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09-06-2012, 11:17 PM   #1
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Best Lenses for Northern Lights?

I kinda already posted a similar post regarding this but would anyone have any advice on a good lens for Northern Lights. I currenly live way up in Northern Canada where we get great Northern Lights however I am new to my K5 and would like to know which mode setting, aperature etc would be good. I have the 18-135mm lense that came with the camera but also considering the 15mm wide angle or the 12-24 mm wide angle zoom. I want to get into landscape shots also but not sure which is better. Also can either one of these lens be used for non lanscape photos. Again a beginner so anything would help.

09-07-2012, 12:49 AM   #2
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Sigma 10-20
Pentax 12-24
Tamron 10-24
09-07-2012, 02:10 AM   #3
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Hi, basically all the lenses cited above by you and felixkh are ultra wide angle (low focal length in mm) so I can only assume they'll work well with photographing the sky. I have no particular knowledge about northern lights though. Have you also considered a fish-eye lens such as the Pentax 10-17mm? That might be fun.
In any case I'm guessing you won't have a lot of available light so you probably will shoot wide open (at wide apertures ie low f/ numbers). In this regard all of the cited lenses are more or less equivalent. Most of them are zoom which means you'll get flexibility (for instance 12-24mm, 12 is ultra-wide while 24 is just slightly wide - you can check the result by setting your 18-135 at 24mm). With the 15 limited (I love this lens) you lose all that flexibility but you gain size/weight and luxury build? Great IQ too but that is also true of the Pentax 12-24 at least. Your call what is most important to you!
In short: I don't think there is a right or wrong answer to your question. And regarding other uses: of course there are. They just depend on your imagination. One particular thread in this forum comes to mind for inspiration: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/86234-15mm-limited-controls-my-mind-club.html
Have fun!
09-07-2012, 02:56 AM   #4
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I have the DA15 (and the DA10-17) which I like for general shooting, but some people say the Samyang 14/2.8 is especially good for your purpose. You may want to look at the thread for the Samyang owners club on this forum, if you haven't already.

09-07-2012, 06:43 AM   #5
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I like the DA 15 for sky photos. Nice and wide and it renders skies really nicely. If i need to go wider the Rokinon 8 mm fisheye is pretty nice and a great value.
09-07-2012, 09:45 AM   #6
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I've shot northern lights with a 5DmkII and I've shot lots of night sky with the K-5. Ultimately, for wide, sharp, wide open night shots, I went with the manual focus Samyang 14mm F2.8. It is almost as sharp at 2.8 as it is at F8. Corner to corner sharpness is outstanding, perhaps the best in it's class at any cost. It's subject to flare but that's not really a problem with night sky work. It's far superior to any of the Pentax wides, or the wide Canon Ls for that matter, and it's far less money.
09-10-2012, 05:21 AM   #7
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The Sigma 8-16 is not bad at all too ! But for maximum sharpness the DA15 is better.
09-10-2012, 11:43 AM   #8
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You should avoid Tamron 10-24, it is very soft wide open. Sigma 10-20 f3.5 is fast and sharp wide open, Sigma 8-16 is also very sharp wide open, but it is a little bit slower. Sharpest and fastest is Samyang 14 f2.8. If you use it for architecture you can notice barrel distortion, but in landscape shots it is not something that you would notice.

09-11-2012, 12:08 AM   #9
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My mate did take very nice shots last winter in Lapland with K7 and kitlens...
09-12-2012, 06:43 PM   #10
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I use the sigma 10-20 for northern lights (and other things) and like it a lot.

RAW
Tripod
Infinite focus
lowest aperture
long exposure using a remote

I'm pretty sure there are northern light shots posted on the forum somewhere but I'm not practised at finding and linking!

How far north are you?
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