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05-21-2014, 02:23 AM   #1
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Which 15mm lens to buy?

Im torn between the Pentax HD and the SMC version. strangely,if i buy new, the SMC is around 20 euros more ($30). I know the SMC gives nicer starbursts and that is a big plus for me. ive seen starburst comparisons between the two but only at f/5.6. dont know how they compare at f/11 or f/16.
Does the HD have significant advantages over the SMC version?im leaning more towards the SMC version due to better starbursts and I think it seems a little brighter as well but dont know if that is a wise move.
or i could buy the SMC used and save 200 bucks over buying it new. i just have a thing for used lenses...i try to avoid them as much as possible. only lens i bought used was my sigma 24-70 and its only because i knew the guy and he kept his lenses in excellent condition plus it was a great deal. otherwise i just prefer to pay more and have peace of mind.

heres the price breakdown
HD - 600 EUROS (NEW)
SMC - 620 EUROS (NEW)
SMC - 450 EUROS (USED) - actually its 370 euros plus another 80 euros for customs and import charges (which I might get lucky and not pay in the end)

so what do you guys think?

05-21-2014, 03:00 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by schnitzer79 Quote
Im torn between the Pentax HD and the SMC version. strangely,if i buy new, the SMC is around 20 euros more ($30). I know the SMC gives nicer starbursts and that is a big plus for me. ive seen starburst comparisons between the two but only at f/5.6. dont know how they compare at f/11 or f/16.
Does the HD have significant advantages over the SMC version?im leaning more towards the SMC version due to better starbursts and I think it seems a little brighter as well but dont know if that is a wise move.
or i could buy the SMC used and save 200 bucks over buying it new. i just have a thing for used lenses...i try to avoid them as much as possible. only lens i bought used was my sigma 24-70 and its only because i knew the guy and he kept his lenses in excellent condition plus it was a great deal. otherwise i just prefer to pay more and have peace of mind.

heres the price breakdown
HD - 600 EUROS (NEW)
SMC - 620 EUROS (NEW)
SMC - 450 EUROS (USED) - actually its 370 euros plus another 80 euros for customs and import charges (which I might get lucky and not pay in the end)

so what do you guys think?
The HD coatings gives you slightly better flare/ghosting resistance, but the starbursts are uglier across the board (even at F11 and F16) due to the rounded aperture. I wouldn't hesitate getting the SMC version, though 620 euros is a little bit steep. Maybe the used offer is a better idea- if you can buy it through a private sale, perhaps you won't have to pay customs.

Adam
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05-21-2014, 03:01 AM   #3
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Get the SMC version. If the ghosting and flare is better controlled because of the HD coating it can only be marginal. I certainly wouldn't trade wide open bokeh in a lens not designed for that sort of thing, at the expense of those beautiful fourteen point stars.
05-21-2014, 04:27 AM   #4
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@Adam... If I recall correctly, when PF did its "first look" survey of the then-new HD•DA lens lineup, a set of more thorough lens tests to follow were promised. What's the status on that? Here's a vote to expedite this project!

To illustrate my interest, when I purchased my HD DA 70/2.4, I made a bet with myself that the premium I paid over a remainder SMC version would be "worth it". You can probably guess the logic involved; especially as I never used any zoom lens for short telephoto FL's in the film days (I carried the relatively weighty, for those times, Nikkor 105/2.5 AI-S, always). But I went on thin evidence, mostly investigating closely and extrapolating from ePhotozine/photodo results, since they fully tested both versions. Alas, tests were apples to oranges with respect to the test camera and sensor technology involved.

Still, not insignificant improvements showed up, apart from the resolution figures, in the HD version. I could only guess what factors might have been involved. So, PF to the rescue, maybe, filling in the blanks? I noted that their bottom line evaluation and conclusions were plainly more favorable the second time around, despite the price increase.

05-21-2014, 05:56 AM   #5
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You will effectively notice no difference. Buy on price.
05-21-2014, 06:16 AM   #6
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Hi,
I have the SMC version and I love it. I would get the used one at those price options. Either way you go, its an awesome little lens, I haven't tried the HD version but I would never trade my SMC one away!
05-21-2014, 06:43 AM   #7
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only thing that worries me is that the used ones at that price either have dust inside or scratches on the body... the ones in pristine condition are almost the price of a new one
05-21-2014, 07:18 AM   #8
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I would get a used SMC. I don't buy lenses new any more. It saves me quite a lot of money. Money I spend on buying more lenses, of course, but still...

05-21-2014, 07:40 AM   #9
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Oddly the only lens i have bought new in a long time was the smc 15mm. I almost always buy used and have had very good success. I would recommend the smc version for the starbursts.
05-21-2014, 12:34 PM   #10
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If you buy the 15, might as well sell the rest of your lenses, you won't love them any more (HA HA). One bit of warning, it takes awhile to get used to shooting the 15. You really need to get quite close to your subject, closer than you'd think. Shoot at F8 for awhile until you get to know it, too.
05-22-2014, 02:18 AM   #11
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I have just purchased the SMC DA 15/4 from a kindly Forum member and am very much looking forward to having it in hand. 😊 Combined with the HD version of the DA 70mm, as I discussed above, I feel I have exactly the options in this lens complement that I'd ideally want. My thinking on the DA 15 follows along the lines of what you could call the conventional wisdom here. Good luck with your choice.

*Update: Got it... it's really as new... and my, my, my: the little pang of Puritan guilt I felt pulling the P-Pal trigger for this, already owning the Schneider-Kr. version of the DA 12-24mm/4, just evaporated like "poof!" as I first held the little beauty in my palm! I think I'm a goner already. It's probably even better when you take a photo, eh?

BTW, I am also hoping for nice, moderate wide angle results with this lens on my Oly E-PL5 sidekick cam. -- Fred

Last edited by Kayaker-J; 05-27-2014 at 08:26 AM.
05-22-2014, 04:55 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Kozlok Quote
If you buy the 15, might as well sell the rest of your lenses, you won't love them any more
this is so true...I absolutely love my SMC DA15! definitely one of my favorite lenses...and I did buy mine used from an Ebay seller.
05-22-2014, 09:26 PM   #13
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I haven't tried the SMC version, but i did buy the HD version used in mint condition. I love it, having taken it out on very sunny days and pointed it almost (almost) directly at the sun with no adverse effects. very nice images. So while I can appreciate the comments about the smc, having never used it, i don't miss its' strengths. I do feel the HD is well worth the $, although i did buy mine used, and have no regrets whatsoever.
05-23-2014, 12:23 AM   #14
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damn you guys!! i finally gave in on all these wonderful photos everyone is posting in the lens club section just made the purchase on a used SMC.

i think savoche convinced me there with this statement
QuoteOriginally posted by savoche Quote
I would get a used SMC. I don't buy lenses new any more. It saves me quite a lot of money. Money I spend on buying more lenses, of course, but still...
cant wait for it to get here!!
05-23-2014, 02:53 AM   #15
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Cheers mate!

You won't be disappointed. Just give it something in the foreground and you'll get beautiful results.
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