Which wide lens for huge landscapes?


grambuch

Link Posted 04/07/2017 - 22:12
Dear Forum,

I will be taking a trip to a country with wide open spaces and desert landscapes and where there should be plenty of light. The widest lens on my K-x is the 18–55 zoom. Which wide lens, fixed focus or zoom would you recommend to go wider? Weight could be a small concern but I’ll trade that for usefulness. I prefer to stick with Pentax.

Is the heavier 14mm f2.8 preferable to the 15mm f4?

If I bought the Fish-eye 10–17mm do images retain the ‘fish eye’ look at the 17mm end of its range?

Is the expensive 12-24mm a fish-eye? Is it value for money?

Any advice, general or particular, would be much appreciated.

johnriley

Link Posted 04/07/2017 - 22:20
Be careful of wide landscapes. The distant scene will be smaller and without a strong foreground will just look far away and disappointing. Your 18-55mm is a good start and you may find it to be wide enough.

However, if you do go wider, watch the foreground isn'y empty and go in close to subjects for the most dramatic effect. The 12-24mm is rectilinear (straight lines remain so) and is a brilliant lens. The 10-17mm is a fisheye at 10mm, but gradually less so as you zoom in. It still bends lines at 17mm though, just not as much. It's a great lens, but if every shot is taken using it then it could get boring.

I would go for the versatilty of the 12-24mm rather than the 14mm or 15mm.

Hope that helps!
Best regards, John

kh1234567890

Link Posted 04/07/2017 - 23:23
grambuch wrote:
If I bought the Fish-eye 10–17mm do images retain the ‘fish eye’ look at the 17mm end of its range?

This is what the DA10-17 FE does throughout its zoom range :




There is some distortion at all focal lengths, but it does not get 'fishy' until about 12mm or less.
Flickr Stream

HarisF1

Link Posted 04/07/2017 - 23:33
Besides you can 'de-fish' the images from the FE lens. It's actually a very sharp lens with excellent contrast.

ronniemac

Link Posted 04/07/2017 - 23:47
They are all good lenses, I don't have the 14, but of the others, the one I use most is the 15mm Limited - partly for quality, but more frequently for convenience - it is much more portable than the zooms. More than that, I use the even smaller 21mm Limited, nice easy focal length, and although you have the focal length covered with the 18-55, the improvement in image quality is noticeable.

Having said all that, if you are serious about landscape or indeed architecture, the 12-24 as recommended by John is a first class lens; large but optically fantastic. A used copy certainly is good value for money. New prices have recently gone stratospheric

pentaxian450

Link Posted 05/07/2017 - 02:42
Instead of a wide angle lens, you can use a tripod and shoot multiple overlapping images with a longer focal length and "stitch" them together. Going this way, you can have fantastic panoramas with outstanding details, and you can minimize cloudless boring skies and empty foreground. It is not "the" solution for every pictures, but with the right subject, it will beat any wide angle lens you might have. However, when inside a building, I almost always go for the wide angle lens, otherwise, setting up the tripod and taking the pictures needed to have the subject the way I want it, I become a nuisance for every body else being in said building.
Yves (another one of those crazy Canucks)

MrB

Link Posted 05/07/2017 - 12:03
Pentaxian beat me to it - stitched composites can work very well, being effectively like having an extreme wide zoom lens just by adding more images. They can also work hand-held, e.g. by ensuring that the horizon is at the same position in the viewfinder for each shot.

If you don't have Photoshop or similar, Microsoft offer free stitching software - Image Composite Editor - ICE - which is easy to use and very effective.

This approach could be very cheap compared with a wide lens, and help you to travel light by taking a good compact prime standard lens - e.g. the plastic 35 and/or 50 should give great quality images.

Cheers.
Philip
Last Edited by MrB on 05/07/2017 - 12:04

JAK

Link Posted 05/07/2017 - 12:54
Indeed, the composite panorama technique is useful when the camera doesn't permit the use of a wide-angle lens. Used the technique only last Saturday taking two shots of a carriage at the NRM with my MX-1.


John K

burnhole

Link Posted 05/07/2017 - 19:23
Some sound responses thus far. I found myself in a similar situation earlier this year - I wanted something wider than my DA* 16-50. I looked at the lenses mentioned as well as the sigma wide angle zooms. I was leaning towards the Pentax 12-24 but read about issues using filters on such a large diameter lens - I may have had to upgrade to larger square filters to accommodate. I tend to use filters much of the time at wide angles which makes it difficult to stitch together panoramas for slow shutter speeds. I would be tempted with the 15ltd or the 21ltd as small walkabout lenses - but when I shoot landscape I'll have tripod and other gear so most of the time will shoot with the 16-50 zoom as the incremental weight/size is negligible. For walkabout I currently have M28/2.8, DA 40 and M50/1,4 - I'd like something wider - for a time I thought the 15 but now I'm leaning towards the 21 as it'll be a walkabout lens and not a landscape. NB most of my walkabouts are in London and other cities. For wide angle without the fish-eye effect - I think the K1 with the 15-30 would be idea but that's a lot of money and weight. For now I'm staying with my K-3.

kh1234567890

Link Posted 05/07/2017 - 22:36
burnhole wrote:
for a time I thought the 15 but now I'm leaning towards the 21 as it'll be a walkabout lens and not a landscape

I have both the DA15 and the DA21. In terms of usability the DA21 wins hands on every time. The DA15 is just too quirky and unpredictable for my style of shooting.

There is also the DA16-45, if you can find one in a good nick. At 16mm mine is actually pretty sharp even at f4.

http://www.flickriver.com/photos/kh1234567890/tags/da21/ http://www.flickriver.com/photos/kh1234567890/tags/da15/ http://www.flickriver.com/photos/kh1234567890/tags/smcpda1645mmf40edal/
Flickr Stream

bwlchmawr

Link Posted 06/07/2017 - 06:29
MrB wrote:
Pentaxian beat me to it - stitched composites can work very well, being effectively like having an extreme wide zoom lens just by adding more images. They can also work hand-held, e.g. by ensuring that the horizon is at the same position in the viewfinder for each shot.

If you don't have Photoshop or similar, Microsoft offer free stitching software - Image Composite Editor - ICE - which is easy to use and very effective.

This approach could be very cheap compared with a wide lens, and help you to travel light by taking a good compact prime standard lens - e.g. the plastic 35 and/or 50 should give great quality images.

Cheers.
Philip

I quite agree.

Unless money's not a problem this is the best solution for the occasional super-wide landscape. It's what I do, anyway. The skill is in the camerawork (as ever).

To avoid lots of foreground and sky waste, you need to turn the camera around a tight axis. For example, I place a thumb under the lens mount and try to swivel the camera around that. Simply swinging your whole body around is not so successful. Also over-lap images more than you think you need to.

Here's an example taken recently in Switzerland:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/78898196@N05/35701910616
Best wishes,

Andrew

"These places mean something and it's the job of a photographer to figure-out what the hell it is."
Robert Adams
"The camera doesn't make a bit of difference.  All of them can record what you are seeing.  But, you have to SEE."
Ernst Hass
My website: http://www.ephotozine.com/user/bwlchmawr-199050 http://s927.photobucket.com/home/ADC3440/index
https://www.flickr.com/photos/78898196@N05
Last Edited by bwlchmawr on 06/07/2017 - 06:33

Anstonian

Link Posted 06/07/2017 - 09:00
grambuch wrote:
Dear Forum,

I will be taking a trip to a country with wide open spaces and desert landscapes and where there should be plenty of light. The widest lens on my K-x is the 18–55 zoom. Which wide lens, fixed focus or zoom would you recommend to go wider? Weight could be a small concern but I’ll trade that for usefulness. I prefer to stick with Pentax.

Is the heavier 14mm f2.8 preferable to the 15mm f4?

If I bought the Fish-eye 10–17mm do images retain the ‘fish eye’ look at the 17mm end of its range?

Is the expensive 12-24mm a fish-eye? Is it value for money?

Any advice, general or particular, would be much appreciated.


Andrew Goble

Anstonian

Link Posted 06/07/2017 - 09:04
Hi, I have a K-3 and 3 Sigma lenses which are fantastic. The 70-300 a 17-70 and the 10-20 f3.5. Please check these out. They are equal if not better, in my opinion, to the Pentax equivalents. In answer to your question the 10-20 produces fantastic results for my landscape shots so please check it out.
Anstonian
Andrew Goble

davidstorm

Link Posted 06/07/2017 - 20:43
I would recommend the 12-24. It's a truly excellent lens, not heavy, the only downside is the front element is rather large. There is no issue using it with filters, the only thing you have to be careful of is a polariser, to avoid banding in the sky, but that's true of any ultra-wide lens. If I go out with the intention of shooting landscapes, I never leave it behind.

Regards
David
My Website http://imagesbydavidstorm.foliopic.com

Flickr

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs
Last Edited by davidstorm on 06/07/2017 - 20:44

JAK

Link Posted 06/07/2017 - 22:14
For a single lens solution the 16-85 provides a great range. If on the odd occasion that isn't wide enough (I suspect not very often) taking two images to combine would cover a really wide FOV.
John K
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