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07-17-2020, 05:45 PM   #1
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Cheap, Decent Wide Angle Lens

Looking for opinions on a cheap but decent wide lens. Currently my wide angle lenses are a Pentax 18-135 and Zenitar 16mm fisheye. I'm I'm looking for something better to cover non-pro event shooting, indoor parties etc. Pretty much settled on a Tamron 17-50, but the Sigma 24mm 2.8 AF is usually a similar price (although very hard to find), and the Sigma 17-50 is also available for a small price hike. Should I jump on a Tamron or stretch for a Sigma? And how does the 24mm prime compare to the premium zooms?

07-17-2020, 05:58 PM   #2
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cheap/decent/wide - you only get to pick 2 of the three...

the Sigma 24/2.8 Super Wide is just ok, the Sigma 24/1.8 EX DG is much, much better....

there's also the Pentax DA 21 Limited, DA 15 Limited, and the DA 14/2.8.... for indoor parties, you'll be needing as much aperture as you can grab - you never mentioned which camera body...

'premium' zooms are still going to be at their limits at the widest (and longest) end and usually a prime at that same focal length is a better lens...
07-17-2020, 06:20 PM   #3
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I have the Tamron 17-50 2.8 and love it for its sharpness. Images colours are a little cool.
07-17-2020, 06:28 PM - 1 Like   #4
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There is also the Pentax DA 20-40 Ltd zoom, which in my opinion beats the Sigma 17-50 although not as wide or long, and it is weatherized. This and the ones pepperberry mentioned are all hard to beat. I had the Sigma and sold it after using the 20-40.

None are cheap, unless you get lucky.

07-17-2020, 07:59 PM   #5
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Thanks for the responses. I'm aware of the 20-40, and it would be my ideal lens but it is over twice my budget. I'm aware of the cheap/good/wide compromise, and the 'cheap' factor is set in stone. Maybe I should rephrase my question to be "what's the best cheap lens of around 20-30mm focal length" . I think the Pentax 21mm would also be a winner but they are hovering outside my budget also.

---------- Post added 07-17-20 at 08:00 PM ----------

Also, I'm using a K5ii.
07-17-2020, 08:46 PM   #6
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As regards "what's the best cheap lens of around 20-30mm focal length" there are many used MF 24mm f/2.5 ~ 2.8 lenses and they would be inexpensive and fine quality. E.g., the 24mm f/2.8 Pentax (K). For about [50% to 100% more]** expense a Pentax F 28mm f/2.8 or FA 28mm f/2.8 would also give you AF, and still probably 1/3-1/2 of what the 20-40mm lens would cost and probably comparable or better quality image.
** Actually the 28mm AF would be comparable or lower in cost than the 24mm, but it is less wide. KEH has the 24mm K f/2.8 for about $180 and the FA 28mm f/2.8 for about $130.

Last edited by dms; 07-17-2020 at 08:53 PM.
07-17-2020, 09:10 PM - 1 Like   #7
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What's cheap? $200? $250?

You could find a 21 Ltd for under $250, and it certainly is worth that much - I find it's my default walk around lens for pretty much everything. (Unless it's pouring out, then the 18-135 takes the throne.)
07-17-2020, 09:11 PM - 1 Like   #8

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QuoteOriginally posted by kman42 Quote
Cheap, Decent Wide Angle Lens
Sigma 17-70mm F2.8-4.5 DC Macro Lens Reviews - Sigma Lenses - Pentax Lens Review Database

SMC Pentax-F 24-50mm F4 Reviews - F Zoom Lenses - Pentax Lens Reviews & Lens Database

24 on crop isnt that wide,I have these 2 as well as the Sigma SW AF,all are good.

The Sigma zoom is the cheapest, note the most recent comment compared to Tamron 17/50.All are film era.

07-17-2020, 10:32 PM - 1 Like   #9
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For indoor shooting you probably prefer a lens with silent AF. So Tamron 17-50 might not be the best choice as it still use screwdrive AF.
Sigma 17-50 or 17-70 would be better in this regard with built in silent AF motors.
07-17-2020, 10:43 PM   #10
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What's wide? To me a 24mm on crop is minimally wide (equivalent to 35mm on 35mm film). However an 18mm (28mm equivalence on full frame) is what I'd consider more mainstream wide, and the cost for that wide of an older lens is cost prohibitive.

Given the intended use, is manual focus realistic? Is f2.8 fast enough to avoid flash? Would a flash be a better option? Perhaps with a modifier to make the light softer? If not, then you should save your money for a bit longer as the da 20-40 is one of the best crop lens options if you need af and f2.8 and a wide perspective. The 17-50 f2.8 Tamron or Sigma is another option to consider.

If wide isn't a strong requirement then the DA XS 40 is a fast f2.8 lens that's cheap and sharp and loads of fun.
07-18-2020, 03:50 AM   #11
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There's always the 10-17 fish eye, maybe suplimented by a vintage 24mm (a cosina or Miranda both come in k mount and are good) the fish eye would be half the price of the 20-40 and the Miranda, maybe 25
07-18-2020, 04:48 AM   #12
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Always check eBay in Japan for "like-new" used lenses. You can get amazing rebates sometimes.

07-18-2020, 05:07 AM - 1 Like   #13
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For event photography I recommend a zoom. More universal and most wide angle AF primes are not better than the better zooms.

The Sigma 17-50/2.8 DC EX or 17-50/2.8 DC OS EX would be my first choice. Very versatile and good sharpness, few CAs. Tamron 17-50/2.8 is okay too, but there are many poor samples.

If you're looking for more angle of view the DA 12-24/4 would be a really good idea. The Tamron 10-24 is not as good.

The DA 15/4 Ltd. has a very sharp center and best contrast, but shows poor corners. I like the DA 21/3.2 Ltd.'s bokeh, but the sharpness is average and the distortion is heavy. Both are very small and light.

And don't try the historic wide angle lenses, most of them are quite poor.

Last edited by Austro-Diesel; 07-18-2020 at 05:20 AM.
07-18-2020, 06:59 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Austro-Diesel Quote
. I like the DA 21/3.2 Ltd.'s bokeh, but the sharpness is average and the distortion is heavy.

And don't try the historic wide angle lenses, most of them are quite poor.
Really? I did the single in with the 21mm limited and it was extremely sharp and the distortion was both minimal and easy to rectify in post. As for historic wide angle lenses being poor, maybe you should tell Pepperberry Farm or Sandy Hancock. They have both had exceptional results from 20s, 21s, 24s etc. The one I mentioned is far from poor, being capable of sharpness well above its price point! Providing you do your research there are plenty of very good vintage lenses that dont cost the earth, many of them hiding under names like Topcor, Chinon, Miranda, Cosina, Vivitar etc. and many available for the price of a couple of packets of cigarettes! We don't all have the budget for DA* lenses. By the sound of it the op has a couple of hundred, max. Good vintage lenses could give him the option to build up a collection for a minimal outlay. If you want to know the truth about vintage lenses, go onto the review page on PF. For the record, my tapering Chinon 28mm scored a 9. For 15 its not so poor!
07-18-2020, 07:13 AM   #15
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The Samyang 16 f2 would be nice IF manual focus is acceptable. I can understand someone saying that it isn't on a crop digital body, AF assistance or no. Sigma 18-35 f1.8 would be nice IF a good copy can be found at an acceptable price, which is probably not doable, but perhaps? I think I would go with the Sigma HSM 17-50 f2.8 if that's wide enough; it's a bit sharper than the Tamron 17-50 and seems better built (the Tamron doesn't seem very rugged at all, as much as I like the images that lens produces). I think the Sigma is still available new for $350 or so in the US, brand new. A used copy of the Sigma 24mm EX DG f1.8 would be nice but that isn't very wide on a crop body. The Pentax 14mm f2.8 might do the trick although I don't know that wide open optical performance is so great if one is interested in pixel peeping. But that might be the best suggestion out of the lenses I've mentioned. There's always the DA 15 Ltd, shot wide open, and deal with high-ISO noise in post. I've used mine that way and it's acceptable with my K-5 II.

A crop DA* 14mm f2.something faster than f2.8 would be a nice thing for the Pentax system but it doesn't exist today and if it did it wouldn't be cheap enough to discuss seriously in this thread.

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