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11-27-2018, 07:35 PM   #1
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DA15 for hiking?

Hello any walkers or hikers out there.

I have been using my Ricoh GR for hiking and climbing. It's great but I want to start using my K3 more regularly and am looking for a small, light lens solution. Most of the hiking I do is on mountains so weight is an issue. I have used the sigma 17-50 and 10-20 but both of these are fairly large and weighty. I like to shoot wide forest scenes and of course the mountain views. The focal length on the GR is just about right although wider would be better which is why I am thinking of the DA15. Is this the best option? Thanks.

11-27-2018, 07:48 PM - 1 Like   #2
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It is in my opinion. The only commonly available lighter lenses are wider like the Plastic Fantastic 35 & 50 and the 40 pancake lenses. The 15 is a terrific lens for landscapes and is both small and light. The SMC version is pretty cheap these days and I have found it to be more than up to the job. The new version is supposed to be better but in reviewing photos out of it I see color shifts that I don't like as much (perhaps its me, or the post processing but it seems to be fairly consistent). YMMV.
11-27-2018, 07:51 PM   #3

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I hike with the hd da 15 with two types of kits (all with a k3ii):
- together with the DA 16-85, as a wider angle option (it's not just the mm, but also the lower distortion if you need to correct, which also means more of the field of view is preserved)
- in some combination with the DA 21, 40, 70, and 55-300. Not necessarily all of them, maybe it's 15+40+70, maybe 15+21+55-300

It's going to be good when you need a super wide lens, but for me it's not general purpose alone, as is the 21 (or gr in your case). For example, when hiking in mountains I find I usually shoot normal and tele focal lengths most often. The harder the hike, the fewer lenses I bring, and they depend on what subjects I expect to find along the way. The 15 is hard to beat for the compact size and image quality: set to f8, correct CA digitally, and it's a real gem (sharp, great color, contrast, never had issues with flare).

Last edited by aaacb; 11-27-2018 at 08:03 PM.
11-27-2018, 07:53 PM - 1 Like   #4
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Well, with a bigger lens you get better quality, with less distortion, less vignetting, etc, but look at the pictures you get with the compromise anyway:

The 15mm Limited controls my mind - club -

Something worthy to note is that the very simple DA15 design means it has an extremely good resistance to flare, something that anyone who shoots in a backlit situation should know.

11-27-2018, 08:32 PM - 2 Likes   #5
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I love the 15, always my favorite. You could also get the 21 or DA 35 cheaply, and have a couple of choices for not much weight.
Another choice would be the little collapsible 18-50. The IQ is OK, not amazing, but it's super light and you'd have a nice zoom range.

Yet another choice is to keep the 17-50 or 10-20, and invest in a better way to carry the camera. I like the Blackrapids ones (there's one that attaches to your pack), but there are other ways to carry conveniently.
11-27-2018, 08:33 PM - 1 Like   #6
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The DA 16-85 is the one-lens option. But yes, the DA 15 is a lovely lens.
11-27-2018, 08:44 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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My usual hiking lens pairs are smc DA15 on my K-5iis with my DA55-300 in the back pack. Sometimes I will bring the DA12-24 for more flexibility instead of DA15.
11-27-2018, 09:16 PM - 1 Like   #8
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+1 for hiking with the DA15mm Ltd. I have the non-HD and it is great on the K-3. I also used it with my older K-7, a backup body. The results are superb at low ISO. All in all the DA15mm Ltd is highly recommended, for landscape, as well as urban shooting.

I posted there a few shots with the Da15mm a few years back:
Primes in Paris -

While I use zoom lenses, I tend to prefer primes for the IQ and light weight. The DA15mm is also a nibble: it is very easy to put in and out of the bag a dSLR body with the DA15mm. For hiking, I sometimes carry another prime in my pockets, often the FA77mm Ltd as a short tele. Other Pentaxians talk positively of the DA70mm Ltd also, another pancake lens.

My 5 cents.

Last edited by hcc; 11-28-2018 at 01:35 PM.
11-27-2018, 09:17 PM - 1 Like   #9
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I find the DA-15 (with DA40-xs thrown in pretty much for free weight / size wise) and a K-01 is a great combination when walking or travelling very light.
But yes the DA-15 (I have SMC version), while not perfect (what is?), is a very capable lens for hiking.
11-27-2018, 11:02 PM - 1 Like   #10
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I don't hike as much as I once did. The DA 15 (SMC) I have is a good lens for some hiking shots but my preferred lens today if I were to hike a lot with my K-3, and wanted a one lens option I would probably take the DA 20-40. But the DA 15/40/70 combo would likely be what I'd carry the other half of the time.

Last edited by UncleVanya; 11-28-2018 at 06:45 AM.
11-28-2018, 12:37 AM   #11
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11-28-2018, 03:22 AM - 1 Like   #12
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Original Poster
Thanks everyone for your comments and ideas - and helping me spend some money! It looks like I will be going with the DA15. There are a lot around here second hand at a reasonable price. I will see if I can pick one up this weekend... exciting times!
11-28-2018, 04:39 AM - 1 Like   #13
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I am a fan of 21 Ltd for hiking and walking. The front element is much better protected than 15mm.
11-28-2018, 04:56 AM   #14
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I use my DA15mm along with the DA20-40m Ltd and K3II when hiking, it's a good lightweight combination. To tell you the truth I tend to use the 20-40mm more than the 15mm...... but it's always there just in case.
11-28-2018, 07:05 AM - 1 Like   #15
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I go snowboarding and hiking with a K-5II, paired with two of either the DA-15 Limited, the plastic 35mm or the 100 macro. Both the 15 & 35 (plastic) are super compact and light.

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