rectilinear depends on what you want to use if for. I shoot weddings, so I have both the 10-17 and the 12-24. They are both great lenses, but the fisheye from the back of the ceremony (either in a grand church or outside) get the most favorities. I think this is because it is different. Sure people have seen fisheye shots before, but the fisheye filters they have in their p&s cameras don't just look as impressive. I also love to use the fisheye on a photo walk because it makes me think. I am less likely to take the standard shot with a fisheye. I also know people who shoot a lot of car pictures tend to like a fisheye.

On the other hand, if you are doing true architectural photography or real estate photography, the you should be getting the 12-24. There are some areas like these that FE distortion is simply unacceptable. The 12-24 is a great lens.

With any wide angle, especially on a crop sensor, you need to expect some chromatic abrasions and purple fringing. This can happen on any lens, but it is more common on wide lenses. It is easily corrected in Lightroom.

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