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10-25-2013, 12:35 AM   #1
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Landscape lens?

Ok being a very new newbie, I don't quite understand what makes a great landscape/country roads lens? When everyone says a "wide angle", not really sure what that is. I *think* it should be a lower mm?
Is the DA 40 2.8 usable for these shots or not really?
Sorry for such a basic question

10-25-2013, 12:52 AM - 1 Like   #2
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Indeed wide angle means a smaller focal length. 40mm on APS-C is not wide, just the opposite. A normal lens on APC-C would be around 35mm, everything below is wide angle, above is tele.

What focal length is best for landscape shots is a rather subjective question, though. I recently did a few autumn-forest shots and mainly used a 50mm. In the particular situation it gave me the pictures I wanted. At other times I can't get my 15mm of the camera.

If you are only starting out, as I did some years ago, I'd recommend getting an zoom lens first. Do you have the 18-55mm kit-lens? That's a good range for basic experiments with landscapes, if you find you need to go wider, look for something below 18mm. There are both very good wider zooms and primes to have. If you find you use the lens mostly around a certain focal length, consider getting a prime in that length.

If you find you are totally satisfied with what you get out of your current equipment, don't get anything new at all
10-25-2013, 01:43 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Check out the 15mm Limited thread in the Lens Clubs forum for what's possible when you shoot wide, NorthMole!
10-25-2013, 04:11 AM - 1 Like   #4
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Mano has good advice; I'd amend it slightly to say that on APS-C (that is, any current Pentax DSLR other than the 645D) you don't really starting getting into wide angle until you get to 24mm and below. 24mm is moderately wide; 20 or 21mm is very wide; below that is ultra-wide.

Wide to ultra-wide is perfect for the kind of landscape that has an exaggerated perspective with some interesting element(s) in the near foreground to go along with the distant view. Indeed, the usual term for this in landscape photography is "foreground interest". But wide isn't appropriate for all types of landscapes -- many excellent landscapes are shot with telephoto lenses. Trying to get too much into the scene is a classic beginner's mistake (and one that I still have a hard time with sometimes).

10-25-2013, 04:26 AM - 1 Like   #5
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Thats right. There is a whole science and debate behind what is a wide angle lens and what isnt, but here is the gist of it. Lenses can be wide angle or tele lenses. Wide angle means they capture a wide angle, a wide field of view. On film cameras, wider than 50mm is wide. On modern Pentax DSLRs, its a little different. You need to go 24mm or lower to get a "wide angle". On smaller cameras, like Pentax Q, it needs to be even wider, because the sensor is even smaller. Tele lenses are those that make far away things seem close. Lenses like 85mm, 135mm, etc. Macro lenses are those that allow close focus and thus big magnification.
Wide angle lenses will also have a bigger depth of field, which is generally something you want in landscapes - you want everything to be in focus and sharp.
Classically, wide angle lenses are used for landscape photography, because they capture a wide view and have a big depth of field. The problem with wide angle lenses is that you need to be very close to the objects you are photographing. Standing far away will make even mountains look small. But you can take photos of landscapes with almost any lens. The Pentax 40mm (ltd or XS, there are many threads about the differences between the two) is a very sharp lens and is good for landscapes and all sorts of photography. I highly recommend it. But it is not wide angle. For example, if you are in a canyon, you need a very wide angle lens, or you wont be able to get it all in the frame. A 40mm in that case is almost useless. But if you want to take a photo of a castle on a hill, the 40mm can be great.

If you are really not sure, you can buy the Pentax 18-135mm. This lens zooms from wide to tele. Now, zoom lenses generally do not produce image quality as high as prime (fixed focal length) lenses, but the flexibility can help you out. This way you can figure out what prime lenses you want to get for your style.

tl;dr: I recommend 40mm for general photography. 40mm for landscapes is not perfect, but can be done. For landscapes, look at Pentax DA 21mm ltd, 15mm ltd, or 14mm. If you dont mind manual focus, Samyang 14mm or 16mm. Wide angle zooms can also be a good idea: Sigma 10-20mm, Tamron 10-24mm, Pentax 10-17mm, Pentax 12-24mm.
Also, lenses wider than around 20mm are often called UWA, or ultra wide angle. There are many threads about wide angle lens recommendations recently, feel free to search the forums.

Forum member's lens reviews can be found here:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/
10-25-2013, 06:00 AM   #6
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Thank you all SOOOOO much! Exactly what I was hoping to learn!
10-25-2013, 06:12 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by northmole Quote
Thank you all SOOOOO much! Exactly what I was hoping to learn!
Glad we could help you. But allow me to be curious: What camera and lens(es) do you currently posses? Or are you planning to buy your first dslr?

Also maybe some of us can give your more specific advice with the information where you are starting from.

Last edited by mano; 10-25-2013 at 06:13 AM. Reason: Forgot a word...
10-25-2013, 06:20 AM   #8
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As others have said, DEFINTELY buy a zoom to start with. Either the kit 18-55, or a Pentax 16-45mm for better IQ. There are plenty of other chocies as well. I'd recommend buying it used on the market place. Once you get a feel for what you like, you can potentially sell it again with only a small loss and get something else that fits your shooting style/desire. I started with a 18-55 + 55-300.

10-25-2013, 07:13 AM - 1 Like   #9
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I would start with the kit lens and see what focal lengths you like and then look at getting a prime to fill in. The DA 15 limited is nice for wide angles, but you can shoot landscapes with any focal length. This is a photo I would consider a landscape photo, taken with the DA 40.


10-25-2013, 12:24 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
you can shoot landscapes with any focal length
I shoot a lot of landscapes @ 50/55mm. I use the 28mm a lot too. I bought the 12-24 to use for landscapes, but I find I use the longer focal lengths more often. I prefer primes to zoom lenses, but if I liked zooms something like a 17-70 would be adequate for 99% of my needs.

A tripod is a must.
10-25-2013, 12:45 PM   #11
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Hi, if you can by satisfied with FOV 46, good option can be A28/2,8... cheap, sharp, well against direct light... very good landscape-start lens... i am using it for years... love it... i gonna to buy FA version, because of action... highly recommanded if you will go wider aven more, buy DA15- my dream... look at starburst and you will understand
10-25-2013, 03:29 PM - 1 Like   #12
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There are two concepts here.
1/ Landscape photography is taking photos of the landscape, sometimes you want a 90deg field of view, sometimes you want 10deg field of view. You can use any lens.
Wide angle lenses fit more in and have a greater depth of field. Often this leaves too much boring scenery in the photo and you'll find cropping the photo to a letter box format works really well. Telephoto lenses bring distant object closer (called compression) and give you the option to have parts of the image slightly out of focus to give you a 3D feel. Often Portrait Orientation works well.

2/ Difference between wide angle/normal/telephoto.
There are two considerations, magnification and field of view.
I consider Magnification (which is affected by your viewfinder) to be a better definition for landscape photography where as field of view is more critical to human portrait photography
For me a normal lens is one that has normal magnification when viewed through you viewfinder, ie 35-50, Wide angles shrink the image and telephotos magnify the image. FF and APS-c are the same for each focal length in this regard with APS-C being cropped.
In portrait photography the critical part is your distance to the subject so the angle of view is the important part. If you get to close to your subject they will be distorted.
For portraits lenses we should actually define the lens by the amount of subject to be captured, ie group portrait, full body , upper torso, head shot, long distance. In this regard the focal length required is 1.5times longer for FF vs APS-C

A couple of landscape shots to show you some differences.
14mm, photo shows benefit of depth of field with wide angle, Often you need foreground objects to make them work


14mm, semi letterbox crop. too much sky and water without cropping


100mm, less depth of field, foreground and background slightly blurred gives depth to the image.


100mm, portrait. compression draws you into the scene.
10-25-2013, 07:24 PM - 2 Likes   #13
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I wouldn't get too hung up over what is or isn't a "landscape lens". Truth be told, I have shot commercially successful landscape images with lenses as long as 1200mm and as short as 8mm.



As long as you know the rules of composition (and know when it is appropriate to break them), capture the subject with interesting light falling upon it - you can use any damn lens you want.
10-25-2013, 08:42 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
I wouldn't get too hung up over what is or isn't a "landscape lens". Truth be told, I have shot commercially successful landscape images with lenses as long as 1200mm and as short as 8mm.



As long as you know the rules of composition (and know when it is appropriate to break them), capture the subject with interesting light falling upon it - you can use any damn lens you want.
No one is immune to the "LENS INQUISITION"!
10-25-2013, 11:19 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
As long as you know the rules of composition (and know when it is appropriate to break them), capture the subject with interesting light falling upon it - you can use any damn lens you want.
Excellent advice.
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