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02-21-2015, 08:16 AM   #1
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Pentax 12-24 or 20-40 (choice down to two)

I have narrowed my search for the right walk around / landscape / street lens to two.


Pentax 12-24
Great coverage range but I worry about distortion and sharpness. Also means I can't sell my 40 prime to help buy new lens.


Pentax 20-40
Not the widest, but I hear it can outperform or be on par with the 15/21/40 primes?


I ruled out the following:


Sigma 18-35:
love the f1.8 for DOF creativity, but not the size, weight or focus issues. Arguably the sharpest of all I considered though.


Pentax 16-50
Not convinced it outperforms the 12_20 or 20-40


Prime 15 / 21 combo
Lens changes on the trail mean braking into my pack. The lens change is not bad, but if constant annoying and the pack/unpack process can be costly.

02-21-2015, 08:28 AM   #2
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Compare the size of the two lenses and see if that is a factor for you.
02-21-2015, 08:37 AM   #3
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Personally I dont use wide angle <17mm much even with landscapes and for streets I use even more tele. So from ur list 16-50 would be my choise.

But I would get tamron 17-50 instead...
02-21-2015, 08:44 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Joojoo2010 Quote
But I would get tamron 17-50 instead...
Why the tamron and not the Sigma 17-50?

02-21-2015, 08:51 AM   #5
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Tamron should be little cheaper, no hsm&OS and can not recomend that sigma cos I have not used it.
02-21-2015, 08:54 AM   #6
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Do you need the lens to work in wet or dusty conditions? The 20-40 is weather sealed which the 12-24 is not.
02-21-2015, 09:08 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Greinerstudio Quote
Pentax 12-24
Great coverage range but I worry about distortion and sharpness.
Distortion is easily corrected on Lightroom. Sharpness seemed good to me on a K-5II. If you do need a sharper ultra-wide lens, you will need to consider much bigger lenses like Sigma 18-35mm, or even switch a system for a Nikon 14-24mm.

Do you need an ultra-wide though? 20-40mm is a perfect focal range for travel.
02-21-2015, 09:23 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I have the 12-24 and can tell you its very sharp. Of course it show some pf at extreme contrast situations (edges), but nothing to worry about if working RAW. It is screwdrive af but IF so not a big issue there. If you keep your horizon level true, then there is no distorsion. probably only about converging parallel lines at extreme wide settings.

The 20 -40 is DC drinen af and weather resistant. I understand build is a lot better by using metal body and rings. Angles of coverage are pretty "normal", from a moderate wide to a shy tele, but I understand its IQ is on par with the limiteds.

Another difference is lens speed, being the 20-40 a full stop faster at wide, and also a bit less costly to purchase.

02-21-2015, 09:40 AM   #9
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I've found that my landscape range would be better served by the 20-40 of the two you mentioned, so if it were only a choice of them I'd go 20-40.
02-21-2015, 09:41 AM   #10
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Although perhaps not inthe same price range what about the 16-85? I got one for my daughter as a single travel lens, wide enough for most street situations long enough to work as a medium tele
02-21-2015, 10:29 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lowell Goudge Quote
Although perhaps not inthe same price range what about the 16-85? I got one for my daughter as a single travel lens, wide enough for most street situations long enough to work as a medium tele
I think this would be my choice too - wr, good range, decently small size. But I would not get rid of my 12-24 either - I just think for an all-rounder, wr and range and size are key parts. If you get a chance to add a superwide later, then do so, but there would be some shots for street where 24 would not be long enough imo. 16mm is decently wide for landscapes so I'd also reconsider the 16-50, but this is a pretty big heavy lens. I like mine a lot, but only for the right applications.
02-21-2015, 10:30 AM   #12
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The 16-50 would be my first choice. WR, perfect range, top quality. However, it is much too heavy to take on hikes, for me.

The 12-24 is a fine lens, more than sharp enough in most situations. However, very prone to flare and IMHO too wide for general hiking photography without taking another lens along.

I don't have the 20-40 so I cannot speak from personal experience, but I think the focal range is very good for general landscape and it is WR and well built. And not too heavy.

So my choice would be the 20-40.
02-21-2015, 10:35 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Greinerstudio Quote
I have narrowed my search for the right walk around / landscape / street lens to two.


Pentax 12-24
Great coverage range but I worry about distortion and sharpness. Also means I can't sell my 40 prime to help buy new lens.


Pentax 20-40
Not the widest, but I hear it can outperform or be on par with the 15/21/40 primes?


I ruled out the following:


Sigma 18-35:
love the f1.8 for DOF creativity, but not the size, weight or focus issues. Arguably the sharpest of all I considered though.


Pentax 16-50
Not convinced it outperforms the 12_20 or 20-40


Prime 15 / 21 combo
Lens changes on the trail mean braking into my pack. The lens change is not bad, but if constant annoying and the pack/unpack process can be costly.

IMHO 12-24 and 20-40 are 2 pretty different lenses. I'd vote for 20-40 if you really like to buy a walk around lens (still I'd prefer 16-50... don't forget 20-40 is F2.8-4 while 16-50 is F2.8). If you need a wide-angle (landscape) lens, then 12-24 is the right one for you. I'm not convinced 12-24 could work fine as street lens.


I'd say you need either both of them.... or 16-50 (which can perform pretty well as walk around, landscape and street lens - all-in-one).
02-21-2015, 10:40 AM   #14
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As suggested by Crew, if size is a concern, I would checkout and compare both lenses - as the 12-24 is not the smallest around. My 12-24 is one of my most used lenses - and its very sharp. I would not worry about that. I do not have a 20-40, however you could simulate the 12-24 by stitching with the 20-40.

Actually the two lenses complement one another, as opposed to one replacing the other.

02-21-2015, 10:49 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I've got both the 12-24 and the 20-40 and both are great lenses. Which you choose depends on what you want to shoot. The 12-24 is a lot larger, especially with the lens hood, but I frequently find I want the extra reach for both landscapes and cityscapes beyond what the 20-40 offers. The perspective shift doesn't bug me because that's what you get when you go superwide. Have to be careful with the use of polarizers on that (or any superwide) because its prone to banding, but have not had major problems with CA or purple fringing.

I also have the 15 LTD which is a nice small package to give me that extra wide, and that plus the 20-40 is a great little kit for all the wide-to-normal needs I might encounter. But I still can't bring myself to part with the 12-24 because I really love that lens, and it gives me the flexibility to use it as a walkaround lens and not just a special purpose lens like the 15. OTOH, the 20-40 did convince me to sell off my DA21 Ltd, which I loved, because the images I got from the 20-40 were just as good and it wasn't much bigger and the flexibility of the zoom was worth it. Its a great, sharp walkaround lens, compact, and much better imho than the 16-50 in terms of size, usefulness and quality.

Bottom line is pick either and you will be happy. If you are torn, the 20-40 is probably a better general purpose lens, and if that's what you're after I'd take that over the 12-24. If you really like to shoot wide and play at that end of the range most often, go for the 12-24 and you won't be disappointed. Good luck!
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