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05-07-2012, 02:23 AM   #1
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Pentax 12-24 or 15mm?

What would be wise....buying a 12-24 or a 15mm?
Quality is the main goal and I don't like fisheye (yet).
Perhaps a thirdparty lens?

05-07-2012, 04:17 AM   #2
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I haven't owned the 15mm, or technically the Pentax 12-24, but I have owned the Tokina 12-24 which by all accounts is a VERY close cousin. The 12-24 is a fine lens, and I'm sure you'd love it.
05-07-2012, 04:46 AM   #3
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Good Morning,

This is an age old question here - especially as it applies to wide angle, Primes vs. Zooms. The upside is, regardless of your decision, it is difficult to go wrong here. Both lenses are wonderful. They each have their own characteristics. I have had the 12-24 for well over 3 years and its a wonderful lens, very sharp, good contrast, excellent IQ. It is somewhat large, and does have a large lens up front. It has been said that it is like a "bag of primes". I do not have the 15 nor have I used it. Its a prime, and thus smaller and lighter than the 12-24. It has been reviewed here and elsewhere as being as having at least the same sharpness, contrast and IQ.

Both lenses are normal or rectilinear lenses - i.e., they are not fisheye lenses. They both have the same aperture - f4.

Having not used the 15, I would say that since it is a prime (and a limited lens), it would have an edge with sharpness, contrast, IQ. The 12-24 excels in sharpness, contrast and IQ in the wider focal lengths (12-18mm) and has a slight drop off as it hits 24mm. You are essentially trading size, weight, and the qualities of a prime lens against the versatility of a zoom.

The one major complaint that folks have when evaluating the 12-24 is its range. It does not go down to 10mm or 8mm. Sigma and Tamron have 10-20 and or 10-24 lenses, and Sigma has the 8-16 lens. Another tradeoff in terms of the focal length range is the associated distortion that comes along with the wider focal lengths. All wide angle lenses have distortion. The nature of a wide angle lens is to pull additional view in to the lens. In doing this, the center is pushed back and additional view is pulled in to view along the edges. Thus, you are going to see distortion along the edges and especially in the corners. I choose the 12-24 because it controls this distortion very well - as good or better than just about any other lens in this range of focal lengths. The forum did a comparison across the offerings from Pentax, Sigma and Tamron.The conclusion was that the Sigma has the least barrel distortion, vignetting, chromatic aberration, and is reasonably sharp.

I will add one last observation here. The 12-24 is and has been one of my favorite lenses. I shoot a lot with it. That said, a couple of years ago, I acquired a 31 Ltd. The 31 Ltd blew it away in terms of IQ and sharpness. This is to be expected, because when using the 12-24 (or any wide angle), each pixel of the sensor needs to record a lot more information or view, when compared against a narrower lens like the 31 Ltd. I was startled to some degree, especially when I stitched frames of the 31 Ltd together, so as to create the same wide field of view. The 15 is going to suffer from the same problem - i.e., its a wide angle lens that pulls a lot of view into a fixed sensor size (regardless of the size of the sensor). That is one reason that you will find just about all landscapes published - are taken with lenses in the 24, 28, 30mm range. These lenses are about as wide as you can go with the least (or no) inherent distortion.

Also have you looked at the sample threads for each of the lenses?I would also do some searching on the Forum as this question has been asked quite a bit over the last couple of years, since the 15 Ltd has come out.

Last edited by interested_observer; 05-07-2012 at 05:09 AM.
05-07-2012, 04:54 AM   #4
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I have used both lenses. I kept the DA 15. The size was just too convenient.

It comes down to how often you use wide angle. I don't use it as often. If I were someone who shot a lot of wide angle photos, I would have gone for the 12-24.

So for me, my travel kit always has 2 cameras. I take the small K2000 with the DA 15 as my wide angle kit and usually the tamron 28-75 or Pentax 50-135 on the K5 depending on what I expect to be shooting.

05-07-2012, 06:00 AM   #5
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I think it's very personal and depending on the needs. I'm still contemplating my ultra-wide angle choice.

For architecture (think cathedrals and castles in France and Germany) my choice will be a zoom because of it's flexibility.
For landscapes, UWAs are not my choice.
05-07-2012, 06:05 AM   #6
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I like the flexibility of a zoom, but would also like a very good image quality.
And than of course the price....
I would like to match the IQ of my Sigma 50mm 1.4
05-07-2012, 06:13 AM   #7
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If you want a good++ non-cool looking yet awesome WA, consider the F 28/2.8 . It's out of production, but if you're patient and vigilant, a good used one will turn up at a reasonable price. Learn to shoot panorama style, then stitch the results.

I have the 15, 12-24, 10-17 and 28. If you feel a need for a discrete dedicated WA, pick the 15. Looking for a fun WA, choose the 10-17 (with some practice, It's 'fishy-ness' is controllable and it's not too fishy at 17). Want hardcore WA, go 12-24, but it's an in-your-face lens, so be prepared for the "Man, that's some chunk of glass on the front of your camera!" comments from strangers. The 10-17 and 15 are always in my camera bag, frequently the 28, too.

None of these choices are losers and the 28 is a real sleeper that can be a bargain. Each has a personality and learning curve, so be prepared to spend some quality time with your pick...


Last edited by Michaelina2; 05-07-2012 at 08:23 AM.
05-07-2012, 07:10 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Toine63 Quote
I like the flexibility of a zoom, but would also like a very good image quality.
And than of course the price....
I would like to match the IQ of my Sigma 50mm 1.4
If you are absolutely serious about matching the IQ of your Sigma 50/1.4, then you will probably be disappointed.

What is IQ? According to...
image quality

Definition: Assessment or subjective measure of how accurately or fully an image of a subject represents that subject. * For a critical observer, it is based on e.g. the brightness and evenness of illumination, contrast, resolution, geometry, colour fidelity and colour discrimination of an observed image. * It can be affected by e.g. lens aberrations, diffraction and reflection effects, pollutants such as dust and scratches on the lens and in the atmosphere, effects of heat on detectors, motion of subject or optical system.

Crucially inexact - For such a vital subject as image quality, it is curious there is no universally applicable precise way of measuring it. But there can be none: quality is just too slippery. The most objective measure is MTF which gives a good measure of the sharpness (contrast related to resolution) of an image but ignores geometry of the image, cannot fully account for many other factors -- and tests only in white light.
Your Sigma 50/1.4 has a field of view of
FOV (horizontal) (degrees): 27
FOV (vertical) (degrees): 18.2
FOV (diagonal) (degrees): 32.2
The 15 Ltd has a field of view of
FOV (horizontal) (degrees): 77.3
FOV (vertical) (degrees): 56.1
FOV (diagonal) (degrees): 87.7
So, each pixel will be representing about 9 times (3 times in the vertical and an additional 3 times in the horizontal) as much area when the 15 Ltd is mounted as when the 50mm is mounted on the camera body. On a APS-c sensor, the 50mm lens is a mild telephoto. In that each pixel represents such a large difference in area, the viewers perception of the image is going to be quite different. That is just the physical laws of optics at work here. If you want the same IQ as your 50/1.4, then all you need to do is to take 16 images and stitch them together (4 rows of 4 images - accounting for about 20% overlap in both the vertical as well as the horizontal) .

The question comes down to what do you really want. As sterretje posted - its all personal. What it appears you want is the best IQ available in a wide angle lens. In absolute terms, the 15 Ltd will have the best - it is a limited prime. The 12-24 will closely follow. As posted previously in the reviews, between the 12-24, Sigma was reviewed to be the best, and you would need to go compare the images and read the review comparisons to see what the specific differences were.

I have the 10-17, 12-24, 16-45, 25, 28 and 31 to cover wide angles. Each has their place. Each complements each other. The zooms take in a very wide swath of view. The primes have a narrower view, but are with out the distortion. Actually I only need the 31, but the 25 and 28 are a different post - but I have kept all of them.

hope that helps....

Last edited by interested_observer; 05-07-2012 at 07:19 AM.
05-07-2012, 08:28 AM   #9

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QuoteOriginally posted by Toine63 Quote
I like the flexibility of a zoom, but would also like a very good image quality.
Both lenses provide very good image quality. I found the DA 15 to be slightly better than the DA 12-24. The DA 15 is sharper in the center, with a tad more contrast, and produces images of astonishing clarity.

While the DA 12-24 is obviously more versatile than the DA 15, I found that it wasn't versatile enough for my purposes. It tended to stay on my camera less than the DA 15 and my M 20/4, so I replaced it with the DA 16-45.

Which lens to get really depends on shooting priorities and styles, and on what other glass you have. If you already have a prime in the 20 to 24 range, or a DA 16-45/50, the DA 15 may be the better choice.
05-07-2012, 08:45 AM   #10
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I found i often didn't carry my Sigma 10-20 because of its size. A lens does you no good if you're not carrying it. I'd recommend the DA15, although i don't have it myself.
05-07-2012, 08:58 AM   #11
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I truly love my sigma 8-16..and been playing a lot before buying it with a 10-20...great lenses with their respective limitations (the two different versions of the 10-20 have different flaws). Look for prices, look the samples, and decide if you're willing to live with the distorsions/softness/etc that come with each lens.
I picked the 8-16 because i just don't get tired of WIDDDEEEEEE, can't get enough so 15mm was a bit tight for me, the sigma gave me 15 and all the way down to 8mm.
Good luck.
05-07-2012, 09:07 AM   #12
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The 15mm is small, beautiful, has Pixie Dust, low distortion and great central sharpness. I do not, however, think it has sharper edge to edge than the DA12-24mm. Perhaps better central sharpness and microcontrast, and of course much better CA and flare resistance.

I think that in IQ terms the two lenses are probably a wash, and your decision comes down to whether you want a small cute prime, or a more flexible but larger zoom.
05-07-2012, 09:28 AM   #13
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is the pentax branded 28mm the same as the Bell and Howell one?

That seemed a lot more easy to use and aesphetically pleasing, at the same max aperture...
05-07-2012, 11:13 AM   #14
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I had the 15mm and sold it to buy the 12-24.
If edge to edge sharpness is important to you, the 12-24 is your best choice.
The 15mm suffers from field curvature; where it's sharp, it's very sharp, but the zone of sharpness is curved. So it's not so good for in-focus foreground to background type pictures.
05-07-2012, 11:18 AM   #15
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Thank you all so far!
The choice for my next lens will not be easy.
I believe there are a lot of good lenses and I don't really know what I miss untill I use a new lens.
I do know that I would like to have a good wide angle lens. Today I read about the Samyang 14mm. Has good references and is VERY cheap!
Maybe lens rental is a good idea......

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