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03-07-2011, 09:58 PM   #1
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15mm Limited and 35mm Limited at a distance

I am gradually assembling lenses from my transition back to Pentax from Nikon and I have a question that I have not readily found the answer to.

Two lenses I am curious about are the 15mm Limited ( against the 14mm ), and the 35mm Macro compared to the ( 31mm Limited ).

My question is, how do these lenses compare to their counterpart when shooting stopped down for distant objects? Is there any comparison on how these lenses compare to each other in regards to sharpness/saturation/color when shooting say F/8-F/16 Near infinity/Far away subject as in Landscapes?

Thanks!

03-07-2011, 10:06 PM   #2
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I have the 15mm and use it most often between f-11 and f-14. Above that, you get some diffraction. It is the finest lens I've used in almost 40 years of shooting, and that includes some Zeiss glass. (Honestly don't know how the 14mm compares, but don't care.) I don't think it get any better than the 15mm.
I also have the 35mm macro Limited, and it is extremely sharp from macro though mid ranges, but doesn't do well at infinity. Some claim it does, but I tried to make it work and couldn't. It is designed as a close-focus lens and the sweet spot is 7.1. If you don't need macro and want to shoot a lot at infinity, the 31 would be a better choice. It, too, is hard to beat.
03-07-2011, 10:18 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
I have the 15mm and use it most often between f-11 and f-14. Above that, you get some diffraction. It is the finest lens I've used in almost 40 years of shooting, and that includes some Zeiss glass. (Honestly don't know how the 14mm compares, but don't care.) I don't think it get any better than the 15mm.
I also have the 35mm macro Limited, and it is extremely sharp from macro though mid ranges, but doesn't do well at infinity. Some claim it does, but I tried to make it work and couldn't. It is designed as a close-focus lens and the sweet spot is 7.1. If you don't need macro and want to shoot a lot at infinity, the 31 would be a better choice. It, too, is hard to beat.
The entire time I've owned the 15 my K-7 has been out for repairs so I can't comment on it. However, I will agree with Mr. Kruger here on the 35-- it excels for macro, close focus, and mid range photography, but I find it pretty underwhelming at infinity, for whatever reason.
03-07-2011, 11:05 PM   #4
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Buy the 35 if you want a macro.

Buy the 31 if you want a wide-angle with portrait rendering (really beautiful, but not built for killer sharpness, or at least, that's not the main selling point of the 31).

If you want long-focus sharpness, buy the FA 43 or DA 40. Both are crazy sharp stopped down (the FA 43 is sharper).

For wide angles, the DA 15 is crazy sharp, but about equally sharp to the zoom (12-24). If you could see yourself doing a lot of wide angle work, the zoom might be your best bet.

03-07-2011, 11:44 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ron Kruger Quote
I have the 15mm and use it most often between f-11 and f-14. Above that, you get some diffraction. It is the finest lens I've used in almost 40 years of shooting, and that includes some Zeiss glass. (Honestly don't know how the 14mm compares, but don't care.) I don't think it get any better than the 15mm.
No other lens I have gives the beautifully saturated colors of the DA15. I usually like faster glass (which I realize is different from what you're looking for) but the image rendering on the DA15 is so outstanding I never even give the slower speed a second thought.

I've only briefly tried the DA35/2.8 macro, but based on my experience with other lenses I own (or have owned) I'd say not only the FA31, but also others would be better here. The K28/3.5, FA28/2.8 AL, or FA35/2 (or by extension the DA35/2.4) would probably be better choices as well. Admittedly I don't usually shoot as stopped down as you will be, but these are all worthy lenses. In your position I'd go straight for the DA15 plus the DA35/2.4 or one of the 28s, and save the rest of my money until I was sure I wanted the FA31. I think it has the most unique rendering of any of my lenses - which is usually good but is probably not the lens for everybody.

In fact, you might take the money you save and get an FA43 with it - great colors somewhat similar to the DA15. The FA43, K28/3.5, and DA15 would make a nice combo with fairly similar color rendering. The A24/2.8 and FA20/2.8 are also quite worthy candidates here as well.

Last edited by DSims; 03-07-2011 at 11:53 PM.
03-07-2011, 11:54 PM   #6
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The 35mm ltd has so little focus throw for distances greater than 2 ft that it can be difficult to manually focus. My camera (K200D) has a very difficult time auto-focusing that lens as well, and as a consequence I miss many, many shots. So beyond the sharpness/saturation/color characteristics you're interested in I highly recommend you keep other limitations in mind. All in all I'm disappointed with my 35mm ltd and wish I'd held out for a 31mm (and a considerably cheaper macro).
08-20-2011, 11:39 AM   #7
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It would be very strange if the macro lens would have a chance at the inifinity against 31Ltd, which is just great inifinity performer.
The 15Ltd is not very good at the infinity too, it's the pain of both 15 and 21 ltds.
08-20-2011, 12:16 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emacs Quote
The 15Ltd is not very good at the infinity too, it's the pain of both 15 and 21 ltds.
I can say I very much disagree with this...

08-20-2011, 12:35 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I can say I very much disagree with this...
Ditto, as far as the 15 is concerned. I don't have the 21, yet.

My 18-55, OTOH, struggles at infinity.
08-20-2011, 02:08 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Buy the 35 if you want a macro.

Buy the 31 if you want a wide-angle with portrait rendering (really beautiful, but not built for killer sharpness, or at least, that's not the main selling point of the 31).
.
I disagree. The 31 Limited is the sharpest Pentax wide-angle I've ever used (and I have tried quite a lot of them)
08-20-2011, 10:46 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I can say I very much disagree with this...
This disagreement will only mean you didn't try great infinity performers, such as 77Ltd, 31Ltd, Distagon 21, etc.
08-20-2011, 10:54 PM   #12
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Currently own both the 15mm and the 35mm Macro.

The 15mm is very fun to use, so it brings out the creativity in me.

The 35mm is very sharp and fundamentally sound, so it brings out the technical side in me.

Both are amazing lenses and you will not be disappointed.
08-21-2011, 12:59 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eagle_Friends Quote
Currently own both the 15mm and the 35mm Macro.

The 15mm is very fun to use, so it brings out the creativity in me.

The 35mm is very sharp and fundamentally sound, so it brings out the technical side in me.

Both are amazing lenses and you will not be disappointed.
The question was about infinity performance, not close shots.
08-21-2011, 07:00 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Emacs Quote
This disagreement will only mean you didn't try great infinity performers, such as 77Ltd
I owned the FA 77 for some time. It was good at infinity, but not better than my DA 15 when compared at *similar zooms*.

Anytime I find myself thinking that the DA 15 is soft, it is because I have zoomed in so aggressively that I can see the effect of each individual pixel. I think, since it is a wide angle, it encourages more zooming than other lenses. The DA 15 does very well at infinity. In my experience, the same as the FA 77.

PS - the FA 77 is a great lens, but I would not buy it for infinity. It becomes special at portrait to medium focusing distances (where you can get subjects to pop). At infinity it is really no different from the DA 70.
08-21-2011, 01:42 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I owned the FA 77 for some time. It was good at infinity, but not better than my DA 15 when compared at *similar zooms*.

Anytime I find myself thinking that the DA 15 is soft, it is because I have zoomed in so aggressively that I can see the effect of each individual pixel. I think, since it is a wide angle, it encourages more zooming than other lenses. The DA 15 does very well at infinity. In my experience, the same as the FA 77.

PS - the FA 77 is a great lens, but I would not buy it for infinity. It becomes special at portrait to medium focusing distances (where you can get subjects to pop). At infinity it is really no different from the DA 70.
LOL
I haven't seen such an epic BS at one place for a long time
At the first, the 77 is universal telephoto (unlike FA* 85, which is actually is poor infinity performer, it's even worse in this area than both 15Ltd and 21Ltd). I don't know, may be you used it only wide open, but stopped down (4-5.6 and more tight) it's razor sharp at infinity.
At the second, I can compare it with two outstanding wides: 31Ltd and Distagon 21 and I must say the 15Ltd is nowhere near as good.
At the third: I like all my lenses, I like the 15Ltd too, it's a nice lens, it's a joy to use it, but it's very limited: it reaches good figures only at f8.
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