Which lense??


Link Posted 06/06/2008 - 07:45
Hi, I have the Pentax 1st DL2 and I am looking at purchasing my first new lense. I currently only have the standard 18-55 that came with the camera. I use the camera for quite "general" use, but have an interest in landscape photos. I am going to be travelling with my camera, so I guess that I dont want to be lugging around any more than two lenses.

I was leaning towards buying the sigma 17-70mm f2.8-4.5 DC. Is this a good choice? Any other recommendations?

All comments appreciated.



Link Posted 06/06/2008 - 07:52
Buying a 17-70mm extends the range of the lens you already have, but doesn't really enable you to take any really different images.

Why not extend your repertoire a bit more and think of the very good, very low cost and very compact SMC Pentax-DA 50-200mm? This would complement your 18-55mm very well and would not add much weight or bulk to your travvelling kit.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 06/06/2008 - 07:53
The Sigma lens you mentioned, whilst fast, will not give you a much different field of view from your kit lens. For landscapes, look at the Sigma 10-20mm or SMC Pentax DA 12-24mm. The extra few millimeters at the wide end will make a difference to your landscape pics. I would also recommend you get a circular polariser filter for your new lens to punch up the colours too.

The diminutive Pentax/Samsung 50-200mm would be a good adition too. It's an excellent performer, lightweight, and readily available cheaply.
Peter E Smith

My flickr Photostream


Link Posted 06/06/2008 - 08:03
The lenses I use most on my DSLR's are the 16-45mm F4 and Sigma 10-20 - either of which would be good upgrades/additions to your existing lens. if you're primarily interested in landscapes then the Sigma 10-20 would be a very good choice.


Link Posted 06/06/2008 - 08:41
On my recent holiday trip I took the Sigma 10-20 with me with the intention of using it for landscapes. In fact in stayed in the bag most of the time and I used either the kit lens, plenty wide enough for most scenes, or my old Tamron zoom.
So I would say consider getting the new 55-300mm lens - it will give you a good range in combination with the kit lens, and enable you to zoom in on details in the scenery rather than just giving you a broad view.


Link Posted 06/06/2008 - 10:50
I have the Sigma 10-20 and also the Tamron 18-250. Both are great lenses in my opinion and if I was to recommend two lenses from my limited experience then these would be the two ( take into consideration I only have the lenses listed below! ).

The Tamron gives you a lot of versatility but it is arguably not the fastest or the sharpest. When you need the width you can always switch to the Sigma.

I am still getting used to the Sigma and I sometimes find it quite hard to get the right composition as it gives you so much of the scene.

At the moment I am looking to get a lens that covers somewhere between 15 - 90 and is sharp ad if possible, fast. I have specific scenarios in mind for it like a wedding and low light (see other thread) but if you want all purpose lenses then the ones above I think suffice - or rather have sufficed for all my needs so far.

Pentax K10D, 50, 18-55, 28-70, 100, Sigma 10-20, Tamron 18-250, 28-75


Link Posted 06/06/2008 - 22:31
Interesting comments here.

On another forum they were arguing that for landscapes you'd want to 50-200 not the 10-20 and I think I can understand why, the very wide angles gives some remarkable effects in the sky and clouds (which I like).

I have the 10-20 and it is the lens that keeps creeping back onto the body although the Tamron 17-50 gives a good run for its money these days. But I know that at some stage of teh day the 10-20 will be used.

I also have the 50-200 which is a very nice compact lens giving good images.

So I was no help at all



Link Posted 06/06/2008 - 22:51
It's often thought that landscapes = wide angles, but that leads to a lot of disappointment.

Wide angles, especially ultra-wides are not easy to handle and need very careful and bold composition to succeed. For example, distant mountains can look incredibly weak and uninspiring.

On the other hand, telephotos bring things closer and make those same mountains look powerful and dramatic.

Classically, most SLR users would have aspired to a telephoto first and explored wide angles later, but it is of course a personal thing.

The typical set in the 1950s would have been a 50mm standard, 135mm telephoto and 35mm (not very) wide angle.

By the 1960s this was tending towards 28mm-50mm-135mm. I aspired by the early 1970s to 24mm-50mm-100mm.

Now, well aren't we spoilt by what is available....
Best regards, John


Link Posted 07/06/2008 - 07:26
Fascinating John as your lens aspirations match mine almost to a T except I wanted 20 - 35 -100 in the early 70's but could only get a 24 as the 20 was out of stock. That 24 was a very useable lens wide but not loony wide.

I could never see much use for very long lenses but then I didn't shoot animals or birds.



Link Posted 07/06/2008 - 07:33
I never went beyond 28mm in my 'film days', but now enjoy the extra 'width' that the 16-50 provides and of course the 10 - 17

Bodies: K20D (2), K10D, Super A, ME Super, Auto 110 SLR, X70, Optio P70
Pentax Glass: DA* 300, DA* 60-250, DA* 50-135, DA* 16-50, DA 70 Ltd, FA 31 Ltd, DA 35 Ltd, DA 18-55 (2), DA 12-24, DA 10-17, M 200, A 35-70, M 40, M 28, Converter-A 2X-S, 1.4X-S, AF 1.7, Pentax-110 50, Pentax-110 24
Other Glass: Sigma 105 macro, Sigma-A APO 75-300
Flash: Metz 58 AF-1 P, Pentax AF160FC ringflash, Pentax AF280T


Link Posted 09/06/2008 - 17:01
Lens doesn't have an "e" on the end of it Well my wife is an English teacher she would never forgive me.


Link Posted 10/06/2008 - 09:37
As John pointed out, Ultra Wides are hard to handle. I've only just started to use wide angle in a way I like, before now I've always been disapointed with wide shots.

Telephotos like the 50-200 and 55-300 on the other hand extend your options significantly and are much easier to use to effect. The 50-200 was the second lens on my *istDL2, in your shoes I would get the 55-300 if you have the money and the space, and the 50-200 otherwise.
you don't have to be mad to post here

but it does help


Link Posted 11/06/2008 - 01:23
johnriley wrote:
It's often thought that landscapes = wide angles, but that leads to a lot of disappointment.

Wide angles, especially ultra-wides are not easy to handle and need very careful and bold composition to succeed. For example, distant mountains can look incredibly weak and uninspiring.

Exactly! I often wonder why people recommend wide angle immediately when someone says the word "landscape". If you want to carefully frame images with strong foreground detail then maybe. You know, the typical "big rock in foreground looking menacing while little rocks called mountains in the background fade into the distance" type composition. If that's what you want (or for cityscapes and church interiors, etc.) the 10-20mm produces great results. But if you are taking sweeping vistas a wide angle often yields unimpressive blandness.

Hyram wrote:
I never went beyond 28mm in my 'film days'

Very commonly used -- that translates to a 18mm on the 1.5x crop sensor. For this reason I recommend the DA16-45. It is sharp side to side (something not so common) and has a very usable range of focal lengths for landscapes. You might be surprised to find yourself using the 68mm equivalent end of the zoom... and even wanting more tele to capture landscape detail.

If you want a very wide vista result think about stitching together images into a panorama.


Link Posted 11/06/2008 - 20:11
johnriley wrote:
For this reason I recommend the DA16-45. It is sharp side to side (something not so common)...

I must air my strongest objection in describing the DA 16-45 as " sharp side to side".

This is not the first time i see this "wonderful" remark on the DA 16-45, a remark which has led me to buy one myself not too long ago, thinking sharp-side-to-side plus the 24-equivalent wide end should justify an up-grade 4 times the cost of the kit lens.

Boy, was I disillusioned to say the least ... I feel so cheated that I would say anyone who makes that comment again is outright irresponsible.

I was testing it against the kit lens just last night at f4, f5.6 and f6.3 at both 28mm and 35mm ... the kit lens beats the DA 16-45 in "overall" sharpness in all the above settings.

When I say "overall", I am referring to sharpness side-to-side.

Before going into the sharpness issue, I would also like to caution anyone not to be fooled by the remark "sharp even wide open" (which i remember reading somewhere).

For the DA 16-45 wide open is only f4. And if one considers the kit lens give you f3.5 at 18mm, f4 at 35mm, and f4.5 at 45mm, the DA 16-45 really gives you no advantage in terms of speed.

When comparing the two lens at f4 (at 28mm and 35mm), all one can say is that the DA16-45 is a tiny tiny bit sharper at the very center if one pixel-crawl and viewing at 100% crop. Sharpness deteriorates remarkably starting from 30% distance from the center (I am being conservative here), giving the kit lens an easy edge in resolution towards the border. And I would say image quality at f4 is mediocre ( many criticise Sigma for good at center sharpness and poor at the border ... I have never own a Sigma but it is hard for me to imagine if any lens can do worse than the DA 16-45 at f4).

The same pattern applies for f5.6 and f6.3, shaping up a little with stepping down, but the general character of noticeable softness towards the edge, and much softer than the kit lens, remains!

Maybe it is unfortunate that I did my tests in a portrait format without knowing that the DA 16-45 exhibits the oddity of "Portait Format Softness " as reported here http://www.dpreview.com/lensreviews/pentax_16-45_4_p15/page3.asp

The thought of getting a big lemon does cross my mind. However, the same review has done a great job in plotting the MTF graphs throughout its range in both focal lenghts and f-stops and it confirms the general pattern of sharpness drop-off starting from 33% distance off center.

To be fare, i have done some casual street shots with the DA 16-45 today and i must admit that it behaves much more acceptable in terms of even sharpness in the landscape format. Have not done any critical test off a brick wall, just don't have the heart for another blow just now.

I have also seen some impressive shots by the DA 16-45 on the net. Maybe it is a pleaser for casual viewing. It gives good color and it seems that it has the "magic" of producing more "life-like" ( or 3-dimensional) images.

Maybe the "magic" is simply being fooled to believe one is getting better image quality because one is paying 4 times the price of the kit lens. Maybe it really does a better job in image retention in terms of tonal/color transition.

I will definitely test it out more against the kit lens.

But as far as sharpness in the potrait format, I am holding to my finding that the kit lens wins hands down.


Link Posted 11/06/2008 - 20:22
I don't understand much of the trouble you've had.
I sell mostly 16x20 to 20x30 inch prints.
I have both the kit 18-55 and the 16-45.
your results don't sound right.
and as for the "portrait mode issue" in depressing review...well...don't they only publish Pentax reviews once a year...on April 1st?

the only way a lens could be sharp in landscape mode and soft in portrait mode would be if the software used to view the image, screwed the file up while rotating the image.

anyway they are both good lenses.

my sample of the 16-45 doesn't have that wobble some reported...

for me the reason for choosing the 16-45 was the constant aperture and high image quality.
the 18-55, came as a kit on a k10 my spouse bought...both items we got great deals on.

so for me, the only reason the 16-45 gets more use, is I use a hand meter and don't have to guess about exposures.
Many shots are near impossible to tell which lens was used by looking at the prints. but where it is possible to tell it is usually the 16-45 that outperforms!
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.
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