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03-07-2011, 07:19 PM   #1
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Da 15 difficult?

Hey all,

I have been reading the recent posts on wide angle lenses. I notice that a few people are saying that the Da 15 limited, although spectacular, is a difficult lens to use. They seem to suggest that it takes considerable skill to get many of the shots posted in the da 15 limited 'controls my mind' thread.

I am very interested in getting the da 15 (it has indeed controlled my mind). When compared with the da 21 limited, does it take more skill to use the da15 correctly?

I hope I make sense, because I am now teetering on the fence between the 15 and 21. I will likely be teetering for some time because my wife holds the checkbook.

Thanks for your input

03-07-2011, 07:40 PM   #2
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I think wide angles in general are difficult, because the frame is so wide. You have to be very aware of what's included in the frame, and work harder to isolate your subject. It's very easy to get flat, bland, boring pictures. But as evidenced in the DA15 thread, when done well the effects can be awesome.
03-07-2011, 07:51 PM   #3
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Speaking more generally about ultrawide photography, composition becomes more critical because near-far relationships are exaggerated by the large angle of view. This means that it's very easy to have a very boring foreground, with a tiny subject in the middle. As a result, you need to consciously think about what you put in the foreground and how it relates the to background. You often see this referred to as "leading interest." It's really not that difficult to get used to. The best tips I can give you are:

1) Get closer to your subject
2) Play ("practice" sounds too much like work to me)

I've applied these two tips to take some very fun photos of my son at 2-years-old, where he's pushing a truck on the driveway. I pre-set the focus on the lens (wide-angle = huge DOF, so focus is less critical) and ran in front of him while I dangled the camera down has his chest level, blasting away in continuous bursts. Call it "spray and pray", if you want, but in 10 minutes (the limit of his attention span), I got 5-10 great shots and 2-3 real gems. I've also done the same with kids on slides and in swings.

Oh, and ultrawides can also be used for landscapes, interiors and architecture. Or, so I hear.
03-07-2011, 07:52 PM   #4
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IMO, it's hard at first, but once you get the hang of it, you can start to 'see' in that focal length, and then it gets pretty easy. Frankly I find the 15mm FL "easier" than 20 or 50mm now. (35mm is pretty 'easy' too.)

If you get the 15 and don't like the FL, you can always sell it for not much loss.

Another lens to consider is the DA 16-45 f/4, a lens that is very close to the 15 (sharpness, contrast, max aperture, widest FL.) It can be had for $250 or so used.

16-45, @ 16mm f/4


Good luck!

03-07-2011, 11:11 PM   #5
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It's a bit of a challenge to use properly. The 16-45 is a good idea - solid compromise for less than one ltd..!
03-07-2011, 11:46 PM   #6
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yes, but actually I love that the DA15Ltd is not compromise. If you are ready for the challenge it will force you to think about your shot, which helped me improving my skills.
03-08-2011, 01:22 AM   #7
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It's not as hard.
The hardest part is excluding elements in your image,
next is placement of the view point, any lines should be considered, how close to subject, which f-stop to get more DOF, need tripod?
next is composing and getting harder if you have people's face in it.

To view these images, you need to blow up to HDTV 50-60 inches and sit close.
or better a high resolution wide/large monitor. For print? the larger the better, and they fit just fine in the small hall way. The point is pulling the viewer closer and experience the scene.

Enjoy.
03-08-2011, 03:07 PM   #8
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I am in a similar situation to the OP; I find myself unable to choose between the 15 and 21. Since I don't have any experience with either focal length, I'm not sure if the 21 would be wide enough for what I'm picturing, or if the 15 would be too wide to be used very often. I've seen a lot of incredible images on the mind control thread, but I'm worried that I will be unable to channel the WA magic! Note: I have made up my mind to stick with one of these primes, as I feel that one of the draws of the Pentax system is the small, quality primes!

03-08-2011, 08:28 PM   #9
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15mm Takumar is my second lens, after the M50f1.2 which is my first lens. As for the crop factor, 21mm is wide but not ultra wide, 15mm is the better choice. I also have 12-24 and 8-16. Sometime a zoom is a better suited for all purpose, but they are bigger.
03-08-2011, 08:37 PM   #10
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It takes a little bit of practice to come to grips with it, but I wouldn't say it's particually "hard". As others have said, you just need to get up close to a good foreground point of interest and make sure your background is clean and adds context. Also be aware of the impact of pointing the lens above or under the horizon.

I love shooting with my 15, it's capable of the even more attention grabbing shots than a 21, but it's not as versatile. The 21 is the ultimate versatile pancake IMHO.
03-09-2011, 03:29 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
I love shooting with my 15, it's capable of the even more attention grabbing shots than a 21, but it's not as versatile. The 21 is the ultimate versatile pancake IMHO.
Shoot, this is what I was afraid of! Versatility is great in a prime, but so are eye-catching shots! Is the 21 wide enough for true WA shooting, or just wide-ish?
03-09-2011, 03:41 PM   #12
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The 10-17 is difficult (elbows and feet). The 15 is a piece of cake.
03-09-2011, 03:59 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by miltllama Quote
Shoot, this is what I was afraid of! Versatility is great in a prime, but so are eye-catching shots! Is the 21 wide enough for true WA shooting, or just wide-ish?
The 21 is not very wide at all, it's "wide normal" which is exactly what makes it so versatile. I have used the 21 to take panos when even the 15 wouldn't have been wide enough, but panos take much more PP effort and are not really suited to fast shooting or including many people in the shot.

Have a look through some sample galleries, I have examples of shots from both lenses in my sig, but searching through flickr or PPG will show many many examples from both.

Good luck, you really can't go wrong with either lens.

Should I even mention the DA 12-24 if you are torn between the 15 & 21?
03-09-2011, 04:14 PM - 1 Like   #14
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I didn't mean to put anyone off on the DA-15. I do remember someone posting that the DA-15 required a learning experience and used the word difficult. I then quoted that poster and validated his opinion on difficult.

Here's some useful tips about UWA's, the DA-15 is no more difficult than any UWA, but as a class they demand better composition to look right

10 Tips on Using a Wide Angle Lens | Views Infinitum

Focus is not as difficult compared to a wide or normal lens, but UWAs such as the 15 demand more composition skill as compared to normal or wide angles.

In that respect, using a DA-15 is a good educational experience. I don't have the DA-15 but a Sigma 10-20 for truth in advertising purposes. And i found the first 3 days with the 10-20 very frustrating. Now i like it a lot.

If you have some zoom like a DA 16-45. Keep it in the wide end for a day, look at your photos at the end of the day - compare them to the website i listed, and try to figure out why you don't like the results, if thats the case. After a coupla days, if you find UWA on a zoom to be too frustrating, you might reconsider buying a prime UWA like the DA-15. Frankly, i'd love to have the DA-15, its flare resistance appears to be phenomenal.

Best wishes, Phil
03-09-2011, 04:45 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Should I even mention the DA 12-24 if you are torn between the 15 & 21?
Fortunately, I've been able to more-or-less rule this out, based on it's size and weight. I tried it in a store at the same time as a 15, and the difference was enough for me to decide against the 12-24.

@philbaum, the widest I can go right now is 28mm, which is basically a normal length on APS-C, so I don't really have much experience with WA. I think I've decided to go with the 15 though, and learn a new style of composition! Thanks for that link, it had some good tips.
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