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11-18-2009, 06:01 AM   #1
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Wide DA lims (15 vs 21) - which one is better

found the opinion that 15/4 has quite better optical quality than 21/3.2.
is it worth to change 21 for 15?
15. pros (for me): faster focus, better sharpnes tru the field, wider angle
cons: bigger size, 4.0 (vs 3.2)

any tests, direct comparisons?

11-18-2009, 06:45 AM   #2
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The DA15 was my walk around during my holiday. It is very versatile and useful. If I could only choose one, I would tkae the 15 although I do own the 21. Ha.
11-18-2009, 06:59 AM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by scorpioh Quote
The DA15 was my walk around during my holiday. It is very versatile and useful. If I could only choose one, I would tkae the 15 although I do own the 21. Ha.
is it due to optical quality, the angle or faster af?

(i'd prefer 15 to 21 by anglr too)
11-18-2009, 07:30 AM   #4
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I read threads like this and I wonder if I have made a mistake on ordering the 21. It should be here some time this week, so I can see. I was thinking about the selection earlier this morning. I guess I will go out this weekend and select an appropriate landscape, setup the tripod and use 20mm @ f8 across the 21ltd, 12-24, 16-45 and 18-55 and just see what the results are.

It needs to be at least to be at least as good as the 16-45 and hopefully better than the 12-24. Right now, I have no idea as to what to expect.

I selected the 21 since I tend to be in the 20 area for a lot of the stuff, and the lens is a bit faster (since I have f4 for most of the rest) - but really across the entire range of 12-24. So pay your money and take your chances......

11-18-2009, 07:52 AM   #5
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I do not dobt that both lims will perform better than any zoom at the whole range of appertures.
Meanwhile i'm mostly interested in their performance at open appertures (3.2, 4.0, 5.6) - as I mostly shoot w/o tripod
11-18-2009, 08:31 AM   #6
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I sold the 21 to buy the 15. The 21 was just a little too long for the perspective I was looking for. They both have great image quality, are small, about the same speed, etc.

The only consideration for me was the angle of view -- keep in mind that 15 is really wide (in my book), and the 21 gives a more "natural" perspective (to my eye, anyway).

Let the disagreement begin!
11-18-2009, 10:09 AM   #7
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I know about angle and prospectives and 15mm suits me much better on crop than 21 (I just need a proper substitute to my zeiss 25mm on d3)
11-18-2009, 10:51 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
I read threads like this and I wonder if I have made a mistake on ordering the 21. It should be here some time this week, so I can see. I was thinking about the selection earlier this morning. I guess I will go out this weekend and select an appropriate landscape, setup the tripod and use 20mm @ f8 across the 21ltd, 12-24, 16-45 and 18-55 and just see what the results are.

It needs to be at least to be at least as good as the 16-45 and hopefully better than the 12-24. Right now, I have no idea as to what to expect.

I selected the 21 since I tend to be in the 20 area for a lot of the stuff, and the lens is a bit faster (since I have f4 for most of the rest) - but really across the entire range of 12-24. So pay your money and take your chances......
Please post your conclusions. I just got through photographing actors from a local theatre production in some shops for publicity photos. I used the 21 and the 50 primarily. My "mentor" who used Canon zooms and I did this for 3 days. Thursday, friday and monday and then went back to his house with another person to select the photos to be used. Where there was adequate light from outdoors or close to windows, the 21's results were like "eye candy", very colorful and these photos along with the FA 50 were selected often enough. (i only got aced where i should have switched to flash, and didn't)

I like to shoot 35mm or narrower, am somewhat amazed that someone uses a 15mm for a walkaround. What bothers me about wider lenses is the "minuturization" that occurs to more distant objects but i'm ready to learn.

Thanks,

11-18-2009, 05:36 PM - 1 Like   #9
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The 21 has visibly more distortion, and is just sort of an unnatural field of view on APS-C to my eyes. The difference between f/3.2 and f/4 is largely irrelevant - one is normally shooting stopped down with either lens, and if you are trying to use it for low light or shallow DOF photography, half a stop or so just isn't worth worrying about. Especially since the 15 will tend to place you closer to your subject, and thus making DOF smaller, and exagerrating the whole subject/background distinction that one might normally want shallow DOF for. And handholding a 15mm lens at f/4 shutter speeds isn't overly difficult even in low light.

But in the 21's favor is the fact that, even if I find it an awkward focal length, it would make for an OK compromise between my 15 and 28 if I were to want a one-prime-lens walkaround kit. But really, I like 28 better, even though it might not be wide enough sometimes. But then, it's also not long enough. So 15+28+40 are my go-to lenses when I don't specifically need telephoto, and I'm way happier with that combo than I could ever be with *any* single focal length. If I wanted a single lens, I'd just use my 18-55 (and have done so), which might not be 8as* good, but is more than good enough for situations where I don't care enough to bring more than one lens (and even for some situations where I do).

Phil - I certainly wouldn't choose the 15 very often if I *did* limit myself to one lens, but it is a surprisingly versatile lens, I think. To my thinking, a lens like this isn't about shooting distant objects - it's about filling the frame with things close to you while still showing a lot the background. One of the things that got me intrigued by that was noticing how often that technique is used in National Geographic and similar publications - a subject that fill the frame enough to see the detail, and enough background to know you aren't in Kansas any more...

Last edited by Marc Sabatella; 11-18-2009 at 09:27 PM.
11-18-2009, 06:58 PM   #10
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Well this evening driving home from work was another lost opportunity. Right at dusk I had Camelback Mountain silhouetted against the glowing evening iridescent blue sky with a ribbon of orange yellow sunlight stretched across the horizon, with the sliver of the moon sitting on the top of Camelback. That is one of the shots I am after, but I was going to drop the truck off for service this morning (did not make it) so I took my camera bag out and left it at home.

I think that the 21 would be very good at this, and might have better color than the 12-24, or at least try for a slice of the scene. Its an experiment - heck everything is an experiment...

On the aperture of the lens - 3.2 is essentially the same as 4, other than when it does make an appreciable difference. I am just a rank amateur practicing in an attempt to try to get a better set of skills.

11-18-2009, 09:28 PM   #11
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i wasn't there, of coruse, but your description of the scene had me reaching for my 28. I'd probably have found 21 too wide for that shot.
11-20-2009, 03:35 PM   #12
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Well I ordered a DA 21/3.2 Ltd from a camera shop back east - mint condition but used, for a bit over $350 on last Sunday. When I ordered the image associated with the web ad had a FA 31/1.8 Ltd. The box came today and upon opening it up - what did I find, but a Pentax FA 31/1.8 Ltd.
11-20-2009, 03:43 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
Well I ordered a DA 21/3.2 Ltd from a camera shop back east - mint condition but used, for a bit over $350 on last Sunday. When I ordered the image associated with the web ad had a FA 31/1.8 Ltd. The box came today and upon opening it up - what did I find, but a Pentax FA 31/1.8 Ltd.
You can count yourself one very lucky person....
Hold on to that one, you'll love it.
If not, just sell it and buy 2-3 other lenses instead
11-20-2009, 05:19 PM   #14
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I think I just died a little inside.
11-20-2009, 05:52 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by artemapei Quote
is it due to optical quality, the angle or faster af?

(i'd prefer 15 to 21 by anglr too)
More for the FOV. It's just especially useful for streets. 21 is neither here or there for me.
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