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Old Aug 11, 2007, 12:43 AM   #1
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I have been saving my lunch money for a while, but still have a ways to go. I like the wide end of photography, and to this end, use the Pentax DA 16-45 f4 quite a bit - its my walking around lens. I like it a lot, for a variety of reasons. Anyway - since I have started saving, I have been looking to add in this area. I have been trying to decide between the Pentax DA 14mm f2.8 or DA 12-24 f4.

In that I have the 16-45 f4, I was considering the DA 14mm f2.8 because of the speed. With the 16-45 being a slower lens at f4 the 14 at 2.8 would help in doors - museums etc, and later in the evening for sunsets and landscapes - and other low light situations.

I was also really considering the DA 12-24 f4 so as to have a true rectlinear wide angle in/near the 12mm range. I have the DA 10-17mm f4 fisheye, that is not as fisheyed as one would think, but for landscapes it really does push the horizion way way back. For closeups, inside -it is a real winner (very unexpected). You can stand a couple of feet away from a museum wall and get everything - but alas its f4 and a tad slow (and with barrell distortion causes stitching problems). One note here - the 10-17 (and I would have never thought of this, is a great close up lens for animals and small subjects). Also, for hugh massive rock formations (when your at the base) and the like - its wonderful.

So while I am able to consider and ponder what to do - what are some of your suggestions and observations. If I remember right, hogrider had a 12-24, that he was very happy with, and has posted some wonderful results.

Does anyone happen to have both or similiar coverage between primes and zooms? I essentially have zooms (other than a recent M 50 f2 that I found), and will feel somewhat closterfobic with out being able to frame a shot by zooming either in or out.

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Old Aug 11, 2007, 9:57 AM   #2
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I can't help you observer, as the kit lens is as wide as I currently go. I am hoping to add a wide angle zoom at some point, though, so I am also interested in the input you receive.

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Old Aug 11, 2007, 11:56 AM   #3
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My $0.02: If you really think you will use f/2.8 frequently, get the 14 mm. But, you can always do something about the slower speed (f/4) of the 12-24, using a monopod, a shoulder, higher ISO or image stabilization (assuming you have a K100D or K10D). You can never change a 14 mm to 12 mm. I have the 12-24 and it rocks. There is a favorable review on slrgear.com. I have taken night and other low light photos using the DA 12-24 with excellent results.
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Old Aug 16, 2007, 12:45 AM   #4
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OK for any of you optical physisits out there.....

Why is it when you go below 'normal' 50mm (the cheapest FAST lenses) into wide... things get realyl slow again? IE 1.4 50mm $180..... if you could find one, a 1.4 15mm $3000? It would seem wider you go the easier to gather light.... why does that happen if cost is relative to physical reality?
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Old Aug 16, 2007, 12:57 AM   #5
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Hayward wrote:
It gets down to what you REALLY NEED....

Yes the prime at the same stop normal vs zoom min F will be much sharper/brighter than the zoom.... well into its PRIME area vs min of the zoom....

But at the same time... how much really low light shooting do you do?

If you do a 1.4 even maxed can do amazing things.... but if mostly daylight even waining light not a lot of point to it.

BTW a 50mm prime on a crop digital is no way WIDE (75mm light zoom in 35mm

Infact often frustratingly tight.... the kit 18-55mm does much better if the stop and half slower isn't a major issue.

Very true. I found this out after buying the 50mm f1.7

Love the wide open speed, but 50mm is a little too close these days on a dSLR.

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Old Aug 16, 2007, 8:12 AM   #6
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Interesting post - I've been thinking about a wide angle for my next lens, too, and debating the 10-17 vs. 12-24. I hadn't thought about the DA 14 2.8 at al. I've always used more primes than zooms (sometimes I've forgotten that the 50-135 is a zoom and just take it at whatever focal length it happens to be at), so the fixed focal length wouldn't bother me, it's just that I'd like to get more comfortable with zooms so I'd been thinking about the zooms rather than the prime. I think I'd rather trade in the speed for the convenience of the zoom and will continue to save up for one of them.
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Old Aug 16, 2007, 12:22 PM   #7
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mtngal wrote:
I think I'd rather trade in the speed for the convenience of the zoom and will continue to save up for one of them.
Hi Harriet,

My thoughts also -- I don't shoot wide that often, so my priority is to have a few quality wide zooms to fill the FL range. I just got the Sigma 17-70, and am looking hard at the DA 10-17 FE for ultra wide, as it covers an extremely wide FOV, and the distortion can be pretty effectively PP'd with PTLens or some other defishing software. You loose some resolution with the defishing, but personally, I'm not looking for the ultimate in IQ for my ultra wide shots, so I think this might work for me. . .

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Old Aug 16, 2007, 9:17 PM   #8
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If it were me I'd go for the 12-24. At f/4 at that wide angle, it seems like you should be able to pull off some pretty long exposures hand-held without too much difficulty, assuming you're using one of the stabilized Pentax cams. The only way I could see going for the 14mm is if I was going to use it to shoot people indoors.

Hayward, I know what you mean. I've also wondered why 50mm seems to be the sweet spot for making fast lenses cheap. It seems to me that even if that's just how it is, that if you're going to make DA lenses the rules would all scale down and the new sweet spot would be a fast 35mm, which I would prefer myself.
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Old Aug 16, 2007, 10:11 PM   #9
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Very true, but you can pick up the Sigma DG30mm f/1.4 for around $400 (which isn't cheap, but not super-expensive either). Give it time, these lenses might come down in a few years too...You have toremember thatthe FA50/1.4is a relatively oldlens, it was released in 1991.

The more you sell, the more you can afford to lower the price...
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Old Aug 17, 2007, 11:17 PM   #10
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Hi Everyone, Well still saving, and I have been reading your responses and suggestions. I really like the comments that I read. Going back several years, the first time we went to Alaska, I remember being up on the deck of the cruise ship as we sailed into Glacier Bay to see the Hubbard Glacier. A few days before we were in sunny hot brown Arizona. Standing there in the cold breeze as we sailed into the inlet with the supurb snow capped mountains - soaring into the sky, with the green going from the shore line up to meet the white snow with the dark blue water and blue sky, all of this streching out for as far as you could see, I remember standing there trying to figure out how to capture it all. Well I took panaromas and stitched them together - works real well, but that hooked me on the wide angle end of things.

I think - strike that - I know, that it will be the 12 - 24. The 10 - 17 FE that I currently have, I do use. Like I said, its is really a "up close" "in your face" lens, I have found. For landscapes it pushes things too far away. The landscapes that it is effective on are things that are wide open and something your in the middle of - a field or have a hugh rock that is your subject. That being said, I need to get up to the Grand Canyon to try it out there with the wide vistas of the canyon. I do really like the lens. The one thing you REALLY need to watch out for on the lens is - your own feet. The lens is SOOOOOO wide, it picks up your own shoes at the bottom of the image! It really is 180 degree FOV. I also like it for the way it handles the curves. They are not over done and blown out (as in a circular fish eye). Actually the closer you are to your subject the less curvature you have. The 10 end is very extreme in the FOV, while the 17 end is actually very near the 16 end on the 16-45 in terms of barrel distoration. It is actually a very fun lens to use and give you a much different prespertive on things. However, it is costly - not as expensive as the 12 - 24 but up there. The lens is also VERY deceptive in that when you take a picture, you are standing right on top of the subject - 2 feet away from a BIG tractor (combine). However, when you look at the picture it looks like you are possibly using a regular lens, and 40 feet away so as to be able to get the entire thing composed in the frame. Its so wide, that you keep moving closer and adjusting the zoom to limit the extent of the FOV. Just opposit of a regular lens. All of that said - it is a very specialized lens that really only appeals to a narrow segement of people. Sometimes I have asked myself why I invested in such a specialized lens - but I do really like it.

The 12-14 I plan to use to get the wide range in the vertical with stitching panoramas together. I have done some of that with the 16-45 successfully, and I would like to try more of it with a wider view. I want to get a wider vertical view, however I find if I go more than about 3 panels wide, the pan gets so wide it becomes extremely thin in appearance, and becomes very difficult to really appreciate.

The 14mm prime was an idea, but I really do not do a lot inside, and with the FE in museums I think that would provide a real capability there. I have been following danielchtong's trip to europe - and the interior shots are what I actually purchased the FE for. If I remember right, he observed that there were so many people, it was difficult to photograph and actually get a picture of the interior. With the FE I think I can address that situation, so that is exactly what I am hoping to do with the lens.

In using the 16-45, the 30 becomes a duplicate, so I guess the thing to do is to stick with my zooms. It does appear that I will probably wind up with Pentax's entire set at the wide end.

While I am on the topic, the kit lens at 18 - 55 is a terriffic lens - especially for the price. I do like the 16-45 better, however the 18-55 is not that far off the mark. The viginetting problem is easily corrected with software.

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