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03-04-2010, 04:16 AM   #1
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wide angle for landscape use

Some advice / suggestions please.
I currently have as the widest lens a 18 [18-55 kit lens] and once many years ago had a fish eye but these are my only experience with a "wide angle lens"
My question is, is it worth looking at a 16 or what ever version is available in s/h A series I can find or just get something like a Raynox wide angle adapter which will probably cost less ?
Will I gain much of bigger field of view than with the 18mm?
I have been trying to find comparison photos to get indication of the field of view but can't seem to find any.
regards
Alistair

03-04-2010, 06:18 AM   #2
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Here's a comparator:

http://www.bitz4.co.uk/richard/photog/PTLens/focal-length2-2.jpg

Many people on this site use Raynox adapters for macro, but no one I know of uses a wide-angle adapter, (probably because the quality isn't there?).

The 16-45mm is noticeably wider than the 18mm zooms and gives a nice boost in general IQ (sharpness, colour and contrast)l for about $399 (don't know UK price). The Zenitar 16mm is wider and cheaper if you don't mind manual operation and fisheye distortion. The DA 10-17mm fisheye has great IQ and is very versatile. The 17mm end has a wider fov than a 12mm rectilinear lens and distortion is controllable. You won't find an inexpensive A or M lens that goes wider than 18mm. They're rare and pricey.
03-04-2010, 06:44 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
Here's a comparator:

http://www.bitz4.co.uk/richard/photog/PTLens/focal-length2-2.jpg

Many people on this site use Raynox adapters for macro, but no one I know of uses a wide-angle adapter, (probably because the quality isn't there?).

The 16-45mm is noticeably wider than the 18mm zooms and gives a nice boost in general IQ (sharpness, colour and contrast)l for about $399 (don't know UK price). The Zenitar 16mm is wider and cheaper if you don't mind manual operation and fisheye distortion. The DA 10-17mm fisheye has great IQ and is very versatile. The 17mm end has a wider fov than a 12mm rectilinear lens and distortion is controllable. You won't find an inexpensive A or M lens that goes wider than 18mm. They're rare and pricey.
Dan, thanks for the reply, looking at that link image [which coincidently I know, it is Gloucester docks 20 miles up the road from me in Bristol] there is so little between 18 and 16 I can't see the point of spending money on it.
however you say a 16-45mm is noticeably wider than the 18-55 zoom so what am I not seeing?
A good IQ manual wide prime might be worth it if it is faster than the 18-55 if I can find one I suppose,
regards Alistair
03-04-2010, 08:01 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by adwb Quote
there is so little between 18 and 16 I can't see the point of spending money on it.
however you say a 16-45mm is noticeably wider than the 18-55 zoom so what am I not seeing?
A good IQ manual wide prime might be worth it if it is faster than the 18-55 if I can find one I suppose,
regards Alistair
I agree, the difference doesn't seem that much in the comparator, but in real life it is significant and easily noticeable. When I only have an 18mm zoom for a wide shot, I am often disappointed looking through the viewfinder as compared to my 16-45.

The only wide angle primes I'm aware of that are faster than the 18-55 are the Zenitar 16mm fisheye and the DA 14mm, but from what I've heard the Zenitar IQ is not very good at f/2.8.

03-05-2010, 01:20 AM   #5
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QuoteQuote:
adwb: Some advice / suggestions please.
I currently have as the widest lens a 18 [18-55 kit lens] and once many years ago had a fish eye but these are my only experience with a "wide angle lens"
My question is, is it worth looking at a 16 or what ever version is available in s/h A series I can find or just get something like a Raynox wide angle adapter which will probably cost less ?
Will I gain much of bigger field of view than with the 18mm?
I have been trying to find comparison photos to get indication of the field of view but can't seem to find any.
regards
Alistair
I would avoid the WA adapter; like audiobomber says, the quality just isn't there. If you don't find a significant wideness in 16mm, then you could go to the Sigma 10-20mm. People at this forum who shoot with it, love it. 25 raters give it an average score of just over a "9" which is pretty impressive if you ask me. I bought the lens brand new for $425. I think it is one of the better values out there for crop DSLRs. Read here and search through the "Sigma 10-20mm Club" too.

PentaxForums.com Third-Party Lens Review Database - 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM (AF Lens)
03-05-2010, 01:39 AM   #6
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Wide angle adapters usually suck, unless you really want that suckiness in your pictures. (None dare call it Holga.) I sometimes use a bulky Kenko Fish-Eye 180 adapter on my SMC-M 40-80, stopped down as much as possible. This lets me get a full circle image with both my ZX-M (film) and K20D, or just go ultrawide. IQ ain't the greatest, but super-duper IQ isn't the point when I use this setup. Whatever's wrong gets fixed in PP.

QuoteOriginally posted by adwb Quote
there is so little between 18 and 16 I can't see the point of spending money on it.
however you say a 16-45mm is noticeably wider than the 18-55 zoom so what am I not seeing?
I haven't tried that 16-45, but I use the DA 10-17 and 18-55 and 18-250, and the Zenitar 16/2.8 (PK-M base). 15 and 16 and 17 on the 10-17 are very different than the fishier Zenitar, and noticeably different than 18 on either of the other Pentax zooms. (The Zenitar is pretty spectacular on my ZX-M, with no defishing possible.) And with the 10-17, especially at wider focal lengths, every mm makes a big difference, as does every slight change of angle. All these lenses use different optical formulas, and things DO look different when you're using them.

QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
The only wide angle primes I'm aware of that are faster than the 18-55 are the Zenitar 16mm fisheye and the DA 14mm, but from what I've heard the Zenitar IQ is not very good at f/2.8.
I haven't used the 14 -- it's rectilinear, and it's Pentax; so yes, its IQ will be better than the Zenitar. There's a price difference too, right? I'm quite happy with my Zenitar; I just know that when used wide open, I don't position important image elements at the frame edges. Stopped down, it's pretty good, at least mine is. If I'm only carrying my light camera bag, the DA 10-17 is always in it. If the heavy bag is with me, the Zenitar is there, and that Kenko beast. And a Vivitar 21/3.5 stopped down to f/5.6 for basic simple nonchalant street use.

adwb, you asked about field-of-view differences. Here are some lens specs:

DA 10-17, FOV=180-100 degs
DA 12-24, FOV=99-61 degs
DA 14/2.8, FOV=90 degs
DA 16-45, FOV=83-35 degs
DA 18-55, FOV=76-29 degs

I've had great fun with my DA 10-17. It, and the DA 18-250 and FA 50/1.4, were my first kit, and still the most used. Which lens is right for you, depends on what you want to do, and how much you want to spend. If you like fisheyes, the 10-17 is wonderful. If you need to shoot straighter, the 14/2.8 (low light) or 12-24 (not so dim) should be fine. I can't comment on the 16-24, I just don't know. Check the reviews in the lens database - Pentax Lens Review and Specification Database - Main Index

Addendum: But a word of caution: You say want to shoot landscapes. Ultrawides push the scenery farther away -- what looks grand to your eye shrinks to nothingness when you're sucking in everything. Mighty mountains become a line of bumpy hills, etc. You might just want to stitch together panoramas instead. A big landscape image only works if it's displayed LARGE. Ultrawides are good for CLOSING IN on something, for showing it in an expanded context -- close in on the subject, push away the background.

Take a look at some significant landscape photos, see how they were made. You'll find that, except for dramatic long tele shots, most were taken at focal lengths within the range of your kit lens. Lots of times, with the 10-17, I'm crawling in the dirt with the K20D on a mini-tripod, shooting mini-landscapes. More than a foot off the ground, the horizon is just too far away.

Last edited by RioRico; 03-05-2010 at 01:56 AM. Reason: addendum
03-05-2010, 01:41 AM   #7
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There are old Vivitar 17mm (f3.5) in K mount that pops up on ebay now and then.

For the newer options :
DA 16-45/4, is cheap and supposed to be a good performer. No too big as well.
DA 12-24, probably better optically that Sigma
Sigma 10-20, this is the widest rectilinear UWA you can get. On other words, the only option if you want the widest.
DA14 - wide, fast and a prime lens.
DA15 - truly unique imho. No one does it so small and light. No other UWA takes up negligible bag space other than this lens.
03-05-2010, 06:35 AM   #8
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I'm quite taken by my new Tammy 10-24. Originally I looked at the 15 ltd and the 10-20, but figured I would trade some IQ for a wider zoom range. Not disappointed in the slightest at the moment.

Here's a landscape at 10mm:
Picasa Web Albums - Gordon M

I agree with RioRico that super wide angle has the danger of losing details, especially if you shoot straight on, but on the flipside, the infinity focus on these lenses is so generous, you just need to capture some detail closer to the camera, to bolster what's further away. This pic makes the houses look a mile away, and the lighthouse even further. Really the dog was probably 15 feet away, and the houses a quarter mile or less.

Picasa Web Albums - Gordon M

03-05-2010, 04:16 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by adwb Quote
A good IQ manual wide prime might be worth it if it is faster than the 18-55 if I can find one I suppose,
There aren't any faster enough to matter - the 18-55 is already f/3.5 at the wide end. *At best* you'd get f/2.8 in a lens wider than that.
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