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04-08-2009, 01:01 AM   #1
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fast wide angle lens

I'm looking for an affordable fast wide angle lens to shoot landscapes/cityscapes in dim light or during the night. What options do you think I have. I think it has to be 24mm or wider. Would prefer f2 or faster (2.8 would be a compromise, if it takes me wider). I can live with full manual lens, as I anyway focus manually and set the aperture or speed myself. What I do like to get in this case is good edge to edge resolution. Any ideas?

Thanks!

U

04-08-2009, 01:20 AM   #2
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there is another thread somewhere here discussing how there is a lack of options here... cheap ones anyway.
04-08-2009, 01:43 AM   #3
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The only cheap fast wide-angles would be the Kiron 24/2.0 or 28/2.0. There is also some old Vivitar glass with these specs and if I am not mistaken, these are rebranded Kirons. The Kirons deliver high quality and would be available in KA mount.

Anything more current (Pentax FA 24/2, Sigma with several fast wa lenses) is going to be more expensive. Search the forum, we had at least two recent threads circling around the FA24, in which also alternatives are discussed.

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04-08-2009, 02:11 AM   #4
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A 28 mm lens is almost a normal lens on an APS-C camera. 24 is the equivalent of 36mm. on film SLR, so I'd try to find something wider.

04-08-2009, 02:12 AM   #5
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Well, pentax wide primes are rather limited.

There is really just da 14mm f2.8, Fa 20mm f2.8 and Fa* 24mm f2

Again, this topic has been discussed quite a few times.

Da 14mm is prone to flare and unsharp corner wide open. It is not as chunky or expensive as Canon or Nikon.

Pentax Da 14mm f2.8 Images

Fa 20mm f2.8 is a tiny lens with typical Fa casing. The lens is a good performer but its PF is a troubling feature. Some copies are reported to be decentered

Fa* 24mm f2 is a fast lens but not a great performer on digital sensor. The lens has a great build with a great contrast rendering. However, its inaccurate colour reproduction and propensity to glare are rather troublesome. The corners are not sharp even stopping down to f8

Pentax Fa* 24mm f2 Images
04-08-2009, 02:52 AM   #6
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Thanks for quick replies.

It seems to me that the DA 14mm is my best bet then. I have read the reviews here and at Photozone on the 20mm and 24mm and was not that excited about them. I was hoping that may be I have missed some nice lens from earlier times or in M42 mount.

The Kiron f2 20mm sound interesting, but I have to find some reviews on it now and of course, finding the lens might be difficult as well.
04-08-2009, 03:04 AM   #7
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I totally love my DA21mm ltd f2.8. Not particularly fast, but really small and lightweight. Great IQ and superb build quality- a joy to use.
04-08-2009, 03:08 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by roentarre Quote
Well, pentax wide primes are rather limited.

There is really just da 14mm f2.8, Fa 20mm f2.8 and Fa* 24mm f2

Again, this topic has been discussed quite a few times.

Da 14mm is prone to flare and unsharp corner wide open. It is not as chunky or expensive as Canon or Nikon.

Pentax Da 14mm f2.8 Images

Fa 20mm f2.8 is a tiny lens with typical Fa casing. The lens is a good performer but its PF is a troubling feature. Some copies are reported to be decentered

Fa* 24mm f2 is a fast lens but not a great performer on digital sensor. The lens has a great build with a great contrast rendering. However, its inaccurate colour reproduction and propensity to glare are rather troublesome. The corners are not sharp even stopping down to f8

Pentax Fa* 24mm f2 Images
Great images- I enjoyed looking!

04-08-2009, 03:50 AM   #9
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James, your photography is stunning. Always been a great example for me. I especially like the night shot in the temple.

Dave, you mention the da 21mm as f2.8. I think, you meant f3.2? There is a Voigtländer 20mm lens (f3.5) available. Could it be optically better/worse? I think the latter one costs a bit less here.
04-08-2009, 08:39 AM   #10
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Urmas R there is also the recently released DA15 LTD.

If you are going to be doing dim light and nightscapes then using a tripod is going to be essential. Low light photography using low ISO settings shutter speeds are going to very slow. Even with lenses wide open. I don't think that wider apertures are going to help for edge to edge sharpness. Stopping down in such situations will render better results. At least f5.6.

There are some great older lenses. The M-20mm f4 is a great performer. If you can find the K18mm f3.5 great lens but expensive. Low distortion. The DA15 LTD would probably be more practical for the price. The K and A 24mm f2.8 are also very good. Excellent color and contrast. Price wise they might be your best bet.
04-08-2009, 10:17 AM   #11
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I wonder why the Sigma trio, f1.8 lenses at 20mm, 24mm and 28mm, isn't more popular. Pentax doesn't have anything new like these three. The prices aren't bad, especially compared to used Pentax lenses that come close in specs. I've read some positive comments about the 24mm but they are rarely mentioned.

I have three decent inexpensive 24mm lenses which are all good at different things. The Kiron 24mm f2.0 is well known. It's a basic K mount. I found a Vivitar 24mm f2.0 lens in KA mount, built by Komine. It's the only one I've ever seen, so maybe not a useful recommendation, and it falls behind the Kiron in edge sharpness, particularily at wide apertures. The Sigma Superwide II 24mm f2.8 is also a KA mount, and I believe optically identical K and KAF versions are out there. It is the sharpest of the three.

I really wanted to have an f2 24mm lens but I agree with Rico that wide apertures may not be that useful for landscapes. I am on the fence about selling either of mine. I use the Sigma Superwide nearly all the time.
04-08-2009, 12:05 PM   #12
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If you want edge-to-edge sharpness in low light landscapes and nighttime cityscapes, I think you will be better served by a sturdy tripod and long exposure times (with a relatively small aperture) than with a fast lens. Even the kit lens at 18mm will do a solid job, or better yet the DA 16-45mm. As Rico said, you'll want to stop down.

All else being equal, of course. If you are trying to shoot handheld, or if long exposure times aren't an option, then this advice may not apply.
04-08-2009, 06:58 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
I wonder why the Sigma trio, f1.8 lenses at 20mm, 24mm and 28mm, isn't more popular. Pentax doesn't have anything new like these three. The prices aren't bad, especially compared to used Pentax lenses that come close in specs. I've read some positive comments about the 24mm but they are rarely mentioned.
QuoteOriginally posted by Quicksand Quote
If you want edge-to-edge sharpness in low light landscapes and nighttime cityscapes, I think you will be better served by a sturdy tripod and long exposure times (with a relatively small aperture) than with a fast lens. Even the kit lens at 18mm will do a solid job, or better yet the DA 16-45mm. As Rico said, you'll want to stop down.

All else being equal, of course. If you are trying to shoot handheld, or if long exposure times aren't an option, then this advice may not apply.
Good suggestion and good advice above. Fwiw, I just got my Sigma 24/1.8 today (for Sony) and it's very good. It also has the advantage of being able to focus to 1:2.7 life scale which opens a lot of possibilities. I used a Zeiss T*25/2.8 Distagon with my K20 previously and really enjoyed that lens but its $$. The Sigma will do a fine job of filling the role for my purposes. I read a lot of reviews questioning the sharpness of the Sigma at wider apertures, but I have to really wonder if some folks aren't forgetting that the Dof is quite narrow at these settings and can be easily misfocused. My early experience is that the lens is a solid performer. It does show some distortion, and vignettes under f4 on my A900 (full frame). This would be less notable on APS-C. PF and CAs seem fine and IQ is quite good, recommend. As Quicksand mentions however, for best performance shooting architecture, a tripod and stopping down are the best bet.

Kelly.
04-08-2009, 07:44 PM   #14
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There's a lot to be said for the Sigmas. I've got some outstanding glass but my Sigma Superwide II 24mm f2.8 is one of my favorites.
04-09-2009, 12:08 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Urmas R. Quote
I'm looking for an affordable fast wide angle lens[...]
Affordable...fast...wide-angle. You can pick any two of the three, but not all three. I'm looking for the same thing. It sounds like the most affordable option would be a Sigma, but what would you consider 'affordable'?
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