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12-23-2015, 08:39 AM   #1
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LBA conundrum

OK.. I bought a DA15mm limited earlier this year and it's been very good! I like it (repeat it in my head a few times)..
However, there are many times I felt that it was a little too wide - so I bought a 35mm prime. Did I mention I like wildlife and birds photography? - I bought 55-300mm lens too. (My precious.....)

Now, I see a deal for 100mm macro WR for about the same price I paid for 15mm. (No - I can't afford another $380!!)

So, here is the conundrum:
1. Should I get the macro? How good/bad is it?
2. Should I return 15mm and get the macro? I think the limited lens has limited use?
3. Is this just a good guy looking at a good deal or do you sense a chronic case of LBA?

Any attempt to bring back sanity will be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

12-23-2015, 08:45 AM   #2
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It's a great macro, one of the best on the market.

What do you want to do? A 100mm macro has a VERY narrow field of view. It's great for insects, not so great for still life - your 35mm is perfect for that. If you want to get out in the weeds and chase bees and butterflies etc. then the 100 will be your most prized possession, along with a good set of light long pants, boots and gaiters.

The 15mm is in no way similar to the 100. If the 35 does enough wide-angle for you, and you're not doing urban landscape or indoor work etc. then the 100 might be useful if you're going to use it. My FA100 2.8 lives on my camera in the summer. It doesn't venture out of the drawer much in winter, but the DA21mm and the 55-300 get a lot of winter use.
12-23-2015, 08:59 AM   #3
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As a macro and short tele lens, the 100WR is one of the best. Back in Takumar and K/M lens days, there used to be a 105mm prime, and if that sort of focal length suits you then this lens will too - it's reasonably fast at f/2.8 and the optical quality is superb. Its only downside is that being a macro, most of the focus throw is dedicated to very short distances and it tends to hunt (VERY noisily) if asked to switch between very near and very far, or if the focus point is at the edge of a near thing with a distant background. Against this, it has Quick Shift, so you can get it in focus manually most of the way and let the AF system touch up the last little bit. It also comes with a very substantial hood, which (depending on how you view these things) MAY enable you to think about leaving off a protective filter.

And of course being a D-FA it's full-frame, so it's ready for Pentax's Big Beastie when it eventually comes out and it's also optically compatible with Pentax film bodies. No aperture ring, though, so for film you'll need at least a full program mode and preferably a body that supports manual in-camera control and display of the aperture.

Whether you actually need it or whether you just want it is up to you to decide.
12-23-2015, 09:04 AM   #4
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I'm probably the last person to ask about the DA15 because I found I did not like the near/far distortion rendering style of the lens nor its edge field curvature. I called it "trying too hard to be wide on an APS-C sensor"

I actually prefer the Sigma 10-20, especially at 17-20mm, to me it looks nearly flat from edge to edge. But that's another tangent.

To you macro question, I experimented with several macros, and eventually sold my FA100. I settled on the FA50 and Sigma 70. On APS-C the 100 seemed a little awkward a focal length and it's focus speed was ineffective for faster moving subjects. I don't shoot butterflies or bugs that much but I actually found using the faster focusing Sigma 50-150 to be a better option, or even my Sigma 100-300 for those images. For flowers, it was just a little too long and the 11in minimum focus distance a little too far removed from my subject for composition purposes. Maybe it was me, not the lens, but we just weren't a good match. In terms of IQ, it's great, which was one of the reasons I tried it in the first place. But it ended up not being a good fit for me.

Finally, if you aren't that thrilled with the DA15, sell it. If you need to spend the money on another lens, my favorite all around landscape lens is the Tamron 17-50.
If you want a macro, figure out what you want to shoot with it. For me, the FA50 or Sigma 70 work better for flora and all around use. (Ironically the 70mm is 100m FoV equivalent on FF so I may have to revisit lens lineup once I get the FF)

12-23-2015, 09:25 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by randomax Quote
OK.. I bought a DA15mm limited earlier this year and it's been very good! I like it (repeat it in my head a few times)..
However, there are many times I felt that it was a little too wide - so I bought a 35mm prime. Did I mention I like wildlife and birds photography? - I bought 55-300mm lens too. (My precious.....)

Now, I see a deal for 100mm macro WR for about the same price I paid for 15mm. (No - I can't afford another $380!!)

So, here is the conundrum:
1. Should I get the macro? How good/bad is it?
2. Should I return 15mm and get the macro? I think the limited lens has limited use?
3. Is this just a good guy looking at a good deal or do you sense a chronic case of LBA?

Any attempt to bring back sanity will be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
Here's the thing: if you are mostly intending to use primes and intend to shoot at a variety of focal lengths, you will be purchasing many lenses. This isn't LBA, it's merely necessity.

A more affordable and practical path may be to buy the 16-85 or 18-135 (or Tammy 17-50 as nomadkng suggests) and supplement that with more specialized lenses (100 Macro, maybe 50/1.8) down the line as you see fit.
12-23-2015, 09:35 AM   #6
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The 18-135 is perhaps my most-used non-specialty lens. It's not bad close-up, so I can get some bee shots while on dog walkies if it's data I'm interested in. It can keep up with the dogs (mostly) when at the dog park. OK, the pack of huskies running toward me can be tough to track, I'll be interested in seeing how the K3II handles that.

Plus, it's WR which is a big plus.

As a side note, when trying to get shots of very small bees - lasioglossum, ceratina, hyleaus - I found the 28mm Sigma did a better job. I think it was DOF at such tight distances that made the difference. They're tiny, 5mm or less.
12-23-2015, 09:55 AM   #7
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I love the DA 15, but I don't use it very much - because it's a specialty lens.
I adore the DFA 100, but I don't use it very much - because, yes, same thing.

...and that's the nature of some primes - they are very useful for very specific things. And unless you shoot a lot of those very specific things the lens might not be a good match for you. Unless you are like me and want to have a lens for every occasion in your inventory

I don't particularly care for the 18-135 and it is brilliant at nothing - but I use it a lot. It's my main holiday lens because it can do "everything" reasonably well.
12-23-2015, 09:58 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by randomax Quote
OK.. I bought a DA15mm limited earlier this year and it's been very good! I like it (repeat it in my head a few times)..
However, there are many times I felt that it was a little too wide - so I bought a 35mm prime. Did I mention I like wildlife and birds photography? - I bought 55-300mm lens too. (My precious.....)

Now, I see a deal for 100mm macro WR for about the same price I paid for 15mm. (No - I can't afford another $380!!)

So, here is the conundrum:
1. Should I get the macro? How good/bad is it?
2. Should I return 15mm and get the macro? I think the limited lens has limited use?
3. Is this just a good guy looking at a good deal or do you sense a chronic case of LBA?

Any attempt to bring back sanity will be greatly appreciated! Thanks.

I think you will continue to wonder or buy a lens because there is no lens that does it all. You have to decide where your interests lie and go from there. You may also find yourself becoming a hoarder (like me). I have lens that I love but don't pull out very often but when I do they are amazing so I have trouble selling them when I know there may be a time when I will use them. I actually have the non WR 100 and rarely use it and wonder if I get the WR would I use more. When the prices drop many of us start to wonder should I..... so I think the only person that can help you is you.


Sorry no easy answer when it comes to LBA. Best of luck and Happy Holidays!!!

12-23-2015, 10:13 AM   #9
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I would have a look at the Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4. It checks a lot of boxes:

- It has 17mm which while not covering the 15mm FL, is somewhat close and can do when you need wide shots
- It is faster than some other suggested lenses (18-135 and 16-85) so it would be useful in low light situations while still giving you a very useful range
- It does close focusing decently; while not a 1:1 macro, it will give you decent flower and object type shots
- Can be found sometimes for 349.00 in the US (currently at the usual price of 399 which still isn't too bad)

Of course, thinking outside the box, you could also use the money instead to upgrade your K-50 (which I see in your profile) to a K-3 - so that you would be able to do more cropping with the DA 55-300mm lens, which has a good center at 300mm so you would benefit from the 24MP sensor for the one thing you do the most - wildlife and birds. And the AF would be better, too.
12-23-2015, 10:53 AM   #10
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Thank you all for the suggestions! I have a lot to think about.
The realization that the 'special' prime lenses are only for special use and not a work-horse is yet to sink in I guess. (Especially after it lightened the pocket quite a bit!).

Also, the suggestion to get more from DA 55-300mm by upgrading to K-3 is an absolutely amazing tangential thought! Thanks @ChristianRock!
12-23-2015, 11:17 AM   #11
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Building a capable kit is something that may take a couple of years, in particular when you're on a budget. The DA15 is certainly a capable ultra-wideangle prime, and if you really like it and the images it renders - I sure do - and got hold of a good copy, cling to it by all means.

And the DFA100 WR Macro? Well, that's another highly capable lens in its category. One that I know I will add to my own kit sooner or later. Just not now, because I can't afford it. Of course, a lot depends on your shooting preferences, but if you appreciate what your existing kit can do for you - from what I see it is quite powerful - why don't you just shoot and enjoy what you have and look forward to expanding your kit some time in the future? It won't be last sale you see on the DFA100 WR Macro, don't you think?

Just my two bits.
12-23-2015, 01:24 PM   #12
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1) Close-up photography is demanding. If you don't already have a tripod and/or external flash(es), you may end up frustrated with the macro. It depends on what you're trying to do with it though.

2) There are tons of great examples on these forums of the 55-300mm paired with one of those raynox adaptors if you're desperate to try your hand at macro work - https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/74221-raynox-macro-club.html.

3) Who knows what the future holds regarding pricing, but given your lens line up, I'd only sell/return the da15mm to fund the dfa100mm if I was convinced I'd never want the 15mm again. Otherwise, I'd plan to save up for the macro and try to make better friends with the da15 in the meantime.

4) To throw another option out there, the DA50mm macro is currently pretty cheap. Selling off your 35mm to help fund it is another way into the macro game. It won't feel as solid as the DA100mm WR, and isn't as nice vs live moving targets (if that's your thing), but it's also optically top notch. 15mm + 50mm macro + 55-300mm would be a pretty versatile kit. Maybe you'd miss something in-between 15mm and 50mm, I'm sure I wouldn't but everyone is different.
12-23-2015, 01:25 PM - 1 Like   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by randomax Quote

Any attempt to bring back sanity will be greatly appreciated! Thanks.
Here's my attempt to help you with your LBA (really).

Use the lenses you have, a lot. Especially the 55-300. Take that one out and shoot several thousand shots over a few weeks' or months' time of what you enjoy doing. Then take a look at them on your computer and discover which ones you liked the most and enjoyed taking the most. Unless you like everything (no advice for that, sorry), you should find there are some ranges of focal lengths that stand out. Those are your places of interest. Then take a look at your photos and decide if their quality is adequate for your needs. If yes, great! You already have what you want. If no, you can now be very selective in your new lens choices and don't have to look at every shiny thing that passes by.

Hope this helps a little. This forum is not often very good at helping to stem the LBA tide.
12-23-2015, 01:46 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by randomax Quote
OK.. I bought a DA15mm limited earlier this year and it's been very good! I like it (repeat it in my head a few times)..
However, there are many times I felt that it was a little too wide - so I bought a 35mm prime. Did I mention I like wildlife and birds photography? - I bought 55-300mm lens too. (My precious.....)

Now, I see a deal for 100mm macro WR for about the same price I paid for 15mm. (No - I can't afford another $380!!)

So, here is the conundrum:
1. Should I get the macro? How good/bad is it?
2. Should I return 15mm and get the macro? I think the limited lens has limited use?
3. Is this just a good guy looking at a good deal or do you sense a chronic case of LBA?

Any attempt to bring back sanity will be greatly appreciated! Thanks.


Simple -
1. Get the macro, it's a great lens.
2. Keep the 15mm, it's a very good lens.
3. Don't ask that question. Just put it aside and enjoy all your lenses.
12-23-2015, 02:17 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by david94903 Quote
Simple -
1. Get the macro, it's a great lens.
2. Keep the 15mm, it's a very good lens.
3. Don't ask that question. Just put it aside and enjoy all your lenses.
There is of course the question of affordability. Yes, the price is good, but even so it will stress a lot of people's wallets just to keep grabbing them hither and thither.
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