06 March 2014

still adjusting

The extra-wide prime lens lineup has always been sparse, and for good reason: film users seldom needed 20mm or less for a focal length, and such lenses were hard to make in those days so prices were very high & production limited.  Now that aps-c sensors need 18mm focal lengths just to be reasonably wide, the 10-20mm zone is filled with several zoom lenses - but primes are still somewhat rare.  Many curious beasts dwell here, like the Zenitar 16 fisheye and a new Samyang 16mm f/2 (not at all a humble lens at 570 grams!).

In the distant past Pentax made a 17mm f/4 fisheye.  The 17/4 is curious in many ways as it's really wide, very small and it's a fisheye.  These have been superseded in modern times by the much-liked DA15mm Limited prime, also f/4 but without the distortions of a fisheye.  I knew these 17mm lenses existed but hadn't really looked very hard for a copy.  Now that I have some exceptional zooms that go no wider than 28mm, a wider prime became of more interest to me.  At a selling price of less than half the Limited's going rate, this lens has some merit!  Sure it would be nice to have aut0-aperture, modern coatings and more than six aperture blades, but it's small and light and the price is right.  And thanks to its vintage my ME film camera will enjoy it too.  It even has internal filters - that should be curious on a dSLR.  Since much of the fishiness is falling outside the aps-c sensor, even the distortion is not a major effect (though it should be fun on film).

As you may have guessed by now, one will be joining me here soon!  It will be quite interesting to try out, as I have not owned a DA15 but did have a Sigma 15mm f/2.8 fisheye that I really liked.  This is still $100 less than my copy of that fisheye, so the contest is closer between those.  Really, this plus the 28-70mm f/2.8-4 make an interesting manual-focus team, and a manual telephoto would not be difficult to find - say a Pentax 70-210mm f/4?  We shall see...