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08-27-2012, 03:57 PM   #1
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Trying to decide between DA 15 Limited & Sigma 10-20/4-5.6

Im trying to decide on a wide angle lens for situations when 17mm on my Tamron 17-50/2.8 isn't quite wide enough.

I find that if I'm shooting mostly outdoors, the 17-50 is my go-to lens. My DA 35/2.4 is sharper for sure, but the 17-50 is good enough at f/3.5 that I go for the more versatile zoom. If I'll be inside though I grab the DA 35/2.4 instead of the 17-50, since at f/2.4 it's noticeably better than f/2.8 on the zoom. Either way I also take along my FA 50/1.4 for portraits or other shallow-DOF opportunities.

The 15 Limited is nice and small, and would make quite a nice combo with my DA35 and FA50. Plus I should be able to share filters among all 3 (plus my F 70-210/4-5.6). I could easily fit the DA15, choice of 17-50 or DA35, and FA50/1.4 in my smallest camera bag.

But...15mm is not much wider than my 17-50. So the Sigma 10-20 covers a much wider angle than the 15 Limited, but it's also a lot bigger & heavier.

Somebody tilt the balance for me!

08-27-2012, 04:42 PM   #2
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some balance tilting can be found here...

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/86234-15mm-limited-controls-my-mind-club.html
08-27-2012, 04:44 PM   #3
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below about 24mm, IMHO there are significant differences with every mm of focal length. I have a 10-17mm FE, a 14mm lens, a 12-24mm, and the DA*16-50. All are different lenses and have different performance. Even with all of those, my next lens will be the DA15limited as besides it cool size, it has magic pixie dust in it that makes all images come out great (and I'm not kidding about that either). Read through the few posts here:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/lens-clubs/86234-15mm-limited-controls-my-mind-club.html
08-27-2012, 04:47 PM   #4
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Or read the Review of the 15 Limited here: Pentax-DA 15mm F4 Limited Review - Introduction - PentaxForums.com

It concludes:

"The Pentax 15mm Limited has an MSRP of $649.95, and this price applies in most countries outside of the US. Prior to April, 2012, this lens was priced at $509.95, but it has since gone up to $549.95, and as of June, 2012, we consider this the street price. This price is reasonable for a premium lens, though if you simply want a wider field of view than the kit lens, you may wish to consider the Tamon 10-24mm lens, which is cheaper and has acceptable image quality. You won't find a comparable lens in terms of size, however."

08-27-2012, 05:11 PM   #5
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If you want ultra wide the Sigma 8-16 is fantastic, it's rectilinear though it has some distortion, but very sharp and very wide. Not very fast though, if you need fast, the DA 15 limited is a no brainer. Scratch that last bit, I'm too tired to think straight, I'm thinking of the DA 14.

Last edited by maxfield_photo; 08-27-2012 at 06:04 PM.
08-27-2012, 05:16 PM   #6
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Samyang 14/2.8 is also an option -- seems well-regarded. I'm saving up for one of these UWAs -- will probably go for the 8-16, if not then the 10-20. But if going with a prime, I think I'd get the Samyang as MF is ok with me.
08-27-2012, 05:27 PM   #7
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Here I go again


Yes it's the Sigma 15 fisheye. Depending what and how you shoot it can look pretty normal - and it has plenty of noteworthy features.
But if fisheyes aren't in your search plan, then do continue; the two on your list are both excellent in their own way.

p.s. still rated 10/10 in the reviews here, I see...
08-27-2012, 05:47 PM   #8
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I guess to clarify why I'm looking at these two in particular, price is definitely a factor. The only other options I found at a similar cost are the Tamron 10-24 and Pentax DA 14/2.8, but those seem like not as good options.

The Tamron 10-24 is $20 more than the Sigma 10-20 but worse optically and the extra zoom range is moot since at those FLs I'd be using my 17-50 anyway.

The DA14 is a bit wider and faster than the 15 Limited which on paper is ideal. But it's also way bigger than the 15, costs $190 more, and not nearly as good optically at the same apertures.

So...figure $550 being my upper limit here.

Also, question for 15 Limited owners: how is it with a circular polarizer? I was looking at a 49mm anyway since I have 3 other lenses with 49mm threads. But the hood on the 15 looks like it might be weird with filters.

08-27-2012, 05:47 PM   #9
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I have both the 8-16 and the 15mm. I briefly tried the 10-20 but it wasn't for me.

When it comes down to it, it's the 15mm over the 8-16, no question, for me. The color and flare resistance are fantastic, IMO. It's my favorite lens.

This is going to sound silly but I just bought a 'spare', because Mrs. ElJamoquio and I always end up both wanting to use this lens.
08-27-2012, 06:41 PM   #10
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Is the lens for "work" or for "play"?

I consider my 10-20 a "work" lens. I use it to "soak up" as much information about a building as possible in a few pictures. Basically, it's a big time saver for my work - I can zoom in on screen and count bricks or find cracks in the walls, because it quickly records an enormous amount of detail: It's very sharp across the frame.
It's weakness is that it flares a lot when facing into the sun. It's quite a bit of work to use it, because of it's weight and having to avoid the sun appearing in frame, which can become impossible due to the huge angle it covers. Inside, you need to use an external flash, with a wide angle diffuser, for the same reason.

I want to get the 15 as a "play" lens (the fun of photography) and for travel.

As an aside, 15mm is "roughly equivalent" to the 25mm f/4 on the 645d and that's as wide and as fast as medium format users seem to require.
08-27-2012, 06:57 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by msatlas Quote
I guess to clarify why I'm looking at these two in particular, price is definitely a factor. The only other options I found at a similar cost are the Tamron 10-24 and Pentax DA 14/2.8, but those seem like not as good options.
...
The DA14 is a bit wider and faster than the 15 Limited which on paper is ideal. But it's also way bigger than the 15, costs $190 more, and not nearly as good optically at the same apertures.

So...figure $550 being my upper limit here.
Once more into the breach, then I'll leave the focus on your choices,
I paid $380 for the 15mm fisheye, and its field is wider than the DA14. Distorted yes, but wider! And it can be de-fished with software when that seems best, but of course then the extra-but-distorted field edges will revert to a DA15-size field. I was seeking a DA15 and just checking on used prices when I encountered the fisheye; it wasn't what I expected to run across but it spoke to me (and my wallet) and I'm very happy with it.

Good luck with your decision, and enjoy the extra breathing room the UW lenses afford!
08-27-2012, 07:35 PM   #12
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The 8-16 and 10-2x 3rd party zooms have a great advantage if you want to go wider, but they aren't as fast and the IQ isn't as good. I'm sure they're bigger than the DA15 too - in fact, almost all lenses are! The DA15 really fits easily in the bottom of my front pocket in its soft case, and I can then put a second lens in the same pocket.

The DA10-17 FE + DA15 is a good combo - you might want to consider it too. Both lenses have similar color rendering as well - which is very good (among the best I've seen)!


Just like the DA35/2.4 is noticeably better than your 17-50 zoom at 35mm, the DA15 will be wider and better than the Tamron at 17mm. My DA*16-50 is a bit weak at the wide end (especially between ~16-20mm), and I imagine your Tamron is the same way. From your choice of lenses (including the F70-210) I can see that you appreciate good glass and IQ, so I think you'll like the DA15. I'd say get one and try it - if you don't like it, sell it. The close focusing and high IQ at f/4.5 will really get you going on creative use of wide angle - I doubt the 10-20 would do any more for you in this regard.


Here's a dumb example I took at a local mission earlier this year. My daughter took the first one with the A50/1.7, and I took the second one with the DA15.

Not the greatest work from either of us (although usually I think she takes the better photos), but you can see how different the result is by getting up close with the DA15:
Attached Images
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Last edited by DSims; 08-27-2012 at 09:15 PM. Reason: Add Photos
08-27-2012, 08:15 PM   #13
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Go for the 15. Small, light, very short MFD which opens up lots of shooting possibilities, legendary flare resistance, contrasty, sharp, etc, etc. Most of my favorite shots have come from mine. It's a brilliant outdoor lens. Re: circular polarizer, I have a Marumi Super DHG that I use on mine without any problem.

Only compelling reason to get the 10-20 would be if you really need to go wider than 15 mm. If you were doing indoor architectural shots I could see the need, but outdoors 15 will be plenty wide in most situations. If not, just stitch. I think the 10-20 has slightly inferior IQ (though still very good), but for me the real differences are size/weight (and thus portability), distortion, flare, and to a lesser degree speed.

Good luck deciding.
-Brandon
08-27-2012, 10:29 PM   #14
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One of the big problems we have in deciding on wide angle lenses is that most of the options available to us are all very good. I own the DA 10-17 fisheye and the DA 15. I have no regrets on the purchase of either and both get used quite a bit. The DA 12-24 will probably end up in my collection too at some point. The Sigma and Tamron choices are decent glass also. I chose the DA 15 based on it's size. I'm getting older and I still like to hike and every few ounces I save in carrying weight makes a big difference these days. The forum is loaded with stunning images from every lens mentioned and IQ comparisons are mostly nit picking.
08-27-2012, 11:53 PM   #15
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You're right, optically there's not much to choose between the two. The 15 Limited is a bit sharper in the center and the 10-20 is a little better in the corners. The 15 has better flare resistance. Vignetting & distortion are too close to call.

So based on this...you guys have me leaning toward the 15! Mostly because of its size & build but hey those are worth something.

The size & filter thread is really appealing. I tend to like zooms on paper, until I have to carry them around. Plus I tend to get a bit lazy with composition if i can zoom instead of move myself. I could bring the 15, 35, 50 & 70-210, cover pretty much all my bases and only need 1 polarizer (unless I want to bring the 17-50 or F 135).

Hmm....
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