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10-14-2009, 11:50 AM   #1
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Wiiide angles and maybe a something a bit different. Opinions please.

I'm in the throes of making a lens choice decision.

I have a K10D and a KM (K2000) and I take pix of vintage , special interest vehicles, landscapes, buildings, etc.

I have a Pentax 16-45...and a 18-55 kit lens both are great lens, particularly the 16-45 which is very sharp.

I want a more extreme wide angle and maybe occasionally something different like a fisheye...although extreme wide angle is my priority. Also tack sharp, excellent colour rendition...I'm used to my 16-45 and 55-300 Pentax's and they fulfill these criteria with ease. So I want the same top performance from what ever I buy.

The three lenses I'm looking at include:
  • Sigma 10-20 mm-I read in posts that some are really good, some aren't. I also read that although it's a good lens, if you get a good example. However it's sharpness, although good, isn't at the Tokina or Pentax level. Is this the case ?
  • Pentax 12-24mm- in Canada very pricey- $ 1299...I've thought of getting one from the US-less cost. But as I have a 16-45 I'm not sure if the 12mm is that much wider than the 16mm ? I've heard sharpness, colour rendition, etc, are excellent...but that price...wow.
  • Pentax 10-17 mm Fisheye- I've heard and read that this lens is a combo...wide angle at 17mm..fisheye at 10 mm. I don't know if you can get it to work like a wideangle at 16, 15, 14, etc...or it's just at 17 mm where you get a W/A. I like the idea of a 2 for 1 and I understand this lens is very sharp, high quality. I have a 16mm as mentioned...so I wonder if I'm getting a bit redundant here..having 2 W/A's at 17 and 16, unless of course I can get W/A shots at say 12 to 14mm with this lens.

So what do you think ? Suggestions...detail is great as I want to make a well informed decision. Thank you for any info.

10-14-2009, 12:28 PM   #2
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I have found myself in a similar conundrum, looking at the Sigma and 12-24. I have read various reviews (all easily found on this site and through Google), and have walked away with the following conclusions:

Sigma 10-20mm (f4-5.6) - Very sharp at all but the corners, fairly distorted at 10mm. The biggest issue seems that there is significant variability of quality from copy to copy. Inexpensive.

Sigma 10-20mm (f3.5 constant) - improved performance at 10mm, faster, more expensive. Lots of vignetting. Also has lots of variability.

Pentax 12-24mm - More consistent performance throughout zoom range. Better quality control. Not as wide, and not quite as sharp at the wide end as the best Sigma copies (based on comments from users). Most expensive.

I haven't looked at fisheyes, but as many have said here, "they are a different animal."

Since I am looking for something that works just as well at the wide end and and telephoto, I'm leaning towards the Pentax, though I haven't saved enough funds for it yet. If you really want to work on the wide end, seriously consider the newest (ie. f3.5) Sigma. Here is a great review of that lens (and what was probably a very good copy).

Sigma 10-20mm 3.5 Review
10-14-2009, 12:49 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
[*]Pentax 10-17 mm Fisheye- I've heard and read that this lens is a combo...wide angle at 17mm..fisheye at 10 mm. I don't know if you can get it to work like a wideangle at 16, 15, 14, etc...or it's just at 17 mm where you get a W/A. I like the idea of a 2 for 1 and I understand this lens is very sharp, high quality. I have a 16mm as mentioned...so I wonder if I'm getting a bit redundant here..having 2 W/A's at 17 and 16, unless of course I can get W/A shots at say 12 to 14mm with this lens.[/LIST]
So what do you think ? Suggestions...detail is great as I want to make a well informed decision. Thank you for any info.
There's no overlap between a 16-45 and 10-17 fisheye.
16-45mm: 83-35
10-17mm: 180 - 100
OTOH there is significant overlap with a 16-45mm and 12-24mm (99 - 61)

I have the 16-45 and 10-17 and find them very complementary. Colour and contrast are very similar. I love the 10-17's dual nature; almost rectilinear to crazy fisheye, and everything in between. It'ss extremely well built too, solid and compact. Have you checked this thread? https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/33549-fisheye-...ye-photos.html

DA 16-45mm @ 16mm:




DA 10-17mm @ 17mm (note, there is no distortion correction in this photo)

10-14-2009, 12:50 PM   #4
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16 to 12mm is quite a change in FOV. I have the 16-45 and 12-24 and the overlap in focal length is handy to cut down "continue the zoom by changing lens". Also focal length cannot be compared one to one on a rectilinear wide and a fisheye wide.

I am personally partial to Pentax lenses.

10-14-2009, 01:05 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by D W Quote
Also focal length cannot be compared one to one on a rectilinear wide and a fisheye wide.
True, the focal lengths (12, 16, 17mm etc) can't be compared, but angle of view can be compared directly.
10-14-2009, 01:13 PM   #6
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There is the other option of the Tamron 10-24, which gives you another extreme wide-angle option.
It would be up to you, just depending on how wide you want to go.

I have the DA 12-24 and the 16-50, and I don't find the 'redundancy' an issue at all. The 12-24 is used as the extreme wide angle mostly from 12-18mm anyway, as this range is where the lens's strength lies. The 16-50's strength also picks up after about 18mm - complementary combination IMO. It would be no different with the 16-45.

The extra 2mm in the Sigma and Tamron varieties does add a lot more in the frame - almost too much!
10-14-2009, 07:41 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by lesmore49 Quote
[*]Pentax 10-17 mm Fisheye- I've heard and read that this lens is a combo...wide angle at 17mm..fisheye at 10 mm. I don't know if you can get it to work like a wideangle at 16, 15, 14, etc...or it's just at 17 mm where you get a W/A. I like the idea of a 2 for 1 and I understand this lens is very sharp, high quality. I have a 16mm as mentioned...so I wonder if I'm getting a bit redundant here..having 2 W/A's at 17 and 16, unless of course I can get W/A shots at say 12 to 14mm with this lens.[/LIST]
So what do you think ? Suggestions...detail is great as I want to make a well informed decision. Thank you for any info.
IMHO, referring to the 10-17mm as a "wide angle" is a bit deceptive. I think the impression given is that a wide angle has little to no distortion, but the fisheye is highly distorted. Of course, the 10-17mm is a type of wide angle lens, albeit extreme. It's also always a fisheye and will, therefore, always have lots of distortion. This is true at 10mm and at 17mm. Straight lines in an image will only remain so at the center planes, everything else will be bent. In landscapes, this is often not an issue. When you through in man made objects and people, the distortion can be easily evident.

That being said, I would highly recommend the 10-17mm. It focuses surprisingly close, can capture images no rectilinear wide angle could possibly capture, has a great image quality, and is just fun. However, do remember it will always have distortion. Also, it cannot take filters of any kind.

Just to give you an idea of the scope of the 10-17mm angle of view. At 17mm the FE has an angle of view of 100 degrees. The sigma 10-20mm is just over 100mm...at 10mm.

Full-size sample photos from Pentax 10-17mm F/3.5-4.5
10-15-2009, 02:07 AM   #8
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I have the kit lens, the 16-45, the 12-24 and the 10-17. I like wide angle and landscapes. Each of the lenses has their place and their own particular strengths. You really can not go by the focal length alone (especially with the 10-17), you have to go by the field of view figures in order to understand the differences between the lenses.

By far the 12-24 is the sharpest, especially at f8, however it is a larger lens physically - larger than the 16-45, and has a massive front lens. I have read postings of others indicating that it can be though of as a group of primes rolled into one. Its not as sharp as each (all) of the individual primes (14, 15, 20, 21 and 24) that are available, however its very close. You also have to look at the center sharpness as well as the sharpness at the edges. I find little distortion with the 12-24 (detectable). If you plan to use filters - especially a polarizer, look for a very thin filter lens, so as to not add to any vignetting. Also, at these wide angles, you also need a very good filter optically, so that you will not add any more distortion. With the large front lens (77mm), the filters are large - and expensive.

The 10-17 I too like very much. That said, you have to understand what it will do and how it will do it. As everyone has indicated, its a fish eye, even at 17mm - its just not that pronounced as it is at 10mm. At 17mm the field of view is 100 degrees wide. Take a look at the field of view at 17mm with the 16-45, its different, much narrower - in the low 80 degrees (probably around 81 to 82 degrees). So the fish eye distortion is still there, it is just less apparent. On man made objects, the distortions are more pronounced than with natural objects - in that the eye knows what to expect with man made or essentially square objects (or things with a lot of straight lines). With objects in nature, trees, etc. (or things with curves already), it is more difficult to detect the distortions. With the 10-17, you have to understand, how the extra field of view is achieved - the center is pushed back, such that the additional field of view from the edges are able to be brought into the frame - which essentially produces the curvature in the images. With that understand, you can select your views and frame them appropriately. One thing with the 10-17 is the ability to get close - as in "Macro" close - inches. You can get really close to very LARGE objects, and get them all in the frame - its incredible.

hope that helps...

10-15-2009, 03:42 AM   #9
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Some call it marketing


For fisheye lens at 10mm

VFOV
144.63 deg
HFOV
91.2 deg
FOV min. image circle
179.56 deg


For normal lens at 10mm
VFOV
99.44 deg
HFOV
75.55 deg
FOV min. image circle
109.37 deg

For fisheye lens at 17mm
VFOV
81.23 deg
HFOV
52.7 deg
FOV min. image circle
98.11 deg


For normal lens at 12mm
VFOV
89.04 deg
HFOV
65.71 deg
FOV min. image circle
99.26 deg


Thank you
Russell

Last edited by Russell-Evans; 10-15-2009 at 03:48 AM.
10-15-2009, 05:24 AM   #10
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Interesting stats Russell. How is "minimum image circle" defined? Would you have the comparable stats for a 16mm lens?

I assume these are FOV angles for ideal lenses. Not all lenses have the same FOV at a given focal length ('m thinking particularly of internal focus lenses when focussed closer than infinity., but even primes of the same nominal focal length can vary somewhat in FOV (more marketing)
10-15-2009, 06:32 AM   #11
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12mm is a LOT wider than 16. I have the Pentax 12-24...very good lens IMHO. I have the 15 DA Limited coming today. Compact, better flare resistance than the 12-24. *I* will most likely keep both....but that could change after I use the DA 15 a while. If you have not used a super wide lens buy something used and see how/if you like working with an 'extreme'. That is the only way to know what will work for *you*. Then you can zero in on the right lens for you. There is no substitute for *personal experience*. BTW, the 12-24 is doggone expensive in Canada.
10-15-2009, 07:18 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Interesting stats Russell. How is "minimum image circle" defined? Would you have the comparable stats for a 16mm lens?

I assume these are FOV angles for ideal lenses. Not all lenses have the same FOV at a given focal length ('m thinking particularly of internal focus lenses when focussed closer than infinity., but even primes of the same nominal focal length can vary somewhat in FOV (more marketing)

Ideal lenses as the numbers are calculated.

Pano Calculator

For normal lens at 16mm
VFOV
72.82 deg
HFOV
51.69 deg
FOV min. image circle
82.84 deg

Thank you
Russell
10-15-2009, 07:37 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
True, the focal lengths (12, 16, 17mm etc) can't be compared, but angle of view can be compared directly.
The FOV of a 16 fisheye and a 16 rectilinear wide angle are different. The fisheye will have a wider distorted view.
10-15-2009, 09:45 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by D W Quote
The FOV of a 16 fisheye and a 16 rectilinear wide angle are different. The fisheye will have a wider distorted view.
I'm not sure why you're telling me that, I said virtually the same thing in post #3 and again in my previous response.

You said:
Also focal length cannot be compared one to one on a rectilinear wide and a fisheye wide.

I said:
True, the focal lengths (12, 16, 17mm etc) can't be compared, but angle of view can be compared directly.

To clarify, you can't compare using the focal length number "16mm" between rectilinear and fisheye. We agree on this. What I said in the previous post was; you can compare FOV of a fisheye and rectilinear using angles e.g. 100 degrees FOV for a 10-17 at 17mm, vs 99 degrees FOV for a 12-24 at 12mm. This tells you that the fisheye is very slightly wider at 17mm than the rectilinear lens at 12mm.
10-15-2009, 03:00 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
100 degrees FOV for a 10-17 at 17mm, vs 99 degrees FOV for a 12-24 at 12mm. This tells you that the fisheye is very slightly wider at 17mm than the rectilinear lens at 12mm.
This isn't correct as your using the marketing numbers on the 10-17mm and why I posted the ideal lens calculated values, i.e. best case numbers.

For fisheye lens at 17mm
VFOV
81.23 deg
HFOV
52.7 deg
FOV min. image circle
98.11 deg


For normal lens at 12mm
VFOV
89.04 deg
HFOV
65.71 deg
FOV min. image circle
99.26 deg

Thank you
Russell
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