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04-24-2009, 04:45 AM   #1
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DA15 vs SMC Pentax 15?

Just out of idle curiosity, does anyone have both the new DA15 and the old SMC Pentax 15? I've got the aspherical version of the latter, and I am wondering if the DA measures up on digital. An informal shootout could be interesting.

04-24-2009, 05:44 AM   #2
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I think the practical difference here is in size.

Limiteds imo are very nice with the aluminum finish and all, but they still don't stack up to what it was like back in the day. Remember that the 15/3.5 you have has the best of Asahi and Zeiss tech. I'd hang on to that gem.
04-24-2009, 06:22 AM   #3
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Don't worry, my 15/3.5 is going nowhere! I'm curious, though.
04-24-2009, 12:40 PM   #4
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I don't really see anybody who has the old 15mm spending his budget on the DA15 Ltd.
So, I don't see a shootout happening any time soon.

On the other hand, LBA has a strange effect on (some) people .

You might try to contact Jim King: I see a possibility there.
(he is a member here).

04-24-2009, 12:52 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bart Quote
I don't really see anybody who has the old 15mm spending his budget on the DA15 Ltd.
So, I don't see a shootout happening any time soon.

On the other hand, LBA has a strange effect on (some) people .

You might try to contact Jim King: I see a possibility there.
(he is a member here).
You're right: jamesk8752

I just checked his equipment list, and had to double check it wasn't just a list of every Pentax lens ever made!

He has the A 15/3.5, K 15/3.5 and the new DA 15/4.

You should pm him, or maybe he'll show up--he's probably your only hope!
04-24-2009, 07:04 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bart Quote
I don't really see anybody who has the old 15mm spending his budget on the DA15 Ltd. So, I don't see a shootout happening any time soon.
I have the (non-aspherical) SMC 15, as well as the DA12-24, and I gotta tell you that the SMC 15 is basically just as big and heavy as the DA12-24 is. The reason to get the new DA15 is because of it's amazing compact size, as well as other convenience features such as the built-in lens hood and filter compatibility with the other limited lenses.

I'm really not using the SMC 15 because the DA 12-24 is, frankly, a better lens and it's no more trouble for me to bring along. But I would like to get a DA15 as a compact, pocketable lens if it's price comes down.

04-24-2009, 07:26 PM   #7
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Ta Dahhh!

Mabelsound *did* PM me so I'd like to add my 2 cents worth.

Yes, I have the non-aspherical version of the K15/3.5, the A15/3.5, the DA14/2.8, and I just added the DA15/4 Limited to my collection (got a great deal; less than $500 with MS Cashback). I haven't done a lot of shooting with the DA15 yet, but here are my thoughts on these lenses at this time.

First, my DA14 blows away my K15 and A15 lenses on digital. Better sharpness, better contrast, less flare - there is no comparison. Interestingly, my K15 is somewhat sharper than my A15. I sent the latter to Pentax twice for service because I didn't feel it was up to snuff; however, the work they did on it didn't make much of an improvement. I was thrilled when I got my DA14 and was finally able to get decent images at wide angle.

Second, my copy of the DA15 is not as sharp in the center of the image as my DA14, but it is much better in the corners and has less linear distortion as well. The DA15 does sharpen up pretty well by f8, and I think that its more consistent sharpness across the image field and its lower distortion make it a worthwhile lens to own. Coupled with its compact size and low weight, the DA15 presents a pretty decent package and will get more use than my DA14. Those who complain about the IQ of the DA15 are not taking its whole balance of properties into account, IMO.

Both my K15 and A15 will sit on the shelf - they are ok for 35mm film but not really competitive for digital. Great looking lenses, though!

Hope this helps - but remember, it's one person's opinion based on single copies of each of these lenses. YMMV.

Regards, Jim
04-25-2009, 12:12 AM   #8
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Jim, your opinion is truely appreciated. Very helpful in deed.

04-25-2009, 12:29 AM   #9
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QuoteQuote:
jamesk8752: Hope this helps - but remember, it's one person's opinion based on single copies of each of these lenses.
I am looking in this wide range, so this helps me--thank you.
04-25-2009, 04:02 AM   #10
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Still remember the A15/3.5 Jim helped me to buy My A15 is pretty nice even wide open, and I do feel its optical quality is better than my DA14 (more pleasing color, less distortion, less CA, almost as sharp ...). Either my A15 is a better copy than Jim's, or my DA14 was a lousy one. But to be honest, ever since I got the DA1224, I seldom look at any other wide angle lens, except this DA15. Just like Jim said above, for DA15 we need to look at the whole balance of its properties. I really like its small and compact size, and can live its just so so sharpness at wide aperture. I'll definitely get one when its street price hits somewhere around $400
04-25-2009, 04:09 AM   #11
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Thanks, Jim! I have no real intention of buying the DA15, but I'm glad to know that Pentax has managed to make a quality lens in such a small package. I'm perfectly satisfied with my old K for now.
04-25-2009, 02:03 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by jamesk8752 Quote
Second, my copy of the DA15 is not as sharp in the center of the image as my DA14, but it is much better in the corners and has less linear distortion as well.
Substitute 40 & 43, or 70 & 77, and it sounds like you've just summarized the tradeoffs in the the other pancakes with comparable "competitors", too. Although I don't recall anyone else claiming the 15 actually beats the 14 in the center, and it seems the most complaint from the early samples of the DA15 were of soft corners. I've always assumed that was just because the test subjects didn't provide anything suitable in the corners (eg, on the plane of focus) or any basis for comparison (eg, how the DA14 would have performed on the same scene).
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