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06-03-2013, 11:10 AM   #16
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I prefer the DA 15 image, considering that it has a little brighter exposure. Still, the resistance to flaring is probably the biggest asset that the DA 15 brings to the party and I have seen no other lens, not even the other DA limiteds that I have used, that can match it in this respect.

I have tested my DA 15 versus my 16-50 and at f4, and 16mm, the 16-50 is quite a bit sharper in the borders as compared to the 15mm. But it can't measure up when it comes to shooting into any bright light source. And this is the issue. Shooting sunrises, sunsets, city scapes -- all can produce quite a bit of veiling flare that is really tough to fix, whereas the 15 images come out clean. I guess that's why I keep my 15 (and the fact that it controls my mind, but that's another story)...

06-03-2013, 08:01 PM   #17
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I am intrigued by what appears to be a difference in exposure. I mean, is it possible the DA15 renders in such a particular way? that would be amazing but I think the first assumption is more probable:
@EarlVonTapia , the RAW files where developed with exact same settings?

Interesting to see the AoV difference between 15mm and 17mm.. I am used to reading "its a huge difference" frequently on the forum, but it doesn´t look like that. I am happy I went for the DA10-17 for an UWA. I wanted the flare resistence and great colors of the pentax, still really small and light with huge AoV.. I am used to "de-fish" just a bit with lightroom...

Besides the possible exposure difference, the DA15 seems to render the lights better than the tamron (due to amazing flare control, perhaps?). The point is that this is to take into account when increasing exposure on the tamron...
06-03-2013, 08:14 PM   #18
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I hate to agree with everyone because I know you want to see the lens, but the DA15 image is superior IMHO. The first picture is nice, but the DA15 has the wow factor.
06-04-2013, 12:17 AM   #19
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Thanks for the replies all. Glad you found the test useful and interesting.

One thing I should make clear is that I had no illusions that the Tamron would be better than the DA 15. Of course the DA 15 would be better. Also, to answer a question, the pictures are just JPG's straight from the raw files with no processing done other than the format conversion.

I tried to add some post processing today to the Tamron picture, to see how close I could get it to the DA 15 picture.

Long story short: I could not. I couldn't even get it close to the sharpness of the DA 15 pic, and I also could not get the flare out of the picture with the clone stamp tool. Now, this is just perhaps a mark against my PP skills, as someone with more experience and/or better tools at their disposal (Elements, for example. All I was using was Lightroom 4) could probably do a better job of equalizing the pictures. Nevertheless, it's a definite mark against the Tamron 17-50.

In stating that, my goal was to see if I could get "90%" of the way there, and I feel like, barring the flare which with some careful measures can be avoided, the Tamron can reach that goal, and in some cases even exceed it. The DA 15 still has that "je ne sais quoi" factor though, and it should be a cornerstone of any Pentax prime-based kit.

Rondec: I would rank lenses for performance between 15mm-18mm as follows:

DA 15 Ltd (By a full head. Should not be a surprise)
Tamron 17-50 (The new poor man's DA 15)
DA 16-45 (The old poor man's DA 15)
DA 18-55 (L or WR, surprisingly good)
DA* 16-50 (Too much barrel distortion, kind of soft wide open hurts it for astroscapes)
DA 18-250 (Mush at any aperture)

I haven't tried any other lenses, but that's my assessment based on using the above.


Last edited by EarlVonTapia; 06-04-2013 at 12:23 AM.
06-04-2013, 08:11 AM   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by EarlVonTapia Quote
Thanks for the replies all. Glad you found the test useful and interesting.

One thing I should make clear is that I had no illusions that the Tamron would be better than the DA 15. Of course the DA 15 would be better. Also, to answer a question, the pictures are just JPG's straight from the raw files with no processing done other than the format conversion.

I tried to add some post processing today to the Tamron picture, to see how close I could get it to the DA 15 picture.

Long story short: I could not. I couldn't even get it close to the sharpness of the DA 15 pic, and I also could not get the flare out of the picture with the clone stamp tool. Now, this is just perhaps a mark against my PP skills, as someone with more experience and/or better tools at their disposal (Elements, for example. All I was using was Lightroom 4) could probably do a better job of equalizing the pictures. Nevertheless, it's a definite mark against the Tamron 17-50.

In stating that, my goal was to see if I could get "90%" of the way there, and I feel like, barring the flare which with some careful measures can be avoided, the Tamron can reach that goal, and in some cases even exceed it. The DA 15 still has that "je ne sais quoi" factor though, and it should be a cornerstone of any Pentax prime-based kit.

Rondec: I would rank lenses for performance between 15mm-18mm as follows:

DA 15 Ltd (By a full head. Should not be a surprise)
Tamron 17-50 (The new poor man's DA 15)
DA 16-45 (The old poor man's DA 15)
DA 18-55 (L or WR, surprisingly good)
DA* 16-50 (Too much barrel distortion, kind of soft wide open hurts it for astroscapes)
DA 18-250 (Mush at any aperture)

I haven't tried any other lenses, but that's my assessment based on using the above.
Sigma 17-50 is pretty good too. I believe the optical performance is comparable to Tamron 17-50.
06-04-2013, 12:07 PM   #21
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I concur with most replies here in preferring the DA15 image, and agree with the OP that 90% is probably covered - especially since starbursts and bridges won't be your primary shot. I did the same thing with my incomplete set of primes from 24mm to the DA40, and the Tamron 17-35 SP is my 90% winner (I'd have chosen a 17-50 but this was $100 cheaper and yes, it's a full-frame lens).

I'd suggest that if a fisheye holds any future appeal, you can get a used Sigma 15/2.8 for a great price at times; that cured me of UWA zooms and the DA15 (kinda). I found mine for well below the 'preferred' DA15 that holds its price higher. I have yet to do a night shot for mega-starbursts but it's an excellent lens; faster full-frame & fun. It's fairly small and light but 100g more than that mind-controlling DA15. Wonder how your mind escaped?
06-04-2013, 02:16 PM   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
Morning,


I used a "swiping tool" to compare the two images.The main differences I see are:
  1. The flare (halo) around the light on the bridge
  2. The handling of the sky - the 15 is a bit lighter, while the Tamron is darker
  3. The texture and the lighting of the grass in the foreground. The amount of detail provided by the texturing captured by the 15 is wonderful
  4. The handling of the shadows and the lighting of the bridge's structure. The detail and lighting of the 15 is better and all around brighter.
  5. The lighting stars of the 15 are sharper and more defined than the Tamron
  6. The lighting and detail on the railcars (left hand side) is better with the 15.
In terms of the overall image, I like the Tamron a tad better. The blue sky is darker overall, with a deeper iridescent blue. I actually like the handling of the bridge structure by the Tamron better. The shadowing and the coloring are nice. I never did acquire the 15. With the DA 12-24, I was very satisfied.

Flare and starburst differences are basic lens qualities. The other differences you mention arise from the exposure difference. The Tamron needs another 1/2 stop to equal the DA15 exposure.
06-10-2013, 04:52 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by civiletti Quote
Flare and starburst differences are basic lens qualities. The other differences you mention arise from the exposure difference. The Tamron needs another 1/2 stop to equal the DA15 exposure.
Flare control is one of the high of the DA15mm as is the MFD. I think only the 35Ltd is as good at controlling flare. On a side note I was interested in the new 12-35mm and 35-100mm f/2.8 panasonic zooms, stellar MTF charts and all but flare control was so disappointing that I crossed them from my list (especially at these prices). The DA* 50-135mm is not that good either for flare control though. The DA* 16-50mm is better in this regard and you need it more on a wide-angle lens. It's also better than the Tamron 17-50mm in this regard, starbusts are nicer too (18 rays).

06-10-2013, 05:58 PM   #24
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The Tamron 17-50 has a reputation for onion-ring bokeh and unreliable auto-focus.
06-11-2013, 11:29 PM   #25
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typical underexposure on the tamron 17-50 is obvious here (well documented on this lens for pentax)
10-17-2013, 09:31 AM   #26
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thank you for this comparsion, i totally love the da15, but i haven't her yet i want it because of starbursts, what totally controls my mind, for me, it's must-have lens...

thx
10-18-2013, 07:07 AM   #27
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Thanks for this comparison, I own the Tamron lens and based on my tests it's 1/3 to 1/2 stop darker with same exposure, so you'd better add +1/2 exp compensation to make them equal.
I don't own a DA15, and this comparison helped me to be sure I won't need it for now. (Because of the extra cost)
11-14-2013, 11:39 AM   #28
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Thanks for this OP!!! I've been thinking about the DA15 or the Tamron. It's difficult to compare here because of the exposure, but I'm with the majority. I expect pumping up the exposure will not fix the muddiness of the Tamron's image. I'm also using a calibrated IPS monitor, and it's not even close (IPS is great -- I'd even say essential for comparing photos). The DA15 pops with sharpness and contrast, and the colors and star bursts are fabulous. It makes the subject art in a way the Tamron simply does not. To me, the Tamron is definitely less than 90% of the quality here, which really disappoints me as it makes me want the much less flexible DA15 even more!
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