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01-15-2018, 10:13 AM - 1 Like   #1
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DA 10-17 FE usage tips/quirks/limitations

By way of some background... I originally bought this lens as a light weight, ultra-wide walk around for non-serious picture taking because I use my Sigma 10-20 for paid work and don't want to risk it getting smashed when I trip while hiking. It's also large and has an obnoxious hood. The 10-17 is small and weighs nothing.

However, I've noticed some severe limitations and/or me just failing to understand and use the lens properly. I realize it's a specialty lens, and that's not where my issue is. Everyone knows it's a fringing MONSTER, but that's easily corrected in post and not really my issue either.

My issue is with the extraordinarily sub-par rending in anything but absolutely flawless lighting conditions or low-light conditions. In direct sunlight it washes out instantly. It blows highlights like no body's business and seems to reduce my cameras' dynamic ranges to that of a cell phone. It has some of the flattest rendering of any lens I own, if used in anything remotely resembling bright light or a high dynamic range scene. I typically come home with minimal or no keepers from any daylight shooting, especially this time of year with the low-angle sun. Most of the shots have that extremely digital, fake look as if I took them with my cell phone. Re-saturating and adding contrast in post just turns them into cartoons.

These issues seem to be confirmed by browsing through the DA 10-17 group on Flickr. Browsing through my own photos taken with the lens, every good photo it took was at golden hour or night. If the attachments work in proper order, you should see what I'd consider three terrible photos followed by three acceptable photos. Not surprisingly, all the bad photos were taken during the middle of the day and all the nice photos were taken after the sun had set.

Am I missing something or is this the best this lens can do in direct sunlight? I'm shooting stopped down to around f8, plus or minus a couple stops. I've tried to use bracketed shots, but even though that helps the dynamic range issue, it doesn't fix the micro-contrastless flat rendering. From both my own shots and those on Flickr, shooting from 12-17mm seems to help quite a bit, but by 12mm you've already lost most of the FE and kind of defeats the purpose of the lens.

Any other suggestions? Any example photos that show it CAN produce decent photos in midday light?

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Last edited by AyeYo; 01-15-2018 at 11:39 AM.
01-15-2018, 11:31 AM   #2
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Nice shots, I especially like the lit up buidling (Denver, CO?).

I am partial to this lens, I have used it several times on a K-5. I have gotten some great pictures with, but it seems like I only posted a few, and none of those in intense daylight.

A search on Flickr yielded dozens, if not hundred of great shots taken with it, so I am sure it is possible.
01-15-2018, 12:35 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I love the lens :0) however it’s arrival coincided with my aperture block failing. I did take some shots in bright light and the tone dropped out, also I tried to get sun flare but all it did was generally wash out the photo. However, in the same photo session with the sun behind me I got some tremendous, fully saturated and contrasty shots. Do the Samyang fisheyes suffer the same problems in bright sunlight? Maybe it is the nature of the style of lens. If so it slightly negates it’s value as a walk around. I already apply more thought into composition when using it, maybe we need to factor in its performance in bright light. Just for the record, the pictures you posted are superb and I love the moody cemetery sign :0)
01-15-2018, 01:12 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Cerebum Quote
I love the lens :0) however it’s arrival coincided with my aperture block failing. I did take some shots in bright light and the tone dropped out, also I tried to get sun flare but all it did was generally wash out the photo. However, in the same photo session with the sun behind me I got some tremendous, fully saturated and contrasty shots. Do the Samyang fisheyes suffer the same problems in bright sunlight? Maybe it is the nature of the style of lens. If so it slightly negates it’s value as a walk around. I already apply more thought into composition when using it, maybe we need to factor in its performance in bright light. Just for the record, the pictures you posted are superb and I love the moody cemetery sign :0)
Glad I'm not the only one. Maybe it's a consequence of not being able to have a (meaningful) sized hood and such a protruded front element.

I don't have experience with any other fish eyes, but maybe someone else can chime in. I do really like the lens and the 10-17 zoom has the potential to give great walk around versatility, but the daylight issues really kill it for me. If that's all it's got, I guess it turns into a very specialized lens for me. The low-light images are excellent.

Thanks for the compliments. I actually lit that sign by painting it with a headlamp during the exposure. lolol

01-15-2018, 01:44 PM - 4 Likes   #5
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Incredibly flat for what it is...

QuoteOriginally posted by AyeYo Quote
Glad I'm not the only one. Maybe it's a consequence of not being able to have a (meaningful) sized hood and such a protruded front element.

I don't have experience with any other fish eyes, but maybe someone else can chime in. I do really like the lens and the 10-17 zoom has the potential to give great walk around versatility, but the daylight issues really kill it for me. If that's all it's got, I guess it turns into a very specialized lens for me. The low-light images are excellent.

Thanks for the compliments. I actually lit that sign by painting it with a headlamp during the exposure. lolol
Pentax always does as superb a job as they possibly can making the front element flat by producing very complex convex indentations on the inside of the outer element. Please compare a Nikon 14mm F2.8 with the Pentax 14mm - the Pentax is virtually flat, the Nikon the front element is HUGE and extremely heavy - also, the Nikon much, MUCH more expensive, and extremely unwieldy on the camera. They've done a similar thing with the 10-17 fisheye - have a look at other makes' fisheyes if you want to see protruding front elements.

I LOVE that lens! Makes for MANLY selfies!



Cheers,
Cameron
01-15-2018, 02:07 PM - 2 Likes   #6
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Er, I have absolutely no hesitations to use this lens in the midday sun - other than it not being my preferred lighting for virtually any kind of outdoor shooting, with any lens.

The DA10-17 Fish-Eye is no corner-sharpness daemon, but considering it's an outrageous-FOV zoom lens, I'd say I'm actually getting punchy colours and pretty amazing microcontrast. Certainly little to complain about in those departments ...

As you will notice from the EXIFs, I dialled in various amounts of negative exposure compensation, as these lighting conditions would've otherwise fooled the pattern metering into substantial overexposure and blown highlights. But you seem to be aware of this problem and have done the same. Maybe you could try tweaking your sharpening and/or microcontrast/clarity settings in post?

Checked out some of your shots in Flickr resolution, and actually I quite like them, and this includes the rendering. Perhaps, we should also remember that we're talking a 400-dollar lens here, and at that price point, I've always felt it an amazing value.
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Last edited by Madaboutpix; 01-15-2018 at 02:35 PM.
01-15-2018, 02:27 PM   #7
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Those are nice, especially the 2nd and 3rd.

Mine all had at least -1EV dialed in as well, but I probably needed to go further since it blows highlights so easily. It does look like all yours were all at f11 and I'm typically shooting at a max of f8. Maybe I'll try stopping down a bit more next time and see if the situation improves at all.
01-15-2018, 02:42 PM   #8
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Thanks for the praise, Tyler. Feel free to check out those and more on needacreate.com, where you can pixel-peep to your heart's content. I really like this lens for what it is, despite all its quirks.

01-15-2018, 03:36 PM - 1 Like   #9
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Quirky is a good description of the 10-17 Fisheye lens. I like it...but only use 10mm to around 15mm for 'novelty' fisheye photos. My favourite setting...is 17mm. It can be worked to provide some close to 'normal' wide angle shots. I use it with vintage cars to 'stretch' them out a bit. A lot of moving around is needed...by the photographer to ensure as much distortion is excised from the picture. I find if I physically move up and down...all the time looking through the viewfinder...I can find that sweet spot with this lens that works reasonably well as a wide angle.. I know all this sounds strange, but it seems to work.
01-15-2018, 05:00 PM   #10
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Fish eye lenses overexposes with light skies.
It is not one of Pentax's sharpest lenses and it has SMC and not HD treatment.
My advice is to expose less and maybe lift dark parts.
01-15-2018, 05:24 PM   #11
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The DA10-17 is grossly over-rated.

As far as fisheyes go the Samyang 8mm is much better. And at 16mm it is not a patch on my humble DA16-45. I'm only keeping mine for sentimental reasons ...








01-15-2018, 06:27 PM - 7 Likes   #12
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The DA10-17 is a lens full of comprises. It is not a lens to use every day. This a lens to have fun with. There are many negatives to the 10-17. It fringes like crazy in high contrast situations, even stopped down. The corners are never sharp. It needs to be stopped down to get decent IQ. I shoot mine regularly at f11. On the plus side, fringing is easy to remove in post. Newer DSLR'S can handle higher ISO's so stopping down is not so much an issue. The lens is so small it easily fits in the camera bag. From 13-17mm the images easily defish if composed correctly.

My advice is:
Stop down to at least f8, preferably f11.
Pay attention to composition, fisheyes and UWA's are unforgiving for poor composition.
Use a tripod if you can, especially for landscapes. It really does help.
When shooting below 13mm, use Live View and manual focus for best results.
Stop the lens down, yes I typed it twice. You really need to do it.

10mm


10mm


10mm


10mm


10mm


11mm


13mm


10mm


17mm


17mm



A highly versital lens that you can have a lot of fun with. I did Single In with the 10-17 and it was a lot of fun.
Single In April (DA 10-17 Fisheye) | Flickr
01-16-2018, 12:24 AM   #13
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Wow, fantastic pictures. Not sure about grossly over rated, it is what it is. Ok, the Samyang is a better fish eye (stunning pictures )but then it is a dedicated fish eye and I bought this because I wanted another utility lens. As has been said, people have fun with it and I think that is reflected in the ratings. I find the colour rendition is very good and, for a rank amateur like me, the “issues” are not really issues as I don’t see this as my serious photography, just something to make people look twice. Around 15mm is probably where I will live. Ok, I could have got the 15mm prime but A) That is way more expensive and 2) I wouldn’t have the flexibility but all things considered, and given that my K30 is currently failing, I love it

The mortar and pestle and the bridge are stunning by the way
01-16-2018, 04:15 AM - 2 Likes   #14
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I have owned a copy of both the DA 10-17mm and the Rokinon 8mm FE - I've used both in the Single In Challenge; I've since sold the Rokinon 8mm and still have the DA 10-17mm.

The Rokinon 8mm is great lens, especially for the price - I just didn't care for the built-in limitations when compared to the DA 10-17mm. The DA 10-17mm is just soooo much more versatile and useful. Amazing color rendition, build quality, clarity, and near-macro close-focusing ability are all part and parcel of the DA 10-17...

In strong daylight, the DA 10-17 will fringe and flare - so you have to be mindful of that; the corners are not going to be sharp... but if you wanted better, you should be looking at a solid prime, such as the DA 14/2.8, not a specialty lens such as the DA 10-17...


some of my favorites from the DA 10-17:









as mentioned previously, stop down - this is critical with this lens to avoid loss of contrast...

watch your composition, especially if you are below 14mm, as that's where you'll find the most distortion (it is an FE)

have fun with it - I've never expected the DA 10-17mm to replace any of my prime lenses

Last edited by pepperberry farm; 01-16-2018 at 04:42 AM.
01-16-2018, 04:47 AM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
I have owned a copy of both the DA 10-17mm and the Rokinon 8mm FE - I've used both in the Single In Challenge; I've since sold the Rokinon 8mm and still have the DA 10-17mm.

The Rokinon 8mm is great lens, especially for the price - I just didn't care for the built-in limitations when compared to the DA 10-17mm. The DA 10-17mm is just soooo much more versatile and useful. Amazing color rendition, build quality, clarity, and near-macro close-focusing ability are all part and parcel of the DA 10-17...
Well said. Great images too. Versatility is why I bought this lens too. As much as I like the fisheye effect it is not for every image, and the lens produces some nice images on the long end of its zoom, as long as you work within it's limitations. It's not a high end lens and you don't pay for that. It is a great lens for what it offers. But if its limitations are not for you (the OP) then its got to go.
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