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06-19-2013, 06:06 AM   #1
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Kit lens vs DA 15 stopped down

Just wondering what the difference in IQ and sharpness would be with a kit lens at f8-11 at 18mm compared to a DA 15 at F8-11? Would anyone be able to provide some comparison shots? While I understand the DA 15 has a bit of a following due to its size and flare resistance I'm just wondering whether the optical difference is worth the 600+ price tag the DA 15 attracts?

Cheers

06-19-2013, 06:37 AM   #2
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Just go to the lens club in this forum: the DA 15 controls my mind
Judge for yourself
06-19-2013, 06:40 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by mdodrill Quote
Just go to the lens club in this forum: the DA 15 controls my mind
Judge for yourself
I've been following that forum for a while mdodrill but it's sometimes hard to tell whether it's the photographer or the lens! I've seen some great shots in that thread but there are also plenty of crappy ones as well and none that directly compare it with the kit lens
06-19-2013, 06:43 AM   #4
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Well for one thing, 15mm vs 18mm is quite a big difference. Other positives of the DA 15 vs the kit lens include better microcontrast, better colour rendition, better starbursts, and smaller size.

The kit lens can be quite sharp at F9-F11, but when I had mine - it didn't really give me any pictures that made me think "wow". On the other hand, my DA 21 Ltd (which is a little inferior to the DA 15) consistently gives me images that make me go "wow".

06-19-2013, 06:55 AM   #5
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The kit lens is just "OK," at 18mm, whereas the DA 15 limited has the capability of making some fantastic photos. Sharper stopped down, more resistant to flare, better colors.

Don't under estimate the difference between 15mm and 18mm. It may not sound like a whole lot, but 3mm on the wide end is quite a bit of difference.
06-19-2013, 07:01 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
Don't under estimate the difference between 15mm and 18mm. It may not sound like a whole lot, but 3mm on the wide end is quite a bit of difference.
Fwiw, another way to think about this difference is 20% rather than 3mm. 15x1.2=18
06-19-2013, 07:01 AM   #7
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I should have given you more info. As Rondec points out, the difference between 15mm and 18mm is huge in terms of the perspective it provides in the photo. It helps you create a different world. Maybe you can get to a bricks and morter camera store and compare an 18 to something zoom with a 15 or maybe just a 16 to something zoom would provide you with a better idea of the difference.
06-19-2013, 07:05 AM   #8
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I shot the DA l 18-55 as a "Single In" lens - Here

and I have shot the DA 15 Lts as a "Single In" lens - Here I know many others of our "Single In" participants have shot both, so you might want to hit that group and see what there is to be seen.

The DA 15 is much smaller, it has a built in hood. It has a 49mm filter thread so the filters one might want to use might be less expensive. The build quality is excellent. And finally the 15mm fov is much wider than 18mm (21mm on FF versus 28).

The DA L 18-55 is a fine lens, and if you are trying to stave off LBA or GAS... I'd stick with it. Besides the plastic mount - it is a nice light versatile lens, and when used with good technique gives excellent results. Most who complain of softness are shooting at low Shutter speeds where Higher ISO or Flash would benefit.

If you already have the kit lens and are considering acquiring another lens, you might look at and ultra wide zoom... as the DA 12-24 (here when I first got started with Single In and more recently here)or Sigma 10-20 is that much wider than even the 15mm. (Just to throw a wrench in your question)

06-19-2013, 07:12 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattt Quote
I shot the DA l 18-55 as a "Single In" lens - Here

and I have shot the DA 15 Lts as a "Single In" lens - Here I know many others of our "Single In" participants have shot both, so you might want to hit that group and see what there is to be seen.

The DA 15 is much smaller, it has a built in hood. It has a 49mm filter thread so the filters one might want to use might be less expensive. The build quality is excellent. And finally the 15mm fov is much wider than 18mm (21mm on FF versus 28).

The DA L 18-55 is a fine lens, and if you are trying to stave off LBA or GAS... I'd stick with it. Besides the plastic mount - it is a nice light versatile lens, and when used with good technique gives excellent results. Most who complain of softness are shooting at low Shutter speeds where Higher ISO or Flash would benefit.

If you already have the kit lens and are considering acquiring another lens, you might look at and ultra wide zoom... as the DA 12-24 (here when I first got started with Single In and more recently here)or Sigma 10-20 is that much wider than even the 15mm. (Just to throw a wrench in your question)
Thanks Matt and everyone else, argh so many choices! I'm definitely willing to spend some money for the right glass but here in Aus there aren't a lot of choices when it comes to rentals so I've never been able to try anything wider than the kit lens which I've always been quite happy with (for landscapes). I have thought a lot about the sigma 10-20 but everyone raves about the DA 15 so much I thought I would give that more of a serious thought
06-19-2013, 07:12 AM - 1 Like   #10
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The DA15 definitely is a better lens.

As to the question whether it's worth the few extra hundred dollars is very personal and subjective. Only you can answer it. If you have any doubts, then it's probably not worth it.

My wife can't see any difference between the output of a kit lens, and an FA77. Well, she sees it, but she doesn't believe that it's worth buying into. The same feeling I have when she buys another bag or pair of shoes.
06-19-2013, 08:21 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Murrayb123 Quote
...everyone raves about the DA 15 so much I thought I would give that more of a serious thought
I rave a little about the Sigma 15 fisheye myself, so if you see a deal on that it's also very talented. Pros are absurdly close focus, full frame / film capable, goes to f/2.8 and still pretty compact; cons are its fishiness (not as bad on aps-c), no quick shift and not as small as the DA15. I wanted the DA15 but found an excellent price on the Sigma, and I'm fine with it
06-19-2013, 08:25 AM - 2 Likes   #12
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ok, ill admit I've never actually used the 18-55, but I've seen and critiqued enough images from that lens to have an idea about it's limitations.
I HAVE owned and used extensively, Sigma 17-70, Sigma 10-20 & Sigma 12-24. I now own the DA 15, FA 20-35 DA 40 and F50 to cover that basic range.

why do I have 4 lens? bottom line is wow factor. the 18-55 produces decent images, but they seem more high end p&s or high end camera phone looking, like I'm looking through a window. its still a nice image but it doesn't have the finite details or a sense of making things pop. color is decent and I would imagine in PP you can saturate a little to compensate.

but the DA15, from the first picture I took, I said "WOW". even in the in camera review I could tell it was "different". it wasn't just the depth of color, it was as if the pictures were sucking me into the frame. the lens gives a tangibility to scenes, it gives life to scenes. that's what high end, pro quality glass does: you aren't looking at a picture, you are suddenly vicariously living IN the picture.

the DA15 was the lens that really kickstarted my LBA. After "discovering" what high quality glass could do for me, there was no going back. I actually sold all my zooms and went prime, before deciding that was a pain in the butt, changing lenses every 4 shots. After some research, decided on the 20-35, and was thrilled to find it on par with the DA15. It has the same effect.

maybe for some who see photography as a hobby and who are thrilled with the memories invoked by a p&s "it's good enough for me" type image, the extra expense of upgrading isn't worth it. For someone like me, who sells his work, or for someone who strives to produce "pro" quality images, upgrading from the kit lens would be mandatory. Granted, no lens will make you a better photographer, BUT it will make your photography better. becoming a photographer worthy of the lens becomes the challenge.

Last edited by nomadkng; 06-19-2013 at 08:59 AM.
06-19-2013, 09:11 AM   #13
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Besides the Angle of view difference, comparing lenses stopped down wonīt give you much information. Imagine a $300 lens at f/8 vs premium $10,000 at f/8... If based on that results, you could say thereīs not that much advantage of the premium lens ver the cheap one.
QuoteOriginally posted by Murrayb123 Quote
While I understand the DA 15 has a bit of a following due to its size and flare resistance I'm just wondering whether the optical difference is worth the 600+ price tag the DA 15 attracts?
The "wide open" optical difference is certainly there.. But apart from that, I donīt think stopping down a lens helps much with flare.. And flare resistence is really important, morse so on wide angle lenses.
Take a look at this introduction: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/welcomes-introductions/227389-collections.html
06-19-2013, 09:13 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by drypenn Quote
My wife can't see any difference between the output of a kit lens, and an FA77. Well, she sees it, but she doesn't believe that it's worth buying into. The same feeling I have when she buys another bag or pair of shoes.
hahaha, Iīll have to show this to my girlfriend, family and some friends
06-19-2013, 09:46 AM   #15
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Hello Murray,
QuoteOriginally posted by Murrayb123 Quote
Just wondering what the difference in IQ and sharpness would be with a kit lens at f8-11 at 18mm compared to a DA 15 at F8-11?
This site will give you an indication what the difference is - Pentax K Lens Tests

QuoteOriginally posted by Murrayb123 Quote
I'm just wondering whether the optical difference is worth the 600+ price tag the DA 15 attracts?
Look at it this way, you will always be able to get at least 1/2 the price back for the DA15 if you decided it is not for you but. (and don't read below this if you have already pushed the buy button)


Lens buying addition (LBA) will most likely prevent you doing that......
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