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02-01-2010, 04:53 PM   #1
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Wide angle recommendations please.....

The kit lens (@18mm) is the widest lens I have in my arsenal right now. It's looking like our family vacation this summer will have us heading (among other places in AZ) to the Grand Canyon. I'm thinking if I'm ever going to want to use a super wide lens, that'd be the place. After the trip I'm thinking it'll come in handy for things like landscapes up at the cabin, "team photos" at the kid's sporting events, etc..

I'd like to tap into others experiences as I try to figure out what (if anything) to do. I've been looking at the Lens Review Database and the reviews posted at B&H for the DA 14, DA 15 & the DA 12-24. First off - is there enough difference in FoV between the widest end of these lenses and the 18mm end of the kit lens? I know in "real number" terms the difference between 18 and, say 14, isn't that great, but for shooting something like the Grand Canyon (and other things later) does adding another lens to get the extra 4mm - 6mm make sense? Are you getting that much MORE picture to justify it? I'd love to hear some opinions from people with lenses that wide.

If the answer is indeed "yes" - that the extra width makes a big difference - I'd also like to hear your opinions on the 3 lenses I mentioned above (or any other alternatives). It seems as though there are some CA issues with the zoom at the widest end - but people seem to still have a pretty high opion of it anyway - at least as it relates to the two primes mentioned.

So, all opinions/experiences are welcomed and appreciated as I consider what to do.

Thanks,

Tim

02-01-2010, 05:04 PM   #2
Ari
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The da 12-24 is a tremendous lens and will make a huge difference from in terms of fov. It's also nice to be able to go from 12-24 while traveling (I've owned the DA 14 and it's great, too, but maybe not for vacations. Better to not have to change lenses, especially overlooking the Grand Canyon). You should look at the sigma 10-20 and the tamron 10-24 as well. Both righteous lenses (and you'll save quite a bit of money over the DA 12-24).
02-01-2010, 05:16 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by UpNorth Quote
is there enough difference in FoV between the widest end of these lenses and the 18mm end of the kit lens?
YES! In wide angle territory each mm is a lot. There's some comparisons where they take a very wide pic such as 10mm and draw squares corresponding to the FOV of 12, 14, 18mm, etc.

There's a significant improvement in FOV from 18mm to 15mm. How much is wide enough for you, though, depends on the person.

I only have the DA15 and it's awesome.
02-01-2010, 05:21 PM   #4
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DA 14mm

I've owned the DA 14mm f/2.8 and it is a fantastic lens. I took mine on a 2 week road trip 2 years ago and had no issue switching from that to my DA 40 and DA 55-300. I sold due to money issues and I intend on buying the DA 14 or 15 again as my next lens. Some samples below and many examples here; Pentax K100D Super & K200D Photo Gallery by ajuett at pbase.com







02-01-2010, 05:29 PM   #5
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An ultra wide angle is not a landscape lens despite popular misconception. Distortion is possible and the perspective means that everything looks far away. Unless you have foreground elements that loom large in the frame, the results can be disappointing. The opposite is true of tele lenses, elements in the picture will look stacked up and very close together.
From a focal length point of view, the kit lens is an ideal range and if you stop down to f/8 or f/11 will perform admirably.
You would be better off investing in a good tripod and head as many a hand held landscape has proved to be disappointing in the detail on close inspection.
02-01-2010, 05:36 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
An ultra wide angle is not a landscape lens despite popular misconception. Distortion is possible and the perspective means that everything looks far away. Unless you have foreground elements that loom large in the frame, the results can be disappointing. The opposite is true of tele lenses, elements in the picture will look stacked up and very close together.
From a focal length point of view, the kit lens is an ideal range and if you stop down to f/8 or f/11 will perform admirably.
You would be better off investing in a good tripod and head as many a hand held landscape has proved to be disappointing in the detail on close inspection.
My pocket book agrees with you DamnBrit.

However, in tight places or in areas you can't backup then a UW is indispensable. Many shots would have been impossible or much harder to get into position if I didn't have the DA 14 at the time. BTW, distortion on the DA 14 is very low. I'll probably get the DA 15mm next time just because of it's size.

On another note, if Pentax or Sigma built a simple 12mm f/8 to f/24 I'd get one. Most landscape shots I take are f/9.5.
02-01-2010, 05:40 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ajuett Quote

However, in tight places or in areas you can't backup then a UW is indispensable. Many shots would have been impossible or much harder to get into position if I didn't have the DA 14 at the time. BTW, distortion on the DA 14 is very low. I'll probably get the DA 15mm next time just because of it's size.
I agree with you there I had a blast in Utah but nevertheless, a UWA is an expensive proposition and there is a fairly steep learning curve required in order to get decent shots. You're last example above for example, what to do with all that sky.

And you still need the tripod.
02-01-2010, 05:48 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by ajuett Quote
I've owned the DA 14mm f/2.8 and it is a fantastic lens. I took mine on a 2 week road trip 2 years ago and had no issue switching from that to my DA 40 and DA 55-300. I sold due to money issues and I intend on buying the DA 14 or 15 again as my next lens. Some samples below and many examples here;
Those are great. It's great *not* to see the overused ND filter blurred water effect.

QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
An ultra wide angle is not a landscape lens despite popular misconception.
You can definitely take landscape shots with various focal lengths... However, UWA lenses can make quick panoramic photos, if you choose to crop out the top/bottom/both.

BTW, I hate the nasty uwa "this is an outrage" kind of photos.

02-01-2010, 05:54 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by asdf Quote
Those are great. It's great *not* to see the overused ND filter blurred water effect.



You can definitely take landscape shots with various focal lengths... However, UWA lenses can make quick panoramic photos, if you choose to crop out the top/bottom/both.
Or get a micro four thirds system.


BTW, I hate the nasty uwa "this is an outrage" kind of photos.
Just to clarify things for the OP, 15mm or wider would be considered an Ultra Wide on APS-C above that is merely Wide.

And he still needs a tripod.
02-01-2010, 06:07 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
And he still needs a tripod.
Not entirely true. That trip I took I never used a tripod, I didn't take one with me. Sure, under forest canopies, dawn, dusk, etc you will need a tripod. I didn't have an ND filter or any filter for that matter. All I used was the hood that came with the DA 14.

Another hand held from the DA 14, f/22, 1/15;

02-01-2010, 06:13 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ajuett Quote
Not entirely true. That trip I took I never used a tripod, I didn't take one with me. Sure, under forest canopies, dawn, dusk, etc you will need a tripod. I didn't have an ND filter or any filter for that matter. All I used was the hood that came with the DA 14.
That's where we're going to have to agree to differ no matter how many very nice pictures you post as examples. I'm equally guilt in not using a tripod enough. It all depends on how large you want to view the pictures really.
02-01-2010, 07:02 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Damn Brit Quote
That's where we're going to have to agree to differ no matter how many very nice pictures you post as examples. I'm equally guilt in not using a tripod enough. It all depends on how large you want to view the pictures really.
It's not that I disagree with using a tripod. When I know I'm going in an area that requires it I use one, without question. I just bought a Manfrotto 725b that I'm very pleased with and I carry it with me more than in the past.
02-01-2010, 08:20 PM   #13
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I'd say the 15 is noticeably wider than the wide end of the 18-55, but not "OMG" wider, as far as it would make a difference at the Grand Canyon. I do agree with most of the other points made here - *in general*, you don't necessarily need ultra wide for landscape, a tripod helps, etc. But on the other hand, canyons are the type of terrain where I *would* be wanting ultra wide. And while a tripod helps, so would shooting medium format film, getting really expensive lenses, etc - all sorts of things I'm just not going to do, either :-). Doesn't mean one can't get great results without a tripod.
02-01-2010, 08:55 PM   #14
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As others here say, the Grand Canyon is one place that does justify use of UWA. I would buy the Sigma 10-20 f4-5.6 if I were you. I also think a tri-pod is a good idea and it does not have to be an expensive one to be effective.

Some people are better at handholding slower shutter speeds than others--but why gamble? Also, there may be times when you want yourself, along with the entire family, in the shot. For these moments, a tri-pod, along with the timer or remote is a good idea, just in case there are no friendly people nearby to snap the shutter for you. And, do you really want to trust a stranger to use your Pentax DSLR? Do you really want to trust a stranger to compose the scene for you and your family? These are the memories of a lifetime.
02-01-2010, 08:59 PM   #15
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My three lenses that I carry when I go hiking are the 12-24, the 18-55 kit lens, and the 55-300. Between the 18-55 and the 12-24, I find that I use the 12-24 the majority of the time. It is a great lens but I do think that the 18-55 (or another lens with that range) is also extremely useful.

I'll also say that when I am using the 12-24, I'm typically using the 12mm end of the spectrum. You can't really go wrong with the lens but just remember that it is a 77mm thread so your slim mount filter will run you another $80-$100.
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