small 20mm-ish prime for landscapes?

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math guy Senior Member • Posts: 2,604
small 20mm-ish prime for landscapes?

I've been shooting with a Pentax system for ten years, and I recently bought an A6400 + Tamron 70-180 to use for sports (where Pentax's AF is woefully slow). While I was at it, though, I bought the E PZ 16-50 lens simply for the form factor - nice size for hiking and biking. But I'm finding that it's not much better than a cell phone when it comes to image quality, even using lens correction in LR. I'll probably just return that lens, as I don't think it's even worth the small price I paid for it. And I'd like to get something to replace it.

I love the pancake size of the Sony 20mm f/2.8, so that's definitely one I'm considering. And I see that there are also small (but not pancake) offerings from Samyang, Tamron, and others.

Coming from Pentax, my comparison lens is the Pentax DA 21mm Limited, which has been my favorite lens for years. The MTF numbers don't show it to be the sharpest (though I think I got a very good copy by comparison), but where it really shines is its microcontrast. The images I get from it are punchy, for lack of a better word. Honestly, I plan to keep my Pentax system for the time being, because I'm very happy with it for landscapes and other things. But if I can find an E mount lens which is similar to the Pentax 21 (size, focal length, IQ), I'd like to get one because that's such a useful focal length on APS-C. And in time, I may end up migrating entirely to Sony.

What small prime in the 20mm neighborhood would you recommend for landscapes? I'm thinking primarily of microcontrast, as well as sharpness across the frame when stopped down to around f/5.6 or f/8.

To give you an idea of the type of landscape shooting I have in mind, here are some samples from the 21 Ltd:

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-- Joe S.
If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid. ~ Albert Einstein

 math guy's gear list:math guy's gear list
Pentax K-50 Sony a6400 Pentax smc DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited Pentax smc DA 70mm F2.4 AL Limited Pentax smc DA 18-55mm F3.5-5.6 AL WR +7 more
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