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11-09-2011, 10:01 PM   #1
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DA15 compared to Sony 16mm

Has anyone compared the DA15 to the sony 16mm F/2.8 pancake side by side? I would imagine the advantages of the Pentax are that its for a Pentax (DSLR), and that it has a built in hood, and is wider. But the Sony is less expensive, lighter, smaller, and 2x faster. Just curious

11-09-2011, 10:11 PM   #2
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On paper they are similar, but image quality, contrast, effectiveness of coatings, etc cannot be ignored. I would suspect the DA 15 is superior. The 15mm is Pentax Limited series, which is built to a high standard with all metal body and very tight tolerances, whereas the Sony is merely a kit lens.
I haven't used either lens extensively, but the 15mm has lots of fans. Go search through flickr or pbase and compare images from the lenses.

DA 15 images on Flickr: Flickriver: Photos taken with Pentax smc P-DA 15mm F4.0 ED AL lens
Sony 16 images on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/search/?s=int&ss=2&w=all&q=nex+16mm&m=text
11-09-2011, 10:42 PM   #3
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I haven't compared the two but the 15 Ltd is a highly valued lens amongst Pentaxians and has quickly become one of my most used and most loved lenses, it's just wonderful (also gives the most gorgeous starbursts) !

Here's one thread of mine taken with the 15 Ltd https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/post-your-photos/162052-cityscape-worlds-...gs-almost.html and another here on PF dedicated to the lens https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/86234-15mm-limited-controls-my-mind-club.html.

Last edited by Frogfish; 11-09-2011 at 10:56 PM.
11-09-2011, 10:44 PM   #4
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Check photozone:

Sony E 16mm f/2.8 (Sony NEX) - Review / Lens Test Report

Pentax SMC-DA 15mm f/4 AL ED Limited - Review / Test Report

Sony has soft corners and more CA - 1.5 stars optically vs. 3.5 for the DA15

11-09-2011, 10:57 PM   #5
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No contest, the DA 15mm is one of the most revered lens around here. The color, the contrast, the center sharpness, the all metal built quality, the flare control, they are all superb. I remember reading a statement from a member here, who used to shoot with high end leica lenses, that the 15mm has very leica-like quality and even became one of his favorite lenses. It is easy to look at numbers and determine which lens is better, but in practice, every little thing matters.

Oh and the Sony is actually only 1 stop faster.
11-09-2011, 11:14 PM   #6
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One stop = 2x more light(faster)
11-09-2011, 11:23 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by TOUGEFC Quote
One stop = 2x more light(faster)
Hmmm, I generally only hear the saying in terms of stops. Guess 2x works too.... i think...
11-10-2011, 12:22 AM   #8
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I have both and at a time did an unscientific test, just trying to shoot same things with DA15 on K-x and SEL16 on NEX-5. I didn't (and still don't) have K adapter that can change DA lens aperture so I couldn't do both lens on NEX-5 only, but K-x and NEX-5 presumably use the same sensor. Outdoor, stop down to F8, I couldn't really tell the difference. Except that, DA15 creates beautiful starburst while SEL16 starburst is awful. I will try to upload the photos tonight if I can find them.

During 1 year experience I found sometimes SEL16 is soft in indoor wide open, but on other ocassions I found it very sharp. The softness could be related to the DOF as it's 2.8 compare to F4 of DA15 and also the lack of Image Stabilization. With K-x and DA15 I never found similar softness, unless I click shutter too soon and the IS wasn't ready (very rarely).

11-10-2011, 02:23 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by sajah Quote
K-x and NEX-5 presumably use the same sensor. .
Actually they don't. The Kx/Kr use a 12.4 MP sensor versus the 14.2 MP sensor in the NEX 5 / 16.1(NEX 5n) / 16.3 (K5) MP sensor. If the Kx plus 15 Ltd was matching or ahead of the the NEX 5 plus 16mm then there would be a still further incremental performance increase on the K5 (the OP doesn't say which camera he has).
11-10-2011, 03:46 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by sajah Quote
I have both and at a time did an unscientific test, just trying to shoot same things with DA15 on K-x and SEL16 on NEX-5. I didn't (and still don't) have K adapter that can change DA lens aperture so I couldn't do both lens on NEX-5 only, but K-x and NEX-5 presumably use the same sensor. Outdoor, stop down to F8, I couldn't really tell the difference. Except that, DA15 creates beautiful starburst while SEL16 starburst is awful. I will try to upload the photos tonight if I can find them.

During 1 year experience I found sometimes SEL16 is soft in indoor wide open, but on other ocassions I found it very sharp. The softness could be related to the DOF as it's 2.8 compare to F4 of DA15 and also the lack of Image Stabilization. With K-x and DA15 I never found similar softness, unless I click shutter too soon and the IS wasn't ready (very rarely).
I guess the built in image stabilization should equalize out the 1 stop difference. The reviews say neither lens can be used wide open for landscapes due to soft corners, but that both have sharp centers wide open, and the Sony suffers a little bit more, due to soft corners, even stopped down. I was mostly curious, because Pentaxians love their DA15, but the Sony lens is not as highly regarded. Its hard for me to justify the $500+ dollar price tag, but the Pentax flare resistance and star bursts seem really cool. The size of the DA15 would be greatly preferable to the 16-45mm. For wide angle, I prefer a smaller lens, (even though I greatly appreciate the Tamron 28-75mm, and the DA55-300mm). And then sometimes I think I should just get a Nikon P300 (24-100mm) to throw in the bag, except that it has no viewfinder.
11-10-2011, 03:47 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
Actually they don't. The Kx/Kr use a 12.4 MP sensor versus the 14.2 MP sensor in the NEX 5 / 16.1(NEX 5n) / 16.3 (K5) MP sensor. If the Kx plus 15 Ltd was matching or ahead of the the NEX 5 plus 16mm then there would be a still further incremental performance increase on the K5 (the OP doesn't say which camera he has).
Aha, thanks for the correction. Anyhow as it turned out I didn't use K-x with DA15 when I did the comparison, it was a K20D, sorry bout that (just realized I didn't have a K-x at the time). Picts will follow soon.
11-10-2011, 04:01 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by sajah Quote
Aha, thanks for the correction. Anyhow as it turned out I didn't use K-x with DA15 when I did the comparison, it was a K20D, sorry bout that (just realized I didn't have a K-x at the time). Picts will follow soon.
Then that was the old 14.6MP Samsung sensor .... it's quite a jump to the newer Sony sensors in the Kx/Kr/K5.
11-10-2011, 04:30 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Frogfish Quote
Then that was the old 14.6MP Samsung sensor .... it's quite a jump to the newer Sony sensors in the Kx/Kr/K5.
Yeah..

I uploaded the photos to a Picasa album, full size images are downloadable. I didn't use tripod so the framings slightly different and I was using Av so the metering (matrix/multi-segment) also differ, since my K20D tend to underexposed I used my usual +0.3 EC and use the same EC with the NEX, not knowing that it has different behaviour, so the NEX images tend to overexpose. The sensors were different sensor too so the colors also differ, but all were taken in JPG with default setting IIRC. Told you it wasn't scientific So draw (or draw not) your own conclusion :ugh:
11-10-2011, 06:25 AM   #14
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Metering aside, there is a clear winner and it ain't sony. Starburst on the 16mm is awful, Bokeh is smeared and the contrast is practically non-existent.
11-10-2011, 06:45 AM   #15
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To be honest at f8 + both lenses look pretty sharp. Both have fairly soft edges at max. aperture, but that's a stop larger for the 16mm, so you'd expect it to be worse. If I was a NEX owner I'd definitely buy this lens. I am a Pentax user so I got the DA15, and I think it's superior - it certainly haas a lot more 'class' - but the NEX and 16mm costs less than the DA15mm alone in the UK!
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