Cheap, wide, sharp - pick two?

ionian

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I'm off on holiday in a couple of months - Crete with a young family so it won't be a photographer's dream but I'm sure I'll find some opportunities for creativity. I'd love to concentrate on wide angles but the widest lens I own is 28mm - I have a modest budget (£400) and ideally I'm looking for something around 20mm.

So far I've seen the Samyang, the Canon fd which is ridiculously overvalued here in the UK, and other options which are well out of budget.

If I go 24mm it brings in the Samyang pancake which I know has sample variation and wider introduces another samyang - the 14mm manual.

I'm leaning towards the 24mm samyang for portability but 24 isn't quite the look I have in my mind - as I say, 20mm or 21mm would be ideal, but small, sharp from f2.8, and within budget.

So it seems that it's the usual compromise situation which I expect at my price point, but is there anything else I could be considering?
 

bdbits

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Not sure on prices over there, but in the US you could get a used Tokina Firin 20mm/2 manual focus for around that amount. It is pretty decent (I have one). In fact, my profile pic was taken with it. The full-size version is at Pic a day.....
 

Tipton

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are you on apsc or fullframe?
 

tino84

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If you don’t care about AF and speed, there’s the laowa 15mm f4 macro, here in EU the price is about 600€, and it’s also a macro lens!
Otherwise you can get the tokina 20 f2 ( af or mf), for around 650-850€.
There’s also a new Viltrox 20 f2, MF for 400€, but it’s also on the heavy side.
 

WNG

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ionian

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@WNG - I really like the look of the laowa zoom but can't stretch to it until it hits the second hand market.

@bdbits - the Tokina is an option but just out of budget at the mo - cheapest I can find it is £450 as a grey import. Still, it's worth thinking about.

@tino84 - the viltrox is one I hadn't come across before, and for the price it's great. It is just a big hunk of a lens, but that may be the compromise I'm going to need to make.

I can pick up a 28 f2 with the wide angle converter (so 21mm f2.8) for around £350 at the mo second hand, although the converter is cosmetically damaged. Anyone used this combo?

And I'm reconsidering the Canon fd for £200ish or the olympus 20mm f3.5 for £250ish. Too many choices!
 

SpecFoto

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Picking 2 out of the 3 choices is never easy with camera gear, there are always compromises. Why not look at it as an long term investment, increase your budget a bit and get what you want? That is how I justify my purchases :rolleyes:

In my case while I bought the Sony A7 for its eye AF, I do like shooting manual lenses. Recently I wanted to add a wide angle MF and deciding between the Voigtlander 15mm f4.5 Heliar and 21mm 3.5 Skopar lenses. Voigtlander's all metal build quality is fantastic, the IQ, colors and contrast are great, the size really sits well with the whole mirrorless concept (both are about the size of the 28mm f2 FE). A big plus is the Voigts have electronic contacts that work with Sony to transmit IBIS and EXIF info plus they will activate the magnify function for MF. I went with the 15 mm as I have a Sony 24mm and wanted something really wide. For landscapes I can set it to f5.6 and basically it is in focus from 1 meter to infinity. I am very impressed with the Voigtlander line for Sony and can see I will have their lenses for a long time, thus the few hundred extra $ is worth it long term.
 

ionian

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@SpecFoto - I've already kinda done that - I've told my wife my budget is £250 so it's a question of how much pain I want at home after I've bought it. From my experience, it's not a linear relationship between overspend and pain, and I know where my tolerance levels are :)

I've made an offer on a viltrox (it's only just started being imported here and the mark up must be sizable as they are already taking offers) but I'm going to have another look at the Samyang as well.
 

WNG

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Another strategy would be to save up for the upcoming release of the new Tamron 17-25 f/2.8. Sounds like the lens you want and an investment for long term.
Meantime, a vintage manual-focus alternative to get the shots and see you through the lead time towards the Tamron.
Instead of the Canon nFD or Olympus, there's a Vivitar 19mm f/3.8 prime made by Cosina (also sold as a Cosinon) that has a good rep for image quality. There is a demand for them, but usually sells for under $100 USD. I'm certain it can be resold later for what you initially pay for it.
 

ionian

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The voigtlander is, I'm sure, beautiful, but it is too wide, too slow, and too expensive (£550 cheapest second hand) for me. I've owned the voigtlander primes on m43 and I know they are lovely pieces of kit, with the odd rendering quirk.

16-35 is also out of reach financially unfortunately.

The Tamron wide zoom sounds great but it will have to go on the wishlist - as you say @WNG, I could always resell any purchase to fund that acquisition down the line, it's certainly something to bare in mind once we know when it will be released and for how much. I'm guessing £899 here in the UK.
 

JonathanF2

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The voigtlander is, I'm sure, beautiful, but it is too wide, too slow, and too expensive (£550 cheapest second hand) for me. I've owned the voigtlander primes on m43 and I know they are lovely pieces of kit, with the odd rendering quirk.

16-35 is also out of reach financially unfortunately.

The Tamron wide zoom sounds great but it will have to go on the wishlist - as you say @WNG, I could always resell any purchase to fund that acquisition down the line, it's certainly something to bare in mind once we know when it will be released and for how much. I'm guessing £899 here in the UK.
If you want cheap, you'll probably have to go the adapting route. I'd look for a 20-21mm in various SLR mounts. Maybe try looking for the MF Voigtlander 20mm 3.5 in either EF or F mount and appropriate adapter. Nikon AF 20mm 2.8 lenses are pretty common, but a bit more bulkier. If AF is more your thing, Sigma has a bunch of old AF wide angle lenses that should auto focus on the Sigma MC-11 adapter such as the older 12-24mm. If you buy used, you can buy and then sell after the trip.

Here's another option to consider...getting the Sony 10-18mm and remove the rear baffle!

 

ionian

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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I've finally made a decision - and it is going to be the budget that needs to be compromised, because I can't get what I want at the money I'd like to pay. So it's a bit more saving required and then I'll get the Tokina 20mm MF - from accounts it's the best performer and the price compromise is not huge compared to the other (non adapted) options. I'm primarily a prime shooter - the only zoom I own is the kit, and my copy is particularly soft - so I think it will fit into my lineup nicely.
 

fractal

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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I've finally made a decision - and it is going to be the budget that needs to be compromised, because I can't get what I want at the money I'd like to pay. So it's a bit more saving required and then I'll get the Tokina 20mm MF - from accounts it's the best performer and the price compromise is not huge compared to the other (non adapted) options. I'm primarily a prime shooter - the only zoom I own is the kit, and my copy is particularly soft - so I think it will fit into my lineup nicely.
Good choice, however I was going to recommend the Zeiss Batis 18mm 2.8. I rented one for a family vacation to Walt Disney World and was impressed by the sharpness across the frame and the rendering.
 

SpecFoto

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Thanks everyone for your suggestions. I've finally made a decision - and it is going to be the budget that needs to be compromised, because I can't get what I want at the money I'd like to pay. So it's a bit more saving required and then I'll get the Tokina 20mm MF - from accounts it's the best performer and the price compromise is not huge compared to the other (non adapted) options. I'm primarily a prime shooter - the only zoom I own is the kit, and my copy is particularly soft - so I think it will fit into my lineup nicely.
Good choice. Its an f2 lens, transmits EXIF and IBIS info to the Sony and still is somewhat compact with 62mm filters. Whats not to like!

When a MF lens that transmits info is attached to the Sony, you get a real-time distance scale in the viewfinder, you can see what SS and aperture you have selected and there is a +/- scale on the overall exposure vs. what the camera suggests. Only the aperture ring on the lens controls aperture, but your F/R dial works for SS. Plus when you move the focus ring, it automatically initiates the magnify view to help with focusing. (You can map the magnify view to a button if you want). Great Feature!! It makes dealing with manual focus a whole lot easier and quicker.
 
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bdbits

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The integration of current MF lenses is what has tipped me to moving to 'native' mount lenses (Voigtlanders mainly). And getting EXIF because I have a lot to learn and cannot remember a lens or what I did to get a shot, lol. The magnify thing is a very mixed bag among the Sony community - seems most either love it or hate it. I go back and forth myself. Fortunately in Sony style you can customize the behavior, either get magnify on hitting the focus ring or use a button or disable and ignore it altogether.

Some find the crazy rectangular hood annoying. Easily remedied if you wish, of course.

I think you will enjoy the lens, Simon. Worth stretching the budget.
 

SpecFoto

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If the magnify option does not work for you, there is the focus peaking function that you can use instead. It can work automatically or with a custom button set too. The peaking is available in 3 colors and many who use it shoot in raw and jpeg, with the jpegs being set to B&W. They increase the contrast and sharpness so the peaking really stands out in the B&W jpeg screen view when composing the photo. Of course, the raw photo will be in color.
 

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