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11-13-2009, 10:31 AM   #1
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DA 14mm/2.8 vs. DA 15mm/4 Ltd.

Hi guys,

I'm interested in getting one or the other of these two lenses. I can get the DA 14 for roughly 2/3 the cost of the DA 15. I know the 14 is larger and heavier and probably not as well built, but the f/2.8 is attractive as is the lower price.

So, those who have used both... which do you like better and why? Which is optically superior, in your opinion?

Thanks!

11-13-2009, 10:43 AM   #2
emr
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When 15 mm came, there was a thread on this forum where a member had some comparison pictures and IIRC, DA 14 mm was much better. I'll try and see if I can find the thread.
11-13-2009, 10:47 AM   #3
emr
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Here you go, a comparison:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/551117-post29.html
11-13-2009, 10:59 AM   #4
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There have actually been several such threads, here and on dpreview, and really, the comparisons went both ways. In some pictures and in some respects, the DA14 might win, but in other pictures and other respects, the DA15 would win. The photozone.de review is pretty decisively in favor the DA15 in virtually all counts, except for border sharpness and vignetting at f/5.6 and below, where DA14 has a *slight* edge. But center sharpness at all apertures, overall sharpness at f/8 and f/11, distortion, and CA are all wins for the DA15 in the photozone tests. And I'd say that's pretty consistent with what the more ad hoc comparisons posted to these forums have shown. I'm thinking the shot reference above by Jim Kind showing what appears to be higher center sharpness for the DA14 at f/4 is a fluke, as it is definitely contrary to photozone.de measured results and the overall trned of the various other comparisons that have been posted.

BTW, I'm assuming you've got a great line on a used DA14. Because the prices brand new from most reputable dealers has the DA15 cheaper by at least $100 (eg, ~$700 for DA14 versus ~$550 $for DA15 at B&H, Adorama, and Amazon).

Basically, both are very good lenses, with the DA14 having the advantage of being a stop faster and better corner performance at large apertures, and the DA15 having the advantage of size and better optical quality overall. If you can find a DA14 for cheaper somehow, by all means, go for it if you're OK with the greater size and weight, but for most people, the fact that the DA15 is actually cheaper too will probably make it the choice for most people - after all, just how important is f/2.8 at 14mm?

11-13-2009, 11:09 AM   #5
emr
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Thanks on my behalf too, Marc. I've been lusting for a 15 mm ltd, but was a bit turned off by the initial comparisons such as the one linked above.
11-13-2009, 11:27 AM   #6
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For me the size was the deciding factor. The 14/2.8 was, in my hands, optically better, though not by much, the 15LTD is a nicer lens to use.
I let my 14 go in favour of the 15.
11-13-2009, 04:04 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
Thanks on my behalf too, Marc. I've been lusting for a 15 mm ltd, but was a bit turned off by the initial comparisons such as the one linked above.
The comparisons I've seen between the DA15 and DA14 seems to focus on f/4. Obviously a f/2.8 lens will always perform better than an f/4 lens at f/4. But then, what aperture are you most likely to use a lens of such FL ? Most likely at f/8-f/22 range, at least in my case, and this is where a f/4 lens has the advantage over a f/2.8 lens and the DA15 seems to prove that. Therefore if a fast lens is your priority, DA14 makes more sense. If large DOF is your priority, then DA15 makes more sense. Two good lenses, two different approaches, two different uses; neither is bad, just different and understanding those differences is crutial in making the right purchase decision.
11-13-2009, 04:15 PM   #8
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I have had both and now have only the DA15.

Optically, they are both very close when it comes down to IQ. The DA14 probably has the advantage - its a little sharper in the corners. Obviously it is a little faster, but I think if you are talking about being that wide, how much wide open shooting is reality? At F4.0, the DA15 is fine, at 5.6 and on, it is stellar. In my opinion, the difference is in size and distortion. The size made a difference to me, but not enough to justify the added cost of the DA15. The distortion is what put me on to the DA15.

Along the horizontal edges of the DA14, you get a very apparent wavy line distortion. The DA15 does not. If you don't shoot architecture or interiors, you may never see it. I shoot indoors frequently, so this was a big factor. Sure you could go zoom (10-20 or 12-24), but I have a love for primes.

If low distortion is a priority, IMO the decision is very easy.

11-13-2009, 05:25 PM   #9
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I think size is a huge factor. If you are going with the DA 14, you just as well might get the DA 12-24. I think the DA 15 fits in a lot better with the small prime mentality -- a lot easier to stick in your bag with the DA 40 and 70 and go.
11-13-2009, 05:28 PM   #10
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The extra stop of the DA14 is useful if you want to take photos of people indoors. Also, it's very well built; very solid all-metal construction.
11-13-2009, 05:54 PM   #11
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I've ordered the 15 for size and metal construction. Can't figure spending that much on a plastic lens, as good as the 14 might be...

Edit: read the post above. Well the 14 certainly LOOKS like it's plastic. Certainly not as well built as the 15 which will go nice with my other ltds.
11-13-2009, 07:10 PM   #12
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I've used both, and I'd go for the DA15 given the choice. The size and weight difference is much bigger than the optical difference.
11-13-2009, 07:35 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
I have owned the DA14 but feel the DA15 sample looks OOF. Experience taught me AF with very wide lens is not always reliable.

QuoteOriginally posted by kristoffon Quote
I've ordered the 15 for size and metal construction. Can't figure spending that much on a plastic lens, as good as the 14 might be...

Edit: read the post above. Well the 14 certainly LOOKS like it's plastic. Certainly not as well built as the 15 which will go nice with my other ltds.
The DA14 has metal body all the way.

QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I think size is a huge factor. If you are going with the DA 14, you just as well might get the DA 12-24.
The DA14 has 2 pros over the DA12-24 - f2.8 & closer focus.
11-13-2009, 08:25 PM   #14
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The DA14 is very well built. it feels like a tank. I've never really had a chance to play with the limiteds, but I'd venture to say it's just as solid. The only plastic is in the hood and the little clear window over the focus scale. It's built like a pro lens.
11-13-2009, 09:09 PM   #15
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Do I need the 1 stop aperture speed? answer: get the DA14.
Do I need compactness and no excess baggage? answer: get the DA15

that it the only logical difference there is between the two lenses. IQ and close-focus is pretty much dead even. does build matter to you as well?
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