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12-02-2013, 02:14 AM   #1
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UWA Manual Landscape Lens

Hey guys. I was just wondering if there are any good manual landscape lens with decent flare resistance. I am looking to see if there are any cheaper alternatives to the smc da 15. Do you even recommend using a manual lens for landscape or are the coatings not as good back in the day?

12-02-2013, 02:30 AM   #2
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The main thing is the fact that what was wide on film is not wide on APS-C, so there aren't many old manual lenses in the range of the 15mm. There are some 17mm rectilinear lenses out there though, but they are hard to find and can be quite expensive.

The Russian made Zenitar 16mm f2.8 fisheye isn't very much of a fisheye on APS-C and it is pretty good at f4 and beyond, it is by far the cheapest option.

Samyang (Bower, Rokinon and many other brands) is currently making some great manual ultra wide glass, they have a 14mm f2.8 and a 16mm f2.0.
12-02-2013, 06:31 AM   #3
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Yep, old uwa lenses are hard to find, usually aren't very cheap, and often aren't very good. You can find many 24mm lenses, but these aren't really that wide on APS-C.
I suggest you look at the Samyang offerings. Samyang makes manual 8mm (fisheye), 14mm and 16mm, all are optically pretty great. They even have an A setting, so you can use Av mode normally. They don't have AF and the distance scales might be uncalibated. The other problem is that you might get a bad copy, so you would have to return it and get the elements aligned. But I use the 14mm all the time, even though it is a bit hard to focus sometimes.
Zenitar 16mm is also a popular option. There is also a Peleng fisheye available. I see Elliott already mentioned most of this.
Though, the DA 15mm was recently upgraded from the SMC to HD coatings. So maybe you can find a good deal on the used market.
12-02-2013, 06:41 AM   #4
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I suspect you would be better off getting a used Tamron 10-24 f3.5-4.5 (cheaper, faster, longer) or Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 (slightly better IQ) than any legacy manual lens. For $325-350 you get a zoom, which can be quite useful with extreme wide angles, auto focus and auto aperture. They aren't cheap lenses, but come in below the DA 14 or 15. And I think they may actually be smaller and lighter than the Samyang options, although I have never tried those.

12-02-2013, 11:42 AM   #5
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I was just looking at the Zenitar, trying to decide if I could possibly swing one for my brother for Christmas. I think it does work as a wide-angle substitute but I prefer fisheye distortion to perspective distortion of a rectilinear UWA. The price, around $225, is too high. I know that's partly because I had one for $125 or so, but the price is too close to more capable lenses. I looked at my old shots and flare was better than I originally expected. Most of the time on a sunny day, if I got flare it would be a very small bright green spot in the frame, as easy to clone out as a dust spot. Less often, veiling flare would wash out some of the image, but I had the sun well in the frame for those. My night shots don't have flare, so it seems to mostly be midday sun. It's a decent lens, but you have to work too hard to make it a UWA to pay $225. You can get the DA 16-45/4 for that, give up some field of view but get a lot more. For landscape, stitching the DA 16-45 works well.

Nick's suggestion is pretty good with a higher budget.
12-02-2013, 02:05 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
The price, around $225, is too high.
$100 less than the Samyang 14mm, but without the convenience of the "A" contacts. The main benefits are small size, light weight, and decent image quality. I just came back from a few days on the southern Oregon Coast and the Zen saw a lot of use.

Oh, and BTW, I too prefer the circular fisheye projection to the volumetric distortion of rectilinear lenses.


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12-02-2013, 02:25 PM   #7
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If you search for used ones you can find the Zenitar well under $200, I think I paid $140 for mine. Just make sure you at least get the clear rear filter, they won't work properly without a filter in place. The colored ones are a bonus to have, but are useless on digital.

It isn't uncommon to get them mis-adjusted from the factory and they won't focus to infinity, however it is an easy process to adjust one. I think a lot of people might try to resell the mis-adjusted ones thinking they are bad copies, since nothing beyond a certain point is ever sharp. The one I got wouldn't focus beyond 1m.
12-02-2013, 02:44 PM   #8
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+1 for the Samyang/Rokinon/Bower/etc 14mm. You can find it for around $300 USD. Images are sharp and it feels well constructed. The f2.8 aperture isn't much help for typical landscapes, but I love it for nighttime walks around cities. The only thing I dislike about the lens is the distance scale - you can't trust it and should focus using liveview zoom instead.

Another possibility is Tamron 10-24. It's an incredibly versatile zoom range. You sacrifice some sharpness and more money for that versatility.

12-02-2013, 06:57 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by elliott Quote

The Russian made Zenitar 16mm f2.8 fisheye isn't very much of a fisheye on APS-C and it is pretty good at f4 and beyond, it is by far the cheapest option.
I have one that I used a lot before I got the DA15. With mine you really have to stop down to f/8 (f/4 is unusable), at which point it's very good indeed in the centre, and OK at the edges. Post-DA15 acquisition, though, it doesn't get a lot of use. I defish in PS with a plug in called Debarrelizer.

Mine was another one that needed adjustment to the focusing ring to make it focus to infinity.

I think it's worth the money, but it was one of those purchases where I might just have well waited longer, saved a bit of money, and bought the more expensive lens in the first place. I have a number of cheap (but good) lenses which fall into that 'false economy in the long term' category.
12-02-2013, 09:11 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by timo Quote
I have one that I used a lot before I got the DA15. With mine you really have to stop down to f/8 (f/4 is unusable), at which point it's very good indeed in the centre, and OK at the edges. Post-DA15 acquisition, though, it doesn't get a lot of use. I defish in PS with a plug in called Debarrelizer.

Mine was another one that needed adjustment to the focusing ring to make it focus to infinity.

I think it's worth the money, but it was one of those purchases where I might just have well waited longer, saved a bit of money, and bought the more expensive lens in the first place. I have a number of cheap (but good) lenses which fall into that 'false economy in the long term' category.
For what it's worth I just pointed the Zenitar out of my living room window - below is the resulting shot of central Singapore on a cloudy morning, at f8, defished in Photoshop and sharpened in Lightroom. You can see it full-size at K5TA0581 There's a bit of softness on the left - not sure what caused that, but in fact the DA15 is not exactly super-sharp at the edges either. I think the Z is pretty good considering the price. But not wide open, and only if you want to go to the hassle of defishing and dealing with some pretty vicious CA on occasion.

12-02-2013, 11:33 PM   #11
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Here is a link to Zenitar shots on my Flickr account.

Fotostevia on Flickr: zenitar

Most are with my K10D, a few are with film SLRs. Some are quite fishy, others are not, and many are not fishy at all. Only one has been de-fished.


Steve
12-03-2013, 12:47 AM   #12
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thanks for the replies guys. I think i'll just wait on a good second hand deal on the smc da 15 or the sigma 12-24. as some of you have mentioned, once you got these better ones, you havent really turned back and would have saved money in the long run if you had gone that way initially.
12-03-2013, 08:45 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeadJohn Quote
+1 for the Samyang/Rokinon/Bower/etc 14mm. You can find it for around $300 USD. Images are sharp and it feels well constructed. The f2.8 aperture isn't much help for typical landscapes, but I love it for nighttime walks around cities. The only thing I dislike about the lens is the distance scale - you can't trust it and should focus using liveview zoom instead.


I run a series of tests on mine and the infinity point was on the 2m marker on the distance scale. Once I determined that, for normal landscape settings, I use the lens at F5.6 or F8, set it to 2m and forget about focus. The DOF is great to cover all relevant distances.


The lens is very sharp corner to corner even at F2.8 if you nail focus.
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