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06-18-2016, 05:05 AM   #1
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Ultra wide angle fight!

Hi! That's my first post on the forum, but have been reading for a while

I'm in the search for ultra wide angle lens, at the moment the widest I've got is 18-55mm kit lens (I believe it's one of the very basic versions, as it doesn't have focus lenght numbers, nor the green line (it's red) on it - 3.5-5.6, so quite slow..) on crop sensor x1.5 [pentax k3]
I've seen thousands of reviews and got down to two options:

1. Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM @ 450 pounds for 1 ultra wide angle,

OR

2. Samyang 10mm f/2.8 @300 pounds + Sigma 17-50mm F2.8 EX DC OS HSM @279 = 579 pounds - for ultra wide angle fast prime + kit lens upgrade
Please help!

I'm not a pro just yet, so I'm still looking for my niche. I'd like to do landscape, astrophotography, interiors, environmental portraits... pretty much everything

06-18-2016, 06:15 AM - 1 Like   #2
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There are quite a few options. I think it depends a lot on your shooting style and preferences. Some of the UWA zooms can be quite large and heavy. The Sigma 8-16, 10-20, 12-24, Pentax 12-24, and Tamaron 12-24 are all large heavy lenses that are not very portable. You can read reviews here.
DA 12-24mm vs Sigma and Tamron 10-24mm Comparison Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews
Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 vs F4.0-5.6 Review - Introduction | PentaxForums.com Reviews
These are all rectangular lens but there also is the Pentax 10-17 f4 fisheye. Often overlooked it can be used for UWA if one pays attention to composition. Defishing has become very easy with modern software.

Primes tend to be a bit lighter and smaller however the Pentax 14mm f2.8 would be the exception. This lens seems to a love or hate it lens. It is large, heavy and bulky. The other Pentax prime would be the 15mm Limited f4. This a much heralded Pentax lens with its own dedicated thread. Extremely small, lightweight and only requiring a 49mm filter it is Pentaxians favorite. The also many other manual focus options as well.

I have the Sigma 8-16 and it is a lens in its own class. Shooting at 8mm is something to get used too. I also have the Pentax 10-17 which is one of most used lenses for night photography. From 13-17mm it is easily defished. My UWA kit includes the 8-16 and Pentax DA*16-50. If I watched to travel lighter I take the Pentax 10-17 instead of the 8-16.
06-18-2016, 06:29 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Ultrawideangle lenses are big and heavy if they are also fast. Some fast lenses exist - the Samyang (bower, rokinon, vivitar, are all rebranded versions) manual focus and auto aperture lenses are the least expensive good examples of this category. However since most people do not shoot the type of subjects that require wide open f/stops with these lenses the other option for landscape shooters is to use a slower lens like the DA 15 (f/4) or the zooms in that range (10-20, 10-24, 12-24 various brands) that are f/4 or f/4-5.6 etc.

The real question is what do you intend to shoot that you want f/2.8 for with an ultrawide? There are some use cases - don't get me wrong - but most users of UWA lenses do not need fast aperture performance. That being said, having it and not needing it means more weight, size and $ than you would otherwise spend - but there is no penalty optically for having a lens that is faster than you need, at least not with this category of lenses and the selections I can think of.
06-18-2016, 06:41 AM - 2 Likes   #4
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Recently I had to make the same decision. Finally I've choosen the Sigma 10-20 F3.5. My opinion is, it is wide enough, in general I'am using it in the 13-17mm range. Bridges are too small, I have to zoom in to photograph them. Ultra wide is a special effect, you will use it much less then you expect. I've choosen the 10-20 F3.5 because it has a fast aperture and I need it on events. I can hold the lens, but moveing persons need faster shutter speed. In addition at 20mm it has a totaly useable field of view, so it means less lens changeing.
I have the Pentax 10-17 FE also, it makes even wider images when corrected and it renders people on the edges more naturally. (But if you can you shouldn't position anybody on the edges.)
Sigma 10-20 F3.5 is sharp, but it has a noticeable, but correctable barell distorsion.

06-18-2016, 07:13 AM - 1 Like   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by szffagier Quote
1. Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM @ 450 pounds for 1 ultra wide angle,
That's a fairly beloved lens on these forums. It has some drawbacks (check the reviews). Definitely a good choice if you want a single UWA zoom to cover that whole range

QuoteOriginally posted by szffagier Quote
Samyang 10mm f/2.8 @300 pounds
From what I saw of that lens, it is pretty cool. As well as the Samyang16mm f2 and 14mm f2.8. And if you combine that with a Sigma 17-50mm F2.8, then you have a really nice, competent kit going from ultra wide to short-telephoto. Comes down to what other lenses
you have and what you want to photograph:

QuoteOriginally posted by szffagier Quote
I'd like to do landscape, astrophotography, interiors, environmental portraits... pretty much everything
For interiors, 8-16mm would be great. Even for landscapes. Astrophotography, I think it might be too slow (and check how much coma it has according to lab tests). For astrophotography, Samyang primes are some of the best choices. For portraits, 16mm is very wide, even environmental portraits. Not to mention 10mm! In those cases, a 17-50mm zoom would be better. For real landscapes, the 10mm might be too wide. Seriously, if you photograph hills, they will be tiny in the frame, and you will capture a lot of sky and nearby things (possibly even your own feet!). For landscapes, I would recommend something between 14mm and 24mm.

So I would lean towards getting Samyang 10mm and the Sigma zoom. Or even more Samyang primes! 10mm and 16mm would give you decent range, really sharp optics, good low light performance, good for indoors and astrophoto. Remember, in ultra wide, every mm counts!
06-18-2016, 07:15 AM - 1 Like   #6
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The Sigma 15mm F2.8 fisheye is quite small and light. The sharpness and OoF blur aren't amazing, but it does what it says on the tin. It works well for landscapes, for sure, but will need a bit more time and patience for other subjects.
06-18-2016, 07:24 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by 08amczb Quote
Recently I had to make the same decision. Finally I've choosen the Sigma 10-20 F3.5. My opinion is, it is wide enough, in general I'am using it in the 13-17mm range. Bridges are too small, I have to zoom in to photograph them. Ultra wide is a special effect, you will use it much less then you expect. I've choosen the 10-20 F3.5 because it has a fast aperture and I need it on events. I can hold the lens, but moveing persons need faster shutter speed. In addition at 20mm it has a totaly useable field of view, so it means less lens changeing.
I have the Pentax 10-17 FE also, it makes even wider images when corrected and it renders people on the edges more naturally. (But if you can you shouldn't position anybody on the edges.)
Sigma 10-20 F3.5 is sharp, but it has a noticeable, but correctable barell distorsion.
+1 for the Sigma 10-20 F3.5
06-18-2016, 07:59 AM - 1 Like   #8
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My UWA options in my kit are the DA 15, the DA 12-24, and the Rokinon 8mm fisheye.

Of these the 15 is my favorite followed by the 8 and then the 12-24 but all are loved. The tiny size of the 15 means it fits in a bag when the others would not get invited along for the trip.

This month the 8mm is spending a lot of time in the camera so I have had a chance to explore fisheye more. It is really quite compelling.

06-18-2016, 08:32 AM - 1 Like   #9
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I have 3 ultrawides.

Tamron 10-24: Very versatile zoom range. Good distortion characteristics and zero fisheye effect even at 10mm. Only fair flare resistance and contrast.

Pentax DA15: Compact. Legendary flare resistance when the sun or bright street lights are on the frame. Good color and contrast.

Samsung 14: f2.8 for good light gathering during astrophotography. Bulbous front element prone to flare and dew.

I tend to use the 10-24 for indoor museums and architecture, 15 outdoors for landscapes and night cityscapes, 14 only for astro.
06-18-2016, 09:26 AM - 1 Like   #10
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I also have 3 UWA lenses:
  • Rokinon 8mm FE: Quite remarkable and with a different type of fisheye that has appeal
  • Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6: a little big and mine is a little soft at the wide end, but offers some beautiful perspective and flexibility in range
  • Pentax 10-17 FE: From fisheye at 10mm to near rectilinear at 17mm (at 17mm, it is about the same as the Sigma at 15mm)
The Pentax 10-17 FE gets used the most because it's small, flexible, and does a great job. They all have their purpose, however, so I'm keeping them all for now!
06-18-2016, 09:49 AM - 1 Like   #11
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Be aware, I have the Sigma 17-50mm it is very sharp from 25-50mm, but at the wide end (17mm) not so sharp, I would say disappointing at the wide end, I get better results with the Tamron 18-250 at 18mm than with the sigma 17-50 at (17mm and I was expecting the opposite since the sigma has a shorter range and better quality).
If you are interested in UWA I would recommend the DA12-24 if you can stretch your budget
06-18-2016, 11:48 AM - 2 Likes   #12
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What do you want to use a UWA for? There are a number of common uses:
- landscape
- close quarters
- creative/artistic effect
- astrophotography

UWA lenses excel at the creative effect of separating a very close subject. Close quarters pretty much demand a UWA, as do certain astrophotography applications. Landscape can be difficult to make work with a UWA, as everything appears smaller and more distant. It takes much more attention to composition to get good landscape shots with a UWA. Stitching a panorama is also a viable alternative to a wider lens when shooting landscape, not so much for the other applications. I picked up a Sigma 8-16, thinking I'd use it mostly for landscapes. It turns out I use it mostly for close quarters work (it was fabulous for use inside a vintage B-17 bomber, for example). Much if that is indoors, where I find it just a tad slow, especially at the long end. In hindsight, I think the Sigma 10-20/3.5 would work better for that.

Astrophotography makes very different demands of a lens. You want to look more at coma and other edge-of-the-frame aberrations more, as stars just look wrong unless rendered as points.
06-18-2016, 12:08 PM - 1 Like   #13
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I love my 10-17.

Small and very wide!
06-18-2016, 12:19 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cthulhugan Quote
What do you want to use a UWA for? There are a number of common uses:
- landscape
- close quarters
- creative/artistic effect
- astrophotography

UWA lenses excel at the creative effect of separating a very close subject. Close quarters pretty much demand a UWA, as do certain astrophotography applications. Landscape can be difficult to make work with a UWA, as everything appears smaller and more distant. It takes much more attention to composition to get good landscape shots with a UWA. Stitching a panorama is also a viable alternative to a wider lens when shooting landscape, not so much for the other applications. I picked up a Sigma 8-16, thinking I'd use it mostly for landscapes. It turns out I use it mostly for close quarters work (it was fabulous for use inside a vintage B-17 bomber, for example). Much if that is indoors, where I find it just a tad slow, especially at the long end. In hindsight, I think the Sigma 10-20/3.5 would work better for that.

Astrophotography makes very different demands of a lens. You want to look more at coma and other edge-of-the-frame aberrations more, as stars just look wrong unless rendered as points.
This is a really great answer.
06-18-2016, 03:21 PM - 1 Like   #15
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I have the Sigma 10-20/4-5.6, Pentax DA 10-17 Fisheye, and the DA15 Limited. Of the three, the Sigma gets the most use by a long shot. I have not found a situation where I needed it to be faster than its maximum aperture.
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