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01-10-2014, 10:59 AM   #1
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Reasonably priced wide angle

I am relatively inexperienced in the world of gear but I do know my cheap 28-80mm Sigma Asphyrical lens ain't cuttin' it for wide angle landscapes and such. Especially as the K5 sensor makes that 28mm a lot tighter than 28mm.
I am going to California in 6 days and might be getting an opportunity for some good landscape vistas, what is a good, relatively economic wide angle lens?

01-10-2014, 11:07 AM   #2
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DA21 f3.2 is my goto lens for landscapes, and I like to shoot in portrait mode and stitch planos with the free ICE program.

And the 10-17 fisheye zoom is also good fun, and is nice to correct for distortion at about 15-17.
01-10-2014, 11:22 AM   #3
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Have you tried the good old 18-55 kit lens? I find it actually pretty decent at 22-24mm at f/8 or f/11. Wider than that it's not so good. Cheap and plentiful, too!
01-10-2014, 11:36 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by paulh Quote
Have you tried the good old 18-55 kit lens? I find it actually pretty decent at 22-24mm at f/8 or f/11. Wider than that it's not so good. Cheap and plentiful, too!
I bought the K5 body by itself, so no kit lens. My current lens is just one I was using with an old SLR.

01-10-2014, 11:58 AM   #5
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The answer depends on your budget and what you typically like to shoot.

The 18-55 kit lens is a good value if you're on a tight budget at about $200 new.
I got my K-3 bundled with the 18-135 because I often shoot in the 60-120mm range and I like the weather-resistant (WR) feature - but to buy that lens separately is a fair bit more (Adorama lists the weather-resistant version at $500 but there might be cheaper sources available). It's a pretty good quality lens for a kit lens.
Mr frogoutofwater really likes his all-in-one zoom (I think it's the Sigma 18-250) because of its versatility - he can take a single lens on a mountain-climbing trip and use it for landscapes, wildlife, portraits etc. And it's about the same price as the Pentax 18-135.
Both the 18-135 and the Sigma are relatively light and small, given the nature of the lens.
But if you're really into landscape (or wide-angle) photography, then maybe a better investment would a wide angle zoom or the 21 Limited, as someone else mentioned. If you go to the Lens Review section of the forum, you can see some very helpful, deep-dive reviews that compare the various wide angle zooms available.
01-10-2014, 11:59 AM   #6
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I think Paul is suggesting you try the kit lens. They're very inexpensive used.
01-10-2014, 12:00 PM   #7
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Depends what you mean by "reasonably priced"! The problem is that wide angles tend to be either expensive, or terrible. There also isn't much legacy glass wider than 24mm, at least not at low costs. In the past, 35mm was considered wide angle, 24mm was very wide.
Perhaps the cheapest is a 16mm Peleng or 16mm Zenitar. All manual. Might not have best IQ. Zenitar is fisheye, but on crop sensor apparently it looks pretty normal. You can get these "as new" from Russia, but probably not in stores. Some report that these are very soft wide open, so you need to use them at f5.6 and higher, up to around f14.
Next up is the Samyang 14mm and Samyang 16mm. Auto aperture, but manual focus and focal length input. Great IQ, unless you get a bad copy. Made in Korea, but are sold in stores almost worldwide. Or a Pentax A 24mm - auto aperture and manual focus, but good quality and not too expensive.
After that is things like Pentax DA 16-45mm, Sigma 10-20mm (two versions of this lens, one has fixed aperture, other has variable aperture. Well liked lens, good introduction to wide angle and flexible FoV), Tamron 10-24mm.
More expensive options are Pentax DA 12-24mm, Pentax DA 15m ltd, Pentax DA 14mm. And the cooky Pentax DA 10-17mm (which is fisheye zoom, some people love it).

That is the theory, now the practice. Personally, I went with the Samyang 14mm. After getting used to it, its pretty great, though I don't trust the distance scales on the focus ring. The Samyang 16mm might also be a good option, as its not as awkwardly wide and a little brighter. Samyang also makes a 24mm f1.4 that you can get at a nice discount every now and again, if you want that f1.4. Samyang lenses are also sold under other names (with possibly different cosmetic/appearance, but same optical performance), like Vivitar, Rokinon, Bower, ProOptic, Falcon, Walimex, and possibly others)
I would only choose the kit lens (or the DA* 16-50mm) if I wanted the WR. If you buy a third party lens (Samyang, Tamron, Sigma) make sure it is "for Pentax." It must be K-mount to fit your Pentax camera.
Oh, and before buying, I handled some of these lenses in store(s). That can be an important step, as it can show you that a lens is not what you imagined it to be, or it can show you its worth the money. Can even be love at first sight

Last edited by Na Horuk; 01-10-2014 at 12:18 PM.
01-10-2014, 12:27 PM   #8
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DA 16-45mm is probably the most affordable. It's a nice lens and available used for roughly $200.

I like my 10-17 fisheye, and have rented the Sigma 8-16 which is really nice.

01-10-2014, 01:07 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
DA 16-45mm is probably the most affordable. It's a nice lens and available used for roughly $200.

I like my 10-17 fisheye, and have rented the Sigma 8-16 which is really nice.
a used 16-45mm is still your best bang for buck, agreed here. A used 18-55mm WR version if you have need for weather sealing, but the extra 2mm count for a lot of view at the wide end and are worth the money. Your k-5 will thank you for this one!
01-10-2014, 01:11 PM   #10
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You may be able to snag a Tamron 17-50 f/2.8 for 320 or so, and while it's not WR it is a nice fast and sharp lens. Also, for cheap, sharp, and silent check out the Sigma 18-50 OS HSM f/2.8-4.5. You can sometimes snag one for 150 used, 200 new.
01-10-2014, 01:30 PM   #11
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The ultimate in both Economical and Wide-Angle would be the Rokinon 8mm fisheye. I picked one up for $200 new and it covers pretty much everything, but of course the distortion can be an issue with many shots. Other than that, I agree on the DA16-45 or the 18-55 kit. Another inexpensive option is (was?) the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8-4.5 which sold for $200 new; I suspect it's been discontinued but I'm not sure. It zooms and focuses internally, which keeps it the same size in all conditions, and it's a bit faster than all the lenses mentioned above except the Tamron 17-50 f/2.8.
01-10-2014, 02:03 PM   #12
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You can get a pentax 18-55 for 23 bucks on KEH right now. that will be considerably wider than your old SLR lens, and dirt cheap. THen you can consider higher quality lenses at your leisure.

http://www.keh.com/camera/Pentax-Digital-Zoom-Lenses/1/sku-DP079990748570?r=FE
01-10-2014, 03:54 PM   #13
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A trip w/o extensive trial is not the time to experiment w/ very wide angle lens (ideally not the time to experiment at all but ...). Generally very wide lenses are tough to use for straight landscapes. e.g., they can use a strong element in the near field and an interesting backdrop.

As you have zoom that cover normal to moderate telephoto I suggest going slightly wider and fixed focal length. A good wide angle zoom is costly and tends to makes more compromises. But there are arguments both for a wide zoom and fixed focus.

Personally I prefer a fixed focal length in the wider lenses, and suggest a 20mm to 24mm--which is equivalent to a 30 to 36mm lens in field of view on a traditional film camera. Whether, you want manual focus, auto focus, etc. and whether new or used is where the time element and cost enter strongly. We all have our favorites--but seems to me you need to figure the next step out.
01-10-2014, 04:02 PM   #14
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I got an FA20-35/4 for $100 from a B&M shop. The build quality leaves something to be desired, but the optics are fantastic. I got it cheap because the owner had it sitting on his shelf for a decade and wanted it sold. You may find a similar deal at a local B&M, if not on the 20-35, than maybe the kit lens.

Otherwise, I recommend the sigma 10-20, or one of the samyangs. Another option is the sigma ultra-wide 24mm 2.8, one of the better older options.

Last edited by jeffshaddix; 01-10-2014 at 04:11 PM.
01-10-2014, 04:15 PM   #15
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All good suggestions - the kit 18-55 is really dirt cheap and easy to use. The 16-45 is better but more expensive. Other than lenses, there is stitching. You can go practice with any lens right now out the window or in the back yard. Just download Microsoft ICE (for free) and you are set.

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