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01-17-2010, 04:09 AM   #1
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Which of these lenses would be good for my usage?

Hi all, I have just joined the rank of Pentaxians on Christmas Day, a proud and happy user of the KX.

I currently have the DA18-55 AL kit lens (for the occasional general usage), FA35 F2.0 (my walkabout lens) and the DA70 F2.4 (my portrait lens). I am thinking of getting an UWA lens to complement my current lenses as I want to get more involved with landscapes/cityscapes and generally wide-angle shootings. As I have never owned/used an UWA lens in my whole life, I am not sure what to expect from an UWA lens and what kind of opportunities it will open up for me?

I have shortlisted the below 2 lenses for my intended usage. And I will most probably get one of them very soon. I know the 10-17 fish-eye is not a true UWA lens but I have always been intrigued and amazed by the many creative pictures that its users created. I heard that it is a true fish-eye at 10mm and become a normal WA lens at 17mm? As it is not a true UWA lens, I am afraid that it might be just a gimmick and is very specialized and not so practical for normal usages? As for the Sigma 10-20, I know it is a good UWA lens from the many good things I heard about it. However the 10-17 Fish-eye is cheaper than the Sigma 10-20 so that is also a consideration.

Hope you guys can give me your comments and advices on which one will be a better choice to get?

Shortlisted Lenses
1) SMC Pentax-DA 10-17mm F3.5-4.5 Fish-Eye ED [IF]

2) Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM


Last edited by aaronius; 01-17-2010 at 04:15 AM.
01-17-2010, 04:20 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum.
Both lenses are very good. Because of the crop factor the distortion isn't that great even at 10mm. The distortion becomes greater as you move the lens away from the horizon (up or down). It also focuses very close which in some cases can be useful.
UWA's aren't necessarily the best for landscapes because of the perspective (everything looks far away). The best use for them IMO is for getting close to a subject so that it looms large in the frame compared to the background.
Of the two, the 10-20 will probably give you more use and will probably be the easier of the two to get used to, you could also consider the Pentax 12-24 although it is more expensive.
The 10-17 would be the most fun to use but it's application is more limited.
01-17-2010, 01:57 PM   #3
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Welcome here. Thanks for your input on the forum.
In all honesty the two UWA lenses you gave to compare are not comparable due to their fundamental differences - the 10-17 being a fish eye and the 10-20 being a rectilinear lens.

They therefore have two quite distinctly different applications, one not being able to replace the other. In this regard the decision comes down to what you would prefer in this range: fish eye or rectilinear (normal perspective) lens.

Most people starting out want a rectilinear, so the 10-20 comes to mind, but Tamron have also recently produced a 10-24 lens which rivals the Sigma.

All the best in your decision.
01-18-2010, 03:21 AM   #4
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Thanks for the advices guys! I do agree that a true UWA like the Sigma 10-20 would be much more practical in most situations. But I am very tempted by the Pentax 10-17 Fisheye for the fun factor. I am just worried whether a fish eye is difficult to use or not?

I am considering the Tamron 10-24mm as well but from most of the reviews I read online, they seems pretty negative about the lens.. Is it really that bad?

01-18-2010, 04:48 AM   #5
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There's nothing 'difficult' to use about the FE lenses - they have distorted perspectives that are more creative and fun than hard to shoot with.

I'm not sure what reviews you read about the Tamron - it's as good as any UWA lens, except perhaps the Pentax 12-24, and has the widest range too.
01-18-2010, 05:07 AM   #6
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Obviously the big difference is the fish eye effect. The Sigma would have a little smaller angle of view -- 102 degrees versus 180 degrees for the fish eye. The fish eye effect of the Pentax is pretty weak at 17mm whereas it is really strong at 10mm. I haven't used the Sigma, but there are many who complain about significant distortion at the wide end that is hard to correct.

Link to the Sigma 10-20 club.
01-19-2010, 02:37 AM   #7
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I just bought the Pentax 10-17 FE 4 hours ago! Really like the feel and build of this lens but I am abit worried about the protruding front lens element as I understand I cannot fit a filter onto this lens.

I hope I will be able to learn how to utilise this unique lens and hopefully show some nice pictures here soon! Thanks for all the help guys!
01-19-2010, 09:05 AM   #8
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The 10-17 is one of my favorites, enjoy. I make it a point to leave the lens cap on always (except while shooting obvoiously) to protect the front element. A few people have mentioned that they can screw a filter into the "threads" of the built in hood but that will cause a vigenette and it would have to be removed for shooting anyhow.

01-19-2010, 10:16 AM   #9
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As others have noted, the two lenses you listed have very different uses. The fisheye IS fun, and you can learn how to use it so as to either really exaggerate the fishy aspect or to almost mitigate it completely. To wit, this was taken at 10mm and not cropped at all:


Day 13: Self-Portrait on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

This one was also taken at 10mm and is cropped just a tiny bit to straighten the horizon (about 1% if my math serves me right):

Day 136: Self-Portrait on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

I don't own the Sigma 10-20, so I'm afraid I can't help you out much there, but I do own the Pentax 12-24, and for me at least, it gets more use than my fisheye. I have to agree with Gary that wide-angles aren't usually that useful (for me) for landscapes, but they can work when the subject is close enough or when everything in the frame works in harmony:

This was taken at 12mm and is uncropped:

Day 172: Self-Portrait on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Again, 12mm and uncropped:

Georgia Tree on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Good luck with your choice; I think you'll find both lenses to be useful for different purposes!
01-19-2010, 10:36 AM   #10
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One thing to appreciate though is that images taken by Keitha using any lens turns to gold...
01-19-2010, 07:49 PM   #11
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Hey Keitha, your pictures are really nice! I have alot to learn from you! I especially like the 2nd picture, it is wonderful!

QuoteOriginally posted by K McCall Quote
As others have noted, the two lenses you listed have very different uses. The fisheye IS fun, and you can learn how to use it so as to either really exaggerate the fishy aspect or to almost mitigate it completely. To wit, this was taken at 10mm and not cropped at all:


Day 13: Self-Portrait on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

This one was also taken at 10mm and is cropped just a tiny bit to straighten the horizon (about 1% if my math serves me right):

Day 136: Self-Portrait on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

I don't own the Sigma 10-20, so I'm afraid I can't help you out much there, but I do own the Pentax 12-24, and for me at least, it gets more use than my fisheye. I have to agree with Gary that wide-angles aren't usually that useful (for me) for landscapes, but they can work when the subject is close enough or when everything in the frame works in harmony:

This was taken at 12mm and is uncropped:

Day 172: Self-Portrait on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Again, 12mm and uncropped:

Georgia Tree on Flickr - Photo Sharing!

Good luck with your choice; I think you'll find both lenses to be useful for different purposes!
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