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12-14-2009, 08:07 AM   #1
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Wide Angle Suggestions

I'm hoping that you guys can suggest a handful of wide-angle lenses for me to explore as options for my K-x.

I'd like to restrict the possibles to prime lenses. Price-wise, I'll pay for quality, but I'm ultimately looking for a good value. I was thinking aperature wise in the 14-28mm range.

I want to do some macro stuff, indoor group shots, low-lighting and night shots and automotive photos.

Where should I start looking?

12-14-2009, 09:06 AM   #2
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Pentax has the DA 14mm f2.8, DA 15mm f4 and DA 21mm f3.2. The last two are quite small. Some people are looking for lenses with larger maximum apertures than these. I don't think it's absolutely necessary for most uses. With these focal lengths, SR and decent high ISO, you might be able to handhold a 1 second shot very well.

Sigma has three primes, a 20mm, 24mm and 28mm, all f1.8, and the number one complaint is their size. But at f1.8 and fairly wide, you can't expect a tiny lens. For some reason, they are not that popular, but people who actually own them seem to like them.

When you want something wider than 24mm, only a handful of older lenses are worth pursuing IMO. Even then, prices aren't that much better than some new lenses.
12-14-2009, 09:39 AM   #3
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It depends on how wide you need to go and if you can live with manual focus. 28mm is really a normal lens on the K-x, but is is often considered a wide lens. For auto-focus I would recommend the 24mm Sigma Superwide, if you can find it. If you want a really wide budget lens, a lot of folks here love the Zenitar 14mm fish eye, which can easily be de-fished in Post Processing.
12-14-2009, 09:57 AM   #4
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Just my opinion: 28mm on a FF camera is wide angle, on a APSc camera hardly. If you bought your K-x with a kit lens (18-55), you will have an idea if you need wider than 18mm or not.

If you don't have that standard kit lens: I have never felt the need for something wider than 18mm on my K10D (or 28mm on my Minolta film camera). But that is personal.


Last edited by sterretje; 12-14-2009 at 10:06 AM.
12-14-2009, 10:25 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by phillipb Quote
I'm hoping that you guys can suggest a handful of wide-angle lenses for me to explore as options for my K-x.

I'd like to restrict the possibles to prime lenses. Price-wise, I'll pay for quality, but I'm ultimately looking for a good value. I was thinking aperature wise in the 14-28mm range.
Presumably you mean "focal length", not "aperture". Aperture is the f-stop: f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6, etc. And as mentioned, 28mm isn't even close to being wide angle on the K-x (or an Pentax DSLR). Presumably you have the 18-55 that came with the camera? A 28mm prime will provide the same aongle of view as your 18-55 when set to 28 (about half way between the "24" and "35" markings - and that's not "wide" at all. it's actually what is considered "normal" - the thing that 'wide" is meant to be wider than.

The longest lens that anyone would normally describe as being "wide angle" would be the DA21 - but that's not eve as wide as your 18-55. While there are certainly advantages to the DA21 over the 18-55, I don't know that you've really thought this through, as really, nothing you've described about your usage really calls for a lens like this:

QuoteQuote:
I want to do some macro stuff, indoor group shots, low-lighting and night shots and automotive photos.
You generally don't use a wide angle lens for macro. For indoor group shoots, you would very rarely need anything wider than 18mm - and if you do use something wider (because you couldn't stand far enough back or get the group close enough together), you *will* get perspective distortion that will be very obvious in the egdes (the people on the ends will probably *not* be happy with how they look. As for automotive photos, I'm not sure what about the 18-55 is not working, but it doesn't seem to me that going to something even wider angle would be what you want. As for low light, sure, the 18-55 is not ideal, but it's not a wider angle you need - it's a larger aperture.

Oh, it's just finally hit me - you may never meant wide angle in the first place. You may have actually meant aperture all along, and when you said 14-28mm, you may have really meant f/1.4 - f/2.8? That would certainly make sense as far as the low light stuff goes - but again, the larger aperture is not really what you are looking for to do macro, group photos, or automotive shots.

So anyhow, I'd say your first step is to take a step back and explain better what it is you are looking for and why - that is, what is it about the 18-55 you already presumably have that is proving insufficient. Most of the things on your list can indeed be done better by other lenses, but it wouldn't be one single lens that you'd want for them all - you'd need different lenses to specialize in each in order to improve on the 18-55.
12-14-2009, 03:06 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Presumably you mean "focal length", not "aperture".
You are correct. Oops!

QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
I'm not sure what about the 18-55 is not working, but it doesn't seem to me that going to something even wider angle would be what you want. As for low light, sure, the 18-55 is not ideal, but it's not a wider angle you need - it's a larger aperture.
I guess what I'm after is a high-quality prime that would fall in the wide to middle range of what the kit lens will give me (18-55). Something that would have an aperture large enough to facilitate low-light situations and still be good for landscape or automotive stuff.

I realize the kit lens included is of good quality, but I'd like to add something to my bag that is a step up if the situation calls for a wide angle shot.

In your opinion, would it be worth the cost of adding a prime like this, or should I just spend some more time trying to tweak how I use the kit lens?
12-14-2009, 03:21 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by phillipb Quote
or should I just spend some more time trying to tweak how I use the kit lens?
Absolutely!

My walk around lens is the Sigma 17-70. I bought (and love) the DA 21 Ltd for indoor family party, flash (mostly) shots to avoid the (minimal) distortion at 17mm. I'm starting to think extra wide for landscape shots and other "special needs" situations, but other than that, the 17 (your 18) should cover most of your needs until you're really feeling the need for wider.
12-14-2009, 04:21 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by phillipb Quote
You are correct. Oops!

In your opinion, would it be worth the cost of adding a prime like this, or should I just spend some more time trying to tweak how I use the kit lens?
Definately get maximum usage out of the kit lens. Note what focal length you enjoy the most (there's a big difference between 24mm and 18mm). Also note if you miss some shots because the lens isn't bright enough. That is what brought me to primes; I like shooting indoors with ambient lighting, and really appreciate what f2.0 can get me.

I would also recommend you try turning off the auto-focus and experiment with manual focusing. If you get the hang of it, it really opens up the options for lower-cost primes.

12-14-2009, 08:06 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by phillipb Quote
I guess what I'm after is a high-quality prime that would fall in the wide to middle range of what the kit lens will give me (18-55). Something that would have an aperture large enough to facilitate low-light situations and still be good for landscape or automotive stuff.
Focal length is a pretty personal thing. Start by looking at your 18-55 shots to tell you what focal lengths are important to *you*. Some people find they shot a lot around 21mm and find the DA21 fit them nicely, although it's really barely faster than the 18-55 at the wide end. Others shoot a lot around 28mm, and so a 28/2.8 or 28/2 makes more sense - FA31 if they can afford it, or maybe the Sigma 28 or 30. Others shoot more in the 35-45 range, and go for the FA35, DA35, DA40, or FA43.

I personally use the M28/2.8 (very inexpensive manual focus lens) and DA40 as my general purpose lenses because I just prefer primes to zooms, and I find f/2.8 is *just* fast enough to be useful in low light (I shoot at ISO 1600 a lot). Others can't adjust to manual focus, others can't imagine shooting in low light at "only" f/2.8, others find 40mm is not a useful length for them, others feel the same about 28mm, etc.

QuoteQuote:
In your opinion, would it be worth the cost of adding a prime like this, or should I just spend some more time trying to tweak how I use the kit lens?
I think it's worth it if and only if *you* can figure what focal length(s) *yo* would want - spending hundreds of dolalrs on someone else's favorite length will very likely turn out to be a mistake.
12-15-2009, 07:49 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Some people find they shot a lot around 21mm and find the DA21 fit them nicely, although it's really barely faster than the 18-55 at the wide end.
Marc--I think I've decided to go with a 21mm. Your recommendation to just examine some of the shots I've been taking was helpful because I'm seeing mostly everything right inside of the wide end of the 18-55.

I found a great deal on a DA 21mm F3.2 Limited in the marketplace and I can't pass it up. It took me a little bit to feel comfortable with the 3.2 instead of a 2.8 or faster, but for the few times I will be taking low light shots I can just work with a flash and diffuser to try and get the light I need. I'm really hoping that 3.2 is fast enough and the high ISO on the K-x will help the situation.

I hope I made a good choice!
12-15-2009, 08:19 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by phillipb Quote
I'm hoping that you guys can suggest a handful of wide-angle lenses for me to explore as options for my K-x.

I'd like to restrict the possibles to prime lenses. Price-wise, I'll pay for quality, but I'm ultimately looking for a good value. I was thinking aperature wise in the 14-28mm range.

I want to do some macro stuff, indoor group shots, low-lighting and night shots and automotive photos.

Where should I start looking?
Nothing will do all of that if you're including macro. The obvious choice appears the Sigma 24/1.8 or the DA 21/3.2
12-15-2009, 08:20 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by phillipb Quote
Marc--I think I've decided to go with a 21mm. Your recommendation to just examine some of the shots I've been taking was helpful because I'm seeing mostly everything right inside of the wide end of the 18-55.

I found a great deal on a DA 21mm F3.2 Limited in the marketplace and I can't pass it up. It took me a little bit to feel comfortable with the 3.2 instead of a 2.8 or faster, but for the few times I will be taking low light shots I can just work with a flash and diffuser to try and get the light I need. I'm really hoping that 3.2 is fast enough and the high ISO on the K-x will help the situation.

I hope I made a good choice!
The thing is, it's sharp right from wide open, it's not a 3.2 that needs to be stopped down at all. See sig for examples.
12-15-2009, 08:26 AM   #13
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f/3.2 is less than half a fraction of stop slower than f/2.8. It won't make the slightest bit of difference if you need an extra half of a stop of shutter speed, just turn up ISO half a stop or underexpose and push it in PP (same exact effect) and you'll barely notice the difference.
12-15-2009, 09:28 AM   #14
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Thank you Marc and everyone else that provided input! I think I found exactly what I was looking for with your help.

I'll get some shots made with the 21mm uploaded as soon as I can!
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