Wide angle suggestions

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by sage, Mar 7, 2009.

  1. sage

    sage Member

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    Hi! I have a Minolta AF mount camera and am currently maxing out my 28mm wide. It just isn't wide enough for what I need, being indoors, there isn't room to just back up further. Is there some easy way to see without having anything wider to say I should be looking for something like the 17-35's or the 19-35's or so forth? I'm just concerned about getting something that either wouldn't be wide enough, or is too wide, as well as expense, as I can't go affording the G series. Any suggestions?
     
  2. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    I can't give you much brand specific advice, but I really think you should consider a 20mm lens.

    24mm wouldn't be far enough away from your 28mm and anything wider than about 18mm could really be "too" wide in many situatuations (lenses around 20mm: 18-21 in practice, depending on the system, are my favorites).

    Also, I'd reccomend a prime instead of a zoom. With a notorious exception (not Minolta), 20mm primes will generally outperform zooms covering the same FL, especially if low distortion is important to you.
     
  3. Phormula

    Phormula Member

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    I agree, I live in the Nikon world and cannot comment for Minolta, but I've found the 20mm a perfect wide angle lens, both indoors and outdoors.
     
  4. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    A 20mm lens would be a useful addition, bearing in mind that the smaller the optic, the more distant subjects will appear and distortion will be conspicuous if not rectilinear. Rectilinear zooms or primes from 17 to 30mm will be very expensive so I think your budget will also be a consideration and 20mm would be great to start off with, as it was for me way back in 1990. Whatever you settle on, you will need to practice 'anchor composition' (a key skill of visual literacy) especially noting distortion and whether you wish to employ that creatively or keep the optic level to minimise the effect. One optic to steer well clear of is a fisheye lens (14mm to 8mm typically): everybody has seen this effect, too much in my opinion, and is best left to gear geeks to play with.
     
  5. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I have a 17, 20, and a 24. I can't make my mind up which one I like the best.

    Jeff
     
  6. sage

    sage Member

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    Yeah, I want to stay away from the fisheyes. Would it make sense to get a cheapie zoom to figure out which length works best, then get a prime based on that? There are some of those I've seen around 100$ or so, going to around 400$ for the better ones I guess. Also, what is meant by anchor composition, I've never heard of that term before.
     
  7. Chazzy

    Chazzy Member

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    The wide-angle zoom idea makes sense to me. Better yet would be to rent one, if you can find one in Maxxum mount. Then you can figure out what focal lengths you are actually using the most, and proceed accordingly. You might even decide that you're hooked on the zoom and forego buying another prime lens.
     
  8. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Anchor composition is very important when an ultra-wide angle lens is used for landscape imaging. The wider (smaller) your lens is, the more distant and smaller features will be (scale) and potentially there will be a confusing jumble of subject matter of no particular interest. In landscapes, I actively seek out large rocks, vegetation etc for foreground interest and then 'build' the image around that. Especially important for 17mm.
     
  9. archphoto

    archphoto Member

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    For the great indoors you can not go too short, exept for the fish-eyes.
    My prime lens for indoors is a 14-28mm Olympus zoom, expesive and beautifull.
    As a secondairy lens I use a 22-44mm zoom for the "details" : here in Brazil you have many ambients in one ambient and all have to be photographed.

    Peter, Goiânia, Brazil
     
  10. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I had 35mm, 28mm and 20mm lenses for my Minoltas. I got rid of the 35mm because it was too close to the normal lens. The 20mm was my favorite, but I used it sparingly. It was good for taking in most of a room when I was travelling in Europe.

    Steve
     
  11. Chaplain Jeff

    Chaplain Jeff Member

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    Hello,

    When I bought my Sony Alpha 700, I bought a cheap Minolta 24-85 variable aperture zoom for about $45 at KEH. I have since bought a Maxxum 9000 and shoot it most of the time with this lens at the 24mm position. It's a great little lens and is wide enough for me. Not sure if it would be enough of a difference for you or not from 28mm.

    If you want to know how wide is wide enough without buying a few lenses to check (Minolta wides seem to be rare these days at places like KEH - thanks a lot Sony...), you might get try of the cheap ridiculously wide Sony kit zooms from your local camera store. Put it on your camera and try it there. Whatever looks "right" is the width you need to seek in a prime.
     
  12. sage

    sage Member

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    Is it worth the extra money for the zoom lenses that are a stop greater, like a 20-35 at F2.8 versus a 19-35 or 17-35 at F3.5-4.5? And if so, is the 20 then going to be wide enough instead of the 17? So many little things seem to be adding up hah.
     
  13. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    A 35mm IS a normal lens...
    :tongue:
     
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  15. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    No, my normals were 50mm and 58mm lenses.

    Steve
     
  16. sage

    sage Member

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    Any more suggestions about the aperatures? Just checking before i buy something.
     
  17. StorminMatt

    StorminMatt Member

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    Not unless you are shooting APS-C digital.
     
  18. wayne naughton

    wayne naughton Member

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    i've got both the minolta af 20/2.8 and the 24/2.8 and i don't particularly prefer one over the other. You'd be better off working out what you are going to use the lens for and whether you are prepared to put in the extra effort necessary to effectively use the 20mm ie manual focussing, hyperfocussing and all that stuff.....grin

    wayne
     
  19. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    HPF (hyperfocus) application is not a usual requisite for ultra-wide angles of which 20mm is a member. Such optics already have very significant depth of field and depth of focus.
     
  20. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    "A stop greater" is actually a stop slower in terms of Av (aperture).
    I think you are going to need a few years' experience of application with, for a start, 20mm, before going down to e.g. 17mm or below. The former is a fine optic and will teach you the need to be careful with spatial arrangement of subject matter (including perspective). The latter takes this a few steps further where composition and spatial arrangement need to be considered very carefully, especially in the small 35mm format. A lens with a variable aperture of (your e.g.) 17-35 f3.5-4.5 is likely to suffer significant optical flaws by design compared to a prime, unless you gun for the more expensive fixed-aperture optics that are usually highly corrected for chroma, astigmatism, curvature and distorion among (in no particular order). Should you be worried about this now? No. Just kit up with a 20mm f2.8, leave zooms until much later and take that optic on a journey of discovery. Finally, a 20mm f2.8 is my second-favourite optic to the PC 24mm prime.
     
  21. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Aaaarrrrrghh! Never!

    I just find using 50mm as a "normal" a little too uptight...
    35mm Sees the World the way I do.
    :smile:
     
  22. Q.G.

    Q.G. Inactive

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    Not, if the stop greater is "a 20-35 at F2.8 versus a 19-35 or 17-35 at F3.5-4.5".
    :wink:

    (Why do you use the abbreviation for aperture priority when what you mean is just aperture?)
     
  23. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    Av = aperture value.
    If I am demonstrating or teaching in the studio I am most often writing something at speed. Av is simply shorthand for aperture value. Likewise, Tv for shutter speed.
     
  24. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, Sage;

    Finding a 17 mm or even a 20 mm prime WA lens in the Minolta Maxxum, AF, or "A" mount is going to be a challenge. I have the Minolta Maxxum 9 body, but the competition for lenses by the guys with the Sony Alpha digital cameras (which uses the same lens mount) means that finding used glass is not easy.

    I do have the 17 mm, 20 mm, 24 mm, 28 mm, and the 35 mm Rectilinear WA lenses in the older Minolta SR/MC/MD manual focus mount. The widest lens that seems to be "normal" to use is the 24 mm. The 20 mm is a lens I need to be careful with when using. The strange effects you can get with the 20 mm must be carefully considered. Moving out that silly additional 3 mm down to the 17 mm relegates that lens to a "special purpose lens" category, even though it is still a "rectilinear" lens formula. The next lens down at 16 mm is not in this category; it is a "full frame fisheye lens," and is something that I use only for special effects. Poisson du Jour has given you some sage advice (sorry about that).

    I have found the 24 mm lens to be adequate for photographing the interior of a room for my purposes.

    I have not yet found a zoom lens in this range that I felt gave me the consistent performance of a prime lens at these focal lengths. At the same time, I also admit that I have not tried the latest Carl Zeiss offerrings for the Sony Alpha. Perhaps there may be something to pouring in a sufficient volume of money.

    On the subject of a "normal" lens, I have always felt that the 58 mm focal length gave me the closest image of how I see the world through my eyes. When I raise my eye from the viewing port of the camera, everything stays in the same place; nothing moves.
     
  25. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

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    "Sage"!? :tongue:

    There is indeed! The sky's the limit.

    I've never seen optics of e.g. 17mm+++ in the Minolta mount (Nikon, Canon yes), but I suspect Tamron or Sigma has something worth looking at. Of course, the more you spend the more you get, but you have to be sure you're going to use it. My 17mm is rarely used except close-in at waterfalls for example; the 40mm end is commonly used in the studio or for H&S images at weddings. I steer clear of big, heavy, mega-expensive lenses as I also walk very long distances in rainforests and heavy terrain and the last thing I need is a fast monolith of ghostly-white CaF2 weighing me down.

    My normal lens (landscape) is also a 24mm; I do have a 45mm but didn't warm to that immediately so I booted it out to a colleague last December. The 24mm and my 20mm share stints at night sky photography in the outback where it is inky black (new moon phase). Aiming the 20mm into the chandelier above is easier than the 24mm though the whacky distortion from the steep angle looking up makes trees, boulders or what run around the edge of the frame—an effect you either love or hate, but hey, the focus (sorry, pun..) is on what the star trails!! :tongue:
     
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  26. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I own a 24mm and a 17mm. The 24mm will get the corners of each room in my house. The 17mm will get the corners plus about 4-5 more feet in to the side walls. However I dont find the side walls add any interest to the pic.

    Also, the 24mm is f2.8 while the 17mm is f4.. that makes a big difference indoors.

    I think either a 24mm f2.8 or a 20mm f2.8 would be ideal for indoor shots.