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07-27-2009, 10:23 AM   #1
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Help a Newbie

Hey Guys and Gals,

I am long time car buff, and need some advice for a lens to take to some of the numerous car shows.

I have a Pentax isD and currently have a Pentax SMCP-DA 18-250mm lens. I am in the market for a more wide angle lens e.g. the 10-20mm range, as I have read that it will really help my car shots.

Can anyone offer suggestions on a lens? Also I would love to hear what gear you would recommend for great car photography.

07-27-2009, 11:09 AM   #2
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Sigma 10-20
07-27-2009, 01:28 PM   #3
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...or the pentax 12-24mm. Are you doing mainly outdoor shoots? then that's fine..

the DA* 16-50mm give you a little more than the 18-250, but the constant 2.8 aperture could help in lower light conditions, plus from what i've seen, the color reproduction is beautiful - especially for highlighting custom paint jobs.

I use the bigger brother, 50-135mm and it's a fantastic lens. Let me know what works, because I need to get my GTI out for some shots at sunset
07-27-2009, 01:43 PM   #4
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Welcome to the forums 98CarmineRedTN.
I don't do much car photography so I can't help you with that.
If you need wider angle lenses then it would also all depend on what budget you have as most wide angles in that range are pretty expensive.
I guess since you will be taking photos at car shows, just make sure of your white balance setting as the different lights in a car show can screw up the camera's WB.
At times, the cars themselves have special lighting to make them more good looking.

07-27-2009, 01:48 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by 98CarmineRedTN Quote
I have a Pentax isD and currently have a Pentax SMCP-DA 18-250mm lens. I am in the market for a more wide angle lens e.g. the 10-20mm range, as I have read that it will really help my car shots.
Where did you read that, and what did it say, exactly? focal length preference is a personal thing, but I'm thinking shots wider than 18mm would be more of an occasionally specialty thing than anything you'd use for car shots on a regular basis. Unless you constantly find yourself shooting at 18mm and wishing it were wider? But how would something you read know that?

Now, a *larger maximum aperture* at the focal lengths you currently shoot, that's something that would almost certainly make a difference reasonably often. Would allow faster shutter speeds for stopping motion or shooting in low light, also would allow for shallow depth of field effects (partof car in focus, rest not), which seems like it would be useful at least as often as an extreme wide angle.

So are you sure it didn't suggest a large (sometimes called "wide") maximum aperture), as opposed to a wider angle lens than your current 18mm?
07-27-2009, 02:02 PM   #6
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Welcome to the forum.
I'd echo the suggestions so far - either the Sigma 10-20 or the Pentax DA 12-24 if you *need* a wider angle to capture your cars, although 18mm is in most of your circumstances probably going to be wide enough (unless there is little room between cars and you can get close up to the car to take its photo).

If working indoors or at night, a more useful item would be a tripod.
07-27-2009, 03:14 PM   #7
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Thanks Guys,

The replies thus far are amazing. I really like forums that do what they are intended to do, (share information). The biggest problems with most car shows, for example Corvettes at Carlisle, is how close the cars are to one another. I had not considered the 16-50 mm, that may be one to get into addition to a super wide angle lens. As for where I read that a wider lens would be better. I cannot find all the articles I read but below is one article I have saved in my favorites...

HTML Code:
http://www.tamron.com/lenses/learning_center/joe_farace/cars/joe_farace.asp
Please keep the advice coming...
07-27-2009, 08:29 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by 98CarmineRedTN Quote
... The biggest problems with most car shows, for example Corvettes at Carlisle, is how close the cars are to one another...
Yes, exactly. I went to the museum next to Darlington many years ago, and it was impossible to get a photo of one car. It's bigger now.

My brother goes to the New York Auto Show every year and gets amazing shots with just a *ist DL, the DA 18-55mm, a plastic tripod and a Sears polarizer filter I gave him. He uses an AF360FGZ sometimes for interiors. Indoors is very challenging, particularily with odd or low lighting. His only advantage is that he goes on a media-only day. So it is possible to get shots without a lot of extra equipment.

A wider lens can help, but should have low distortion. You could take a shot at 10mm and get everything in, but have oblong tires or other odd shapes that ruin the shot. Correction software might help here. A lens that can focus closely is good for details.

A good tripod can really help. Because the car won't be moving, the tripod will allow you to use a slow shutter speed. If you can use a tripod you don't really need a super-fast lens. A polarizer filter can help with some reflections. Be careful with metering, because those bright reflections can blow out easily.

07-27-2009, 08:57 PM   #9
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That makes sense - I wan't thinking about how close the cars might be to each other and how you'd be forced to shoot from extremely close more often than you might otherwise want.
07-28-2009, 05:02 AM   #10
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I really want to avoid distortion as much as possible with a wide-lens.

Which of the following would be better for my intended situation...

The Sigma 10-20mm or the Pentax 12mm-24mm.

Also, I like the Idea of the 16-50mm, the 2.8 aperture sounds like the ticket in a low light museum...
07-29-2009, 04:52 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by 98CarmineRedTN Quote
I really want to avoid distortion as much as possible with a wide-lens.

Which of the following would be better for my intended situation...

The Sigma 10-20mm or the Pentax 12mm-24mm.

Also, I like the Idea of the 16-50mm, the 2.8 aperture sounds like the ticket in a low light museum...
Also, where do you suggest purchasing Pentax Gear from???
07-29-2009, 07:30 AM   #12
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If you are paying top dollar then I'd suggest you try out the big boys so as if there is a problem with the lens, the return would be easy and pain free.
Amazon or Adorama.
You could also try ebay but I won't really recommend them that much 'coz filing a claim is also a pain and I also had experience with that too and it is not pleasant.
07-29-2009, 09:04 AM   #13
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B&H Photo - Video (bhphotovideo.com) and Adorama (adorama.com) are the big two photo dealers. Buying from Amazon is also a good choice, although chances are good that it's Adorama that would actually be shipping your order. Amazon stocks some thigns themselves, but often deals with other suppliers. If Amazon hands your order to Adorama (and they always tell you when they give you the price quote who will actually be shipping it), you are in good hands. Depending on who has the best prices that day, they might send your order somewhere else (again, this will be clear when they quote the price), and then you might want to research the company a bit before committing. I don't Amazon deals with any of the out-and-out crooks that abound in the camera world, biut some of the Amazon affiliates have better reputations than others in terms of how quickly they ship, how well they pack their items, etc.
07-29-2009, 09:28 AM   #14
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I think the Pentax 12-24 has a bit less distortion than the Sigma 10-20, but both are good lenses. If you are on a budget, I'd consider the Pentax DA 16-45. It's not as fast as the 16-50, and doesn't have the weather sealing, but is considerably cheaper. If you are not afraid of second hand lenses, you can check out both KEH (KEH.com) and Adorama's used department. I have gotten lenses from both, and eventho you will spend slightly more than eek bay, you will get good return policies, and reliable lens ratings. KEH especially is know for under categorizing their lenses, what they call "bargin" many on eek bay would call "excellent" or "Like new".

NaCl(and welcome to the forums)H2O
07-29-2009, 09:41 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by 98CarmineRedTN Quote
I really want to avoid distortion as much as possible with a wide-lens.
The widest I have is the DA 16-45, so all I can tell you is what I've seen in other's photos. Lens tests are available here and other places:

Welcome to Photozone!

The Sigma seems to do OK on distortion, but I keep seeing photos like this:

Flickr Photo Download: Jetta

Look at the car in the upper right, and the rear wheel of the Jetta. I'm not sure what the optical reason for this effect is. Sometimes the Sigma images look really odd at the edges. It could be that all 10mm images are like that.

You'll have a harder time finding sample images or tests of the Pentax 12-24. Look for the Tokina 12-24, almost the same lens in mounts for other systems. Unfortunately the Tamron used by the guy writing your article is not available for Pentax.
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