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04-20-2020, 05:26 AM   #1
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Why are Used Wide Angle Lenses so Expensive?

I have been looking for a full-frame prime or zoom lens in the 15-20mm area. I once had a K-series 20 mm F4 : it was stolen. Now I find that even old manual lenses like that are offered for several 100s, and more modern used FAs for example are in the 400-500 range. In contrast, I got a mint Pentax-FA 100-300mm F4.7-5.8 recently for only 29, and that focal lenght is probably about the same "distance" away from standard, in the opposite direction.

Is it just rarity on the used market? Is it that most users will add a telephoto as the next after the kit lens, but far fewer go on to add a wide angle, let alone an ultra-wide?

04-20-2020, 05:29 AM   #2
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UWA lenses are expensive new, not just used...

good ones also tend to be rare, so you're right on that score, also...
04-20-2020, 05:52 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Pentax have no primes in production wider than the FA 31mm Limited!

This means that the only option for prime shooters is to buy second hand. Add to that:
1. most mirrorless cameras can adapt vintage Pentax glass and that those lenses are well regarded
2. Not that many uwa's were ever made.

This all conspires to make K mount wide angle lenses extremely expensive for what they are. I was considering buying an old used FA 20mm but when I realised I'd be paying what others pay for new glass I couldn't quite stomach it.
04-20-2020, 06:01 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by house Quote
Pentax have no primes in production wider than the FA 31mm Limited!

This means that the only option for prime shooters is to buy second hand. Add to that:
1. most mirrorless cameras can adapt vintage Pentax glass and that those lenses are well regarded
2. Not that many uwa's were ever made.

This all conspires to make K mount wide angle lenses extremely expensive for what they are. I was considering buying an old used FA 20mm but when I realised I'd be paying what others pay for new glass I couldn't quite stomach it.
Exactly! Prices are high because the options are few for people wanting a FF WA K kens. And since we’ll not see a new WA prime anytime soon, the situation isn’t going to change for the foreseeable future.


Last edited by CarlJF; 04-20-2020 at 06:14 AM.
04-20-2020, 08:10 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lord Lucan Quote
I have been looking for a full-frame prime or zoom lens in the 15-20mm area
That focal length is ultra wide. As others have said they are expensive to make and hold their value. The FA 100-300 is a different story. It is a slow long zoom. I had one once and was not impressed.
04-20-2020, 08:16 AM - 1 Like   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by house Quote
Pentax have no primes in production wider than the FA 31mm Limited!

This means that the only option for prime shooters is to buy second hand. Add to that:
1. most mirrorless cameras can adapt vintage Pentax glass and that those lenses are well regarded
2. Not that many uwa's were ever made.

This all conspires to make K mount wide angle lenses extremely expensive for what they are. I was considering buying an old used FA 20mm but when I realised I'd be paying what others pay for new glass I couldn't quite stomach it.
The DA 14 and DA 15 both offer wider angle coverage than the FA 31 even considering crop factors. The lack of UWA is mostly felt by K1 shooters, and not everyone uses the K1.
04-20-2020, 08:34 AM   #7
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I recently picked up a full-frame Vivitar 13mm f/2.8 for $90 CAD... From the used inventory at McBain Camera.
Was every impressed with the construction and sharpness.. and that price floored me!
04-20-2020, 08:49 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I (briefly) checked my Sigma 10-20mm on my *ist film camera a few days ago, just out of interest, and was surprised to find the obvious optical vignetting disappeared from 12mm onwards. I was also impressed with how accurately the lens-hood aligned with the edge of the viewfinder!
This isn't to say that the corner resolution would be satisfactory on a full-frame sensor, but if you could get access to one (or something similar) for a couple of test shots it might be worth while
Other than that, my Fujinon 19mm and my Sigma 21-35mm were obtained long before the advent of digital cameras, at seriously knock-down prices by today's standards and I'm hanging on to them in the vain hope I'll find a K-1 at a price I'd want to pay (read cheap )

04-20-2020, 09:06 AM - 12 Likes   #9
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Ultra wide lenses such as 15mm and 20mm were expensive back when they were sold new. That means that relatively few were sold and produced, making them rare. The bottom line is that it's a seller's market as far as UWA goes.

Pentax once ran an ad campaign on how few 15mm lenses they sold.

04-20-2020, 09:11 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
The DA 14 and DA 15 both offer wider angle coverage than the FA 31 even considering crop factors. The lack of UWA is mostly felt by K1 shooters, and not everyone uses the K1.
The OP is asking specifically about FF lenses.

QuoteOriginally posted by kypfer Quote
This isn't to say that the corner resolution would be satisfactory on a full-frame sensor, but if you could get access to one (or something similar) for a couple of test shots it might be worth while
Wide angle apsc lenses usually perform even worse than telephoto ones and with wide angles you are less likely to be going for subject isolation. Two aspects that make using apsc wides on ff a bad idea. I've tried to use the da 12-24mm but the the limitations coming at you from all directions make it not worth the hassle. Vignetting varies dramatically by aperture and of course zoom, edges are never good etc. Keeping all those limitations in mind when shooting becomes very cumbersome and prone to mistakes.

Last edited by house; 04-20-2020 at 11:45 AM.
04-20-2020, 09:23 AM   #11
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A DA 15 used in square crop mode has some appeal but it's not nearly as wide as OP is asking for (functionally close to what a 23mm or so lens would provide from a field of view perspective).


This is one of the areas where Pentax is at a distinct disadvantage and has been almost completely lacking in lens development. When they dumped a lot of full-frame glass 15+ years ago due to a variety of factors the UWA FF glass went away. Canon and Nikon did not suffer that fate and I think this is part of what is still holding back the K-1.


There are some zooms from the late film / early digital days that may be of interest. I picked up a Tokina 19-35 recently for around $100. Sigma's 17-35 variable aperture EX DG lens seems pretty good and come up now and then for around $200 or so. Tamron's 17mm Adaptall is about the same money I think. Samyang's 14mm isn't hard to find on the used market for that kind of money as well.
04-20-2020, 10:20 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by house Quote
The OP is asking specifically about FF lenses.
That's fair, my thoughts were focused on the statement made about the FA 31 which didn't caveat things with the words "full frame" and the fact this isn't in a forum area dedicated to a particular format. I just wanted to be sure anyone not married to the K1 didn't misread you and think those primes were discontinued.

I do think Pentax would be wise to release a 24mm and perhaps a 20mm. Given the primary use of the K1 is suggest f3.5 or f4 to keep size down.
04-20-2020, 10:27 AM - 2 Likes   #13
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I have the Rokinon 14 2.8, a very good lens if you get a good copy. I have my FAJ 18-35. My DA 10-17 covers the FF circle at 17mm and 16mm, My Sigma 8-16 covers the FF circle at 16, and 15mm.

I honestly don't spend a lot of time fretting about lack of lenses for UWA. I did for a while because in theory the situation sounds terrible. I bought the Rokinon 14 and discovered I just don't have a lot of call to use it. For just walking around my FAJ 18-35 is light weight and very portable and just the kind of lens you want when you know it won't be used often but you want something for just in case. And it cost me $100, new in box old stock.

FAJ 18-35 at 18mm, you could do a lot worse.

Last edited by normhead; 04-20-2020 at 11:18 AM.
04-20-2020, 12:15 PM   #14
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I have owned 90% of my lenses for more than five years, 1-2 for more than a decade. My philosophy is: never sell a good lens. That is why after so many years I still have my Pentax F 28mm which is a great lens on FF, and the Sigma 20-40mm. I guess some other folks follow the same route, especially that new Pentax lenses are expensive and selection is not too wide.
04-20-2020, 12:17 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wasp Quote
Pentax once ran an ad campaign on how few 15mm lenses they sold.
Love it. I bought that lens a couple of years ago....it is a beast.
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