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01-09-2013, 08:34 AM   #1
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Choosing the DA 14 instead of DA 15 or DA 12-24 - am I crazy?

I've been thinking about getting an ultra-wide angle supplement to my lenses (DA 17-70, DA 55-300, DA*55, DFA 100 Macro WR) for quite a while. But instead of wanting a DA 15 limited (mind-controlling coolness!) or DA 12-24 zoom (convenience, great picture quality!) like practically everyone else these days I feel strangely attracted to the almost-forgotten (it seems) DA 14/2.8. So I guess there must be something wrong with me, as I honestly don't even see the need for a 2.8 aperture at this focal length...

Why do I want the DA 14?

The DA 15 has very lively colours and rendering, but I feel that its over-the-top contrast might be too extreme or downright garish in some situations (e.g. in already contrasty light or with people in the picture); in the sample pictures I've seen, the DA 14 rendering seems more subdued and balanced. Also, I found the bokeh of the DA 15 spectacularly harsh in some pictures I've seen, almost as bad as a mirror lens. The DA 14 seems to have a lot smoother bokeh (important to me). Finally, I feel that 15mm is too close to the 17mm end of my DA 17-70 to justify buying (and carrying) another lens in that range as I would not gain that much in creative possibilities. The DA 14 might be just enough removed from the DA 17-70 to make a clear visible difference and open up new perspectives, but not so removed to be a specialty lens usable only in few situations.

the DA 12-24 has colors and contrast I really like from the sample pictures I've seen, very vibrant without being over-the-top (like the DA 15 sometimes seems to me). It might be used as a single lens for some projects as it offers a convenient range from ultra-wide to almost normal perspective. I am not bothered at all by the slower f4 aperture. The thing that does bother me is the minimum focus distance of 30 cm. With wide angle pictures, I always strive for a strong foreground, so getting close to objects would be a great plus. The DA 14 has a much better MFD of 17 cm. What is more, although the two lenses are about equally heavy, the DA 14 is somewhat smaller and would take up less space in the camera bag (I realize that the DA 15 would be a lot smaller still).

Maybe it is just that I read that the DA 14 was designed by Jun Hirakawa (He of the FA 43, 77 and DA*55 fame, among others...) that makes me want it

So what do you think, does this make any sense to you or should I have my head checked before I spend a lot of money on a lens that nobody else seems to consider these days?

Thank you for your thoughts!

01-09-2013, 09:13 AM   #2
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Have you seen the DA 14/2.8 Lens Club?
01-09-2013, 09:21 AM   #3
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Interesting...I have owned the DA14 for several years now (and the Samsung version of the DA 12-24, and have owned the DA 17-70 and DA*16-50) and have only recently acquired the DA15 Limited. I haven't had time enough to do a head to head comparison between the 14 and 15. One thing I can say is that below about 24mm every mm makes a big difference. I didn't realize your point about who designed the DA 14, interesting. You have clearly read reviews and done some thinking on this and as I have not really done my own comparison between the 14 and 15 I can't really offer too much over what you've said. Originally, I got the DA 14 for indoor work and to use the f2.8 that the DA 14 provides. It hasn't quite worked out that way for me. I will say that 14 mm is a lot wider that the DA*16-50 or the DA 17-70 and has no vignetting issue with a CPL.

Last year I shot all one month with the DA14 my pictures are here:

Single in January - a set on Flickr

Hard to say much else. The DA14 is built very solid and although some call it big, I don't. The DA15 is a sports car and somehow evokes more love than the DA 14. One factor is that the DA 14 has 6 blades while the the DA 15 has 7. This makes quite a difference in the starbursts you get with either lens - advantage DA15 on that.

Which one to get? I don't know yet. It's feeling like the DA15 will win out for me and I'll be letting the DA14 go but I'm not there yet.
01-09-2013, 09:39 AM   #4
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I think the biggest appeal for the 15mm is the size and great image distortion (very minimal). It's a very fun lens that I wouldn't mind always having in my camera bag. But the f2.8 on the 14mm and the wider focal length is definitely a draw.

Both are wonderful lenses.

01-09-2013, 09:54 AM   #5
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As is most likely the case with most lens probably matters what you do with the lens more the what lens you are doing it with.

That said, I chose the 15mm Ltd for my wide angle work for a few reasons. I planned on getting the whole set of Ltd primes which all have a 49mm filter point in having to carrying 77mm filters or extra adapters too. Size was another consideration. While the 14mm doesn't looking massive by any means, I do like the compact design of the 15mm. Then there is the IQ, user reviews and rating. This forum has a ton of information when considering making a purchase. The 15mm scored higher than the 14mm, and many users consider it one of their favorite/most used lenses. Finally, having the "Mind Control" thread actually did factor into mind choice. Having an arena where questions can be asked and work can be shared is great....the thread is going on page to participate in that.

Not trying to sway you one way or the other, just why I chose the 15mm. I havne't used the 14mm so I can't attest to it's capabilities, but Im sure it's a fine lens that you would enjoy very much. Either way, I look forward to viewing your work. Good luck!
01-09-2013, 10:10 AM   #6
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I really like the 15mm, but have never used the 14mm.

Perhaps you should add the sigma 8-16 to your consideration?
01-09-2013, 10:19 AM   #7
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I think one of the hardest decisions we have as Pentax shooters is deciding on a wide angle. They are all good glass. Since size and weight were important to me and most of my use for a wide lens is outdoors and stopped down, I chose the DA15. I spent about 6 months looking at photo samples from all the wide lenses around the forum and came to the conclusion that IQ was comparable with every one so I made my decision on the size factor. Before the DA15, there was a lot of good shots being posted with the DA14 on the forum. I think the 15 took the center stage with landscape shooters due to it's small size and the fact that f/2.8 isn't likely to be used often. The mind control thread also was a factor.
01-09-2013, 10:39 AM   #8
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I have the 15 Limited along with several other of it's siblings and for me it is the best choice for several reasons. The most important are weight and build quality. The IQ is great and it uses 49mm filters which fit several other lenses. The 15 is very resistant to flare, I can not speak for the 14. Personally, size and weight considerations are huge since I am more likely to have the lens with me when I want it.

01-09-2013, 10:58 AM   #9
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I'm in the 12-24 camp, myself. The distortion is negligeable most of the time, and when it isn't, DxO takes care of it for me. Sometimes I want 12 mm. As said above a mm or two makes a huge difference in these ranges. I don't find the 12-24 has really bad flare (check my Flickr site for examples with the sun in front of the lens), and the flexibility of going to 24mm (almost a standard lens) or back out to 12mm is huge to me. One day last summer, I spent the day with only the 12-24 and the new-to-me at that time 55-300, and didn't miss the gap.

The close focus distance is the focal limit of the lens and doesn't account for the depth of field. Shooting at f/8 or f/11 brings the dof quite close to the camera, and for me wide angle lenses are all about huge depth of field at the hyperfocal distance. Your needs/wants/likes are certain to be different. You might find the 12-24 a bit heavy for you, but the weight doesn't bother me. It balances well on the K10 with grip.
01-09-2013, 11:10 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Eagle_Friends Quote
I think the biggest appeal for the 15mm is the size and great image distortion (very minimal). It's a very fun lens that I wouldn't mind always having in my camera bag. But the f2.8 on the 14mm and the wider focal length is definitely a draw.

Both are wonderful lenses.
That's pretty much how I feel. I carry the DA 15 mainly for its small size. Performance is not that much better than my DA 16-45mm (16-45 is sharper, 15mm has better distortion, CA, flare resistance). I often carry the DA 18-135 with supporting primes, and the 15mm fits in a single lens compartment with a second small prime (FA 35mm or DA 40mm).

I've considered trading the DA 15 for the wider, faster DA 14, but the size stops me.

Last edited by audiobomber; 01-09-2013 at 12:37 PM.
01-09-2013, 11:27 AM   #11

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Since a lot of my photography involves subjects with straight lines,
the mustache distortion of the DA 14 (hard to correct) would be a problem for me.
I had enough of that on film with the M20/4.

So I went for the DA 15 instead.
It is contrasty, but you can tame that with your camera settings
and then post-processing (I use Curves or Shadow/Highlight in Photoshop).
The compactness is a real boon for street photography.
01-09-2013, 12:04 PM   #12
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I think the contrast/color issue is a non-issue with the DA 15. Most of what you are seeing in the DA 15 limited controls my mind thread is the result of post processing. There is definitely less flare with the 15, smaller size and less distortion as compared to the DA 14.

I would choose the 12-24 over the DA 14 if you want something wider than the 15 limited, unless you really want the f2.8 that the 14mm offers. To me, f4 is adequate for most of what I shoot -- I stop down to f5.6 or f8 most of the time, anyway and shoot on a tripod whenever I can.
01-09-2013, 02:47 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Primes4ever Quote
I have the 15 Limited along with several other of it's siblings and for me it is the best choice for several reasons. The most important are weight and build quality. The IQ is great and it uses 49mm filters which fit several other lenses. The 15 is very resistant to flare, I can not speak for the 14. Personally, size and weight considerations are huge since I am more likely to have the lens with me when I want it.
I have been thinking about getting the DA15 for a little while and most likely will in the next year or so. My wife has the 10-20 Sigma and when I am travelling or when she is shooting somewhere else it would be great to have a compact lens to add to the 35 2.4 and 50 1.7. Small size compared to wider and faster are what it looks to me the attributes you will need to consider. If any of the choices were crazy there would be no reason for that lens to even be made.
01-09-2013, 03:01 PM   #14
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I have had the DA14 and DA15, and I have sold the DA14 to keep the DA15 only; flare resistance is really a big plus in favor of the DA15, in landscape usage you have often the sun near the border of the image if not in the image.
01-09-2013, 03:33 PM   #15
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I have both the da14 and da15. Personally I still prefer the da14. But since I m travelling lighter these days, I m using da15 with my k-01. But I still like the da14 more than the da15. Just an opinion.....

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