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08-19-2007, 01:01 AM   #1
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Pentax SMC 3,5/15mm?

Good morning Pentax world,

just a short question from a Pentax newbie please:
Whats up with the Pentax SMC 3,5 15mm?

I just use Pentax K 10D / Pentax FA 31mm f1.8 / Pentax FA 77mm f1.8.

Now I´m looking for a wide-angle lens. I think about the DA 21. The lense should be used for traveling/landscape photography.

Now someone offers me a Pentax SMC 3,5/15mm in good condition. It would cost me the same as a used DA 21.

Can I use the SMC 3,5/15mm on my K10D?
Is it a good lense, possibly better than the DA21?
What do you think is a fair price for an slightly used SMC 3,5/15mm?

Best,
Rainer

08-19-2007, 02:08 AM   #2
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AFAIK they're regarded as one of the best wideangle lenses of all time, mainly for the lack of distortion for the focal length I think? Not so impressive on digital (22.5mm effective focal length), they're fairly big, front element would be a bastard to protect, etc. They go for huge money on Ebay though, think I saw one for US$900.
08-19-2007, 02:53 AM   #3
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Depends on how much is that, but seems like you like to shoot in small lenses, so I think DA 21 would be perfect fit into your collections.
I bought a new Sigma EX DG 14mm F2.8 brand new here in the land of Oz for $500, which is still cheaper than the old Pentax 15mm or even FA 14mm lens.

There is one for sale in *bay (sigma) for $500 now I think. You won't be dissappointed with it, but yah, protecting that lens is sometimes a worry.
08-19-2007, 03:58 AM   #4
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Yes, at the moment I think the DA21 is a nice little beauty for my small bag with the two FAs.

Rainer

08-19-2007, 05:27 AM   #5
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Another very popular option in the 15-16mm FL range is the Zenitar 16mm f2.8 FE. It should run you less than US$150 including shipping from Russia.

It's build is a bit crude, but is built like the proverbial tank. Optically it is actually a pretty good lens, especially if you stop it down a bit. If you do not like the fish eye effect, you can defish it pretty easily in software.

I owned one and used it quite a bit until I replaced it with the DA10-17.
08-19-2007, 05:34 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcjm78 Quote
I bought a new Sigma EX DG 14mm F2.8 brand new here in the land of Oz for $500
Where?!?!? Cheapest I can find is $1,378, the Pentax can be found for $883.

Last edited by SupremeMoFo; 08-19-2007 at 05:41 AM.
08-22-2007, 05:35 PM   #7
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Pentax SMC 3,5/15mm

There are two versions of this lens that you may come across:

SMC PENTAX 1:3.5/15, and
smc PENTAX-A 1:3.5 15mm.

The optics are identical, but the "A" version will work properly with the metering on the crippled KAF2 mounts on Pentax digital SLR cameras.

A fair (as in the going price) for the "K" version in pristine condition is around US$900. The "A" version can go for around US$1200 - again, pristine condition.

There is a very early version that used an aspherical element, but it's highly unlikely that you'll see one of them.

This lens was designed jointly with Contax which has/had a (nearly) identical version. It's extremely sharp, contrasty and distortion free - for a full frame (24x36) lens of this focal length. I own both and the "A" version seems to have better flair characteristics than the "K" version. Keep direct sunlight off the front element unless you're expressly going for the flare affect.

See Bojidar Dimitrov's Pentax K-Mount Equipment Page for more info on this lens and for anything else K-mount.

Regards,
Bob...
08-27-2007, 01:43 PM   #8
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The 3.5/15 is a gem. Sharp, contrasty and very (!) prone to flare, despite SMC. This is the only shorcoming I so far discovered. The flaring is even worse, than with my Sigma 15-30, which is hated by many for its flaring...

Nevertheless I love the 3,5/15 (I have the K-version, non A), because of its sharpness and contrast even fully open or only slightly stepped down. Due to its enormous depth of field I usually pre-set the focus, which allows even faster working, than with AF. The lack of A-compatibility is not really a problem with such a wide lens, as you usually would meter manually anyway.

One word to rectilinear. Yes, the 3.5/15 is a rectilinear lens (a very real difference compared to the 2.8/16 Pentax fish-eye), but nevertheless it shows obvious barrell distortion. That is, I guess, unavoidable with a lens like that. Of course this can easily be rectified in Photoshop...

If you can live with the added weight and bulk (compared to the pancakes), you can't go wrong with this lens, especially if you get it for such a low price, as you indicated.

Originally this lens was designed by a Zeiss optical designer, who computed a similar lens for Zeiss. Pentax improved the original design in the first series of the lens, when they added a aspherical lens. At that time, this was a courageous step, as producing aspherical lenses was very expensive. Later Pentax changed the design back to the original computation (that is my assumption) and used all spherical lenses (just like Zeiss, so it shouldn't be too bad...) for the rest of the production cycle.

Ben

08-27-2007, 03:51 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by TKH Quote

Can I use the SMC 3,5/15mm on my K10D?
Is it a good lense, possibly better than the DA21?
What do you think is a fair price for an slightly used SMC 3,5/15mm?
The SMC 15mm will work on the K10D, but with the limitations that apply to all K and M type lenses: No auto focus, no auto exposure, manual mode only with "green button" metering. Read the manual for details.

The DA 21mm has a much narrower field of view, but it is made for the DSLR and supports all of the features. The 15mm is an ultra-wide. You will have to decide if you want a "normal" wide like the 21mm, or an ultra-wide. The best choice for an ultra-wide for the K10D would be the DA 14mm f/2.8 or the DA 12-24mm f/4 zoom.
08-27-2007, 04:38 PM   #10
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i covet the 12-24. just my 2¢
08-27-2007, 04:49 PM   #11
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Hi Rainer,

I have both the K and the A versions of the 15mm lens, and they are both fabulous to use on film bodies! I would not recommend to K version for a DSLR (although it is compatible), however, because of the amount of trouble there would be involved in metering.

The two lenses combined cost me $1100- the A is in perfect condition, and the K is like new-.

Adam
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08-27-2007, 10:36 PM   #12
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Thanks a lot for all the nice answeres.

I just bought the DA21 from member scribble for a good price. The reason was the weight and bulk from 3,5/15mm and 2.8/14mm. I think that now with the DA21 and the FA 31 and 77 I have a small but very good equipment for all my wishes.


Sorry to say that the three weeks young K10D is defect. When I take a pic of a window for example and I put the camera on a tripod and take aim on the exact vertical lines of the window with the lines of the viewer and the lines of the focus screen LL80 - the pics have all tip to the right side:



My start into Pentax using is mixed. The Fa lenses are nearly perfect. The K10D seems to be a great camera. But in the first week the grip ribbon cover on the right backside goes up, and in the third week the camera takes crooked images.

I phoned yesterday with Pentax in Hamburg and now I have a date with a technichen in three hours.

Best,
Rainer
10-29-2007, 07:14 PM   #13
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I was fortunate enough to have the rare 1st version Pentax SMC 15/3.5 with ONE aspherical element given to me. It came via Egypt and the UK. The giver had no idea what he had. There were only about 100 made. They go for $1200-1500

It's my favorite lens in my collection. I'm using it on an *ist DL camera with fabulous results. I'm amazed at the hand-held interior photos I've taken without a flash.
OMBRE
10-30-2007, 06:09 AM   #14
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I'm using the A version of the 15mm on my K10D body, but it works best well stopped down to F11 or16. The corner sharpness is not the best otherwise. And it’s very sensitive to flare; you can’t have any sunlight on the lens at all!! The SMC coating will not help you at all, but I love it anyway!
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