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06-12-2010, 11:02 AM   #1
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DA 15mm f/4 Limited Worth It?

It looks like the price of the DA 15mm f/4 Limited has dropped to just under $500 in some places... which makes it very attractive. I've been talking about beginning to collect DA Limiteds for some time now (I haven't used primes since my film days) and I am now getting close to making my first selection. I wouldn't mind beginning at the wide end as I haven't emphasized wide-angle photography all that much lately.

As reflected in my signature, I own both the DA 16-45 f/4 and the DA* 16-50mm f/2.8. I'm sure you see where this post is going already. I suspect the DA 15 will be noticeably better than the DA 16-45... but how about compared with the DA* 16-50? Has anyone worked with both the DA 15 Limited and the DA* 16-50? If so, can you relate some real-world advantages of this particular prime over this particular zoom other than size and weight?

And then there's the issue of the DA 15 being only one mm wider than my two zooms. Any opinions as to whether this lens is worth it, given the glass that I already have? The appeal of a prime is not an issue and I don't mind zooming with my feet. I am also aware of the DA 14mm f/2.8... but that's more like a $700 lens. At least for a while, my budget will be limiting (no pun intended) me to $600 and under.

If it's not the DA 15, I suppose the DA 35 or DA 40 Limiteds would be my next choice.

06-12-2010, 12:20 PM   #2
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I think you'd find that the DA 15mm has noticeably less barrel distortion that the DA* 16-50. It's a whole lot smaller than the 16-50, but jsherman reports that it controls his mind. That may cause you to worry.
06-12-2010, 02:37 PM   #3
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I have the DA 16-45 myself, but am close to succumbing to the DA 15. It is so small and I find that I really like the wide end of the DA 16-45. Jsherman is, of course, part of the resident cabal of LBA enticing fiends. Even if I get the DA 15 I doubt my photos will ever look as good as his.
06-12-2010, 02:40 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
II own both the DA 16-45 f/4 and the DA* 16-50mm f/2.8.

If it's not the DA 15, I suppose the DA 35 or DA 40 Limiteds would be my next choice.

Sell the 16-45 to fund your next lens.

06-12-2010, 02:48 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by G_Money Quote
I think you'd find that the DA 15mm has noticeably
less barrel distortion that the DA* 16-50. It's a whole lot smaller than the 16-50,
but jsherman reports that it controls his mind. That may cause you to worry.
.


I still retain all of jsherman's memories. Everything that he was, is still in me.

Regards,

The DA 15ltd



.
06-12-2010, 03:19 PM   #6
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Resistance... is... futile...

Hi Jay... I was looking for your long string and somehow missed it before making the first post above. But I finally found it this afternoon. Fantastic work by all and very informative posts. I'm sure I'll pull the trigger on the DA 15mm Limited shortly... but if anyone has anything to add about comparing it with the DA* 16-50mm f/2.8, it will be welcome and helpful. Right now... I suspect I'll focus on adding the DA Limiteds in this order: 15, 35, 70, and then maybe 40 and 21.
06-12-2010, 03:38 PM   #7
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I have both and prefer if I can to use the DA15 as I like to use my primes. It is wonderful for work in close, has a wonderful ability to shoot towards a light source and I love it for nightscapes.


Its hard to then compare this lens for landscapes when both lenses are stepped down.

For me I really love it and it works well alongside my 16-50

Buy it, you will not be sorry


Neil
06-13-2010, 06:28 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
As reflected in my signature, I own both the DA 16-45 f/4 and the DA* 16-50mm f/2.8. I'm sure you see where this post is going already. I suspect the DA 15 will be noticeably better than the DA 16-45... but how about compared with the DA* 16-50?
It's been my impression that the 16-45 equals the 16-50 at 16mm except that the 16-45 has lower distortion. What is it you prefer about the DA*? Why do you keep both?

06-13-2010, 09:48 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by audiobomber Quote
It's been my impression that the 16-45 equals the 16-50 at 16mm except that the 16-45 has lower distortion. What is it you prefer about the DA*? Why do you keep both?
I picked up the 16-45 only because it was on closeout at Willoughby's for under $300. And even then I only bought it because of all the concerns about SDM failure in the DA* lenses. I wanted to have that zoom range covered with another lens that was better than the kit 18-55. When the 16-45 went on sale for under $300, I snapped it up as relatively cheap insurance.

I don't want to tempt fate here, but my 16-50 is two years old and I've had no SDM problems. What is it that I like about the DA* 16-50 over the 16-45? Primarily f/2.8 and weather resistance... but it's also sharper in some sections of the shared zoom range. Still, the 16-45 has been a heck of a bargain as an upgrade over the kit lens for a number of years.
06-13-2010, 09:59 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Biro Quote
Has anyone worked with both the DA 15 Limited and the DA* 16-50? If so, can you relate some real-world advantages of this particular prime over this particular zoom other than size and weight?
I own the DA*16-50, have owned the DA 16-45, and am trying the DA15 out this week (rental)

First thing to note is that 15 mm is just about the right amount of wideness. I haven't really run into a situation yet where I wished it was any wider, whereas I sometimes wish this at 16 mm. The DA15 is just excellent when it comes to flare and distortion control. I really think the lens was specifically designed as an outdoors/landscape lens.

I'd give the DA15 the edge over the DA16-45 at the wide end due to the DA15's lack of chromatic aberrations and of course the DA15's tiny size. The DA16-45 does perform pretty well at 16 mm though, considering it is a prosumer zoom.

Against the DA*16-50, the DA15 performs much better in terms of distortions and lack of vignetting. On the other hand, the DA*16-50 has much better bokeh and the f/2.8 is essential indoors. I'd also give the DA15 the edge in terms of focus speed and close focus ability. I think I like the DA*16-50's color better, but that's just personal preference.

Basically, if you're going to use the DA15 as a walk around lens to supplement the DA*16-50 I'd recommend it. The DA*16-50 spanks it in poor light and of course in general versatility. But since the DA*16-50 is weakest at 16 mm it's actually a pretty good combo with the DA15.

I'd say the DA15's only glaring weakness is that it is a f/4 lens, but since that was done to assure the lens' portability that's a fair tradeoff if you plan to use it a lot outside.

Hope that helps.

Last edited by Urkeldaedalus; 06-13-2010 at 10:08 AM.
06-13-2010, 01:42 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Urkeldaedalus Quote
I own the DA*16-50, have owned the DA 16-45, and am trying the DA15 out this week (rental)

First thing to note is that 15 mm is just about the right amount of wideness. I haven't really run into a situation yet where I wished it was any wider, whereas I sometimes wish this at 16 mm. The DA15 is just excellent when it comes to flare and distortion control. I really think the lens was specifically designed as an outdoors/landscape lens.

I'd give the DA15 the edge over the DA16-45 at the wide end due to the DA15's lack of chromatic aberrations and of course the DA15's tiny size. The DA16-45 does perform pretty well at 16 mm though, considering it is a prosumer zoom.

Against the DA*16-50, the DA15 performs much better in terms of distortions and lack of vignetting. On the other hand, the DA*16-50 has much better bokeh and the f/2.8 is essential indoors. I'd also give the DA15 the edge in terms of focus speed and close focus ability. I think I like the DA*16-50's color better, but that's just personal preference.

Basically, if you're going to use the DA15 as a walk around lens to supplement the DA*16-50 I'd recommend it. The DA*16-50 spanks it in poor light and of course in general versatility. But since the DA*16-50 is weakest at 16 mm it's actually a pretty good combo with the DA15.

I'd say the DA15's only glaring weakness is that it is a f/4 lens, but since that was done to assure the lens' portability that's a fair tradeoff if you plan to use it a lot outside.

Hope that helps.
Yes, that does help very much. Thank you Urkeldaedalus, that's exactly the kind of feedback I was looking for. And thanks to everyone else as well. I can feel the power of the DA 15 taking control already.
06-13-2010, 07:51 PM   #12
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Urkeldaedalus, here are other thanks for the quick but excellent comparative assessment of the three lenses. I have the 16-45, and I am eying the DA 15mm for an eventual future purchase, while wondering whether I should not upgrade to the 16-50mm. I consider the Sigma 10-20mm as well, but I think I'd rather have a light prime with me, all the more since I don't see myself shooting much below 15mm... Even if I haven't tried it the 15mm seems to have, as you said, 'the right amount of wideness'.

Last edited by causey; 06-14-2010 at 04:14 AM.
06-13-2010, 09:44 PM   #13
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I just got a DA 17-70mm so the last thing I needed to find out is the 15 ltd is $499 shipped.
06-13-2010, 09:48 PM   #14
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I have a Sigma 10~20 and a DA15. I'm not willing to part with either. I've been in situations where 15mm wasn't quite enough; I suppose the same thing could be said for 12mm too, but the DA15 is a very special lens.
06-14-2010, 04:21 AM   #15
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Yesterday I learned about the new Sigma 8-16mm. Photozone has a glowing (4 stars) review of it (in Canon mount)...
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