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05-01-2014, 07:01 AM   #1
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DA15 or DA21?

I am a fairly recent K5ii user. Have the 50mm 1.8 which I love, and just ordered a 100mm F4 Macro from yesteryear.


I am trying to decide between the DA15 and DA21. I am interested in street candid and landscape for the most part. The 50MM is more of short telephoto, so finding it hard to fit everyone in, but not wanting to lose the wonderful quality from the Pentax primes.


Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome. I am sort of drawn to the "craziness" of the DA15 wide angle, but wonder if that won't fit in general photography.


Thanks in advance.

05-01-2014, 07:07 AM   #2
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I have both, and while I love the 15mm I don't use it for street photography, it is too wide. Even for landscapes you have to have the right scene. The 21mm gets more use for general shots than the 15mm but when you can use the 15mm there is nothing like it.
05-01-2014, 07:28 AM   #3
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there are different ways to street shoot, of course, but i have found 31-77 to be my go to focal length range for it. Of course, you can frame wide as long as you are very close.
I have both the 15 and 21 and find them very similar in sharpness, contrast and flare resistance. they also both give the same 14-pt light stars if you like that. Two great lenses. Just bring something longer with you too. DA 40 pancake is a nice low profile lens too.
05-01-2014, 07:34 AM   #4
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I had this exact question about a year ago.

I chose the 21mm because it is an extremely practical focal length (FOV like 31mm on FF). Perfect for street, events, groups, landscape etc. Probably the most versatile focal length there can be.

Also, 21mm has better IQ than 15mm except for distortions and CA (based on DxO review).

In my experience, the 21mm is a joy to use, even though its IQ leaves some room for desire

05-01-2014, 08:37 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Apapukas Quote
In my experience, the 21mm is a joy to use, even though its IQ leaves some room for desire
Real life DA21 IQ is good enough for me
05-01-2014, 08:50 AM   #6
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You already got good advice. I will take another approach. It depends what you call street photography. In crowdy cities, you want a physically small lens and the DA Ltd lens series is perfect. If you are interested in photographing the building and urban landscape, you need a wide lens and the DA15mm Ltd is possibly the better option. I was recently in Paris, France, and I posted a few example at:
https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/10-pentax-slr-lens-discussion/246655-primes-paris.html

If you want to shoot people (rather than building), the DA15mm is too wide and I would recommend a longer focal length about 30-40 mm: eg, FA31mm, DA40mm Ltd, DA40mm xs. The DA40mm xs is a very interesting lens physically IMHO because some people think that your SLR + DA40mm xs is in fact a P&S. (At least that is my experience.)

Hope that the comment will help.
05-01-2014, 09:18 AM   #7
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You said
QuoteOriginally posted by mikeodial Quote
Any thoughts or suggestions are welcome
So I dare to give the 'none of the above' reply :-)

I own the 21mm, not the 15mm, so can't offer you insight on the difference in character. But there's another possibility: the DA12-24. With this you cover both of the lense, plus a bit more. And in my experience the image quality is on par with the 21mm. Sharpness might be even better. There's CA in the right (wrong) conditions, but I haven't experienced anything that can't be corrected. I've used the 12-24 on several travels, to Vietnam, USA (New York and Yellowstone), Japan (Tokyo and much more). It's not as inconspicuous as a prime and a bit bulky, but even as I like to travel light, I always decided to pack it anyway...

a 12-24, a 50 1.8 and a 100mm, and voila, you're set !
05-01-2014, 09:26 AM   #8
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I'd start with the 21. Whenever I can afford it I really want to get one as well.

Then as you go on and take your pictures, if you feel there's lots of times you'd like to go wider, save up for the 15.
If you find yourself having to get too close to your subjects and would like to be a bit more candid, add an FA 28 (to me, THE perfect street FL for street photography on APS-C - 43mm FF equivalent), DA 35 (also works very well, I find) or, if you have the means, the FA 31 Limited

05-01-2014, 10:45 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by mikeodial Quote
I am trying to decide between the DA15 and DA21. I am interested in street candid and landscape for the most part.
21 (or even 28) is often regarded as nicer for street. I chose the 21 myself. That being said, these days it doesn't see all that much use, the 40 controls me.
05-01-2014, 12:42 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by kh1234567890 Quote
Real life DA21 IQ is good enough for me
It is a good lens and probably one of my most used ones.

I just sometimes wish it was a little faster and a little sharper wide open

But I'm a happy user, I really doesn't try to take any glory from this lens
05-01-2014, 04:09 PM   #11
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The problem with using a prime is that your shots can end up looking the same. At least with a zoom, even the humble DA18-55, you have more scope for variety.
05-01-2014, 05:00 PM   #12
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The 21 is lovely, and you can always stitch landscapes etc on those occasions when you really wish you had a 15. The 15 is a bit bigger and heavier than the 21if I remember rightly, so the 21 wins there too, and the 21 is about half a stop faster.

The 40 XS is magnificent for street due to its size, but the focal length is a bit long but I like that because I am a bit shy and prefer to be more remote from the subject.

---------- Post added 05-02-14 at 08:04 AM ----------

Gaah editing on a tablet is suck.

Maybe for street work the 35 2.4 is a decent choice too, more available than the 40
XS nowadays?

But I love the 21, it would be the lens I would choose first if I were to begin a collection.
05-01-2014, 05:52 PM   #13
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Get a job working weekends. Keep the job for a month. Quit. Get both.
05-01-2014, 06:56 PM   #14
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I only own the DA15 so I can't speak for the 21. I enjoy taking street shots and find the 15 perfect for candid street scenes. I brought 3 lenses on my recent trip to Boston and found that I didn't take the DA15 off my K-5 the whole weekend. It's a small unobtrusive lens and is easy to handle. Excellent IQ...though I wish it were a stop faster but that's the trade off.

Have you considered the DA 12-24?
The 12-24 is and excellent lens with great IQ...the only drawback is it's size. I own it and love it but it's not as much fun to use on the street as the DA15.
05-01-2014, 07:36 PM   #15
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I have had both for over two years, and I love them to death. I won't be getting rid of either, ever, but the DA21 is for me the more versatile general purpose wide angle lens. The DA15 is wonderful, but it's *very* wide and will always be a specialty lens for me.
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