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12-20-2008, 07:34 AM   #1
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Wide Zoom or Wide Prime....Planning Ahead

Right now I only go down to 18mm in my kit and I'm feeling the need to go wider.

I see some nice wide zooms out there but I know Pentax is coming out with the DA15 Limited next year. I already have the DA35 Limited and love the look, feel and images. I don't like images from extremely wide lenses that start to look fisheye. I'm just not into that look so that may effect the low end of a zoom range I would need.


OK the question to those of you that are already working in this range.

Once you go this wide, do you really need a zoom?

And, if I go prime, is 15mm enough?

Please post photos to go along with your opinions if you got 'em.

Thanks,
joe

12-20-2008, 07:46 AM   #2
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Do you want the possibly better performance of a prime, or the versatility of a zoom? And how wide do you want to go? Let's say you buy the upcoming 15mm prime--assuming it is a good lens, you'd likely be very happy with it. Comparing it to the Pentax DA 12-24mm for example, with the zoom, you obviously gain 3mm on the wide end, and the versatility of going up to 24mm.

Of course, like the decisions we all face at the different focal lengths of zoom vs. prime, and then which lens within one genre or the other, only you know ultimately which you would prefer. Out of those options, I'd likely choose the Pentax 12-24mm if I really wanted wider than what I have now. As you may know, Sigma and Tamron also have wide angle zooms available in the Pentax mount.
12-20-2008, 08:21 AM   #3
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At the risk of intense flames, I suggest you consider buying a really good front mount wide angle converter.

I use a 0.8x Olympus WC-08 Wide Angle converter that would reduce your 18mm to 14.4mm with essentially no light loss and minimal image degradation.

See: CK's Digital Camera Page select FZ30.

At the times you want to shoot at a wide angle, you probably don't want a zoom and you won't be cropping.

Last edited by newarts; 12-20-2008 at 08:28 AM.
12-20-2008, 10:05 AM   #4
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I'm thinking of travel and I most likely would be walking around with one of my two Sigma Zooms, the 18-50 2.8 or the 70-200 2.8 and carrying the DA35 limited and a A50 1.4 for that special scene I want perfect. I guess the wide question fits into the above scenario.

So at this range how big is the zoom vs quality question?

I'm sure I could pick up the Pentax 12-24 or the Sigma 10-20 for around the same money as the new DA15 Limited prime so I'm looking for opinions on photo quality at the wide end between choices like these.

Thanks
joe

12-20-2008, 11:22 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by joelovotti Quote
So at this range how big is the zoom vs quality question?
Hard to say, since you're comparing a very high quality zoom lens against a fixed-focal-length lens of unknown performance.

FWIW, I considered the DA14/2.8 before getting the DA12-24/4.0. The 12-24 is superior to the 14 in resolution and distortion characteristics; the 14 is superior in speed and lateral chromatic aberration (photozone data).

It took about 30 seconds to decide that the 12-24 was the better choice for me.
12-20-2008, 11:36 AM   #6
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Joe, I debated this same question (except with the DA14) and decided that the perceived difference in IQ was not that great. I'm throroughly enjoying the greater versitility of the 12-24 despite the loss of two f stops. I've found most of my wide shots are outside in (usually) sufficient light. I probably looked at 100's of shots with both lenses, and at least here on the Web was unable to distinguish much difference.
I lieu of posting shots here I'll give you the link to the LBA post I did after getting the lens last winter:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/19438-lba-pentax-da-12-24mm-f4-0-a.html

NaCl(my vote would be for the 12-24)H2O

Last edited by NaClH2O; 12-20-2008 at 11:37 AM. Reason: spelling :(
12-20-2008, 12:52 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by joelovotti Quote
Once you go this wide, do you really need a zoom?
And, if I go prime, is 15mm enough?
This is a pretty subjective question, but FWIW I'm very, very happy with my DA12-24 and often find myself using it's entire range as I'm out shooting. It's a fully rectilinear lens with only minor barrel distortion at the wide end, so you don't have to worry about a "fisheye" effect. But as with any very wide rectilinear lens there will be some stretching of objects at the extreme edges at the widest end of the zoom range, it's just the nature of the beast.

It is a large and bulky lens, and I have my eye on the upcoming DA 15mm as something I can take with me more easily. Once that lens is available I'm thinking I might end up bringing the DA12-24 along only when I know that I'll be doing some significant wide angle shooting.

If it's image quality or flexibility that's most important to you, the DA12-24 won't disappoint. But if you value portability or being inconspicuous then you might think twice about it.
12-20-2008, 12:54 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by NaClH2O Quote
I'm throroughly enjoying the greater versitility of the 12-24 despite the loss of two f stops.
Are you comparing the DA14 and the DA12-24? There's only 1 stop difference between them.

12-20-2008, 01:04 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
...
I use a 0.8x Olympus WC-08 Wide Angle converter that would reduce your 18mm to 14.4mm with essentially no light loss and minimal image degradation.....
I take it back. Purple fringing at the edge is pretty bad. Nevermind.
12-20-2008, 05:51 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by newarts Quote
I take it back. Purple fringing at the edge is pretty bad. Nevermind.
The decent front-mounted wide angle converters are specifically designed to work with a particular lens and can produce pretty reasonable results. But when you slap them on a different lens all bets are off...
12-20-2008, 07:10 PM   #11
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I'm hardly an expert and tend to shoot above 50mm in any case but I'll chime in in favor of a good zoom. Small increments in FL have big impacts on image at the wide end--for example, distortion can be significantly less at 16mm than at 14mm. A zoom (I have the Sigma 10-20mm) gives you more control over the compromises you may have to make.
12-20-2008, 07:38 PM   #12
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15mm may be tooo wide for certain shots due to perspective distortion
it would not be a good photo for example for group photos because people on the edges of the frame would have big heads and thin bodies
12-20-2008, 08:01 PM   #13
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How do you like your Sigma

QuoteOriginally posted by dadipentak Quote
A zoom (I have the Sigma 10-20mm) gives you more control over the compromises you may have to make.
What do you think of the Sigma. I can't use a lens that doesn't feel and look good as well as take great shots.

joe
12-20-2008, 09:05 PM   #14
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The 12-24 is an excellent versatile lens, and curently is selling for $40 less than I paid even with the $100 rebate. The fact that the K20 is $250 less now is another story...

I've only seen 2 negative posts about the 12-24 IQ, and one was an obviously defective lens.
12-20-2008, 10:36 PM   #15
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I have the DA 14 and love it. However, after playing with my brothers Sigma 10-20 (on sony), I almost wish I'd gotten it instead. I say almost because I would lose the build quality of the DA14- it can take a beating and come back for more. As for distortion, you're only going to see it in buildings or anything else with obviously straight lines, and even then it's not all that bad. The 1+ stop advantage gained with the DA14 is important to me- when shooting in low-light.
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