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02-04-2020, 07:12 AM   #1
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Wide angle decision

I have been pining over the DFA 15-30 for awhile and will be getting it by the end of the year. However, the prices of the fa* 24mm/2 are acting as the sirenís song, luring me away from the ultimate prize. While itís not as wide as the 15-30, would the 24mm be a satisfying alternative?

02-04-2020, 07:54 AM   #2
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I guess it really matters what you're shooting. For me, I need to get pretty wide and a 24mm wouldn't cut it.
02-04-2020, 08:10 AM   #3
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I have to agree with the above. In that only you know how wide you need.

My dad almost never shot anything wider than 28. He actively disliked 24mm - saying it was too wide for him.

I used to do little with wide angle, but the crop DA 15 (23mm equivalent) made me into a convert. I own a DA 12-24 also, and rarely other than fisheye have I thought that it wasn't wide enough and it's only about an 18mm equivalent.

The truth is you can probably find reasons to use whatever you get. The only time I feel like the DA 15 (23mm field of view) isn't wide enough is in tight spaces indoors.

Obviously I'm shooting on crop, but the field of view info should compare.
02-04-2020, 08:15 AM - 4 Likes   #4
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24 mm is a really nice wide angle focal length on full frame. 24mm on FF is on the edge of the range where the strong perspective distortions of an ultra-wide angle (UWA) lens create strange effects for subjects at the edges and corners of the scene. Hint: never put loved ones on the edges or corners of the frame of a UWA shot! "Does this lens make me look fat?" "Yes it does!"

However, wider can be better for three reasons:

First, if you shoot tall things and can't back-up further, you need wider. To a first approximation, a 24 mm (in landscape orientation on FF) lets you shot something that is as high as the camera is distant from the object. In portrait orientation, the object can be 1.5X the camera distance. Thus, a 100-150 ft (30-50m) tall building or tree can be shot from a distance of about 60-150ft (20-50m) away depending on orientation, etc. But if you want shots of taller skyscrapers or trees within the cluttered confines of city streets or forest paths, a 24 mm lens may not be wide enough.

Second, if you like the strong perspective of UWA, you'll want something wider. UWA can create really interesting angular compositions, extremely strong vanishing points, and great forced perspective images. It's an optical effect unto itself that some like (but others don't).

Third, UWA is a poor man's shift lens -- just point the camera level with the horizon (thank you Pentax for creating an electronic level in the camera) and all the buildings will be nice and straight with no keystoning. Crop the lower 1/3 to 1/2 of the image and the result is just like using a shift lens.

02-04-2020, 08:41 AM   #5
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While it's true that 24mm isn't all that wide compared to the 15-30, the FA* isn't just about the numbers. It's one of those pixie dust lenses that give photos a little extra something.
02-04-2020, 08:57 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChatMechant Quote
While it's true that 24mm isn't all that wide compared to the 15-30, the FA* isn't just about the numbers. It's one of those pixie dust lenses that give photos a little extra something.
And it's way smaller. I have the 15-30. Great lens. It's just a chunk.
02-04-2020, 09:00 AM   #7
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Something to consider is that the DA12-24 and 11-18 can be used around 18mm and up as if full frame lenses I would look at threads showing the results first.
02-04-2020, 09:38 AM   #8
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I’m looking for something to shoot landscapes/starscapes with. The one big thing I’m not a fan of the 24 for is the lack of WR (understandably so). I’m used to lugging around big glass, so the size/weight of the 15-30 wouldn’t bother me. I’ve got a trip to Mackinac Island, and camping in WV coming up, and kind of want to capture “the whole picture”.

02-04-2020, 09:40 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChatMechant Quote
While it's true that 24mm isn't all that wide compared to the 15-30, the FA* isn't just about the numbers. It's one of those pixie dust lenses that give photos a little extra something.
I have neither lens, but every lens has unique characteristics that are hard to classify. It's not always covering each focal length.
02-04-2020, 09:45 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by bikehead90 Quote
starscapes
I'm on APS-C... but I've shot starscapes (Milky Way) with both 18mm and 24mm (would look something like 27mm and 36mm on your full frame...) and found the 24mm way too limiting and 18mm is still pretty tight... It's really nice to get foreground in the shot.
I've recently purchased a 10-20mm and can't wait to try out the starscapes with this lens (need some better weather!)
If stars are your wish, I'd definitely want to go for the 15mm on your full frame...
02-04-2020, 09:59 AM   #11
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Ok, so maybe I didn’t fully articulate my thoughts. One of the apprehensions I have for the 24 is how soft people say it is outside of the center. I get that the UWA of the 15-30 has the propensity to give off weird distortion(s) so its a toss-up.
02-04-2020, 10:16 AM   #12
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I don't know much about anything.. but I'm pretty sure that anything that wide is gunna have some soft corners...
02-04-2020, 10:43 AM   #13
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I have both lenses and mostly use them on my K-1. Both are quality lenses for sure and provide different options. As has been said above, the differences in weight are significant. On full frame, I have - sometimes - found the 15-30 too wide at 15mm and the 24 not wide enough. If I understand your profile you are using a K-3. As has been said above, there are a number of wide angle lenses for APS-c which are mostly cheaper, weigh less, and some are even wider that either of the lenses above. I will say that for landscapes (which is my main interest), on my K-1, I'd reach first for the 15-30 over the 24. Can't really talk about astrophotog, I've tried it but I suck at it with whatever gear I have.

Happy choosing.

Oh, also for landscapes and full frame, I've found the Venus Optics, Laowa 12mm lens to be a better wide angle choice than the 15-30 or 24. But I'm shooting slot canyons where I can't just move the camera if necessary. While it's a bit on the heavy side, it still is much less than the 15-30.
02-04-2020, 10:46 AM - 3 Likes   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by FozzFoster Quote
I don't know much about anything.. but I'm pretty sure that anything that wide is gunna have some soft corners...
It's certainly true that wrangling wide-angle light rays onto a sensor can be a bit challenging.

That said, some lens makers manage to a decent job of it. The Samyang/Rokinon 14/2.8 has a good reputation (if you get a non-decentered copy) and the IRIX 15/2.4 is also decently regarded. The Sigma 12-24 DG is quite good at 12 (and insanely wide!) but is softer at 24. And the old Pentax M20/4 is fairly sharp corner to corner.

On the other hand, I've got a Rikenon 24/2.8 that's a OK to the edges but a horror show in the extreme corners.


One minor issue is the Pentax's in-body image stabilization adds to the soft-corner challenge. Whereas a camera with a fixed sensor needs a lens that provides good image quality over a 43.3 mm circle, a camera with IBIS needs a lens that provides good image quality over a 47.4 mm circle because that's how far the sensor might wander.
02-04-2020, 10:48 AM   #15
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On full frame, for an ultra-wide, I'd want something that goes out to 17mm or so, given the choice. I've got a Samyang 14 that comes out of the house maybe once a year as it's both large (but not 15-30 large & heavy...) and almost comically wide on full-frame. I've shot stars and fireworks with an old Tamron 17 Adaptall and that was pretty decent stopped down a bit (doesn't require a lot) and it was nice for stars, a bit too wide for fireworks. A 28 would probably work well for fireworks on full-frame.


For about $200 or so on auction sites, the Sigma 17-35 f2.8-4 EX DG seems like a great lens, and a nice compromise in size, cost, weight, and image quality. I think that would be a much more interesting option than the 15-30 due to all of those aspects.

LATE EDIT: Per above posts, if you're on crop, skip the 15-30 and go for a DA 15, DA 12-24, Sigma 10-20, or Sigma 8-16. The 8-16 is supposed to be extremely good in the IQ department. The DA 15 is kind of polarizing; I'm a big fan, I'll leave it at that. If you really are on crop and not full frame then use this edit's addition and not the above advice.
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