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04-28-2010, 10:05 PM   #1
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DA 15mm, DA 21mm, or something else?

My LBA is kicking in again, and I'm finally looking to expand my collection of DA limiteds, as at the moment I've pretty much stuck to the FA line for wide-angles

My current travel kit consists of:
FA 20-35mm/4 - wide-angle
FA* 85mm/1.4 - walkaround
DA* 50-135mm - for when it's raining
FA* 80-200mm - tele, if I feel like carrying it around

To save a little bit on weight, usually only the 20-35mm and 85mm make it into my (very small) bag. As great as the 20-35 is, however, I've grown tired of it. It's a little bit slow and a little bit plasticky. The zoom on it isn't that significant, either (where's that damn FF body!?), and the IQ is decent, but not amazing (compared to the FA 20, FA 35, or FA* 24).

My choices to switch to thus include the DA15 and DA21. Here's how I see the ups and downs:

15mm
  • (-) More expensive than DA21
  • (-) Not any faster than the FA zoom
  • (+) great handling
  • (+) very good IQ
21mm
  • (+) cheaper
  • (+) Faster than the FA, albeit marginally
  • (-) only a wanna-be pancake -> worse handling
  • (-) IQ not as praised as the 15mm's
  • (-) probably not better than my current FA* 24/2, which I would use if I didn't care so much about the damn collection
As you may be able to tell, I'm not a fan of tiny lenses that you can't properly hold on to, and I have a feeling the 21mm comes too close to the characteristics of the DA pancake.

Any thoughts/suggestions/facts that could possibly help sway me in either direction?


Adam
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04-28-2010, 10:23 PM   #2
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FWIW, or not, I think the DA15 is one kick ass lens. I don't find the f4 speed of it limiting at all. My One and ONLY complaint about it is the screw on lens cap. One of these days I'll replace that but in the meantime, I'll have to suffer with it on the lens . Some of my DA15 Ltd stuff..

DA15mm - a set on Flickr

04-28-2010, 10:32 PM   #3
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you're missing a true wide angle lens and a macro. so i think you should get those....
04-28-2010, 10:36 PM   #4
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By the sound of your post you are already leaning towards the DA15. I haven't yet used either lenses you are looking at though the 15mm is on my shortlist and i'll hopefully be try one in a few weeks time.

If you want something larger (size wise) why not DA12-24 although for a 'travel kit' i would have thought smaller would be better. I think you should cut the price out of the pro and con list, the difference isn't huge for something you are going to be using for a long time to come (only $20 difference at B+H) so that leaves 1 con and 2 pros for the 15 and 1 pro and 3 cons for the 21.

Then look at J Shermans thread and enjoy your DA15

04-28-2010, 11:16 PM   #5
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you might want to consider the DA12-24?

04-29-2010, 12:23 AM   #6
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I have the 12-24mm, but never really liked it too much.

What about the 35 macro? How does it fare at landscape shots? My current macros are too heavy and too rarely used to make it into my travel kit, but maybe the 35mm, which could work as both a macro and a wide-angle, is what I'm looking for.

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04-29-2010, 12:27 AM   #7
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Why isn't the DA14 on the list? It should be. The bigger aperture makes for some special effects, take a look at the review section. On a rainy day or when evening sets you would be quite happy walking around with the DA14 and your DA 50-135 only.
04-29-2010, 01:23 AM   #8
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The 35mm is a fantastic lens and i love mine to bits. But for macro you do need to be very close, I like the FL for most things and can't knock it for landscapes and if you really want wider you can always chuck it on a tripod and stitch some together. If I had to choose between my 12-24 and my 35 i would take the 35 in a heartbeat.
Sell/Trade the 12-24 that you don't like and fund the DA35. And buy the DA15 for a pocket wide angle because it really is quite a small lens.

04-29-2010, 01:24 AM   #9
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To me the DA15 is truly unique for being such a portable UWA.

You already have a 20-35, so a DA21 is a duplicate FL. Its not too fast either so it does not buy you any advantage.
04-29-2010, 05:21 AM   #10
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I think everyone in this thread will vouch for the lens they own.

I just got the DA 21 so I can comment on it. I've used briefly the 15 and didn't like its size, plus its price put it off the line for me.

I got the 21 to work with the F50 f1,7 as a low light/travel kit (possibly with the M150 f3.5). The 211 is marginally smaller, but not that much smaller, than the F50:



I find that it is the contraty to what you imply regarding handling. It is extremely small but it handles well, the focus ring (with quick shift) falls under the hand easily, and it's easy to hold the camera+lens for a long period of time.

It creates a 3D effect that I did not understand before experimenting with the lens:



focus is extremely fast, extremely reliable, IQ is what you'd expect from a limited (pixel peeping might show perks of flaws of both the 21 and 15, but to me images look amazing and that's what counts). No visible CA, distorsion under control, just goodness. And it's usable wide open.

For my part, I have the Sigma 17-70 and at f2.8 it covers the "below 20 mm" wide end quite well. 21 mm is a very confortable wide FOV, 50 was too cramped for many shots.

It really depends on your style. What I want to expose is why *I* chose the 21, and show that I'm glad I got the lens. YMMV, if you shoot differently than me, you might prefer the 15, but if you share my opinion then you'll be happy with the 21.
04-29-2010, 07:33 AM   #11
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I never understood people who didn't like the 21mm. I mean it's sharp enough, on par with my DA 16-45 at 21mm. It's small and has fast autofocus. Contrast and colors are typical Pentax. An the best part is that it's so compact. Of course it doesn't have the Zeiss 21mm IQ, but it's good enough. The DA 21mm doesn't punish you with big size and weight, or price, or lack of autofocus unlike Zeiss 21mm.

Last edited by Voe; 04-29-2010 at 07:38 AM.
04-29-2010, 07:38 AM   #12
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@Kamaraten

The 14 isn't on the list because it's too clumsy. I might as well be using the 15/3.5. Since it's a full-frame lens, it could arguably deliver better IQ.

QuoteOriginally posted by mibane Quote
The 35mm is a fantastic lens and i love mine to bits. But for macro you do need to be very close, I like the FL for most things and can't knock it for landscapes and if you really want wider you can always chuck it on a tripod and stitch some together. If I had to choose between my 12-24 and my 35 i would take the 35 in a heartbeat.
Sell/Trade the 12-24 that you don't like and fund the DA35. And buy the DA15 for a pocket wide angle because it really is quite a small lens.
I don't do selling I think the collection is slowly approaching 200 lenses (although I've lost count at this point), and we definitely don't want that to shrink.

From what I'm hearing, these are all good lenses and each has its purpose. I haven't bought a lens since the 200 macro last summer, so perhaps I could push myself a little bit and get the 35macro as well as either the 15 or the 21. I'm a big fan of the kind of 3d effect that was mentioned of the 21 (similar to the FA 31's it seems), so maybe that'll push me over the line, even though I had earlier shown a preference for the 15.
04-29-2010, 08:15 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
@Kamaraten

The 14 isn't on the list because it's too clumsy. I might as well be using the 15/3.5. Since it's a full-frame lens, it could arguably deliver better IQ.



I don't do selling I think the collection is slowly approaching 200 lenses (although I've lost count at this point), and we definitely don't want that to shrink.

From what I'm hearing, these are all good lenses and each has its purpose. I haven't bought a lens since the 200 macro last summer, so perhaps I could push myself a little bit and get the 35macro as well as either the 15 or the 21. I'm a big fan of the kind of 3d effect that was mentioned of the 21 (similar to the FA 31's it seems), so maybe that'll push me over the line, even though I had earlier shown a preference for the 15.
Adam, when I read your post again, you said you didn't like the DA12-24 too much. thus, it means it may have a place in your collection after all.
04-29-2010, 09:10 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Voe Quote
I never understood people who didn't like the 21mm. I mean it's sharp enough, on par with my DA 16-45 at 21mm. It's small and has fast autofocus. Contrast and colors are typical Pentax. An the best part is that it's so compact. Of course it doesn't have the Zeiss 21mm IQ, but it's good enough. The DA 21mm doesn't punish you with big size and weight, or price, or lack of autofocus unlike Zeiss 21mm.
I agree with you on this. As far as the Zeiss 21mm is concerned, it costs as much as I have in my DA 21mm ltd, DA 35mm ltd, FA 77mm ltd and FA 50mm f1.4.
04-29-2010, 09:29 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I have the 12-24mm, but never really liked it too much.

What about the 35 macro? How does it fare at landscape shots? My current macros are too heavy and too rarely used to make it into my travel kit, but maybe the 35mm, which could work as both a macro and a wide-angle, is what I'm looking for.
I consider the DA 35mm ltd the most versatile lens I have, period. I do real macro with it which I use at work, I use it for street shooting, landscape etc. etc.





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