Would you swap a 12-24 for the DA15mm?


Link Posted 20/03/2012 - 13:15
I'm currently deliberating (again) about my curremnt lens line-up, mainly at the wide end of things. I have the 12-24 and have recently had some excellent shots from it but having read a few more reviews on the DA15mm recently wonder if I'm missing out on the infamous "pixie dust".

Just interested on peoples views on swapping a 12-24 for the 15mm?


My website http://www.landscapephotographyuk.com

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

Find me on Google+ link


Link Posted 20/03/2012 - 13:26
I don't have the 15, but if I were in your shoes I'd try to hire (SRS) or borrow one befoe letting my 12-24 go!


Link Posted 20/03/2012 - 14:15

I have a Pentax DA 15mm it is a very nice lens which I find very useful. However, with the 12mm to 24mm you have an advantage that you can alter the local length which is very handy.

The DA15mm strengths are:

Very small so can be taken anywhere, also less bulk than the 12mm to 24mm
Very good colour rendition
I personally think its sharp although others may favour the 12mm to 24mm

Weaknesses are
At times it's fixed focal length (but it is a prime)
f/4 is limiting for some of the uses I use it for, it would be ideal if it were f/2,8

I have had the lens for quite a while now and it has really grown on me, i just think it is like Marmite you either love it, or can do without it.

I agree with John I would demo one before letting the 12mm to 24mm go.


Link Posted 20/03/2012 - 16:47
Absolutely no way. I'd be losing out on a few little things, namely:

12mm, 13mm, 14mm, 16mm, 17mm, 18mm, 19mm, 20mm, 21mm, 22mm, 23mm, 24mm

I'm a big fan of primes, but in the ultra-wide zone every millimetre makes a significant difference to composition. The DA 12-24mm is quite small considering all that it does. And at high IQ from wide open.
Listen to my albums free on BandCamp. Or visit my main website for links to photography, etc.


Link Posted 20/03/2012 - 17:57
Unless you want a smaller, lighter lens I don't think you would gain much by changing. Optically, the 12-24mm at 15mm would seem to match the prime.

Compare lens tests of each here:


The DA 14mm would give you an extra stop but is much the same size and weight as the 12-24mm. I've recently added a 12-24mm and wondering if it is worth keeping the 14mm, especially as I have the 8-16mm and 10-20mm Sigmas. Too much choice! I find the results from the DA 12-24mm do have that "pixie dust" quality you mention.

John K
John K


Link Posted 20/03/2012 - 18:13
I've thought about that too. However, I'd want a 21mm as well as the 15mm. My conclusion was that the zoom is just too convenient in this range, especially at the seaside for example where swapping lenses can be a pain. The 12-24 and the 50-135 are the only zooms I'll end up keeping.
You can see some of my photos here if you are so inclined


Link Posted 20/03/2012 - 19:44
Thanks for the replies - what I expected to be honest. When I first considered UWA I churned through no end of reviews and the majority were pro the 12-24 regarding IQ.

One thing about the 12-24 though is that it doesn't have those Pentax colours and I'm very much taken by them on my DA17-70 and DA55-300 - I guess the other option would be to own both but that could start something I might just live to regret

My website http://www.landscapephotographyuk.com

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

Find me on Google+ link


Link Posted 20/03/2012 - 19:59
I've been on the cusp of doing this, but kept the 12-24 in the end and saved up for a DA15 as, ultimately, they are very different lenses to use and 12mm is significantly wider than 15mm.

For me, the main attraction of the DA15 is its small size and light weight. I use it as part of a small, light travel kit or when taking the time to appreciate shooting with primes. The 12-24 is much more versatile in terms of FL, but is comparatively huge, so doesn't end up in my camera bag so often.


Link Posted 20/03/2012 - 20:49
The DA12-24 is not the ultimate lens but is the best of the wide angle crop currently available. I doubt many would want to pay even more for a lens with better fit and finish, especially as it's unlikely the IQ would improve. Though I think there is something new in the lens map.
Listen to my albums free on BandCamp. Or visit my main website for links to photography, etc.


Link Posted 20/03/2012 - 21:38
I only have the sigma 10-20 and must say I'm very happy with it. Is the 12-24 a noticeable step up?


Link Posted 20/03/2012 - 23:25
Here's a difference I hadn't thought about: http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/read.asp?forum=1036&message=38524433
-- not sure it's a clincher though!
Regards, Christopher



Link Posted 21/03/2012 - 01:06
I recently looked at the 15mm DA, compared to my 17-70, there isn't much difference in coverage (although if you really need it then it's probably 'a must have'). Given the cost is similar to the 12-24, I couldn't justify it. If you already have the 12-24 it's a different issue I guess.

If I had a 12-24 & 17-70 but wanted a small compact lens, the DA21 would better suit my shooting.
PPG Flickr

Dr. Mhuni

Link Posted 21/03/2012 - 10:16
I've got the 12-24 the DA15 & 21, and to answer the OP's question, yes.

The 12-24 is incredibly sharp and has a really useful range. It's a great zoom lens. But the CA is poor, and the colours aren't up to other Pentax lenses, as you've observed yourself Simon.

Both the Ltd's are very nice. Neither is as sharp as the 12-24 wide open, but both sharpen up a few stops down. I do find the wide open performance a bit disappointing (particularly when compared to the 12-24) - though the 15 in particular is at least sharp in the centre at f4. However, the colours from both are superb and the images they produce (if you get it right) also have that Ltd pop - which is lovely. Stopped down, the 15 in particular can produce amazing sharpness and 3D feel. The 12-24 images lack the distinctive character that both Ltds produce. The 15's reputation for shooting into the light is also well deserved - it outperforms the 12-24 (which can produce severe PF) substantially in this regard.

Alongside IQ, the key determinant must be useage - and the 15 (or 21) trumps the 12-24 here too AFAIC thanks to the diminutive size. Since getting the 15 & 21, I've hardly used my 12-24. Really, given the amount of use it currently gets, I should probably sell it - though I am loathe to offload what is in itself an excellent lens.

Last Edited by Dr. Mhuni on 21/03/2012 - 10:17


Link Posted 21/03/2012 - 13:03
For me it all comes down to focal length. For interiors 12mm is far more useful than 15mm. And for exteriors 24mm beats 15mm, which is too wide to get consistently interesting shots. I prefer something closer to normal for landscapes and cityscapes, to avoid distortion.

When travelling, the DA12-24 allows me to keep one lens on the camera most of the time. If I compare this to the size of two lenses in my bag, it's about the same, but without the necessity to keep changing every time I enter or exit a building. So while some great points have been made against the zoom, it's certainly not less practical in my typical scenario.

Day-to-day I never use a zoom and am not that interested in UWA or WA. But on holidays it is essential, as these shots illustrate. Note also the torture test of the second photo. The zoom doesn't let me down when there are direct lights and extreme DR.

Alhambra seen from Albaicin

the men at the bar

Listen to my albums free on BandCamp. Or visit my main website for links to photography, etc.
Last Edited by rparmar on 21/03/2012 - 13:04

Dr. Mhuni

Link Posted 21/03/2012 - 13:25
You're right, Robin - the 12-24 is a very practical walkaround lens. Very versatile in situations where you might be walking in, out of and around streets/buildings. It just lacks the zing of the DA15 IMO - and, to a lesser extent, the 21.

What I tend to travel with is a DA*50-135 and several primes from 15 to 50mm. One large zoom is all I want to carry around and I wouldn't want to leave the DA* behind. In addition, I can fit the K5 with a smaller prime in a case strapped to my belt when I want to go out unburdened.

I actually can't recall a time when I've felt the need for 12mm - though perhaps this is just because I've tuned my eye to what's available.

Add a Comment
You must be registered or logged-in to comment.