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Old Oct 11, 2010, 10:10 AM   #1
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Default I Went for the Pentax 12-24 UWA

Well, I actually dragged myself into New York an hour early today and dropped in at B&H Photo as they were opening. I checked out the Pentax 10-17 fisheye, the Pentax 12-24, the Sigma 8-16 and both verisons of the Sigma 10-20 on a K-7 body. And I walked out with... the Pentax 12-24.

The Sigmas were fine, nice build quality and all. I can certainly understand why many Pentaxians go for them. For me, while the difference between 10mm and 12mm was definitely noticeable, it wasn't dramatic. I walked around the store and found that, in nearly all cases, a single step back compensated for whatever wide-angle shortcomings the Pentax 12-24 had vs. the Sigma 10-20.

I also liked handling the Pentax better. It was smaller than the f/3.5 version of the Sigma 10-20 but a bit heavier and "denser." But the Pentax was actually smaller and lighter than I imagined - certainly smaller and lighter than my DA* 16-50. I was exepecting it to be about the same.

The Sigma 8-16? Now there's a lens that had some real appeal to me... and if I ever decide that the Pentax isn't wide enough, that's the lens I'll be going for. But, in this case, the Sigma's slower speed (f/4.5-5.6) and my natural tendency to opt for a lens that's the same brand as the camera body won out.

B&H sales staffers don't work on commission, so they don't try to hustle you into something you don't want or need. My guy firmly supported opting for the Pentax 12-24. No lens is perfect and I can certainly understand why anyone would would buy one of the Sigmas. In this particular case, it was the Pentax for me.
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Old Oct 11, 2010, 11:34 AM   #2
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Congratulations on your purchase of the Pentax 12-24mm. I went through similar agonizing....Sigma 10-20mm...Tamron 10-24mm.....Pentax 12-24mm.

I had the Pentax 10-17 FE, the 16-45...both good lenses....but I wanted wider.....and although nothing is wider then the 10mm on the FE....I wanted the option of as little distortion as possible....as I get that wish my fisheye.

I tried the Sigma 10-20mm...as you say...extreme wide angle....but in the end I , like you... invariably go with Pentax lenses for Pentax bodies....just the way I am, I suppose.

I read the reviews on the Pentax 12-24mm...PP calls it the best in class.. ...gives it a top rating.

I've been very happy with it...as good as my 16-45 is...the 12-24mm is better.

It's not cheap, especially in Canada.....but it is top notch.

I think you'll be very happy with it....take a close up of a vintage car in good lighting...you'll see what I mean.

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Old Oct 11, 2010, 12:35 PM   #3
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Thanks Les. The only real fault I can find with the Pentax 12-24 is some purple fringing in really high contrast areas. But I think others have overstated it for anything other than large print.

BTW, if anyone decides they want a fisheye lens to play with and doesn't want to spend much money before they know they really like it, here's a great option for under $300:


It's manual focus but one hardly needs to focus when one is shooting that wide. Just set it at 2m and everything from that point onward is in hyperfocal range. The best part about this lens is that is has a chip that allows metering and the use of aperture priority with Pentax cameras. It's made by Samyang and is marketed under that name as well as Rokinon, Bower, Vivitar and Pro-Optic.
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Old Oct 11, 2010, 9:15 PM   #4
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Congrats on the 12-24! I love mine, especially once I figured out that it was consistently front focusing on the K7 and I adjusted the camera. Now it's great.

The neat thing about your choices, all of them are good lenses. It's just a matter of choosing the one that meets your needs best.
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