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04-01-2013, 06:26 PM   #1
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Lens for landscapes (some help needed)

Hello everybody.
Yes, this is another thread about lenses for landscapes.
Let me explain a little:
In one month I'm visiting the San Francisco Volcanic Field, Canyonlands National Park among other
nice places for a geology field school, so I decided to pull the trigger and buy a K-5 IIs.
I'm really struggling to find a nice lens for landscapes. I've read several
reviews in the forum about the tamrons, sigmas, pentax zooms and the prime lenses.
I can't afford the 15 limited now, so I'm considering something maybe below 500$ since I have to add
13% for taxes. (the 15 ltd would be my birthday's present for next year)

About the reviews, to be honest, I've found that in many cases the reviews depend on the users perception
on the lens, or in prices that are not what I see on the market (in Canada).
I mean, Flare!, No Flare!, SHARP!, so Soft!, barrel distortion, no distortion, etc
So I'm pretty confuse about what I should consider.
I'll like to have a nice pics of the scenery in this trip, lots of colour and wide angle shots.
So at first order I'm considering wide angle zoom lenses, inclined towards the tamrons due to prices.
Is theSMC Pentax-DA 10-17mm F3.5-4.5 Fish-Eye ED [IF] a good contender here?
What about the 18-55 WR?
The Moon would be in Full phase around those dates so I don't expect to be able to take nice night shoots, but that would be lovely!
I've purchased an Helios 44K-4 so I think that it would cover my needs for portraits there.
I'm not afraid of using manual lenses, but I couldn't find auto aperture Pentax wide angle lenses in that price range.
I've found the Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8 close to ~200$ on ebay.

I'll appreciate any comments on this.
Thank you!
All the best.
Sebastian

04-01-2013, 06:31 PM   #2
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hello, im my humble opinion if you considered the 28mm smc-a why not get the M version, it will probably cost less and you'll save more $$ for that 15ltd next year

I say this, even though i don't know that 28mm lens i mentioned, i know the pentax smc-m 35mm f2.8, to tell the smc-m lens are really, REALLY well built.
the only diference is that it doesn't have an A setting, but if you can easily use stop down metering at a press of button like i do

i have the 18-55kit, the smc-m 50mm f1.4 and the smc-m 35mm f2.8, and the 35mil is the best sharpest lens i ever used

maybe it's a good copy, maybe it's because it's M.. i don't know i got lucky and it was only 25eur

Basicly, if i were in your place i'd do

28mm f2.8 SMC-M and save the money for a ltd 15mm later (unless you want to wait and see whats coming for full frame?.... )

Last edited by Akarak; 04-02-2013 at 12:20 PM.
04-01-2013, 06:35 PM   #3
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The tamron adaptall 24mm is easy to find and at f2.5 a nice sharp lens. You can get a non-ka adapter (just get the K adapter) for it, also not hard to find on eBay, and you have a nice WA (about 35mm wide angle equiv.) to use.

If you can find a nice 17mm tamron, that would go even further!

Good luck!

Regards,
04-01-2013, 06:48 PM   #4
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Hi Akarak!
Yes, I was referring to the SMC Pentax-A 28mm f/2.8. The M version is at ~110$ at ebay now here in Canada. I did not buy it since I'm not sure about how wide it is and
also because I don't know if it would be difficult to take care also of aperture settings manually. (It shouldn't right?)
I've read that some SMC Pentax M have a very nice IQ. Being the SMC 55mm f/1.2 the best in the fast aperture range. (but very expensive too)
Yes, to save money for the 15 ltd is a nice idea. I thought to get one cheapo lens, the 18-55 WR just to have auto everything and cover the camera with some dust while one the field , and then play with manual lenses (but not the expensive ones).
What's your experience with the 50mm f1.4? Have you tried some night shots with that lens? I would like to have a basic set, like one very fast lens (1.4 or ideally the 1.2 but that's very difficult), one wide angle lens for landscape and then the cheapo WR. Maybe that is starting to sound like LBA..

Thank you the 35mm f2.8 info, I would look for it on ebay!
all the best!!
sebastian

04-01-2013, 06:55 PM   #5
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Pick up a tamron 17-50 f2.8 lens. Very sharp. Very versatile.

It is currently available for about 472 dollars new. [499-25 dollars rebate]. Or you could try a second-hand copy.

Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II LD Aspherical [IF] AF016P-700 B&H

P.S: not sure how new you are to photography, but if you are, then this article on use of wide angle lenses might be really interesting:
How to Use Ultra-Wide Lenses
04-01-2013, 07:00 PM   #6
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I've got the 28mm F2.8 A and I love it for landscapes.

I find it's a nice length for when you want to only capture a section of a landscape

These two were taken with that lens:








The M will be just as good photo wise, it will just take a little longer between shots since you'll need to press a button to stop it down and meter before pressing the shutter (rather than just setting the aperture with the camera like on the A lens and later)
It's not difficult, but can be a little annoying if you're capturing fast things (not really an issue with landscapes though)
04-01-2013, 07:08 PM   #7
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I would go for the Sigma 10-20mm (the one with the variable aperture range - i.e. cheaper one - it is better anyway). It def fits the bill and is very sharp. I use it all the time. If you are looking for something with a little greater range go for the 17-50 2.8 Tamron. Also very sharp and great bang for the buck. The trade-off of course is that it is not as wide...
04-01-2013, 07:46 PM   #8
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My Favorited landscapes are often taken with a telphoto. (either 50-135 or 60-250 depending which one I have) I would use what you already own. i think wide angle lenses only work when you have some lead into the photo or something interesting in the foreground. Using a wide angle on a spectacular view rarely works for me. Get yourself a nice wide angle, but pull out a short tele when you have that spectacular view and start finding regions of interest and high drama and frame isolate them with the tele.

Superwide angles and fisheyes work well when you are closeup or inside a large environment eg tall trees. So you will need something wide. But for me a wide angle never captures what you see in big landscapes.

04-01-2013, 07:48 PM   #9
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Yeah, the Sigma 10-20/4-5.6 is really really good for its price and no HSM is a non-issue most of the time with that kind of lenses. If you want a longer one I really recommend the Pentax 16-45/4 which should be wide enough for most landscapes and offers nice flexibility too.
04-01-2013, 07:53 PM   #10
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QuoteQuote:
Is theSMC Pentax-DA 10-17mm F3.5-4.5 Fish-Eye ED [IF] a good contender here?
It is not like the other lenses you're considering, it is a fisheye zoom. A photo at 10mm to demonstrate:



At 10mm it's extremely wide, cramming a lot of stuff into the frame, but with fisheye distortion. At 17mm the distortion is corrected somewhat, not entirely. You can "hide" the distortion by putting the horizon in the center, not including stuff that looks wrong when it's distorted, fixing the distortion in processing or combining these. Here is an example of a full-moon night exposure for you at 17mm:



It's really a specialty lens, fun to use but not great for every shot. (My impression is that you're looking for one lens to buy with the camera.)

Landscapes have one great feature: they don't move a lot. You can combine shots if you take them carefully and have some free software. Combined shots can work as a free wide angle. This was taken with a 50mm lens and uses 57 shots to create a really wide field of view, I think equivalent to a 12mm lens:


04-01-2013, 08:29 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
Pick up a tamron 17-50 f2.8 lens. Very sharp. Very versatile.

It is currently available for about 472 dollars new. [499-25 dollars rebate]. Or you could try a second-hand copy.

Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II LD Aspherical [IF] AF016P-700 B&H

P.S: not sure how new you are to photography, but if you are, then this article on use of wide angle lenses might be really interesting:
How to Use Ultra-Wide Lenses
QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
P.S: not sure how new you are to photography, but if you are, then this article on use of wide angle lenses might be really interesting: How to Use Ultra-Wide Lenses
Thank you for this article psychdoc. Yes I'm a beginner with DSLRs, but used extensively my lumix FZ28 if that helps.
looking at the Tamron now.
all the best.
sebastian
04-01-2013, 08:31 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by hks_kansei Quote
've got the 28mm F2.8 A and I love it for landscapes.
Thank you for your 28mm pics hks_kansei!
I'll like to find a cheap 28mm.
all the best
sebastian
04-01-2013, 08:34 PM   #13
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Honestly there's nothing better for the price than the Sigma EX 10-20mm f/4-5.6. Solidly built, tack sharp at all apertures (although corners at f/4 are not quite as sharp, still very good), minimal aberrations. It's a great lens.
04-01-2013, 08:37 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by VisualDarkness Quote
Yeah, the Sigma 10-20/4-5.6 is really really good for its price and no HSM is a non-issue most of the time with that kind of lenses. If you want a longer one I really recommend the Pentax 16-45/4 which should be wide enough for most landscapes and offers nice flexibility too.
I didn't know about the Pentax 16-45, thank you!
I've found the sigma 10-20 at BH photo. I'll read about the ELD elements it has. Not worried about the HSM.
all the best,
sebastian
04-01-2013, 08:37 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by psychdoc Quote
Pick up a tamron 17-50 f2.8 lens. Very sharp. Very versatile.

It is currently available for about 472 dollars new. [499-25 dollars rebate]. Or you could try a second-hand copy.

Tamron 17-50mm f/2.8 XR Di-II LD Aspherical [IF] AF016P-700 B&H

P.S: not sure how new you are to photography, but if you are, then this article on use of wide angle lenses might be really interesting:
How to Use Ultra-Wide Lenses
Ditto that recommendation.
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