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02-04-2014, 01:05 AM   #1
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Landscape Lens suggestions

I know this question has been asked tons of times and I have read some of the threads but I want to list the lenses I am looking at and maybe you folks can steer me in the correct direction. I want a lens that will be my primary ultra wide that I will use for landscapes mainly but can use it for other things as well. I have also read the in depth reviews and the gear database. Unfortunately those seem to further confuse me because it does not seem I can go wrong with any of my choices.

Lenses I am looking to buy in the next two weeks.

Pentax DA 12-24
Sigma 10-20 3.5
DA limited 15mm
DA limited 20-40
Tamron 17-50 (owned this lens in the past)


Or maybe there is a suggestion of a lens that I am not looking at? Thanks for the advice in advance!

02-04-2014, 01:11 AM   #2
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This thread seems like a good idea. Also any thoughts of a good landscape lens for a tight budget? (I wish those sort of things went together - good quality and cheap price...)
02-04-2014, 02:07 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by j2photos Quote
I know this question has been asked tons of times and I have read some of the threads but I want to list the lenses I am looking at and maybe you folks can steer me in the correct direction. I want a lens that will be my primary ultra wide that I will use for landscapes mainly but can use it for other things as well. I have also read the in depth reviews and the gear database. Unfortunately those seem to further confuse me because it does not seem I can go wrong with any of my choices.

Lenses I am looking to buy in the next two weeks.

Pentax DA 12-24
Sigma 10-20 3.5
DA limited 15mm
DA limited 20-40
Tamron 17-50 (owned this lens in the past)


Or maybe there is a suggestion of a lens that I am not looking at? Thanks for the advice in advance!
The SMC DA 15 is probably my most used lens, a true gem. Great for landscapes, especially with a foreground object to add interest and plenty of depth of field. And it does great blue skies. Highly recommended. You may be able to get a good deal on the SMC version at the moment, since the HD "upgrade" is still very new. There is a common feeling that, of the DA Limiteds recently refreshed with HD and rounded blades, only the 15 mm SMC version is actually more desirable than its HD counterpart. This is because the SMC doesn't flare, even when shooting directly into the Sun, making HD partially redundant, and because it's non-rounded blades deliver more beautiful diffraction stars.

I spent a long time thinking about the DA 12-24, but ultimately have decided to wait to see what its apparent replacement will be like. The Pentax Lens Roadmap has a ~12-28 (as far as can be judged from the green band) indicated for 2014 release. The DA 12-24 is highly regarded, apart from its fairly prominent CA.

I can't make up my mind about the DA 20-40. Very contradictory reports. However, even if it's a great lens, I wouldn't want it as a replacement for the DA 15. That extra 5mm makes all the difference for dramatic landscapes.
02-04-2014, 02:12 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
The SMC DA 15 is probably my most used lens, a true gem. Great for landscapes, especially with a foreground object to add interest and plenty of depth of field. And it does great blue skies. Highly recommended. You may be able to get a good deal on the SMC version at the moment, since the HD "upgrade" is still very new. There is a common feeling that, of the DA Limiteds recently refreshed with HD and rounded blades, only the 15 mm SMC version is actually more desirable than its HD counterpart. This is because the SMC doesn't flare, even when shooting directly into the Sun, making HD partially redundant, and because it's non-rounded blades deliver more beautiful diffraction stars.

I spent a long time thinking about the DA 12-24, but ultimately have decided to wait to see what its apparent replacement will be like. The Pentax Lens Roadmap has a ~12-28 (as far as can be judged from the green band) indicated for 2014 release. The DA 12-24 is highly regarded, apart from its fairly prominent CA.

I can't make up my mind about the DA 20-40. Very contradictory reports. However, even if it's a great lens, I wouldn't want it as a replacement for the DA 15. That extra 5mm makes all the difference for dramatic landscapes.

I have leaned towards the 15 for some time, but that 12-24 keeps calling me back. I really wish more of these lenses were WR. That is what makes the 20-40 so attractive. Ugh this is confusing lol.

02-04-2014, 02:19 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by j2photos Quote
I have leaned towards the 15 for some time, but that 12-24 keeps calling me back. I really wish more of these lenses were WR. That is what makes the 20-40 so attractive. Ugh this is confusing lol.
If you want WR, don't neglect the DA 18-135. It's a very good lens at its shorter end, is WR and DC like the 20-40, and much cheaper. Have a look at some of the images on this thread: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/179869-da-1...at-can-do.html. OK, it's slower and not a Limited, but I'm very impressed with it.
02-04-2014, 02:22 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
If you want WR, don't neglect the DA 18-135. It's a very good lens at its shorter end, is WR and DC like the 20-40, and much cheaper. Have a look at some of the images on this thread: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/179869-da-1...at-can-do.html. OK, it's slower and not a Limited, but I'm very impressed with it.
The DA 18-135mm is my only lens so far and I'm very happy with it. I haven't been that great with landscapes (my problem, no the lens') but some very amazing shots have been produced with it, so definitely check out the link. I would like a lens especially for landscapes, though.
02-04-2014, 02:24 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Paul the Sunman Quote
If you want WR, don't neglect the DA 18-135. It's a very good lens at its shorter end, is WR and DC like the 20-40, and much cheaper. Have a look at some of the images on this thread: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/179869-da-1...at-can-do.html. OK, it's slower and not a Limited, but I'm very impressed with it.
Other than the extra focal length it doesnt seem much sharper than the 18-55 when stopped down. Am I wrong?
02-04-2014, 02:36 AM   #8
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For wide angle landscapes I have found my smc DA 15 Limited is my favourite lens, although i have also got some very nice images from my smc DA 21 Limited.

With regard to the WR comments - don't overlook the DA*16-50. It is a much maligned lens, and has it's fair share of knockers. I have had two copies now (broke the first one and insurance paid for the second). Neither copy has had SDM issues, and it is a better lens than many give it credit. On a wet day, and wide there is nothing else that beats it. Good copies can be obtained second hand for reasonable prices.

The DA 15 Limited is my first pick for landscapes, but on a wet day the DA*16-50 does a good job.

My other go to lens for landscapes is my Zeiss ZK 35/2 - but that is not on your list, and is a whole different discussion. It is a stunning piece of glass, and gives outstanding results. Not a budget lens though....

If you want to see some examples from these lenses have a look on my zenfolio site - the link is in my signature

Cheers

Ross

02-04-2014, 02:41 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by j2photos Quote
Other than the extra focal length it doesnt seem much sharper than the 18-55 when stopped down. Am I wrong?
I find the DA 18-135 much sharper and more punchy than the 18-55.
02-04-2014, 02:59 AM   #10
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I also think that maybe the pentax 10-17 deserves a place in there. u also get that fish eye look if u want it at the lower end.
02-04-2014, 03:08 AM   #11
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I gave up on the Sigma 10-20/4-5.6 and went with the DA15ltd as my widest lens.
The small size (ie. portability) is something that cannot be shown in pictures and often missed out when people talk about Pentax lenses compared to others.
Its also almost immune to flare even when pointed directly to the Sun or other light sources, creating lots of opportunities to create the 'starburst' effect from that light source with a stopped down aperture.
Only downside is that it can be not wide enough for cityscapes and this is where some pano know how is necessary. (MHO)
02-04-2014, 03:11 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by pinholecam Quote
I gave up on the Sigma 10-20/4-5.6 and went with the DA15ltd as my widest lens.
The small size (ie. portability) is something that cannot be shown in pictures and often missed out when people talk about Pentax lenses compared to others.
Its also almost immune to flare even when pointed directly to the Sun or other light sources, creating lots of opportunities to create the 'starburst' effect from that light source with a stopped down aperture.
Only downside is that it can be not wide enough for cityscapes and this is where some pano know how is necessary. (MHO)
Okay I've decided my current budget is way to small to buy a landscape lens (tears) so that will have to hold off for the time being and I'll have to use my 18-135. Really want to get my hands on a DA 15ltd - they sound like beauties - I definitely would if I had the money.
02-04-2014, 05:36 AM   #13
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I have the 12-24 and its a lovely lens, at 12mm it gets some great results and I also find it can be useful for an everyday lens whilst away on holiday where you really want to capture that bit extra. I have 15mm prime, but it never really comes out with the 12-24 in the bag.
02-04-2014, 10:08 AM   #14
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Now I am confused on a higher level! Adorama is running a deal with the k-3 right now where they are pairing the FA LTD lenses with it at a DEEP discount, would I be better served with a FA LTD and just backing up?
02-04-2014, 10:44 AM   #15
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the problem is that landscapes require focal lengths between 10-40mm. this usually requires some combination of 2 lenses or the willingness to shoot and stitch panoramas.

10-20mm will be a tad wide for about 55% of your subjects, the near to far distortion will minimize important objects in the middle ground and it will be tough to get flat plane images for things like waterfalls or if you want the moon or trees in your frame. trees especially really suffer from barrel distortion that although "easy" to fix in post production, the fix comes at the price of edge image quality.

20-40mm focal lengths tend to be distortion free on the better lenses and you start getting into the normal human perspective range. these images can also be stitched together to make panoramas and duplicate the wider focal lengths.

I have tried multiple combinations of lenses over the last decade including the sigma 10-20, sigma 17-70, da 15, fa 20-35 and sigma 20-40. my first combo was the 10-20 and 17-70 and if I had to recommend just one lens, the 17-70 (sigma or pentax but sigma is half the price and by some reviews better IQ) trumps the 10-20 because of general usefulness.

I personally carry in my kit a da15 and sigma 20-40 to cover my landscape needs because in my testing/use there aren't any K Mount lenses better than those two to cover the focal range I need. My photo companion has my 10-20 that I will occasionally borrow for the 10mm length if i'm going for a very specific effect that only 10mm lenses can provide.

so if you have a limited budget, my vote is for the 17-70. you can always add the da 15 later if you see the need, and you can step up to the 20-40 or the sigma 18-35 in a couple years as your budget allows.
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