Expanding My System -- Pentax (/etc.) Ultra-wideangle Lens Choices...

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by contaxman, Jun 15, 2007.

  1. contaxman

    contaxman Guest


    I am looking for a Pentax ultra-wide angle single focal length lens
    (to photograph people in environments, objects, etc.) in the 20-24mm
    range to supplement my Pentax/camera lens system. I have tried some
    third party lenses and would prefer not to buy Tamron or Sigma lenses
    no matter how good they are (unless, of course, they rival the Leica/
    Zeiss/Schneider level of sharpness, saturation,and micro-contrast
    which is highly doubtful ;-(). I would also prefer not to buy a screw
    mount lens (with adapter) since I prefer wide open to stopped down

    Currently I have a Pentax 35mm film SLR system that I am thinking of/
    looking into expanding in the ultra-wide angle department _without_
    breaking my bank (preferably under $500 US price tag used or new). I
    own a 20-35/4 Fa and 50mm/1.4 SMC M lens (among other lenses). The
    zoom is wonderfully sharp at the 35mm end and I'd rate (personally)
    the ultra wide 20/24 end at good to very good, but after using my 50mm
    Pentax (stopped down to about f/8 or so) I am spoiled for its contrast/
    resolution (yes, I know it is please don't squeeze the Charmin soft
    wide open but as you stop it down it not only gets sharper around f/
    2.8-4 but at about f/8 with flash or direct sunlight people/objects
    not only seem regularly super sharp like most 50mm lenses stopped down
    but etched like a Leica, and it is this "etched" quality (resolution,
    contrast, edge acutance, color rendition/saturation) beyond the norm
    of just excellent sharpness that I am looking for and so I would like
    to supplement my system with another fixed focal length Pentax ultra
    wide in the 20-24mm range for that extra mile (or 20-24 miles) of
    _superb_ etched sharpness quality, _beyond_ the average good to
    excellent sharpness of some zooms and many xed focl length lenses.
    Functionality (I would prefer at least a K mount up to the FA mount,
    no screw mounts with adapters since I prefer wide open not stopped-
    down meter/viewing) is less important to me than superb optical
    quality, and although it would be nice for super resolution/contrast
    form wide open to stopped down I would not mind if sharpness kicks in
    a stop or two down from maximum aperture.

    The 31mm Limited, though an excellent lens, is not wide enough for me
    and the 21mm/3.2 DA lens though it sounds perfect is a digital lens
    and will not cover the entire image field for the 35mm SLRs I own. I
    tested, briefly, the 24mm f/2 wide open (not too sharp) about 15 years
    ago but have no idea if I'd get equivlent sharpness to my 50mm/1.4
    lens stopped down in the middleish apertures.

    I'm not interested inthe 15mm/3.5 (too wide) or any of the Pentax full
    frame fisheyes (too wide and of course barrel distortion).

    A consideration might be the 25mm? Zeiss lens but I think this might
    be a screw mount, not a K mount lens, and if it follows the design of
    the Contax 25mm lens then it is no great shakes optically (at least
    wide open) from the results I've seen from this Contax lens vs. the
    Contax 28mm Zeiss which I already own. A 28mm Zeiss, even if I didn't
    own one for the Contax, is not a choice for me, I prefer 24/25mm and
    wider for my photography.

    To give you an idea of the "look"/shooting style I am going for I'll
    mention the films I am using to get a sharp punchy/saturated effect.
    My (about to be, just ordered bunch that I am trying out) current
    main film(s) are the new versions Gold 200 v. 7 (quite sharp (at least
    the previous version was), though grainy (though version 7 is
    supposedly less so at a PGI of 44 vs. the older version 6's 47), over
    exposed for extra saturation and possibly less grain) and some 160 VC
    (VC-2) which I will be trying out shortly.

    I prefer the Kodak (print film) color pallette both for the overall
    rendition as well as for pleasing skin tones. I have looked at some of
    Bill Tutthill's film tables and compared these two films to current
    and old films and for saturation, resolution and low grain v. price I
    think these two would meet my needs best (I already have extensive
    experience shooting the previous version 6 of Gold 200 which had
    everything I wanted except fine grain in blue skies) along with
    possibly UC400. Kodak UC 100 or Agfa Ultra Color 100 are other
    possiblities but I'd prefer not to go below a 200 box speed (160 in
    the case of VC) in print film to have flexibility in lower light, if
    need be, so I can stop down if need be without a tripod and get a
    decent shutter speed and better optical sharpness than being forced to
    use a lens wide open.

    (P.S. - If anybody knows where I can get some Konica Minolta VX 200
    Super (Konica Centuria Super 200) which was superb both for color
    rendition, high saturation, high sharpness, low graininess and
    pleasing skin tones) please let me know as Konica/Minolta are know
    longer in the film biz and eBay is devoid of the stuff). The other
    film I shoot (very occaisionally) is Fuji Velvia 100F which has
    plasing enough skin tones, super fine grain and lusciously saturated
    colors, I also shoot some 100VS on occaision but it is hardly a film
    for good skin tones unless they are a very small part of the
    frame ;-)).

    In the past I have seen both the Stan Halpin (and Dmitriov, spelling?)
    and the pdml websites and will also check out photo.net and google
    other rec.photo groups for more insight into this choice (and I really
    don't want to have to join a mailing list/group just to ask this
    question on another forum) so any helpful/relevant suggestions/answers
    would be appreciated.

    Thanks in advance for your help,


    contaxman, Jun 15, 2007
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  2. contaxman

    Pudentame Guest

    I'm presuming that since you have a 50mm f/1.4 M, that you can use
    manual focus lenses. KEH has a Pentax 24mm f/2.8 in stock, EX condition,
    Pudentame, Jun 16, 2007
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  3. contaxman

    contaxman Guest

    Thanks for the suggestion, Pudentame. I'll check out the KEH lens, but
    I was hoping for people's experiences with/suggestions for 20-24mm
    single focal length lens sharpness/color/etc. in the same league as
    the Pentax 50mm/1.4. Is the 24 f/2.8 in the same superb league
    optically? Thoe only
    only lens I know for sure is in the same optical league is the 31mm
    Ltd. (not wide enough) and the 24/2 (possibly not as good as the
    even stopped down in color, sharpness, micro-contrast, etc.

    Am I the only one on this group with this dilemna?

    Anybody else with experiences/suggestions for optically superb 20-24mm
    single focal length lenses that would fit on a modern ('90s) Pentax
    35mm SLR?

    Thanks in advance (and thank you too Pudentame).


    contaxman, Jun 18, 2007
  4. contaxman

    Pudentame Guest

    Same League? Well, if the 50mm f/1.4 was A Rod, the 24mm f/2.8 would
    certainly be on the Yankees' active roster.

    Pentax was always noted for the superb quality of their lenses, although
    very few lenses are as good as the 50mm f/1.4.

    The 50mm f/1.4 "M" isn't even as good as the legendary original 50mm f/1.4.

    I have the "A" version of the 24mm f/2.8 and it's top notch.

    For the 24mm f/2.8 (i.e. not "A" - there apparently was no "M"), the
    only lenses that have greater central resolution are the 24mm f/2.8 "A"
    and 50 f/1.4 (average f/4 to f/11).

    Its wide open central resolution is a match for the 24mm f/2.8 "A", but
    less than the legendary original 50mm f/1.4 (but then again, what isn't?)

    Edge resolution is weaker than for the "A" version, or for any of the
    50mm f/1.4s, but still good compared to other manufacturers lenses in
    the same range.
    Pudentame, Jun 19, 2007
  5. contaxman

    contaxman Guest

    Thanks for the extra info, Pudentame. At this point thanks to your
    info and some Pentax lens resolution tests I found on the Tomioko
    (spelling?) website, I am leaning towards the 24/2.8 A, the 24/2 FA AL
    and the 20/2.8 FA unless I can find out if Zeiss (or even Schneider?)
    makes a 20/21/24/25mm lens in Pentax K mount instead of just screw

    Thanks again and regards,


    P.S. - Anybody else with some similar experiences/suggestions/opinions
    -- Bandicoot, Paal, others?
    contaxman, Jun 19, 2007
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