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05-27-2013, 03:00 PM   #1
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Flareless UWA for Landscape?

Hi,
I went on a photo-trip with a good friend to the Elbsandstein-Hills in Germany, i took my k-5, he had his 5d Mark2:

The Landscape and views were simply bearthtaking. We were hiking alot, through forests with big stone formations around us and up to high viewpoints. Unfortunately i only have a Pentax smc-M 50mm F1.7 lens, far away from being wide-angle. My friend had his Canon 17-40mm F4 with him and i just couldnt believe how great it was to capture the atmosphere with his Fullframe Camera. I tried to serach for a good k-5 APSC alternative, and still unsure which lens is worth trying out. I found some Posts saying UWA's are unnecessary for Landscape Photography, but i don't think it's true. There were so many great spots where i was overwhelmed from so many directions. Rock formations left and right with a path between in the forest, or deep abyss into valleys while standing on top of a high cliff formation. Every bit of view of my friends 5D captured that overwhelming atmospheres even better. Maybe i can post some samples later.

I researched the in-depths reviews, photozone, dpreview, and user ratings. But as always, some facts were opposed.
For example, Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM: The in-dpeth review says, its very prone to flare, but some user ratings say it performs pretty well.

I don't really know what to aim for, a lot of pros and cons across the available wide-angles. I dont know if i should aim for a prime, zoom, which aperture, if i should get an autofocus...maybe you have some suggestions and tips for me. Cause i am pretty unexperienced with Wide Angles and not sure if it can be used for even more interesting scenarios (portrait, available light inddor/night) What i "believe" is important for me:

- Good images even with sun in the frame. (Contrast, color, HDR? (my first HDR attempts against sun always leaded to very flat contrast))
- Sharp lens, even when stopped down alot. (maybe even with F22? To get nice sun beams and a lot of depth of focus when i shoot in the forest with a lot of different object range)

Bonus (not really necessary, but would be nice-to-have):
- focussing: (counterclockwise moves focus to infinity, clockwise puts it close: I am working as a Video/TV-Cameraman, and EVERY professional Camera works this way. I just dont understand why a lot of Photolenses work the other way and i fear to lose my intuitive and familiar and fast focus-feeling, which is important for my job.
- Full Frame: i have an old 35mm cam, sometime i use it, and maybe some day a Pentax FF will be available, don't know if i would buy it, but who knows..
-

Not so important:
- Vignetting: i love Vignetting and often i add it in Photoshop, so i dont care if the Lens is bad at it.

The wide spectrum of lenses i had an eye on (did i forget a good one? tell me!):

SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited Reviews - DA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database / SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
SMC Pentax-FA 20mm F2.8 Reviews - FA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database / SMC Pentax-FA 20mm F2.8
SMC Pentax-DA 14mm F2.8 ED [IF] Reviews - DA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database / SMC Pentax-DA 14mm F2.8 ED [IF]
SMC Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited Reviews - DA Prime Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database /SMC Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 12-24mm F4 ED AL [IF] Reviews - DA Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database / SMC Pentax-DA 12-24mm F4 ED AL [IF]
Samyang 14mm F2.8 ED AS IF UMC Lens Reviews - Samyang Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database / Samyang 14mm F2.8
Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6 DC HSM Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database / Sigma 8-16mm F4.5-5.6
Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database / Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM
Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC J Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database /Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC J
Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspherical HSM Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database / Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 EX DG Aspherical HSM
Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 II DG HSM Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database / Sigma 12-24mm F4.5-5.6 II DG HSM
Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 Di II Lens Reviews - Tamron Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database / Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 Di II
Tokina SL-17 17mm f/3.5 Lens Reviews - Tokina Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database / Tokina SL-17 17mm f/3.5

05-27-2013, 03:24 PM - 1 Like   #2
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I think the DA 15mm ltd is often mention as very flare resistant. More so than DA 14mm, DA 21mm, Samyang 14mm.
I read about the Sigma 8-16mm as being a great UWA lens as well.
QuoteOriginally posted by Kaiowas Quote
- focussing: (counterclockwise moves focus to infinity, clockwise puts it close: I am working as a Video/TV-Cameraman, and EVERY professional Camera works this way. I just dont understand why a lot of Photolenses work the other way and i fear to lose my intuitive and familiar and fast focus-feeling, which is important for my job.
I'm pretty sure all Pentax lenses focus in the same direction.
05-27-2013, 03:45 PM - 1 Like   #3
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Here's a sample from the Sigma 15mm f/2.8 fisheye; some flare but not much, and contrast stays very good. Of course, it's a fisheye.. so that's a factor! I've seen many DA15 shots with similar color / flare results in rectilinear format.



As to counterclockwise, that messes me up; are you behind or in front of the lens? I'd say the infinity mark is to the left as I look down on a Pentax lens, and this Sigma goes the other way
05-27-2013, 03:50 PM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Na Horuk Quote
I think the DA 15mm ltd is often mention as very flare resistant. More so than DA 14mm, DA 21mm, Samyang 14mm.
I read about the Sigma 8-16mm as being a great UWA lens as well.

I'm pretty sure all Pentax lenses focus in the same direction.
I have the Pentax 14/2.8 and the 15 Ltd, and I can confirm that the 15 is a /lot/ more flare-resistant than the 14/2.8. Also, the 15 Ltd is really nice and compact and portable.

05-27-2013, 04:03 PM - 1 Like   #5
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Another vote for the DA15. There aren't many ultra-wides you can point straight at the sun like this:


K52S9807

The DA21 also fares pretty well.
05-27-2013, 04:22 PM   #6
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Thanks for all the replies so far! Oh gosh, i just bought a brand new unused DA15mm 5 Minutes ago from a big Multiamedia Store on ebay for 550 s. It was the only brand new available throughout Ebay Germany. Hope its all right with the lens, price sees bit low? Since its not private selling, i could send it back, can't wait to test it out!

QuoteOriginally posted by jimr-pdx Quote
As to counterclockwise, that messes me up; are you behind or in front of the lens? I'd say the infinity mark is to the left as I look down on a Pentax lens, and this Sigma goes the other way
Here are some pics of Video Lenses, they have all the same focus direction (Zeiss, Fujinon, Sony..).

http://www.broadcastbaron.com/picsandpdfs/zeissdigiprime10a.jpg
http://www.cinegrell.ch/kamerateam/equipment/bilder/Cinestyle_WW-3.jpg
http://fusioncine.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/428x/9df78eab33525...prime-35mm.jpg

My Pentax M50 has the opposite, "wrong" direction, so yeah, its will be a bit annoying for me to focus "intuitive".
05-27-2013, 04:48 PM - 1 Like   #7
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If flare control is your main criterion then the DA 15 is the best Pentax wide angle; however, if sharpness and wide is the goal also, I would go for the DA 12-24. I have both and prefer the sharpness I get with the DA 12-24.

Dale
05-27-2013, 04:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kaiowas Quote
Thanks for all the replies so far! Oh gosh, i just bought a brand new unused DA15mm 5 Minutes ago from a big Multiamedia Store on ebay for 550 s. It was the only brand new available throughout Ebay Germany. Hope its all right with the lens, price sees bit low? Since its not private selling, i could send it back, can't wait to test it out!

Here are some pics of Video Lenses, they have all the same focus direction (Zeiss, Fujinon, Sony..).

http://www.broadcastbaron.com/picsandpdfs/zeissdigiprime10a.jpg
http://www.cinegrell.ch/kamerateam/equipment/bilder/Cinestyle_WW-3.jpg
http://fusioncine.com/media/catalog/product/cache/1/image/428x/9df78eab33525...prime-35mm.jpg

My Pentax M50 has the opposite, "wrong" direction, so yeah, its will be a bit annoying for me to focus "intuitive".
Yes Pentax is consistently going the other direction, while the Sigmas I own (15, 28-90, and the slower 100-300) match the direction of your video lenses. Enjoy the new DA15; when FF arrives at last I might switch my fisheye for one, since I can use it with film and aps-c cameras.

05-27-2013, 05:05 PM   #9
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Afternoon,

The equivalent (in focal length) of your friend's Canon 17-40mm F4 (17mm ff is about 11mm ASP-C) is the DA 12-24/f4. Its a wonderful lens that does very well. Distortions are well controlled and flare resistance is good. I use it to shoot directly into sunsets and I have found really no problems. I would also consider putting the camera up in portrait orientation and shooting with about 25% overlap for stitched panoramas. They do very well with the 12-24.

If the 12-24 is too large in size and weight, the DA 15/4 is also very good. Substantially smaller and lighter, but you give up the versatility of the the zoom.

I also have the Sigma 8-16. It too is very nice, however it does have distortions that are noticeable (especially in architecture shots). It also has wonderful color.

05-27-2013, 05:22 PM   #10
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The Sigma 8-16 is a great lens. It will flare with a bright sun in the frame, however.
05-27-2013, 06:01 PM   #11
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The 15mm is the best flare-resistant-lens I've used.
The 8-16 is a nice lens but it's not in the same league in flare resistance.
05-28-2013, 12:54 AM   #12
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Another vote for the DA15 ltd, best flare resistance, compact, very little disortion, very sharp across the frame f7.1 to f16, great for open landscapes and nighttime city shots, and all those 14pointed stars.
The only thing is, it's not a zoom, if your really looking for that

The 8-16 is great but can produce some "odd-looking" results at the widest end if you're not careful with composition (guilty).
It's not so good with the sun in the frame and has to be shaded when the sun is just out of the frame.
The flaring from point light sources can't hold a candle to the DA15 and well.... it's pretty heavy.
On the plus side it's unique to APS-C, a mindbending perspective. I still can't work out how they could make a rectilinear lens go to 8mm. Just be sure to shoot RAW with lens correction in LR.
05-28-2013, 02:14 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kaiowas Quote
- Sharp lens, even when stopped down alot. (maybe even with F22? To get nice sun beams and a lot of depth of focus when i shoot in the forest with a lot of different object range)
Common misunderstanding: all lenses loose sharpness when the aperture gets too small. F22 is way to small and will not get the most out of the lens' theoretical performance. With UWA, shooting between F8 and F11 should be enough to benefit from extreme DOF and get the best sharpness out of the lens.

Example: I saw you purchased the famous DA15. At F11 its DOF ranges from 75cms to infinity when focussed on something 2 meters away. Online Depth of Field Calculator.

The DA15 peaks in sharpness at F8, after which resolution starts dropping off due to diffraction.
05-28-2013, 02:28 AM   #14
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DA15mm f/4.is the best choice - there is little point in worrying about if the lens will be FF compatible as most of most of the lenses you have selected are APC-C specific. The sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 isn't very flare resistant at all, if you are planning on making HDR images I would avoid the Sigma 8-16mm it because of the nature of the flare it suffers from - it is very difficult to neutralise. Many sigma lenses have problems with flare, their optical coatings haven't changed much in 30 years compared to modern Pentax SMC coatings, which are second only to Fuji EBC coatings.

QuoteOriginally posted by newmikey Quote
The DA15 peaks in sharpness at F8, after which resolution starts dropping off due to diffraction.
Incorrect the DA15mm f/4 reaches the highest resolution in the centre at f/5.6. For greater overall sharpness apertures of f/8 and beyond are required at the expense of peak performance. The sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 is sharper across the frame than the DA15mm f/4 when both lenses are at f/8, I have tested this myself on the Pentax K5Iis.

QuoteOriginally posted by newmikey Quote
Common misunderstanding: all lenses loose sharpness when the aperture gets too small.
Incorrect, a loose lens will fall off the lens mount long before diffraction will have any effect. Diffraction has a very real impact on image sharpness - but depending on how big you are printing your photos, you can stop down quite a bit and it shouldn't be noticeable.

To illustrate the loss of sharpness caused by Diffraction:

Unsharpened 100% crop from the Pentax K5IIs with the Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6

Last edited by Digitalis; 05-28-2013 at 02:36 AM.
05-28-2013, 03:25 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
Incorrect the DA15mm f/4 reaches the highest resolution in the centre at f/5.6. For greater overall sharpness apertures of f/8 and beyond are required at the expense of peak performance.
Who said something about "centre"? To me, best overall performance is clearly at F8 as the Photodo graph shows:

Corner/edge performance at f5.6 is really unacceptable. Since when do we evaluate lens performance based on center resolution alone?



QuoteQuote:
Incorrect, a loose lens will fall off the lens mount long before diffraction will have any effect.
I'm sorry, you totally lost me there...a 'loose lens" ??? "Fall off the mount" ??? No idea what you are trying to say.
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