Let's discuss MANUAL-FOCUS ONLY, THIRD PARTY ONLY, Super-Wide-Angle Lenses

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dynachrome

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I have to differ with benjiboy when it comes to the Vivitar 17/3.5. There must be some sample variation because I have seen good results from my example. It's in Konica mount. The 17/3.5 I have in Minolta mount is marked Tokina but has a plain front, not like the one on the Vivitar. My last 17/3.5 looks like the Vivitar but is marked Soligor and us in Canon FD mount.

I have a Vivitar 19/3.8 in Canon FD mount. It's not great wide open but improves when closed down. It looks just like a Spiratone model marked 20/3.8. I guess the extra mm is poetic license. I think the 21/3.8 and 20/3.8 Vivitars are both better than the 19/3.8.
 
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xkaes

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Vivitar certainly sold a lot of super-wide lenses. Sometimes you can figure out who made them, but sometimes not. But, I guess the actual maker doesn't matter -- if you like it, use it.
 
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Do you care to share some details -- or do you prefer to keep us all in the dark?

There are quite of lot of reviews of this lens on the net and my own experience matches with most of them: Very good optics (good contrast and resolution, no distorsion, contained vignetting), small size and small weight perfect for rangefinder cameras, common filter size, reasonable price. F/4 is a tad slow but I don't care as I use this lens for street photography (i.i f/8 or f/11) only.

Less is the dark now?
 

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My two 15mm lenses. Replaced that crappy finder with Voigtlander’s much better metal version which has frame lines.


 

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Huss

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The Lomo Neptune series lenses - of which the 15mm is one - are surprisingly good optically but frankly a pain in the keester to use. So the only time I use them is for novelty and to remind me how much better modern gear is.
 
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Huss

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I also recommend the wtulens 17mm f16. Made from recycling two Fuji Quicksnap lenses. Surprisingly sharp in the center with a lovely smear and vignette in the outer 1/4 of the frame.





 
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Sirius Glass

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But try to buy it used! Because if u dont like it, you should be able to not lose anything when you sell.

The CV 21mm f4 - already mentioned - is excellent and tiny.

Of course, my parents did not raise stupid children. EX and EX+ from KEH or equivalent are well worth the money for the quality.
 

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{moderator deletion - politics}
Looking at used vs new prices - all my Zeiss lenses were purchased used. ZM and ZF. It seems the moment you roll that new Zeiss lens off the showroom floor, you lose about 50% of the value. While if you buy used, you can resell for pretty much what you paid for it.
The Zeiss ZM 15mm - as we are talking about superwides - is one of the very very few consumer "Zeiss" lenses that is still made in Germany. All the others are made by Cosina.
A super lens that is only $4750. I paid $200 for my CV 15mm! Which is a very nice lens.
 
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flavio81

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I have to differ with benjiboy when it comes to the Vivitar 17/3.5. There must be some sample variation

Of course. Most non-OEM lenses do have a lot of sample variation. This is due to less stringent tolerances and QC procedures, even due down to the way the lens is constructed.

While on the opposite end of spectrum, on lenses like made-in-germany Zeiss or Leitz lenses, there's little sample variation.
 

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I warned you.
 

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There's something worse than derailing a thread talking about politics. And it is... buying non-OEM superwideangle lenses!!

Yesterday I bought a Pentax SMC Fish-eye 17/4. Only the best for my Pentax LX!!

Really, most super wides require 8 or more lens elements. With this amount of complexity, quality control and mechanical precision needs to be stringent. Any cost-reduction by applying less expensive anti-reflection treatment will impact image. High quality glass (i.e. high refraction index with reasonable dispersion glass) is expensive and will help reach best performance.

I have seen how many off-brand (this includes Vivitar, Sigma) lenses are inside. Instead of lens retaining rings, many glass elements are "sandwiched" together using spacers. This results on inferior mechanical precision. Ostensibly the lens is multicoated while on the inside you find many glass elements with simple coatings (i.e. single layer coating). Where an OEM lens will have at least dual-layer coating on all elements.

All of this has a cost.

You really get what you paid for with super-wide-angles. You can't go wrong with the japanese big four (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Minolta). Or the german big four (Zeiss, Leitz, Schneider, Rodenstock).
 

Sirius Glass

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There's something worse than derailing a thread talking about politics. And it is... buying non-OEM superwideangle lenses!!

Yesterday I bought a Pentax SMC Fish-eye 17/4. Only the best for my Pentax LX!!

Really, most super wides require 8 or more lens elements. With this amount of complexity, quality control and mechanical precision needs to be stringent. Any cost-reduction by applying less expensive anti-reflection treatment will impact image. High quality glass (i.e. high refraction index with reasonable dispersion glass) is expensive and will help reach best performance.

I have seen how many off-brand (this includes Vivitar, Sigma) lenses are inside. Instead of lens retaining rings, many glass elements are "sandwiched" together using spacers. This results on inferior mechanical precision. Ostensibly the lens is multicoated while on the inside you find many glass elements with simple coatings (i.e. single layer coating). Where an OEM lens will have at least dual-layer coating on all elements.

All of this has a cost.

You really get what you paid for with super-wide-angles. You can't go wrong with the japanese big four (Canon, Nikon, Pentax, Minolta). Or the german big four (Zeiss, Leitz, Schneider, Rodenstock).

No one will catch me using other than Zeiss lenses on my Hasselblads. My widest two are the Fisheye 30mm C lens and the SWC Hasselblad 903 [CF] with the Biogon lens.
 

ozphoto

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I had a Tokina 17mm (FD) that was an absolute joy to use. When I switched to the EOS system, I grabbed the EF version, which IMHO, is not as good. I offloaded it when I purchased a 17mm TSE, but always wanted a 17mm Tamron.

I found myself missing the smaller lightweight version (the TSE is far too bulky to carry around when shooting landscapes and late last year, I landed my "dream" non-OEM ultra-wide, the Tamron 17mm SP. This is the early version (1979 build), with in-built filters, no plastic covering on the f-stops and the rubber grip matches the early 28mm I also own.

This 17mm is outstanding and I highly recommend it to anyone who is after a cheaper alternative to OEM wides. When first released, it was more expensive than the Tokina and Vivitar, and after using both the Tokina and Tamron, I can definitely see why. The specs for this amazing lens are here:

Tamron 17mm SP Adaptall Lens

I've been a fan of the Tamron Adaptall lens system since I purchased their outstanding 180mm f2.5 Anniversary Edition lens, when it was first released in 1988. The hardest part of leaving the FD world for EOS, was offloading my Tamrons: 300mm f2.8, 90mm f2.5, 180mm f2.5 and the 28mm f2.5. In fact, I missed them so much, I ended up buying a 28mm only a few years after selling mine.

I now run both with original OEM Tamron EF mounts - they actually cost me more than the lenses they're mounted on . . .
 

Mick Fagan

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I agree with Ozphoto about the Tamron Adaptall lens system and the Tamron 17mm lens. I mentioned earlier that I did have one quite some time ago, it was replaced by my Sigma 18mm lens.

The Tamron unit I had was the one with the inbuilt filters, when stopped down to f/5.6 it was wonderful. When in Germany on a trip, I was picking up a new Leica for a close friend, as you do. The camera shop, was always happy to see me as I almost always picked up a new camera every time I visited. Thankfully visits were years apart, but you get the idea. Cameras in Germany were so cheap compared to Australian prices, one couldn't help but buy something new if one could.

On this trip when I was picking up the Leica R series body and a single 180mm lens, we started talking about the Adaptall system. Helmut (the store person) laughingly suggested I should buy the Leica Adaptall mount he had sitting under the glass counter; very rare item he said, Leica are trying to get this banned.

The upshot was that I did in fact get the Leica Adaptall mount for a quite small amount of money. Back in Australia my friend, whom the Leica was for, was curious about the Adaptall mount and the possibility to have access to a wide range of affordable lenses that he could borrow from me every now and again. He more than once borrowed the Tamron 17mm lens for some photographic pursuits and was quite happy with the results as they were impossible to obtain any other way as he wasn't able to justify the capital outlay for his R series Leica for a nonsensical shot, as he put it.
 

btaylor

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I have the Tamron 17mm SP as well. I try always to stick with OE lenses, but as mentioned above the costs can be prohibitive, especially for a lens I use rarely. I read lots of opinions about the aftermarket ultra wides, and like I remember from the ‘70’s most of the third party ones are not great or consistent from copy to copy. The Tamron seems to be an exception to those generalities, I like mine a lot. This is reflected on eBay, they get a high price for an old third party lens. The Adaptall mount feature is a bonus- I’ve used it with my OM cameras, but with an $15 Tamron Adaptall it’s going on my recently acquired Pentax Spotmatic. And when I get my R8 it’ll fit that too (another reason to buy a camera I don’t need!).
 
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