DA 15mm F4 Limited - Advice Please


davidstorm

Link Posted 09/09/2012 - 11:15
Has anyone out there got any feedback on the Pentax DA 15mm F4 Limited lens? I've read all the reviews, so I'm only interested in personal experiences from using this lens. Do you like it in 'real world' use? What are it's plus and minus points?

I'm mainly interested in using this lens for landscapes, but as it's an expensive piece of kit and I already have a DA 16-45, I need to be convinced that it will be signiifcantly better than the 16-45 is when used at its 16mm setting.

Many thanks in advance of your help and feedback on this.

Regards
David
Flickr

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs

CMW

Link Posted 09/09/2012 - 11:32
I use the 15 Ltd a good deal. I have a 17-70, so that's my closest to your 16-45. The obvious difference is size and weight. The 15 is just such a delight to have on the front of the camera. It's colour rendition is excellent. It is sharp in the centre from f4 but needs stopping down if edge sharpness is important for a shot. It is certainly better in all respects than the 17-70 at its widest, though you'll probably only notice some of that when printing large. Although it is a good lens for landscape, I think it really excels when the main subject is in reasonably close (centre) view, framed by the 15's generous backdrop.
Regards, Christopher

ChristopherWheelerPhotography

Frogfish

Link Posted 09/09/2012 - 11:34
The 15 Ltd is one of my favourite Pentax lenses. It is a gem of a lens. Colours SOOC are gorgeous and it's very sharp. It is incredibly difficult to make this lens flare but you get superb starbursts from any point of strong light.

It takes superb landscape shots - but not your standard shots of hills, lakes, the sea and rivers etc. .. unless you have a strong foreground subject. For pure landscape shots of the ilk above I'd recommend a 28mm and stitch (the 28mm lens has been shown to have the least distortion for WA use). I use the Zeiss 28mm/2.8 but if you want AF then the 31 Ltd would make a superb alternative. Whatever you use you want edge to edge sharpness.

Note that for architectural use you would need to use something like PT Lens to straighten the lines - which would defeat the purpose since using PT Lens (or pretty much any program for 'straightening' WA distortion) means cropping of the photo and you would have been better off with the 28mm to start with !















http://frogfish.smugmug.com/ Pentax. Pentax DA*300/4, Cosina 55/1.2, Lens Baby Composer Pro & Edge 80, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.
Nikon. D800. D600. Sigma 500/4.5, Nikon 300/2.8 VRII, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 35/2.0, Sigma 50/1.4, Nikkor 85/1.8, Nikon TC20EIII, Nikon TC14EII, Kenko x1.4, Sigma 2.0
Last Edited by Frogfish on 09/09/2012 - 11:40

Fletcher8

Link Posted 09/09/2012 - 12:04
Hi David

I have the 15mm limited and it is in my bag all the time, I also have the DA* 16mm to 50mm but its bulk and weight can be an issue if I am walking in remote locations.

The 15 Pro points are
Excellent colour rendition
Great POV
Very good sharpness at usual landscape f/11 to f/16
Size and weight make it ideal if you are really off the beaten track
due to small lens size good quality Polarisers can be purchased at reasonable prices
I have been able to use Lee filters via an adaptor ring

The not so good points
Soft at f/4
OK at f/5.6, but from then on its great
built in lens hood can be a pain at times, but you learn to work around this
Fixed focal length means you really have to think about how you use it

Overall I think it is a lens you will either love or hate. when you pick the right photographic situation it really shines, but I have found this can be challenging. However, this has really developed my photography. I am developing a better understanding of prime lenses, but you do have to work at it in order to really see and appreciate the benefits.

Gareth
Fletcher8.
Last Edited by Fletcher8 on 09/09/2012 - 12:07

davidstorm

Link Posted 09/09/2012 - 12:23
Thanks for all of the above guys, really excellent advice and feedback. More please!

Regards
David
Flickr

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs

Northgrain

Link Posted 09/09/2012 - 12:37
The 15 Ltd is just a joy to use - compact so always in my bag/pocket and like all the Ltds beautifully constructed. If you spend some time on the '15mm rules my mind' thread on the 'other' site you'll see the kinds of results it produces. As the guys say wonderful colour rendition and legendary flare resistance. I'd have said one of the disadvantages for landscape work was the protruding, fixed lens hood making fitting filter systems difficult, but Gareth seems to have a system (which adaptor do you use, Gareth? I've been meaning to look into that...)

I've no regrets shelling out the ackers for the 15 Ltd - it's on my 'sell a child before this lens' list. I don't have the 16-45 so can't compare with that, but I do have the 12-24 which, cracking lens though it is, I'm thinking of selling because of overlap with the 15 Ltd and (try as I might) I really can't justify having both.
Tim

Some of my vaguely better stuff
Last Edited by Northgrain on 09/09/2012 - 12:39

Fletcher8

Link Posted 09/09/2012 - 14:03
Hi Tim

I use a Kood 49mm to 77mm on the 15mm Limited, I then screw a Lee 77mm on to the back, clip in to the filter holder and bingo, I can then use ND grads. When i was in Utah last December in the national parks this combo worked really well with the 15mm. I hiked down to False Kiva in the snow, I needed to keep the camera kit light. What I learned was the 15mm LTD and Lee filters worked a treat. B+W do a great slim Polariser for the 15mm and once set, you can still use the built in lens hood.

P.S you need to use the wide angle Lee 77mm adaptor.

Hope this info is of use to you.

Gareth
Fletcher8.
Last Edited by Fletcher8 on 09/09/2012 - 14:05

chaude

Link Posted 09/09/2012 - 14:57
I have the DA 14mm f2.8, not sure how it compares to the 15mm but it's pretty similar in terms of using it, you really need to think about the foreground if you're shooting landscapes if not they just turn into wide, ordinary things. Extremely useful at shooting architecture though, and even people if you're creative!

The 14mm is great for the large aperture, unfortunately I'm having to sell mine since it's just far too big for me to carry along when I'm travelling light. I'm no doubt going for the 15mm

Don

Link Posted 09/09/2012 - 15:52
anybody actually compare the 15 ltd to the 14?
Fired many shots. Didn't kill anything.

Frogfish

Link Posted 09/09/2012 - 16:57
Don wrote:
anybody actually compare the 15 ltd to the 14?

Many people have - seems the vast majority prefer the 15mm.
http://frogfish.smugmug.com/ Pentax. Pentax DA*300/4, Cosina 55/1.2, Lens Baby Composer Pro & Edge 80, AFA x1.7, Metz 50 af1.
Nikon. D800. D600. Sigma 500/4.5, Nikon 300/2.8 VRII, Sigma 120-300/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 21/2.8, Zeiss Distagon ZF2 35/2.0, Sigma 50/1.4, Nikkor 85/1.8, Nikon TC20EIII, Nikon TC14EII, Kenko x1.4, Sigma 2.0

JAK

Link Posted 09/09/2012 - 17:38
Don wrote:
anybody actually compare the 15 ltd to the 14?

14mm - 1/500sec @ f7.1 ISO 160




15mm - 1/800sec @ f7.1 ISO 160



Both K-5 jpeg's reduced to 800 pixels wide in Irfanview. No other processing.

John
John K
Last Edited by JAK on 09/09/2012 - 17:40

simonkit

Link Posted 10/09/2012 - 15:39
My experience with it wasn't a good one. I found the corners at all apertures too soft for my liking and couldn't live with the results, particularly when compared to my DA12-24..it's possible I just had a bad copy though and on the positive, the colour rendition was excellent

Simon
My website http://www.landscapephotographyuk.com

My Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/landscapephotographyuk

Find me on Google+ link

Pentaxophile

Link Posted 10/09/2012 - 16:22
davidstorm wrote:
Has anyone out there got any feedback on the Pentax DA 15mm F4 Limited lens? I've read all the reviews, so I'm only interested in personal experiences from using this lens. Do you like it in 'real world' use? What are it's plus and minus points?

I'm mainly interested in using this lens for landscapes, but as it's an expensive piece of kit and I already have a DA 16-45, I need to be convinced that it will be signiifcantly better than the 16-45 is when used at its 16mm setting.

Many thanks in advance of your help and feedback on this.

Regards
David

The DA15mm does not shame a good copy of the 16-45mm, although central sharpness, flare resistance, and colour rendition are a bit better I think. The 16-45mm is probably better in terms of edge quality until f8, where I think they are about equal. I would be cautious about purchasing unless you want the small size and build quality. (The ability to use 49mm filters is another bonus!)
[link=https://500px.com/will_brealey/[/link]
Last Edited by Pentaxophile on 10/09/2012 - 16:23

davidstorm

Link Posted 10/09/2012 - 18:35
Sincere thanks to everyone who has helped by posting advice in this thread - it has been really helpful. I think on balance I will stick with the 16-45 at present and also make more use of my old M28mm F3.5. I can widen this by stitching images together for panoramics and the IQ is very good.

Best wishes
David
Flickr

Some cameras, some lenses, some bits 'n' bobs

Northgrain

Link Posted 10/09/2012 - 21:36
Logical, and wholly admirable LBA restraint .
Tim

Some of my vaguely better stuff
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