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01-19-2010, 07:18 PM   #1
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super wide for restaurants? 14mm, 15mm or 12-24mm?

I'm looking for a super-wide lens for my K-7. I shoot restaurant interiors, both the front and backs of the house (dining areas and kitchens, in normal people language).

I value fast lenses because restaurants can be very dark. But I can't have a lens that makes people at the edges look like a CGI monster out of "Megashark vs. Giant Octopus".

I'm deciding between the DA14, the DA15 and the 12-24mm. I've read every thread I can find on these lenses. My concern with the 15 and 12-24mm is speed, or rather lack of it. My concern with the 14 is the "weird distortion".

Questions for Gurus:

Will the "lens correction" feature of the K-7 fix the DA14's distortion?

Has anyone shot a lot of available light interiors with any of them? Examples?

Back in my Canon days, I had the Tokina 11-16mm...but let's not talk about that.

What would you choose and why for this assignment? Speed or sharpness or low-distortion?

Thanks!
doug

PS: You can see some of my work at my flickr page: Flickr: DandelionEmpire's Photostream

PPS: Though none of it was taken on the K-7. I just shot my first assignment for that last weekend, so it won't be up on flickr until the magazine comes out in the Spring.

01-19-2010, 07:34 PM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by dreilly Quote
Will the "lens correction" feature of the K-7 fix the DA14's distortion?
I don't own the K-7, but I do use PTLens and DA 14 f/2.8--which I do own--is in its database. I'd go with a fast lens for interiors.

BTW, when shooting with a 14mm lens, the wide angle may surprise you...by how wide it is.
01-19-2010, 07:38 PM   #3
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Thanks asdf
I'd hate to add another PP step, but good to know it's possible.

here's my kit as of now: K-7, 43mm, 70mm, and the kit lens! I have to fill the tele end, too, but that's for another thread!
01-20-2010, 05:14 AM   #4
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I took some test shots with the DA 14 on a K-x:

With lens correction off:


With lens correction on:


No pp, K-x auto white balance slipped here under fluorescent lighting as the tiles are actually white. The camera was not held perfectly perpendicular to the wall, which is probably why the vertical lines are a little off.

It does correct the barrel distortion quite well, but not the pincushion distortion on the edges.

01-20-2010, 05:52 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lodewijk Quote
I took some test shots with the DA 14 on a K-x:

With lens correction off:

With lens correction on:

No pp, K-x auto white balance slipped here under fluorescent lighting as the tiles are actually white. The camera was not held perfectly perpendicular to the wall, which is probably why the vertical lines are a little off.

It does correct the barrel distortion quite well, but not the pincushion distortion on the edges.
Weird. BTW, PTLens promises to correct complex distortion:
PTLens (click on distortion and scroll to "complex distortion")

EDIT: I have a K20D, but I think it's still worth getting PTLens if you have a K-7/k-x and non-Pentax K-mount lenses.

Last edited by asdf; 01-20-2010 at 06:17 AM.
01-20-2010, 06:22 AM   #6
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Downloaded the PTlens trial, here is the same image corrected with PTlens DA 14 profile:
01-20-2010, 06:33 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lodewijk Quote
Downloaded the PTlens trial, here is the same image corrected with PTlens DA 14 profile:
Thanks. Does it look "right" to you? I mean, I don't know how the wall in your bathroom looks like.
01-20-2010, 07:11 AM   #8
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I think PTlens does the best job, especially on the edges. Maybe the in-camera correction can only correct simple distortion, either barrel or pincushion.

People in the far corners are going to look weird whatever rectilinear wide angle you use. I think the DA 14 is a good choice because of its close focusing and speed, if you can live with its size.

01-20-2010, 07:34 AM   #9
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PTLens does do a nice job with that. I wonder if it will straighten the tile in my bathroom, which is not an optical distortion?

Seriously, thanks for showing me that. I suspect I can live with even the in-camera correction, though PTlens is an option.

From using the 11-16mm, I always found myself using the 16mm setting. (Which is funny since on standard zooms I'm always at the wide end.) So I suppose 14 is a good compromise. I love the size of the primes, but I concur that 2.8 will be valuable to have.

thanks!
doug
01-20-2010, 07:40 AM   #10
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you can look in my opinion at any of the ultra wide zooms,

I would pick a zoom over prime because you can be much more flexible.

I wouldn't worry about lens distortion, many programs can adjust for that. Same thing with perspective distortion.

Lens speed may be the critical selection factor
01-20-2010, 08:23 AM   #11
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cue up the chorus on a K version of the Tokina 11-16mm...

d
01-20-2010, 09:33 AM   #12
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Just bought a 14 off the marketplace, so we'll see how that works.

thanks everyone!
01-20-2010, 12:47 PM   #13
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The distortion figures in lens reviews and potentially dealt with in software, as illustrated in the shots above, is one thing. But perspective distortion is another. There is absolutely no getting around the fact that in a rectilinear wide angle lens, any people near the edges of the frame will look distorted, because the lens is viewing them almost from the side whereas when you view the image in a print or on your monitor, unless youstick your face right up to the image, those same people appear much closer to the center of your field of view. You won't notice this type of perspective distortion shooting flat surfaces like tile or brick walls, but you *will* when shooting three-dimensional objects, and it's that much worse with people, because our brains are wired to really notice subtle changes in facial detail much more than, say, the same distortion in a tree.

So if you shoot the same scene with all three lenses, you are realistically goign to see the same perspective distortion in all of them. Only the "linear" distortion (not sure if there is a generic term for barrel/pincushion/moustache distorition) is going to differ, but that's *not* what leads to the effect you describe.

As for speed, seems to me if you're doing this even remotely seriously, you'd be using a tripod or at least a monopod. At these focal lengths, the difference betwene f/2.8 and f/4 just isn't that significant, in my opinion - 1/20" is a perfectly viable shutter speed, and so can 1/10" be with even moderate support. It's more when shooting somewhat longer focal lengths and or moving subjects that I'd be afraid of f/4.

Bottom line: if I were in your shoes, doing this professionally or even just very seriously, I'd be going 12-24 for the flexibility it offers, and not even thinking twice about any other option. I say that as someone who for my own purposes decided on the 15, as I don't need that kind of flexibility, and I value the smaller size. But the 14 would be my next choice if only because it's wider than the 15 and you can always crop; the added speed would be icing. i doubt you'll be unhappy with it.
01-20-2010, 02:27 PM   #14
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Mark
Great points and now that I think about it, yes, there will always be that distortion to the side, I noticed it with the 11-16 on the Canon 40D. I should have been more specific about what and how I shoot, as if it was just restaurant interiors from the design/architecture perspective then your advice is spot on. I shoot documentary style images of restaurants in the full swing of action (you can see what I mean in the link I posted above), so in that case I 1) need all the aperture I can get and 2) need to remember to try to keep people away from the periphery of the field of view! Thanks for bringing that up!
01-20-2010, 04:46 PM   #15
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I don't have any examples online right now to show you, but I shot a couple architecture-style interiors with the DA 14, and while the distortion was a non-factor, I wish it'd gone wider. even though the 14 is faster, I'd go with the 12-24 for your style of shooting.
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