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01-01-2010, 05:39 AM   #1
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Pentax 12-24mm or DA 15mm Ltd. & DA 21mm Ltd.?

Trying to decide between getting the DA 12-24 or the combination of the DA 15mm Limited and DA 21mm Limited. Obviously one attraction of the primes is their greatly reduced size; of the DA 12-24, its flexibility. You'd expect the primes to have better IQ but from reviews the 12-24 might be better than the 15.

Anybody have any thoughts on how these lenses compare? I'm also considering getting the 12-24 + the 21 Limited. (The latter as more of a walking-around lens -- I like to shoot wide, generally speaking -- and the zoom for more extreme wide angle effects, especially being able to get all the way to 12mm).

01-01-2010, 08:05 AM   #2
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I woild probably go for the primes. My main reason is that zoom lenses make you lazy. With a prime you have to do a bit nore thinking and that has the effect of inproving your photographes. It can be hard to compair zooms and primes as they tend to have different charactristics, and you have already identified the advatages of the Limited lenses ie weight and speed. I would also point out that all the recent advances in lens technology that make modern zooms so good has gone in the primes available at the moment.
So go on get the Limited primes. You know you want to.
01-01-2010, 08:59 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I have all three of the lenses you mentioned.
The 15 and the 21 travel with me and get carried and used. The 12-24 only gets taken out when I need something wider than the 15 and spends most of it's time in storage.
I haven't checked "IQ" of the three lenses. I don't really care. They are all good optics and my photography doesn't revolve around test targets.
01-01-2010, 09:21 AM   #4
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21mm

The 21mm arrived a few days ago... Since mounting it, I have not shot with any other lens, nor do I have any desire to. It's a fantastic lens! Primes are definitely the way to go. My next will be the 15mm.

01-01-2010, 09:35 AM   #5
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I have had the 21mm Ltd for quite a while and use it a lot -- especially when vacationing, it stays on the camera most of the time and is wonderful hiking and for landscapes.

I bought myself a new lens for Christmas, and had a hard time deciding between the DA 15mm prime and the DA 12-24. I looked at all the info available and finally decided on the 15 because of size, price, build quality and my preference for primes. It really is a nifty piece of work. I love the retractable hood.

If I ever decide I want to go wider the 15mm, I'll probably get the 10-17 fisheye zoom.
01-01-2010, 10:08 AM   #6
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See the new Sigma 10-20 lens club thread

We are having a riot showing our 10-20 images. A fairly compact inexpensive lens, not as easy to carry as a prime but greater flexibility.
01-01-2010, 11:32 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by patrickw Quote
You'd expect the primes to have better IQ but from reviews the 12-24 might be better than the 15.
Both have their strengths and weaknesses. The 12-24 is better in the corners at wide apertures. The 15 has slightly better center sharpness, slightly better sharpness across the frame stopped down to "normal" wide angle aperture ranges (eg, f/8, f/11), better distortion and CA control.

Anyhow, would suggest you browse / search this forum - there have been at least a dozen threads comparing these lenses over the last few months.
01-01-2010, 12:35 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Lots of discussion, and some good threads here and on DPReview showing the DA12-24 vs DA15. In summary:

DA12-24: sharpest, biggest, most expensive, high CA, low flare resistance, it's a zoom hence more flexible.

DA15: sharper at F/8-16, smallest, least expensive, relatively low CA, high flare resistance, its a prime hence less flexible.

So it all depends what you want to do with it. If you need a small discrete package, forget the DA12-24. If you want the flexibility of a zoom and/or sharpest images wide open, then the DA12-24 is a better choice.

What do you want to do with it?

01-01-2010, 02:03 PM   #9
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Love the Pentax 12-24mm

First I own a lot of Pentax Lenses most of them primes. I love the Pentax 12-24
f/4. I use it a lot for landscape shots. The pictures are very sharp. When I went to the Ozark National Scenic Riverwys to shot Greer Spring I had to hike over a mile down hill to get to the spring. The 12-24 let me carry fewer lenses and frame up or compose the shot to take in the area I wanted. I don't like changing lens. It just increases the potental for dust. I carry twin cameras one with a prime and one with a zoom. Check out my gallery at Michael's Photos--John Gilbert. go to Gallery I and click on Ozark Riverways and search for pictures of Alley Spring and Greer Spring. The price of the 12-24 has come down a lot since I bought it so save yourself some money and buy a great lens you won't regret it.
01-01-2010, 08:32 PM   #10
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21mm is a great walkaround focal length on a AP-C sensor so I started with the DA21. I'd been going back and forth for a long time on what to get wider than the 21: 12-24 or 15. After about a year I got a good deal on a K-7 bundled with a 12-24 and went with it because I figured that it's rare that I need wider than 21 when I'm also concerned about bulk and if I'm not concerned about bulk, then I'd be happy with the versatility of the 12-24.

Since owning the 12-24 I've been happy with the lens, but I'm so spoiled by the DA Ltds that I rarely take it out. I've been contemplating trading it for a DA 15 but the few times I have used it I've really liked the 12-24.

Sorry, I'm not much help on the 12-24 vs. the DA15 but I'd say definitely go for the DA21!
01-01-2010, 08:50 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by bpjod Quote
21mm is a great walkaround focal length on a AP-C sensor so I started with the DA21. I'd been going back and forth for a long time on what to get wider than the 21: 12-24 or 15. After about a year I got a good deal on a K-7 bundled with a 12-24 and went with it because I figured that it's rare that I need wider than 21 when I'm also concerned about bulk and if I'm not concerned about bulk, then I'd be happy with the versatility of the 12-24.

Since owning the 12-24 I've been happy with the lens, but I'm so spoiled by the DA Ltds that I rarely take it out. I've been contemplating trading it for a DA 15 but the few times I have used it I've really liked the 12-24.

Sorry, I'm not much help on the 12-24 vs. the DA15 but I'd say definitely go for the DA21!
Thanks for the feedback (to everyone else as well).

I'm kind of leaning towards the 15 at this point, on account of the bulk issue. I definitely lean towards the 15 in terms of variety versus lightweight... it's really some of the sample photos and reviews of the 15 demonstrating how extremely soft it can be compared to the 12-24 that gives me pause.

I will use the wide angle for both landscape shots (while out hiking, etc.) and architectural and cityscapes. The light weight of the 15 is a big plus when out in the woods, but as Gilbej points out, it's also a plus to not have to change lenses out in the woods with all the dust, dirt and gnats hanging around.

If I am leaning towards the 15 its with the idea that if I get it and am satisfied, I will be set, but if I get the 12-24 and love the way it looks, I will still be curious about the 15 on account of the weight.

The 10-20 is definitely another thought. I saw that thread and those were some great looking photographs. Even if I end up getting the 15 now, the 10-20 is wider enough that it would make a reasonable addition down the road.
01-02-2010, 11:08 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by patrickw Quote
it's really some of the sample photos and reviews of the 15 demonstrating how extremely soft it can be compared to the 12-24 that gives me pause.
First, it's onlysofter in the corners, and only when used wide open or close to it. Otherwise, the 15 actually wins (if only slightly) - in the centers, and across the entire frame frame stopped down. Who shoots a wide angle lens wide open and then looks for corner sharpness?

Second, I'd say virtually all sample shots that purport to show corner softness on the DA15 are actually simply showing an OOF area. People are not taking into account the very different curvature of field between the two lenses. If you've focused on an object at the center at f/4 or f/5.6, there won;t be *any* in the corners that could possibly be in focus on both lenses, because they curve the focus field differently.

QuoteQuote:
I will use the wide angle for both landscape shots (while out hiking, etc.) and architectural and cityscapes.
Meaning you'll be stopping down, meaning the 15 will actually be (slightly) sharper across the entire frame.

QuoteQuote:
If I am leaning towards the 15 its with the idea that if I get it and am satisfied, I will be set, but if I get the 12-24 and love the way it looks, I will still be curious about the 15 on account of the weight.
To be honest, I chose the 15 largely on account of weight - I much prefer smaller primes to larger zooms. And I assumed I wouldn't be using it enough to justify a large lens just for wide angle. But to be honest, I'm loving using the 15 so much that it's actually making me think about the 12-24 some day so I can have an ultra wide angle that doubles as a semi-wide for "walkaround" purposes.
01-02-2010, 11:26 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by patrickw Quote
The 10-20 is definitely another thought. I saw that thread and those were some great looking photographs. Even if I end up getting the 15 now, the 10-20 is wider enough that it would make a reasonable addition down the road.
I'm another one who's looked at the DA 15mm Limited. But since I have two zooms that begin at 16mm, it doesn't make a lot of sense to buy another lens to gain only 1mm. That's why I've been looking at either the Pentax 12-24 or the Sigma 10-20.

But in your case, because the Sigma (particularly the f/4-5.6 version versus the f/3.5 version) is more than $200 cheaper than the Pentax 12-24, you could probably buy the 15mm now and add the Sigma later if you want a still-wider view without a whole lot of pain.
01-02-2010, 05:48 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by patrickw Quote
Trying to decide between getting the DA 12-24 or the combination of the DA 15mm Limited and DA 21mm Limited. Obviously one attraction of the primes is their greatly reduced size; of the DA 12-24, its flexibility. You'd expect the primes to have better IQ but from reviews the 12-24 might be better than the 15.

Anybody have any thoughts on how these lenses compare? I'm also considering getting the 12-24 + the 21 Limited. (The latter as more of a walking-around lens -- I like to shoot wide, generally speaking -- and the zoom for more extreme wide angle effects, especially being able to get all the way to 12mm).
I traded a used 12-24 for a nearly new DA15 mainly on grounds of weight and bulk. No regrets. I agree with what's been said above about their relative performance - the DA15 is fine. I did find CA an issue on the 12-24, but the main gripe was that because I don't like carrying around excess weight I left it at home too much. They both deliver the goods - the question is what do you want of a lens. I occasionally miss the '12' end of the zoom specially with interiors of old buildings etc but not often enough to cause real regret.
04-29-2010, 11:33 AM   #15
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DA 15 or 12-24

I have the 12-24 and am very impressed with its optical quality and build - bought it in Japan years ago when it was a lot cheaper.

But I find I don't use it that much. Maybe I should try harder - I bought it because it was closest to the FA20-35 I used on film, and because the standard 2 body 2 lens kit that any press photographer will take is a wide zoom and a medium telephoto zoom (in film days that was 17-35 and 70-200), it covers you for every shooting situation, and press people have to be ready for fast-moving situations with rapid changes in framing to nail the shot they need.

But it is big. I have the DA21 and like it a lot - really like the focal length, it is very versatile and such a great size.. If I were buying now I would go for the DA15, just for the size and the beauty of the thing. In practice the optical differences between the two will be small.
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