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09-27-2009, 11:47 AM   #1
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wide angling

Hello there,

i just moved into the digital realm by getting myself a K20D (my my, what a fine price for such a machine), because it seems to be the only camera that i can take outdoors without fearing for its life and because it takes sturdy, cheap old time lenses (And because i suck quite a bit at colour management from negatives).
And speaking of those lenses, i'm trying to get my basic package together. So far i got myself a Pentax KA 50 mm 1.7, which seems to sport plenty of sharpness, sweet DOF control and good portrait qualities, and a Tokina 28mm 2.8 as my standard walkaround lens (should arrive tomorrow).
To complete the set (and i'm not much of a tele user, in my film time i have never found a really good use (for me) for my old 135mm lens), i was wondering if there are siginificantly better standard (as in 40-50mm on APS-C) lenses than the tokina. I like to stay on the wide side, so the 42 mm the tokina gives sounds good. And i'm looking for a real wide angle as well, something around 24mm on digital. But i fear Pentax didn't make too many 16mm wide angles in their history, and that if i find them, they're going to be extremely expensive. I was thinking about the Zenitar 16mm 2.8, but i wonder how fish eye-y it really is on a digital, because i'm not really looking for a fish eye (i don't mind rather heavy distortion though).
I seem a bit prejudiced against zooms, but as long as they have a decent focus ring and are not extremely flimsy they would do fine too. The Zenitar is of course a very cheap way of fulfilling my needs.
Does anyone have a thought here?

09-27-2009, 11:22 PM   #2
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First thought, be careful talking about focal lengths for film and focal lengths digital. It gets confusing really fast since the focal lengths are exactly the same (i.e. 40mm is always 40mm). However, APS-C does have a crop factor (focal length equivalent) and that's what you're getting at.

For the lenses, poke around the Lens Review Database. There is tons of good information on all sorts of good lenses. For a "wide normal, some version of a Pentax 28mm 2.8/2 or 30mm 2.8 might suit you.

It sounds like you're looking for old glass, and, unfortunately, the really wide stuff is as you guessed, rare and expensive. Pentax made an old 15mm f3.5, but it runs for around $1k on ebay. Pentax does have a modern 14mm f2.8 and a 15mm f4 at a much cheaper price.
09-27-2009, 11:31 PM   #3
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Other expensive options are the DA 12-24 or the DA 10-17 if you like fish eye.
Otherwise, there's not too much out there less than 16mm...
09-27-2009, 11:35 PM   #4
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Or, there is a Tamron SP Adaptall 17/3.5 that costs 200-ish. It's rectilinear (in fact, it's got ~1% pincushion according to adaptall-2 site), so you can consider it as well for wides.

09-28-2009, 04:04 AM   #5
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Sorry about the focal length mess up, i meant to say that i have a 50mm 1.7 and a 28 2.8, which on digital should give what a 75mm and a 42 mm should give (right?). Which leaves me with the real wide end uncovered, which is why i'm looking for the angle of what a 24mm does on film, so that would mean that for digital i need a lens of more or less 16mm.
The reason i'm more into old glass is because i like the solid feel, i love having a diaphragm ring on my lens and because they're cheap - which apparently does not hold true for modern really wide primes. I don't want to go all dogmatic on modern lenses, i'm sure their optical quality is magnificent and that the more expensive ones are very well built, but for me the price difference is not quite justified.
And that's where i got to the Zenitar, which seems to be the cheapest real wide angle to mount on a k20d. I just don't quite know if it's useable as a wide angle (essentially for landscapes and streets, and perhaps the odd portrait), a decent lens and well built. I guess the fisheye-ness of it makes for a serious deformation, but i guess that with some cropping i can keep things in line (or?). By all means i'm not really looking for something professional, my previous wide angle (on film) was a Tamron 24mm 2.5 and i was more than pleased with that. The adaptall 17mm sounds interesting, but it seems to be quite hard to find...
09-28-2009, 04:20 AM   #6
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I don't know which Tokina 28 do you have but...
I used to own Tokina RMC 28/2.8 MF. And yes, there are significantly better lenses in that category. If you want to pay for it, then look at FA31, Sigma 30/1.4, FA35, DA35, F or FA28/2.8. If you want it bit cheaper, look at the older M&K series of Pentax 28 or even Takumars. All these would be better than the Tokina I owned (but yours may be different) simply because Tokina's ccoatings were just rubbish.
There is also a good thread on various Vivitars 28. Some of them seem to be good. I think the thred's name is Vivitar 28 as Fa31 replacement. Or something like that.
Since the wide angle question has been answeared,, that's all I have to say for now.

09-28-2009, 04:45 AM   #7
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Ah, from what i gathered the vivitars and the tokinas were actually pretty much the same lens, and both of them built by tokina.
09-28-2009, 06:46 AM   #8
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If you are after a really wide lens then you can't go past the Sigma 10-20. You will find plenty of info on here about this lens and plenty of pics online taken with this lens to give you a good idea about what it can do. I have no hesitation in recommending this lens, and it won't cost you a fortune!

09-28-2009, 07:36 AM   #9
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You can always stitch images together for a wide angle perspective.....

There is also the DA 14/2.8, DA 15/4, DA 21/3.2

09-28-2009, 11:08 AM   #10
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also, Sigma 10-20
09-28-2009, 11:19 AM   #11
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I would also agree on the sigma APO 10-20, F4-5.6 EX DC but I will throw a curve here.

Sigma also make an AF 12-24, which carries the designation DG not DC as the 10-20,. aside from the difference of 2mm in focal length, the 12-24 is a full frame lens, therefore, if mr. jef still has his film camera, he can use this lens.

It may not be important, but he should at least know the option exists.

the 10-20 also can be used on film bodies but the lens vignetts at below about 13-14 mm

as for a solid feel, sigma lenses are very good. there is nothing plasticy or cheap about them
09-28-2009, 12:08 PM   #12
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Thanks a lot for the replies! Most of them are quite a bit out of my price league for the moment (since i'm living in France, which is in a lot of respects like a development country, but extremely expensive at the same time and since i just bought my camera), so perhaps i'll just wait a bit and see where the 28mm and 50mm bring me. From the zooms, the Tamron 10-24 seems to be the cheapest (and a nice range to take with you if you only want to take one lens), but it's still not exactly for free. I don't intend to shoot on film with these lenses btw, my film system was minolta -until my sweet xd7 got stolen.
09-28-2009, 02:19 PM   #13
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Does a Vivitar 19mm f3.8 sound in the ball park for a more affordable buy? It has the A stop and otherwise manual focus.

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