/ 24mm

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kevin stephens - on 10 Jan 2017

Or 15mm equiv in dslr aps-c format
In the olden days of 35mm film 24mm was the widest you could get (or at least afford) and was great for mountain landscapes and getting feel of exposure with a climber in the foreground. I loved my Ricoh GR 35mm compact which had a fixed 24mm lens for the same reasons. New ultra wide zooms e.g. 10-20mm (aps-c) are very tempting for my dslr having seen many of the wild images out there, but are heavy and bulky on my nice and small Pentax K-S2 body and I'm agonising between getting one or a nice compact and light Pentax pancake 15mm (24mm 35mm equiv) prime. Main benefit of the prime is being more likely to take it on a climb, ski tour, less faffing in choosing a zoom setting, built in retractable lens-hood and arguably optical quality. Downside is lack of versatility. Not much price difference the two.

What are people's thoughts and opinions?
Post edited at 21:37
Dan Arkle - on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to kevin stephens:

Unlike with landscape or people photos, in the mountains, you often can't just step forward or back to change perspective. I like zooms.
thlcr1 on 10 Jan 2017
In reply to kevin stephens:

The Pentax 15 is certainly much smaller and lighter than the UW zooms. However for optical quality it might be worth checking some of the online reviews. Doesn't seem to have quite the quality you might expect of a prime. Also not really wide enough to class as UW.

Adam Long - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to kevin stephens:

The Ricoh GR had a 28mm lens.
kevin stephens - on 11 Jan 2017
In reply to Adam Long:
As yes of course it did, the principal still applies 'though
kevin stephens - on 14 Jan 2017
In reply to Dan Arkle:

> Unlike with landscape or people photos, in the mountains, you often can't just step forward or back to change perspective. I like zooms.

But you can crop easily. With modern good quality high MP sensors and good prime lenses you can crop a lot and still have more than enough pixels for a high resolution screen or 8x10 print. For example this image is approx. 20% crop of the full size picture taken on a 50mm fi.8 prime with a 10Mp camera. it was good enough to be used in the Rockfax Western grit guide. I think you would be hard pressed to get as good a result with the available light using a zoom without getting flare and other problems

thlcr1 Yes of course I've read the reviews. The main concern of many reviews is sharpness, in practice when you stop down there isn't much between them. Conversely problems with many of the alternative zooms, particularly in a climbing situation include chromatic aberration (purple fringing) - eg on mountain skylines and flare when shooting into the light/sun. I find you also get much better colour rendition with a prime.

it's often said that the best camera is the one you have with you. If you're wandering around the bottom of Stanage this is not such a limitation. But in many climbing situations a DSLR can be more demanding to carry than a compact despite the huge photographic benefits. A prime lens can enable you to carry a small prime lens where a zoom would be too bulky. This image was taken from a mid route belay using a 35mm film SLR with 28mm prime lens. The detail on an A3+print from a high res film scanner is astounding. I wouldn't have been able to climb the route with a bulky zoom lens

One occasion when I did take a dslr and zoom was on a big multi pitch route on the Fire pinnacle at Riglos. I particularly wanted to get a shot looking down on a vulture. The shot is ok but would have been much better with the 50mm prime, which I have bought since and also so much easier to carry on the climb

Adam Long. I wish my Ricoh GR1 was still working, I'd gladly pay the cost of film and processing. A couple of my favourite shots from it.

So, after a lot of thought I'll probably go for the prime 15mm. It can be strangely liberating to just take one lens selected to suit the day's activities, if necessary with a second compact prime in your pocket/pack.

Having said that my best of a Sigma EX 100-300 full frame also comes in very useful sometimes

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