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01-17-2014, 10:24 AM   #1
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Budget Wide Angle (20 or 24mm) for APS-C and film

I have a limited budget for photography stuff, mostly from selling either photo or music-related equipment I already own. It's part of my agreement with the wife After we pay off the house in a few years, I should have more acquisition power...

But in the next few weeks I'm hoping to solve a problem with my setup, which right now is primes. I have tried to like zooms, including the kit lens (AL II is the one I have). But the ones I have are slow and need to be stopped down for somewhat acceptable quality. Fast zooms are obviousy not doable for me - too expensive.

So what I now take 4 primes in my bag: 28,35,50 and 135 (Rikenon XR 28 2.8, Pentax DA 35 2.4, Rikenon XR 50 1.4 and Pentax A 135 2.8). Sometimes I'll take the Pentax M 50 1.7 along just because I love that old and busted one that I have (optically it's great).

But I'm feeling the 28 is a bit too close to the 35, so I'd like something a bit wider. 20-24 would be ideal (I don't like the look of super wide, I don't think I've ever used the 18mm end of my kit lens). 20 would be too expensive, so that leaves me at 24. 24 to 35 is different enough that it would warrant bringing both along every time. I'd like to spend 200-220 at most, and preferrably less if possible.

Another consideration is that I like to shoot a film here and there with my ZX-M. So I'd like to get a lens that is also full frame compatible.

So after doing a lot of research, I've come down to 3 options...

1. Pentax K or A 24mm 2.8. The two are identical optical designs, so whichever one I can find. It seems the A is a bit more expensive but still not too bad. K's go for like 110-160 on the auction site, and A's can be found for 150-220, so it's not impossible to get one in my budget.
Pros: small and still affordable, good color and rendering, build quality is great, f2.8 means a bright enough viewfinder image.
Cons: not really that sharp over the full frame, especially on film, but also on digital. Still, the good color and contrast kind of make up for it and the images come out nicely.

2. Sigma 24mm 2.8 super wide. That's the only non-Pentax option I'm considering because the others (Kiron, Vivitar, etc) are not as well built and not as good optically. The Sigma is the only one that is as good as the Pentax manual primes.
Pros: probably sharp enough, very good contrast, and it seems well built. Also f2.8 which is good enough for manual focus. Bokeh, to my eyes and taste, seems the best of all lens I'm considering. And the close focus is a big bonus when bokeh is that good!
Cons: colors and rendering are ok but not as good as the Pentax. It kind of makes up for it with being a tiny bit sharper, but straight out of the camera, the Pentax is probably better.
As an added bonus, if I can find the Quantaray or another rebadge, I can buy this for less than 50 dollars! But they don't come along as often.
Also, sometimes the AF version can be found at the top of my budget range.

3. The surprise option... Pentax DA 16-45mm. It covers the full frame circle from 24mm and up with no problems. It would work with my ZX-M. And lately, it can be found on the auction site for less than 200 sometimes.
Pros: sharper than the two primes I'm considering, according to all results I've seen. 24mm is its strongest point, but other lengths are a nice bonus. Autofocus and close focusing are very nice to have. Colors and contrast are very nice. Very good walkaround lens on digital (24-70 equivalent). Excellent landscape images - it would certainly be the nicest landscape lens I'd own. Very flare resistant.
Cons: The rendering of the primes and their overall image still seems a bit more pleasing to the eye, though the 16-45 is close. Can't use on manual mode on film - no aperture ring. Quite a bit bigger than the primes. I'm not sold yet on the rendering of the human skin. Most of my pictures are from my family, so this is a concern. Also, F4 means a dim viewfinder, which might not be a big issue because it's autofocus. But it does mean it probaly won't be used inside the house. Finally, CA is quite bad.

So, in short, if the 16-45 wasn't F4 I'd obviously buy it for the price it sells for. But then it wouldn't sell for that price
Still, it has enough going for it to make it difficult for me to decide between it, and the Pentax and the Sigma. My heart is saying Pentax-K, my mind tells me 16-45 is a better, more flexible choice - even if indoor use would probably be very limited unless I use flash. And sometimes - like, right now - I convince myself the Sigma is the one.

Hopefully someone with experience on 2 or all 3, could tell me how they like them in the real world, taking pictures of people and places...


Last edited by ChristianRock; 01-17-2014 at 11:45 AM.
01-17-2014, 10:50 AM   #2
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the Sigma, either manual or auto-focus. Color is easily tweaked in post production.
01-17-2014, 11:10 AM   #3
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Well, why do you say that though? If you could take a couple minutes to qualify your response, I'd be grateful
01-17-2014, 11:17 AM   #4
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https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/24-photographic-equipment-sale/247714-sale-fa-24-f-2-a.html

01-17-2014, 11:29 AM   #5
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Sigma superwide is the most readily available option I would say, from a practical perspective. Certainly goes for much lower prices than when a smc 24mm crops up, which is not very often.

testing my lenses - part 51 - Sigma super-wide II 24mm/2.8

http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests/24mmcup/pentax/index.html
01-17-2014, 11:40 AM   #6
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I am a huge fan of my AF Sigma 24 f/2.8 super-wide II. It is so sharp. In a contest between it and my DA 21mm, it wins hands-down. The only reason I've not yet sold my DA 21 is because I like the limited's smaller size (especially when you compare both lenses with hoods attached). However, the Sigma is very usable indoors, whereas my DA 21, with the f/3.2 maximum aperture, is a bit too slow.
01-17-2014, 11:44 AM   #7
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FWIW, there is no "K" 28/2.8

Are you referring to the two versions of the 24/2.8?

I've used all these lenses. I'd probably initially get the 16-45 because it's invaluable on APS-C. Then if you feel you need the 2.8, get a K 24/2.8

The Sigma is a great lens, but in my experience, the Pentax 24s are better wide open.
01-17-2014, 11:52 AM   #8
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The 16-45 idea is intriguing. The lens is not that heavy for its size but it would look big on the ZX-M. I don't know about balance. It's not bad on a P3n. I remember the ZX-M as being lighter than air.

Sharpness is probably good enough. Here's a test I did on a K-7 a couple of years ago. The 16-45 is wide open, compared to the Sigma at one stop down and the Kiron at two stops down. The Kiron is just a bit sharper than the Sigma in general, enough to win a test like this, not significant in the field - on APS-C. I don't know about on film.



The Kiron often has oily aperture blades, not that hard to clean if you're used to that. It focuses to 0.3m. The Sigma goes to 0.18m, the DA 16-45 says 0.45m.

The Kiron opens to f2. It's not exactly super-sharp there, but what else opens to f2? The Vivitar/Komine in the above sharpness test is also f2 but has a lot of coma and is well behind the Kiron in sharpness.

The Sigma and Kiron don't have exactly the same flare but you'd want a hood for both.

I used the Sigma Superwide for one roll of film and it was a lot of fun.

I have never used a Pentax 24mm; I bought the Sigma in 2006 and never really looked to replace it. Colors don't really stand out as that different from Pentax until you see the same shot side by side. I'd buy it again. The lettering has partly worn off mine.

01-17-2014, 11:52 AM   #9
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I wish I had the budget for that.

QuoteOriginally posted by marcusBMG Quote
Sigma superwide is the most readily available option I would say, from a practical perspective. Certainly goes for much lower prices than when a smc 24mm crops up, which is not very often.

testing my lenses - part 51 - Sigma super-wide II 24mm/2.8

http://www.16-9.net/lens_tests/24mmcup/pentax/index.html
I think that's usually been the case but looking at Ebay history, the K 24 2.8 has sold for even less than 100. The last one went for 112. The Sigma usually goes for more than that. But in general, I think they're probably even in price at this point. Which is probably a point in favor of the Sigma - it's been raising up in price while the K seems to be going down.

QuoteOriginally posted by Swift1 Quote
FWIW, there is no "K" 28/2.8

Are you referring to the two versions of the 24/2.8?

I've used all these lenses. I'd probably initially get the 16-45 because it's invaluable on APS-C. Then if you feel you need the 2.8, get a K 24/2.8

The Sigma is a great lens, but in my experience, the Pentax 24s are better wide open.
Sorry, I went back and fixed the post. It is the K24 2.8 I'm talking about. I already have the A 28 2.8, and I'm not terribly excited about it. It's been staying at home. Had the M 28 2.8, sold it for the same reason.

But your comment resonates with what I'm struggling with. Part of me says the 16-45 will be essential on my APS-C setup. The other part says, it's F4, I don't use any of my F4 or slower lenses.

QuoteOriginally posted by seventysixersfan Quote
I am a huge fan of my AF Sigma 24 f/2.8 super-wide II. It is so sharp. In a contest between it and my DA 21mm, it wins hands-down. The only reason I've not yet sold my DA 21 is because I like the limited's smaller size (especially when you compare both lenses with hoods attached). However, the Sigma is very usable indoors, whereas my DA 21, with the f/3.2 maximum aperture, is a bit too slow.
Now this is the kind of comment that really makes me stop and think. That's a very powerful argument for the Sigma! This, plus the thread that marcus linked to, is convincing me to go with the Sigma!
01-17-2014, 11:58 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
I wish I had the budget for that.



I think that's usually been the case but looking at Ebay history, the K 24 2.8 has sold for even less than 100. The last one went for 112. The Sigma usually goes for more than that. But in general, I think they're probably even in price at this point. Which is probably a point in favor of the Sigma - it's been raising up in price while the K seems to be going down.



Sorry, I went back and fixed the post. It is the K24 2.8 I'm talking about. I already have the A 28 2.8, and I'm not terribly excited about it. It's been staying at home. Had the M 28 2.8, sold it for the same reason.

But your comment resonates with what I'm struggling with. Part of me says the 16-45 will be essential on my APS-C setup. The other part says, it's F4, I don't use any of my F4 or slower lenses.

I've owned probably 50 K mount lenses, and the 16-45 is my most used, and will likely be the last I'd sell.
I wouldn't worry about it being f/4
For film, I'd recommend picking up a ZX-7 or ZX-L. They work very well with the 16-45.
01-17-2014, 12:07 PM   #11
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Swift, that comment coming from you, a photographer I look up to, weights very heavily as well. I keep thinking the 16-45 is not quite a "pro" lens, while the K 24 was used by many a pro (if there is such thing as a 35mm pro) back in the day - but you would know what a good lens renders like!

The thing is, all 3 of those lenses is a very good lens in its own right, too bad I can't get all 3!

Regarding the camera, I think the 16-45 will work well with my ZX-M as well, it would work in TAv and P modes. In the future I'm thinking about picking up a PZ-1/Z1p/whatever they called it.
01-17-2014, 12:49 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
Swift, that comment coming from you, a photographer I look up to, weights very heavily as well. I keep thinking the 16-45 is not quite a "pro" lens, while the K 24 was used by many a pro (if there is such thing as a 35mm pro) back in the day - but you would know what a good lens renders like!

The thing is, all 3 of those lenses is a very good lens in its own right, too bad I can't get all 3!

Regarding the camera, I think the 16-45 will work well with my ZX-M as well, it would work in TAv and P modes. In the future I'm thinking about picking up a PZ-1/Z1p/whatever they called it.
I've compared my 16-45 to a new DA* 16-50 and as far as IQ goes, I couldn't see much difference.
01-17-2014, 10:17 PM   #13
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A real sleeper that most people don't know about is the Tokina 24mm f/2.8. It's a manual focus 'A' lens with close focus ability.
01-17-2014, 10:51 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by nater Quote
A real sleeper that most people don't know about is the Tokina 24mm f/2.8. It's a manual focus 'A' lens with close focus ability.
I'll second that.
It also sells for about half your budget.
Review here
OH
01-17-2014, 11:52 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
Well, why do you say that though? If you could take a couple minutes to qualify your response, I'd be grateful
I have the manual version. The image quality [this is with a GL-10 [K10D] is darn good:

Opal Creek, Oregon


Last edited by civiletti; 01-17-2014 at 11:54 PM. Reason: add info
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