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01-05-2014, 07:59 AM   #1
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DA21 vs the Mighty 15

I recently acquired a DA21, and had a strong urge to compare to the DA15. First round I compare from the same place, and again "zoomed with my feet" to keep the same framing. Second comparison is done just reframed.

In my opinion, for the first shot there is a real difference between the two. In the second shot, not so much.

Comments appreciated, full size shots on my Flickr page.

















Last edited by Kozlok; 01-05-2014 at 08:20 AM.
01-05-2014, 08:07 AM   #2
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The DA 21 shots look a little bit better to me.
01-05-2014, 08:58 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by causey Quote
The DA 21 shots look a little bit better to me.
Agree.

The 21mm stays ahead of the 15mm in nearly every respect except for chromatic aberrations (dxomark).
01-05-2014, 09:06 AM   #4
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It is really hard to tell but I agree the DA21 does look slightly better than the DA 15. If you compare the shot of the planes right engine side by side the 21 seems to have sharper detail.

01-05-2014, 11:34 AM   #5
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Hard for me to tell because of the different framing, but the 21mm comes ahead in what I can compare
01-05-2014, 01:48 PM   #6
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The major difference in use will be 1. the perspectives (near/far relationships), and 2. can you step backwards to get everything in the shot. Lens quality are I think secondary.

The difficulty in using the 15mm is seen comparing 1st, 2nd, 3rd shots. 1st shot looks very natural, moving in (3rd shot) the wing above and right side of plane, and front landing gear, are all looming/unnatural. So it depends whether you want this effect.

Again, it does illustrate the difficulty in using very wide angle, but also the potential for an "odd/weird" view.
01-05-2014, 03:15 PM   #7
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In the last set, the sign in the background with the number 24 is much different .
01-05-2014, 09:27 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by DeepThrob Quote
In the last set, the sign in the background with the number 24 is much different .
I wouldn't bother with any analysis of OOF areas 50+ meters behind the plane.

My DA15 is my favorite and most used lens but I'm not sure it's a great lens for pixel peepers. there are flaws but it gets me where I want to be, avoids flare and is ridiculously small.

01-05-2014, 09:37 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by causey Quote
The DA 21 shots look a little bit better to me.
X 2....a brief look ....says to me that the 21mm comes off better than your 15mm....sharpness, etc.
01-06-2014, 02:47 PM   #10
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Not sure what you're getting at with this comparison. These are quite different lenses with different views of the world. I find the 15mm actually more dramatic and therefore it "looks better" than the 21. The field curvature is a feature if used to advantage in the composition.
01-07-2014, 12:43 PM   #11
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I think the point of the comparison is to find out just how different they are. The FOV is noticeably different, for sure, but I would not say it is a dramatic difference. It will never be the difference between an amazing shot and a "meh" shot. If we look at this, zooming with the feet makes up most of that difference. IMO, the perspective distortion difference between the two in the first example I would rate as moderate, not extreme. In the second example, the difference I would rate as unimportant to the tone of the shot.

I would not say they are "quite different", only moderately different.

That said, I think I will keep and carry both!
01-07-2014, 01:47 PM   #12
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First, my compliments on the excellent choice of test subjects. A pity the Grumman Tigercat missed its cue on the stage of history.

Perspective is the critical difference between "good" lenses IMO. I can't imagine NOT moving around to find the "best" POV for any lens/FL so comparison shots such as this aren't particularly important to me. Too often we concentrate on empirical lens characteristics and overlook the emotional/esthetic results of a well chosen POV made possible by the perspective inherent in a given lens.

Even if primes are the choice of the moment, there's a fine classroom experience in studying POV by the use of a zoom to explore the possibilities of perspective.

If direct comparison wasn't possible, would the results have been pleasing anyway is the only real question in my mind.

H2
01-07-2014, 02:02 PM   #13
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I bought the 15mm first and have found it "fine" for walking around because on my zooms, found my shots mostly coming at the short end on landscape and architecture.So 15mm seemed good. But for walking around NOT doing architecture and landscape, it seemed just a little too short. Not much... but just enough that I wanted something longer. Filled in a normal, too (tough mental gymnastics over the 28mm vs. 31mm), but think if I were to complement the short end, it'd be to also carry long... the 70mm is also a small guy. Point of the 15mm inside is that sometimes, you can't zoom backwards with your feet. I'm looking forward to the comparison with the 21mm, but keep the 15mm for the "special effects" and land/skyscrapper scapes.
01-07-2014, 11:02 PM   #14
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They are both great lenses. I've owned both and got some of my favourite shots. I think the beauty of a prime lens is that it commits you to that specific view of things that it offers. So you walk around the plane museum with 21mm in view... or 15mm in view... and take a shot that seems to work. Both are better! Nice plane for sure. I'd rather be shooting it than being shot by it.

I think what you've proven is that you can approximate a similar view between the two lenses. You could probably do the same with a 21 and a 50. But what's more important is that if you do point the 15 at the nose of that plane in a certain way you can get a very dramatic shot emphasized by the shape of the lens. And if you point the 21 at it from a different angle maybe its charm is a really nice balance with little distortion that gives the shot strength or a more 'realistic' rendering. What if you tilted one of them a little more? Or shot from lower angle?

Last edited by Mr_Canuck; 01-07-2014 at 11:08 PM.
01-08-2014, 09:57 AM   #15
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" I think the beauty of a prime lens is that it commits you to that specific view of things that it offers."

This is 100% of why I moved this direction: force the creativity. Otherwise, I tend to get lazy and try to frame with my lens first rather than my mind.
Sort of beginning to think the zoom's best use is at the longer telephoto end... where you want to carry only one heavy paperweight rather than 3 or 4. But as I ponder (and drool over) a 300mm, I wonder whether that's not right at all. Curious.


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