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09-02-2020, 06:59 AM   #1
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Upgrade 12-24 to 11-18?

You call it LBA, I call it "striving for better" recently I have been becoming more and more interested in shooting wide angle, starting from the 15 Ltd for some occasional wide landscape or with the sun, then a quick grab of the 14 last autumn before our trip to Austria, because the 15 was dropped and became decentered. I have since then re bought the 15, for when I need compactness, and the 12-24, used too. This year it has been almost the 12-24 as my default lens, due to its versatility, being a zoom, and the fact that it can go to 24mm. COVID 19 has stopped us from air traveling, but driving instead, so compactness of the 15 is not needed.

Having said that, the new DA* 11-18 has been tempting me more and more because:

- AW: non of my wide angle lens is WR, which is sometimes annoying, every trip I have at least 1-2 rainy days.
- Build quality: the 12-24 is not bad, but its design and build quality is outdated, especially sitting next to Ltd or * lenses
- DC and f2.8 are nice.

But mostly I want more image quality. I kind of lazy when it comes to setting up a shot, partly because I travel with a toddler and a very impatient wife, so I want equipments that can deliver even with less ideal conditions (e.g. no tripod, not waiting for better light etc). the 12-24 is good, but for some reasons I find images from the 14 better. I wonder how much better image quality I can get from the 11-18, considering the same shooting conditions? It's quite hard to find a direct comparison of this lenses with others.

I decide not to move to FF, even if it's technically the best option, due to size/weight and cost.

The cons would be:
- Price. It can be soften somewhat by selling my 12-24, and street price has now lowered a bit, closer to 1000e mark. I won't sell the 15, and perhaps the 14 either, it's kind of an unique lens.
- Bulkiness. Looks like its not much fatter than the 16-50, so not bad, but it will takes time to get used to a 700g default lens.
- My marriage. No, but seriously, having 3 wide angle lenses already that are working, why am I even thinking about this?

Your thoughts?
- Speaking of default lens, 18mm vs 24mm is a big difference, will be more lenses swap, unfortunately

09-02-2020, 07:49 AM - 1 Like   #2
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I have wrestled with this same decision. I too own the 15 and 14 and 12-24. Like you I find the 24mm end very useful. For this last reason I have resisted the urge to buy the 11-18...
09-02-2020, 07:57 AM - 1 Like   #3
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This may sound silly, but I think if I made money with my photography (or was so independently wealthy that none of this mattered, which if it did you wouldn't be here asking about it) I would rent an 11-18 and see if it would replace the 14 and 12-24 that you already own. If I didn't, I wouldn't spend the money to make the change. I'm suggesting selling the 14 as I believe the optical qualities of the 11-18 overlap so much as to make the 14 redundant. The DA 15 is something else that I couldn't see selling as well.

The 11-18 seems great but I couldn't justify that swap at all for myself.
09-02-2020, 07:59 AM - 1 Like   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bui Quote
. . . - My marriage. No, but seriously, having 3 wide angle lenses already that are working, why am I even thinking about this?

Your thoughts?. . .
a very serious consideration

especially with a young child and other possible needs to spend funds on

but if you can persuade the spouse

why not

09-02-2020, 08:12 AM   #5
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I have the 12-24 and have really enjoyed it over the years. However, if I had not gone to FF I would have sold it and bought the 11-18. Why? Just because I guess. Since my primary body is the K-1 and my second body the K-3II the 12-24 is more than good enough. Particularly since most of my wide angle shots are with the K-1 and the DFA 15-30.

That said, if I had your dilemma I would sell the 12-24 and the 14 and buy the 11-18. You do not say what other lenses you have but you mentioned the 16-50. If so the 11-18 paired with the 16-50 covers things nicely. Keep the 15mm because it is the 15mm. I sold mine and miss it.
09-02-2020, 08:27 AM   #6
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I did the move 12-24 -->11-18 ...

... and I have never regretted. It is really an excellent lens. The longer I have it the more I like it, especially in harsh conditions! But I did not have 15 and 14 ...

So it is up to you, what is your style of shooting. 12-24 is really good, especially in terms of sharpness, it does have nicer starburst! But what I did not like was the flare resistance when shooting sunsets, I was unable to remove some of them and it looked ugly. So I decided to do the move ...

Looking back, I would have done this again. There is one more big pro for 11-18 - the autofocus when shooting reports. AF of 11-18 is not even faster, but it is more reliable, even in AF-C (both lenses on the same KP).

Last edited by cport; 09-02-2020 at 08:56 AM.
09-02-2020, 08:37 AM - 2 Likes   #7
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There's a comparison thread here on the forums, and the general consensus is that the 12-24 honestly holds it's own surprisingly well. They are both that good.

For several hundred extra dollars and a major size and weight gain to "trade-up" I don't personally see the value in it. On FF they both have the same limitations, 16mm and up OOC, but the 12-24 gives you a bit more range on the upper side. I had briefly considered the 11-18 but for price vs performance chose the DA12-24 for myself, "lovingly experienced" for about $300 (EDIT: Found the PayPal receipt: $325). Finding it usable on my K1 was a pleasant bonus.
Pentax 11-18 vs Pentax 12-24 - PentaxForums.com

EDIT: I obviously did not use the same rationale when I purchased the HD FA50 and ignored my own advice. There were other great performing lenses in the range for far less money, so there must be other very logical reasons to buy the heavier, bigger, higher-priced *Lens over the near-equally-as-good, lighter, and less expensive option Logical as in "I want it".


Last edited by gatorguy; 09-02-2020 at 09:28 AM.
09-02-2020, 09:18 AM - 2 Likes   #8
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This may not address the question at hand, but I think the 12-24 punches above it's weight, and in many ways is a real sleeper lens. And I recall a review where it compared favorably with the DA 15.
09-02-2020, 11:17 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
That said, if I had your dilemma I would sell the 12-24 and the 14 and buy the 11-18. You do not say what other lenses you have but you mentioned the 16-50. If so the 11-18 paired with the 16-50 covers things nicely. Keep the 15mm because it is the 15mm. I sold mine and miss it.
Once you have the da 14 you'd be hard pressed to give it up. The close focus (17cm vs 30cm in the two zooms) and higher magnification (.19 va .1 or .12x) make it a hard act to follow.
09-02-2020, 03:26 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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Having an AW lens is great. When we go to the beach which we do a few times a year I won't shoot anything else now that I have the DA*16-50.
To me it would make sense to sell the 12-24mm and one of the primes to keep the one you like best. Having 2 lenses instead of 3 would probably go well with the wife
09-02-2020, 03:37 PM - 2 Likes   #11
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As to the DA*11-18mm f/2.8, real advantages over the DA 12-24mm photographically are essentially two- the AW design, and the full stop of greater aperture. The importance of these advantages can only be determined by your own needs, balanced against the cost factor. If you do a lot of low light photography, having that larger aperture might be an important factor. But unlike the DA 12-24mm, I have not seen any lab tests to indicate how well the DA* lens does wide open at f/2.8 so that is another question.

When you need that f/2.8 there is no substitute other than going to higher ISO, which can be another viable option depending on which camera you are using. If you are not using a current model, moving instead for a KP or K-70 could make up for that one stop by allowing another stop upwards of ISO setting while preserving the same quality you were getting at the lower ISO. And may be more cost-effective in addition to bringing advantages for the use of your other lenses as well. The DA 12-24mm has had very good results in lab tests at wide open aperture.

The DA* 11-18mm comparative disadvantages are cost, and as you mentioned, reduced zoom range, meaning potentially an increase in lens changing. The last can be a very important consideration when traveling, especially with a group.

My compromise was for the Sigma 10-20mm f/3.5 EX DC HSM, which I got new at a closeout bargain price, and I am very pleased with this lens. Very well-built, and well-designed, but no WR. It is too bad Sigma discontinued making it in Pentax mount. The DA 12-24mm is also discontinued, leaving little choice left for Pentax users. I think it would be a good idea for Ricoh/Pentax to strike up a deal to rebadge this Sigma lens for the Pentax lineup. I still have my long-time DA 12-24mm. The zoom range of the Sigma is about the same, with more at the wide end, and about 1/2 stop of aperture gain. I have been shooting mostly with the KP.

Last edited by mikesbike; 09-02-2020 at 03:45 PM.
09-02-2020, 04:14 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jatrax Quote
I have the 12-24 and have really enjoyed it over the years. However, if I had not gone to FF I would have sold it and bought the 11-18....
I would sell the 12-24 and the 14 and buy the 11-18.
Selling both the 12-24 and 14 would net around $800, perhaps a bit more if not in a rush to sell. The OP will have to add another $500 cash if he wants to buy the DA*11-18 at it's current sale price. IMO that's giving a lot of already really good glass and significant cash on top for essentially another stop of light and WR which in all likelihood will render images indistinguishable from the glass he has.

But that's never stopped me from trading up when the shinier thing catches my eye. You should see my collection of lights, softboxes, and ND's!

I'd suggest the OP may be doing what I do: Asking for a plausible-enough reason to offer the wife when he gets this new lens, and you know he's going to buy the 11-18 despite what anyone here suggests might be the logical thing to do.

When that LBA hits it's hard to resist.

So to the OP: JUST DO IT. We don'need no stee'king reason. We're photographers.

Last edited by gatorguy; 09-02-2020 at 04:20 PM.
09-02-2020, 05:14 PM - 4 Likes   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by gatorguy Quote
Selling both the 12-24 and 14 would net around $800, perhaps a bit more if not in a rush to sell.
Owning a da 15 and 14 and the 12-24 I couldn't sell both the zoom and a prime. The 15 has the super compact and flare resistance thing and the 14 is a close up wide shooting monster. I could get talked into buying the 11-18 someday but I think I'd miss the 6mm on the long end an awful lot. The 12-24 has such a great range, it's very wide but gets into the documentary perspective of an old 35mm lens on a 35mm film rangefinder as the 24 on crop has the same perspective and angle of view. This extreme wide to "politely just a bit wide" is an excellent range.
09-02-2020, 06:44 PM - 1 Like   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Owning a da 15 and 14 and the 12-24 I couldn't sell both the zoom and a prime. The 15 has the super compact and flare resistance thing and the 14 is a close up wide shooting monster. I could get talked into buying the 11-18 someday but I think I'd miss the 6mm on the long end an awful lot. The 12-24 has such a great range, it's very wide but gets into the documentary perspective of an old 35mm lens on a 35mm film rangefinder as the 24 on crop has the same perspective and angle of view. This extreme wide to "politely just a bit wide" is an excellent range.
The reasons you give are why I still hang on to my now old DA 12-24mm! At the same time I do like my new Sigma lens for a number of reasons, first being its more extreme wide end- quite noticeable! If needing a more all-around lens, as you point out, the 24mm capability of the DA 12-24mm is more all-purpose, as a versatile "wide-angle normal" focal length. And I have the DA 15mm LTD also. Can't beat this tiny beast for tucking into a small carrying space and Photographic high-quality!

Last edited by mikesbike; 09-02-2020 at 06:50 PM.
09-03-2020, 06:21 AM - 3 Likes   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
Like you I find the 24mm end very useful. For this last reason I have resisted the urge to buy the 11-18...
Same with me. I have a Sigma 10-20 too, but find the range of 12-24 significantly more useful for me.

QuoteOriginally posted by Bui Quote
I wonder how much better image quality I can get from the 11-18, considering the same shooting conditions? It's quite hard to find a direct comparison of this lenses with others.
I find that, in practice with good technique, image quality differences between many lenses are in the realm of splitting hairs.

OTOH, if the OP is looking for rationalization to pass along to his wife, I'm 100% behind him getting the 11-18mm. An easy selling point is that he can express his desire to use the "best" quality optics available to capture the once in a lifetime expressions and antics of his beautiful child.
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