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04-09-2009, 12:52 PM   #1
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10-17mm Fisheye Owners: Do you miss filters?

I've been researching and debating which WA lens to get the 10-17 fisheye, sigma 10-20, or wait for the tamron 10-24.

I've searched and read lots of threads here and on other boards.

Last year I got to use the 10-17 for a few days and had a great time with it. I think it'd be a great buy. I'd primarily use the lens for nature and landscape so the distortion isn't a big deal to me and isn't so bad at 17mm (or can be defished).

What I'm wondering is how much do you miss being able to use filters? I somewhat frequently use a polarizer on my 18-55 for landscape shooting. I'd like to pick up a 4X ND as well. Now there's nothing stopping me from continuing to use filters on my kit lens for landscape shooting, but if that's the primary type of shot I'm going to be doing with the 10-17 I wonder if I might wish I had the filter. But then again I'd give up the super cool WA!

I don't know if I think the fisheye effect would be that much fun for me. I'm mostly interested in the wide aspect of the lens and trying to deemphasize its fishiness. Maybe I've answered my own question and I should just get the 10-20 and shoot panoramas and stitch when I really want a greater FOV.

Let me know your thoughts.

04-09-2009, 02:59 PM   #2
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You could also consider the DA 12-24 which is better than Sigma's 10-20.
And you can use filters...
For landscapes I would probably use the 12-24.
04-09-2009, 03:01 PM   #3
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Price was the main thing taking the 12-24 out of consideration, but I have looked at it as well.

You have both. Tell me about how/when you use each lens. Does the lack of being able to use filters change when you would otherwise use the 10-17?

I'd love to have all the lenses but buying just one is stretching the budget in the first place...
04-09-2009, 03:19 PM   #4
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i have been through the same thing as you. finally, i chose neither. not sure if it helps, but here is what i finally did:

i got a zenitar fisheye: it is cheap, it is a prime, it is damn small and light, optically very good; the disadvantages are: it needs defishing for most landscape work (if the horizon is in there, you most likely will need to defish if you want it straight), it has some CA (but few lenses lack CA completely), it does have some flare (it's not SMC coated), it is manual focus and non-A (stopped down metering only).

in short, it is rather slow and .. ahem.. involving to work with, but it suiths me perfectly. i would have liked the 12-24, but money was an issue at the time, and now i cannot get over how small and compact it sits on the k20d (the zenitar).

about filters: with such wide fov, polarizers are usually not used for skies, but i still really need to use one with this lens (i use polarizers for so much more..). for the zenitar, people have managed to fit a step down ring and use it as a filter mount, which works for aps-c (but it will vignet on 35mm film), it might also be possible to use some filter system which fits also without a filter thread (like cokin or lee? not sure on this)

edit: here is an example of it

http://nanok.is-a-geek.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=3615

and defished:

http://nanok.is-a-geek.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=3623

i can provide more samples if needed, including full size, with examples of the most severe CA i managed to get it to display, etc.

04-09-2009, 03:19 PM   #5
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With the 10-17 there is no need for filters... I use it mostly for architecture or interior.



and the 12-24 for landscapes.

04-09-2009, 03:28 PM   #6
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Nice alternative nanok. I think though that I'd like to not have EVERYTHING be fisheyed, that's why the 17mm end of the 10-17 appeals to me. Used in the right way the distortion is hardly noticeable.

fs999: Let me pick your brain a bit more. You say filters aren't needed for it. I suppose a polarizer would get uneven that wide anyway, though it is nice to knock down water reflections. But one could still make a case for an ND or grad ND if using the 10-17 for landscape work, no? Also, any reason you don't use the fisheye for landscapes and the 12-24 for architecture?

Edit: I see the Zenitar is a 16mm fisheye. Does that mean it's just like the 10-17 @ 16mm or...?

Last edited by mikem; 04-09-2009 at 03:35 PM.
04-09-2009, 04:21 PM   #7
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I have an 8mm Peleng that I'm using on 35mm bodies, and I'm working with an engineer to figure out a way to fabricate b&w filters for ultra-wides.

It's gonna be a matter of using a ring like Cokin's universal mount, which sets at the rear of the lens with 3 thumb screws, and then accepting spherical finished glass or plastic.

Who knows--at least this project will keep me out of the bar.

But probably not.
04-09-2009, 04:38 PM   #8
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The Zenitar has a filter mount, it's also the rear element. I can't remember the exact size - small. It comes with filters meant for film. It wouldn't work for a polarizer but it might work for ND. You migt have to make your own filters. A few 67mm filter rings can fit on the front and a filter mounted to those, APS-C only.

04-09-2009, 04:40 PM   #9
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indeed mikem, it should be something like the pentax fisheye zoom at 16mm, but i wouldn't know to say for sure (never used the zoom).

probably the zoom would be better value, but the zenitar is bellow 200usd new in US, it is a /2.8, and it is really small (though i am not sure about the 10-17, never seen one in real life), it is NOT a true fisheye on aps-c though, it is just a distorted ultra wide, it does become a 180degree fisheye when fitted on a film body though.

the distorsion is very easy to correct on the zenitar (you can do it "unattended", like, have a script which does it for you, crop included), it does not degrade sharpness to any worrying degree, the true issue with using it as an ultrawide is that you need to watch your corners, and be aware that you will crop them out (so don't put something that matters for your composition in there), this could be an issue, it doesn't seem to be for me, ymmv.

polarizers: indeed, not suitable for sky with ultrawides, reflection on water and wet stuff is one thing i really need it for though. i don't use ND filters, i use braketing and exposure blending instead (but in some cases i wish i had nd filters at hand, i admit: like recently a tree in the foreground, on a very windy day.. )

the peleng is a different animal (or should i say beast). there is no need for that kind of nifty design for using the zenitar on aps-c, the filter system with three screws mentioned is what i was talking about earlyer (that should work, with cpl and nd filters, without any issues for the zenitar on aps-c, using just normal run-of-the-mill filters for the chosen system)

edit: dave is right, there is a filter thread in the rear, i am ignoring it completely because i find it useless, brilliant idea, yes, but useless . for both nd (i am thinking graduated nd) and polarizers you need access while shooting.

edit2: have a look at the two samples i linked above to get an idea of the degree of distorsion and cropping needed for defishing.

Last edited by nanok; 04-09-2009 at 04:47 PM.
04-09-2009, 04:50 PM   #10
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I don't know it it's made to or not, but a 58mm filter will mount to the built-in hood of the 10-17mm. At 17mm it's out of view and works great. At less then 14mm it's in the shot, but like others have said, polarizers and ultra wides aren't the best mix.
Ryan
04-09-2009, 05:05 PM   #11
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how did i forget the best feature of the zenitar for me? (i guess i got so used to it i am taking it for granted): it has a good old fashioned dof scale, thus an instant hyperfocal distance calculator, that is essential for the way i use ultrawides for landscape! most zooms will lack this simple feature.
04-09-2009, 05:14 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by nanok Quote
how did i forget the best feature of the zenitar for me? (i guess i got so used to it i am taking it for granted): it has a good old fashioned dof scale, thus an instant hyperfocal distance calculator, that is essential for the way i use ultrawides for landscape! most zooms will lack this simple feature.
If you're shooting landscapes with a 16mm, why do you need a DOF scale?
04-09-2009, 06:09 PM   #13
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Have both the 10-17 and 12-24. They each have use. I never use filters. Would never use a polarizer except to kill reflections. The 12-24 has a tendency to darken the sky anyway.
04-09-2009, 08:04 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ira Quote
If you're shooting landscapes with a 16mm, why do you need a DOF scale?
because i cannot afford shooting a 4x5 with camera movements allowing me the luxury of the scheimpflug effect

dof is at least half of the reason for using wideangles for landscape.

Effective use of hyperfocal focusing for wide angle landscape photos

edit: there is one caveat though: the scale on the lens is designed for 35mm film, on aps-c the dof will be different (lower), but it is still a good starting point in my experience (usually assuming it is off by 1/2 - 1 stop will do the trick)

Last edited by nanok; 04-09-2009 at 08:16 PM.
04-09-2009, 08:05 PM   #15
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@nanok I checked out your samples. Nature is very forgiving with distortion! You could have fooled me with the un-defished shot and I wouldn't have guessed it came from a fisheye.

I've read some bad things about the sharpness of the zenitar (Ken Rockwell). In other places some users mentioned disassembling the focus ring to adjust the focus which greatly improved sharpness at larger apertures. What's your experience been?

Will the K10D meter with the zenitar? Do you have to shoot in manual or can you shoot in Av and just set the camera and lens to the same aperture?

@ryno Oooh that sounds very cool. Fisheye zoom with filter option could let me have my cake and eat it too.


This sub - $200 zenitar is sounding very tempting. It would leave me with a lot less guilt =]. The manual operation wouldn't be so bad; I wouldn't be using it for anything that's moving. I know I'm somewhat dissatisified with my 50mm f/1.7 A since b/c of the focusing issue. But that lens has razor thin dof and I'm trying to shoot people.
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