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01-08-2010, 12:21 PM   #1
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Wide angle: fixed or zoom? Which is best?

I am wanting to buy a wide angle lens for my kx. What are the advantages and or disadvantages of buying a fixed focal length wide angle vs a wide angle zoom? Also does anyone know of a wide angle lens be it fixed or zoom that would also make a good walk around lens? Thanks

01-08-2010, 12:48 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by dehanson1 Quote
I am wanting to buy a wide angle lens for my kx. What are the advantages and or disadvantages of buying a fixed focal length wide angle vs a wide angle zoom? Also does anyone know of a wide angle lens be it fixed or zoom that would also make a good walk around lens? Thanks
How wide do you want to go? For a purely wide angle lens, the 12-24 will give you the most range and is very highly regarded. It's not a very small lens, though, so it might be bulky for a walkaround. The 12-24 performs pretty well from f/4 and rates very highly in lens tests.

The Pentax primes will give you closer focusing, as the DA 14mm and 15mm ltd can get you right on top of your subject. The DA 14 is still a big lens, but is the fastest at f/2.8. The DA 15 is the most compact of the ultra wides, and might be a pretty nice fit on your K-x. If you don't need to go wider than your kit lens, the DA 21 ltd is a very nice pancake lens.

The 10-17 fish-eye is a lot of fun, and goes from a fish-eye at 10mm to more of a rectilinear lens at 17mm.

Sigma also makes a 10-20mm which has developed a cult following. There's a 10-20 club in this section of the forum.

I think most of the lenses I mentioned might be a little too wide for a classic walkaround lens, but they'll all give you perspectives that you can't get with the kit lens.
01-08-2010, 12:52 PM   #3
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The advantages and disadvantages of being a zoom versus prime don't really change because you are talking about wide angle. The advantage of being a zoom is that you can zoom, period. The potential advantages of a prime are pretty much everything else - smaller, lighter, cheaper, "faster" (larger maximum aperture), better IQ. Of course, any prime won't necessarily win on *all* those counts - often maybe two or three. It will depend on the specific zoom and prime you are comparing.

There have been quite a few threads lately talking about the DA14, DA15, DA21, DA10-17, DA12-24, and the various Sigma wide angle zooms. I'd suggest browsing the forum for these, as there is a *lot* of information already out there.

As for making a walkaround, that will depen on what focal lengths you personally find useful for that purpose. I assume you have the 18-55; I'd use that to get a feel for this. My favorite focal lengths are in the 24-45 range, so none of the ultra wide angle zooms would really cut it for me. But someone who found they used the 18-24 range a lot (and still wanted something wider still) would probably find the 12-24 really nice.
01-08-2010, 01:57 PM   #4
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In terns if walking around - its really what you want to carry and what you tend to shoot. So, I would leaf back through the images you have already taken, to see what focal length and type of pictures you take, to see what you would feel would suit your needs the best.

I have both the 12-24 and the 10-17, and in my mind they complement each other. The 10-17 has an angle of view of 180 to 100 degrees, while the 12-24 ranges from 100 to 60 degrees. Also, you need to keep in mind that the 10-17 is a fisheye, although it looses a lot of the fisheyed effect at 17 and becomes more rectilinear, but not totally. I have found that the 12-24 covers the range very effectively. I really do not feel the need for a DA 14, 15, 21 or FA 24. Also, I really do not see that one could use the 10-17 as a walk around lens - as its just tooooooo wide. My first use of it was at an animal show my wife went to. I used it as a walk around lens, just to get a feel for it. Very interesting - and given the large farm equipment out in the back equipment yard - it worked very well, but its not suitable for all occasions. At 10mm its 180 degrees wide - and in portrait orientation, you have to watch that your feet are NOT in the frame at the bottom.

As has been pointed out here already, the 12-24 is a wonderful lens. It is physically large (in relative comparison to other Pentax lenses), and the front lens element is also large. That said, it is not so large so as to be unusable - it is just not something you can slip into the pocket of your jeans. It is also a very high quality lens. It does have a bit of edge distortion, but that has never affected anything I have done - and I really have to look for it. For me, it is a non issue. It is also effectively the same lens as the Tokina 124, (12-24) [Canon and Nikon mounts only]. I would assume that the coating is a bit different and the focusing clutch is different, however the optical design is the same. DPReview evaluated the DA15 limited and had some interesting comments (with respect to the 12-24).....

Pentax smc DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited Lens Review: 3. Test results: Digital Photography Review

So overall, if your not concerned about size, weight and it has now become a bit pricey - the 12-24 is a lens to consider.



01-08-2010, 02:59 PM   #5
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Thanks a lot for the info...say, your not Jason Becker the guitarist are you?
01-08-2010, 03:12 PM   #6
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Thanks very much for the info...
01-08-2010, 03:13 PM   #7
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Thanks for the info...
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