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03-22-2007, 05:29 PM   #1
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which prime is the best for landscapes?

I was wanting to pick up a used SMC prime for landscapes and general nature photos (rivers, trees, etc)
In your opinion, which one would be the sharpest with good saturation?
I love my results nice and sharp

doesn't matter if it is Maual or Auto

any opinion welcome!

cheers

randy

03-22-2007, 06:10 PM   #2
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What's your style? A lot of folks like wide-angle for landscapes, but I've used telephoto in some situations.

If you're into dramatic scenes that explode out to the viewer, the 12-24 might be just the ticket!
03-22-2007, 06:16 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dana G Quote
What's your style? A lot of folks like wide-angle for landscapes, but I've used telephoto in some situations.

If you're into dramatic scenes that explode out to the viewer, the 12-24 might be just the ticket!
Thanks DanaG
I was into a wide angle, but a older prime that would be high image quality but not bite me in the pocket book

around my area people don't realize the real value of their pentax lenses.... for example I picked up a SMC M 50mm 1.4 and a SMC M 135mm 3.5 for 60 canadian dollars (for both)mint condition....they really rock!

hoping after some suggestions about a lens, I will start "hunting" one down in my less expensive area.
I am not even interested in Ebay as it isn't for me

thanks

randy
03-22-2007, 09:28 PM   #4
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Any lens can be used for landscapes. One big feature about wide angle lenses that make them particularly suitable for landscapes is the foreground distortion.

A "classic" landscape photo is to put something in the foreground, have a midground element, and finally something interesting in the background. A wide angle lens gives you that sweeping foreground that draws the viewer deeper and deeper into the photo and holds his/her interest. With a wide angle lens I've been able to include even small rocks in the foreground, and that's all that was needed for the necessary foreground element as the rocks appeared bigger than they actually were.

If you look at any book of landscape photographs, you will be able to spot the images taken with a wide angle lens.

The downside of wide angle lenses is that they can capture too much information, resulting in an image with no theme or a picture with nothing to focus on. In that case, a telephoto lens will be more suitable to isolate the image you want.

I don't use a wide angle lens often (because of the foregoing) but when I do, I find a film body particularly useful for landscapes - when I want a wide AOV, I really want a wide AOV. There is something about the look of a well crafted landscape photo shot with a wide angle lens that is visually pleasing. That's why a lot of photographers love their wides.

So the answer to your question is you need both a wide and a tele for landscapes. What is that British saying? Oh yeah... horses for courses.

If you want to experiment with wides but don't want to spend a lot at first, a cheap wide angle is the FAJ18-35. I sold mine a couple months ago (no aperture ring meant it was a pain for me to use on a MZ-S). It gets panned sometimes but stopped down it was pretty decent.

I think you also asked about f-stops for landscapes in another thread. Wide angle lenses have lots of DOF... a 20mm prime can give you lots of DOF at f5.6. Telephotos have little DOF; a 600mm lens at f22 has little DOF.

03-22-2007, 09:37 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by slipchuck Quote
I was wanting to pick up a used SMC prime for landscapes and general nature photos (rivers, trees, etc)
In your opinion, which one would be the sharpest with good saturation?
I love my results nice and sharp

doesn't matter if it is Maual or Auto

any opinion welcome!
Probably the most popular focal length for landscape use on the 35mm film format is a 24mm lens. That field of view would require a 16mm lens for the 18x24 digital sensor. The only old lens close to that focal length is the SMC Pentax 15mm, and those are rare, expensive, and reportedly work poorly with the digital sensor. A DA 14mm or DA 12-24mm would be good choices, but those are expensive.

A 20mm lens gives a field of view equivalent to a 30mm lens for 35mm cameras. A bit too narrow for some landscape shots, but still a wide angle that is very usable for many situations. Pentax made a number of 20mm lenses over the years, and many are quite good lenses and reasonably priced. I have a Pentax SMC-M 20mm f4 lens that is quite sharp on both film and digital cameras, and has very low geometric distortion. A used copy won't be dirt cheap, but it will be significantly cheaper than a DA 14 or DA 21.
03-22-2007, 09:42 PM   #6
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I have used a 28 to 70 sigma f2.8 ex lens with some good results, as well as a 10 to 20 sigma ex lens with mixed results as it was to wide with to much information. I have just purchased a smc 50mm A f1.7 lens which I feel will do the job.
By the way what ever lens you use, will give you the result you want, as you are the one taking the photo.
03-22-2007, 10:24 PM   #7
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See if you can track down an old Tokina 17mm f3.5 MF lens. Ive got one and its sharp, relatively inexpensive and built like a tank.

Wouldnt be able to go anywhere without it.
03-23-2007, 12:07 AM   #8
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Randy,

If you are in the market for a wide angle and you want a cheap and sharp lens, try to get a second hand 3.5/24 SMC Takumar (36mm equiv. in 35mm: that's a multi-purpose moderate wide-angle, ideal for street shooting) or a Tamron Adaptall 3.5/17 SP (25.5mm equiv. in 35mm: that's a wide angle well suited for landscape work). The Takumar is a bit sharper and the Tamron is wider. They both offer good resolution, low distortion and negligible chromatic aberration. Each can be bought for about $150 in good shape and is easily available (eBay, Keh). My advice: get both.

Cheers,

Abbazz

03-23-2007, 07:23 AM   #9
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Pentax 16-45 and Tamron 17-50

May I suggest you look at the Pentax 16-45 f4.0 and the Tamron 17-50 f2.8 lenses. I own the Pentax which is very versatile and I do own two Tamron lenses specifically the 28-75 and 90 macro for my Canon kit and they are very capable performers.

Ben
03-23-2007, 07:45 PM   #10
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You did say "prime" so that rules out most the suggestions (12-24, 16-45, 17-70) :-)

I had a 24mm Canon in my film days which I though was a very useful FL between the 15mm fisheye and 35-105 zoom. That would be 16mm in digital terms, so I would go with the 14mm which I think is about the closet of the current FL's from Pentax. Used may be a problem, though.
03-24-2007, 07:46 PM   #11
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[QUOTE=slipchuck;39558]I was wanting to pick up a used SMC prime for landscapes and general nature photos (rivers, trees, etc)
In your opinion, which one would be the sharpest with good saturation?
I love my results nice and sharp

doesn't matter if it is Maual or Auto

any opinion welcome]
Randy,

Since switching over to digital last June I have been doing a fair amount of landscaping to test the capabilities of digital in the field. I have some personal opinions (that aren't worth the powder to blow to hell) that have evolved over that period of time.

Any lens will take a nature photo. And that is not a joke either.

I have the DA 12-24 and think it is an outstanding lens. But much of the time I find that it just doesn't give me the reach I want for a scenic. In other words, wide does not always cut it. In part that is because the human eyes sees the world at roughly 50mm on 35mm cameras and roughly 35mm on Pentax DSLR's. So, what you see physically and mentally at the click of the shutter sometimes just doesn't cut it when later viewed on the screen.

I have found that a 28-35mm range lens often can do the trick. It is somewhat wide and has a little bit of reach to make the perspective just right.
I personally use the 31 LTD for most of my landscapes.

The advantage of the 31mm or a 35mm etc. is that you can gang images together to creat a panorama covering (say what a 10mm to 20mm lens or so might do). I do this all the time now and punch them out in PTGui (under a hundred bucks ...but there are cheaper and or free stitching software out there).

Quite frankly, you can take one lens and do a 360 vertically and horizontally and make a single image out of it.

That is the one neat feature about digital. You are not locked in to the single focal length that you have. You can't make a lens get longer but you can sure as heck make a lens go infinately wider. I have made panoramas or mosaic when a wide angle (including a 12-24) just doesn't cut it or make the perspective that a longer lens could. You can even take a 100mm lens (150 range on DSLR) and make wide angle images from it by stitching images (say ... by shooting three (or more) rows across and three (or more) rows up and down) together.

The other advantage of stitching is that the resolution of the image is beyond belief and can be blown up to monstrous size.

I'll try to get an image into this text to shown an example. But I have blended 33 images together to get one flawless 140MP image.

The image below was photographed with the 31 LTd in portrait mode and six images were shot handheld, in a horizontal pan. These were my very first experiments with big landscapes. If the sky looked great I could have done 6 more pans of the sky...or six more of the ground and stitched them all together into one 100MP picture. Anything is possible.


This image, shot on the same day, several miles away (after the light had left the valley...last rays hitting the Muddy Mtns to the south) is 11 portrait oriented images panned horizontally and then stitched together. I think it covers the view of of an 8-10mm lens but without the waste of unwanted sky and foreground. The detail is the equivalent of 66 megapixel image(less overlapping)


Now...all this was new to me and these were my first shots. So, if this technique fulfills some of you panoramic needs...give it a shot. If I can do it anyone can.

Stephen

Last edited by SCGushue; 03-25-2007 at 08:32 AM. Reason: adding text
03-25-2007, 06:06 AM   #12
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I suggest you not to invest in old primes wider than 50mm. While I am sure there are some wide angles from the film era that are excellent on digital, the ones I own, and that are a 19mm Vivitar KA, a Pentax-A 24mm, a Pentax 35mm F2 and a modiefied Olympus OM Zuiko 18mm are ALL poor on the borders, some more, some less.
03-25-2007, 06:51 AM   #13
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Randy, after reading this I realized how much you might be regretting not picking up those 28's I got. I think it is the range you are looking for.

Hang tight, my friend! I've been looking around town ever since and I will find you something.
03-25-2007, 08:10 AM   #14
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In addition to the 17mm Tokina, I can recommend the Tamron SP 17mm f3.5 as a very good WA lens for landscape work. I haven't tried mine on digital yet but it's outstanding on film, especially when stopped down to f5.6 or so.
03-26-2007, 09:08 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Dana G Quote
What's your style? A lot of folks like wide-angle for landscapes, but I've used telephoto in some situations.

If you're into dramatic scenes that explode out to the viewer, the 12-24 might be just the ticket!
You convinced me! Got one on order - who knows how long it will be out of stock? (Rhetorical question not expecting answer...)
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