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12-12-2009, 06:47 PM   #1
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BEST Ultra-WIDE or Fish-Eye Lens?

FOR CAMERA: K20D or K-7

ADVICE NEEDED: What is the BEST Ultra-WIDE or Fish-Eye Lens?

Lens should have reasonably WIDE APERTURE so it can be used at NIGHT.

24mm or less... preferably in the single digits or teens.

Prefer AUTO-FOCUS, but can be manual.

Prime or zoom is fine.

Can be Pentax, Sigma, or any brand... just want to know what I should look for.

(If by chance you have one for sale as well, feel free to email me... but once I get enough advice, I will post a want ad in the marketplace.)

TIA!


Last edited by PentaxForums-User; 12-12-2009 at 06:55 PM. Reason: Add info.
12-13-2009, 12:12 AM   #2
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It all depends on what you mean by "best". Best optical quality, best value, or best of both. I love wide angles and continue to be frustrated by wide angles on aps-c cameras. My short list would include:
  • Pentax-DA 15/4 Limited: A little slow, but oh, so compact
  • Pentax-DA 10-17/3.5-4.5 Fisheye: Also a little slow, but very nice optically
  • Pentax-DA 12-24/4: A little slow (sound familiar?), but well-regarded
  • Pentax-DA 16-45/4: Ditto
  • Pentax-DA 16-50/2.8: Fast, excellent, expensive
  • Sigma 16/2.8 EX DG Fisheye: Fast and very well-regarded. Also very pricey. Outrageous appearance. My first choice if I had the bucks.
  • Tamron 17/3.5 51B: A little slow, though very excellent rectilinear lens. Hinman has been gushing about his recently on the film forum.
  • MC Zenitar 16/2.8 Fisheye: Fast, cult status, compact, v good to excellent performance, potential for sub-par construction. I both own and like this lens. It is my consolation prize for not being able to afford the Sigma 16.
Sub-10mm you have a number of options from Sigma, Samyang, and others which I know nothing about...

Note that a fisheye will give a wider FOV than a rectilinear lens of the same focal length. This is true regardless of whether you are talking FF or APS-C.

Best value is the Zenitar 16/2.8 or the Pentax-DA 12-24/4 in my book. (Or maybe the DA 10-17.)

Steve
12-13-2009, 12:15 AM   #3
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also the Sigma 10-20/4
A little slow too but very wide for a non fisheye.
12-13-2009, 12:36 AM   #4
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You ask which is best out of all rectilinear and FE lenses, but this is an unreasonable question given the fundamental differences between these two types of lenses.

So I'd split them up into the best of rectilinear UWA lenses and FE lenses (and I speak only of results/quality, and not considering cost).
To me the best UWA is the Pentax 12-24, given its excellent control of distortion, colour rendition and sharpness at all apertures, and the best FE is the Pentax 10-17 (although there aren't many other choices out there for Pentax), AF or not.

12-13-2009, 01:53 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by flockofbirds Quote
also the Sigma 10-20/4
A little slow too but very wide for a non fisheye.
I forgot about the Sigma 10-20! Thanks for posting.

Steve
12-13-2009, 02:03 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
... the best FE is the Pentax 10-17 (although there aren't many other choices out there for Pentax), AF or not.
Best? You are liable to stir up a bit of discussion with that assertion! The 10-17 is a nice lens and is capable of decent results. The many examples on the "Fisheye Fever" thread are ample evidence to that. It also gives the user a choice from very fishy at 10mm to fairly normal at 17mm.

OTOH...the 10-17 is prone to very serious PF to the point of being distracting. I expect that from my cheap Zenitar, but not from a lens at the price point of the DA 10-17. Compare the various shots on the fisheye thread and see which lenses float to the top.

Steve

(Ducking for cover...)
12-13-2009, 02:16 AM   #7
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the Zenitar should be the lens to go to, for the budget savvy person. it is by far the cheapest (from what was offered to me, 40 bucks) and the best fish-eye quality lens. reason why I didn't bought it, I wasn't into fish-eyes from the start.
12-13-2009, 02:26 AM   #8
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RE: Ash's comment about FE vs. rectilinear.

The difference can be quite striking. Follow this link to an example of the same scene taken with the DA 10-17 @ 17mm vs. the DA 14:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/378426-post198.html
Steve

12-13-2009, 03:02 AM   #9
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I don't know if I would consider some of those lenses (eg DA15) as ultrawide on APS-C due to the crop factor...
12-13-2009, 03:43 AM   #10
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so far my impression of 10-17 is good. So far liking it. Here are two from yesterday shot with 10 -17 mm DA fish eye.

Camera is KX pentax.

1 with accentuated effect


2.
12-13-2009, 08:35 AM   #11
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There is also DA 14mm f/2.8
12-13-2009, 09:31 AM   #12
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This is such a broad question! If you look up the field of view on Pentax's site for instance, the 10-17mm fisheye goes from 180-100 FOV - while the 12-24mm rectilinear is from 99-60 degrees FOV. Essentially, while their listed focal lengths overlap 5MM, their FOV are a perfect compliment to one another. While towards the long end at 17mm the fisheye does approach a 'normal' ultrawide view, it definitely isn't a walk-around lens for wide angle, while the 12-24mm serves that purpose very well.
12-13-2009, 12:16 PM   #13
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I found the DA10-17mm fisheye can be a good walk-around lens, it offers different perspective with the fisheye, turning anything but ordinary & interesting. And like many have said, it has normal wide angle at 17mm.

10mm


17mm
12-13-2009, 12:22 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by AdrianN Quote
I don't know if I would consider some of those lenses (eg DA15) as ultrawide on APS-C due to the crop factor...
It's fairly standard to consider anything below 28mm in 35mm equivalent FOV terms to be an "ultrawide". By that measure, the DA15 fits easily, being the equivalent of 22.5mm. The OP himself mentioned 24mm as his cutoff. He didn't specifically say "35mm equivalent FOV", but I kind of assume that's what he meant, since 24mm isn't even really wide at all on APS-C.

Anyhow, I agree the question as asked is hopelessly broad. I mean, if one isn't even sure if one want something in the single digits or 24mm, that's kind of like saying, "what's the best vehicle - could be a bicycle or an eighteen-wheeler."
12-13-2009, 12:27 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
Best? You are liable to stir up a bit of discussion with that assertion! The 10-17 is a nice lens and is capable of decent results. The many examples on the "Fisheye Fever" thread are ample evidence to that. It also gives the user a choice from very fishy at 10mm to fairly normal at 17mm.

OTOH...the 10-17 is prone to very serious PF to the point of being distracting. I expect that from my cheap Zenitar, but not from a lens at the price point of the DA 10-17. Compare the various shots on the fisheye thread and see which lenses float to the top.
Yes, Steve, I know people's definitions of 'best' will differ and I've just made sweeping generalisations on the best of the two classes of lenses. But I can only say what's best IMO and give reasons for my assertions.

What the 10-17 excels in is brilliance in colour, contrast & brightness, sharpness as well as versatility (a practical focal range and wideness). The florid PF it exhibits is less of a concern to me as FEs are quite prone to this unfortunate feature anyway. Whilst the Zenitar has shone through with some outstanding results, it loses out IMO in image brilliance and practicality (for a FF lens, its 'fishiness' is not pronounced enough on an APS-C camera).
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