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SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited Review RSS Feed

SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited

Sharpness 
 9.0
Aberrations 
 9.1
Bokeh 
 8.0
Autofocus 
 9.4
Handling 
 9.6
Value 
 8.9
Reviews Views Date of last review
104 368,521 Sat June 13, 2020
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
98% of reviewers $505.42 9.29
SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited

SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
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SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
supersize
SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
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Description:
The SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited is a prime extreme wide-angle lens only suitable for Pentax APS-C DSLRs. Technical details:

SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 7 blades
Optics
8 elements, 6 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
F4
Min. Aperture
F22
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
Yes
Min. Focus
18 cm
Max. Magnification
0.15x
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 88 ° / 77 °
Hood
Built-in, slide out
Case
Pouch 37748
Lens Cap
Dedicated metal screw-on
Coating
SMC,SP
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
63 x 39.5 mm (2.5 x 1.58 in.)
Weight
190 g (6.7 oz.)
Production Years
2009 to 2013
Launch Price
$572 USD
Engraved Name
smc PENTAX-DA 1:4 15mm ED AL Limited
Product Code
21800 (black)
Reviews
User reviews
In-depth review
Unofficial Full-Frame Compatibility Tests by Pentax Forums
☆☆☆ No coverage at any setting
Show details
Notes
One aspherical element and one ED element.
Variants

Black and silver

Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusQuick ShiftBuilt-in HoodAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital OnlyDiscontinued
Purchase: Buy the SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
In-Depth Review: Read our SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos



Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited Buy the SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 31-45 of 104
Inactive Account

Registered: June, 2009
Location: Berlin
Posts: 103
Lens Review Date: July 25, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Built, quality, integrated retractable hood
Cons: none
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5   

One of my favourites. Great for travel. Small, great build, great optical quality and thank you Pentax for the retractable hood. This is VERY convenient.
   
New Member

Registered: April, 2012
Location: jakarta, Indonesia
Posts: 13
Lens Review Date: July 18, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: all metal, flare resistant, beautifull color
Cons: barel distortion, expensive
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

My first APS-C lens, wide lens and DA *limited. Bought for landscape in low light (since I have Tamron 17-50mm/F2.8 that is very good at F5.6 and smaller). I was striked by the color and flare resistant it has, but little bit surprised by distortion. May be, I'm not used to such wide lens. I take this lens and FA-43mm/F1.9 for our last trip. Very amazing image.

   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2009
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 3,717
Lens Review Date: May 25, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ, Sturdy, Compact, AF
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-7   

I bought the DA15mm Ltd to use on my K-7. Since I used it with my K-01 and K-3 also and my comments apply to all these usages. I was 'conned' to get the lens after reading https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/86234-15mm-limited-controls-my-mind-club.html.

The IQ of the DA15mm Ltd is breathtaking. I have both the DA10-17mm and DA15mm Ltd now. They are different and the DA15mm Ltd has more use.

A major feature of the DA15mm is its pancake design: a very solid and sturdy lens, with a very compact size. Together its IQ (did I mention IQ?), this is a winner.

After reading https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/86234-15mm-limited-controls-my-mind-club.html, I can fully adhere to the thread: the DA15mm Ltd is a 'mind blowing' WA lens.

Very highly recommended.
   
Senior Member

Registered: September, 2011
Location: Rockhampton
Posts: 103

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 21, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $430.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: light, compact, starburst.
Cons: Screw on lens cap.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax k-5, k-3   

The da 15mm ltd is an excellent addition to anyone's kit. It provided me with a wealth of shots that are viable for selling commercially. Due to its compact size it worked extremely well with the Sirui travel tripods as its weight did not counterbalance or overload the tripod head. This lens was also good f or taking out and about due to its robust nature. The screw on lens cap is solid. Although this thing can be a pain to take on and off in a hurry, it is extremely valuable if your are looking to protect the Da 15's front element.

This lens I primarily used with a tripod. The F4 aperture is more than enough for 80% of what I shot with this lens. Stopping down this lens produces its famous starburst effect. This is great for long exposures at night time, or to add interest to an otherwise mundane image. The Autofocus was extremely quick on the K-3 and did not struggle to find focus.

I often was reluctant to shoot people with this lens due to its wide angle. The lens exhibits a fair bit of distortion however it can be easily corrected by applying the appropriate LR profile.

This was part of my Pentax prime kit. I often would travel with the Da 15mm ltd, Fa 31mm ltd and the Da* 55mm. This setup was excellent for both landscape and portraiture. I often had my K-5 and K-3 with a lens stuck on each. There was rarely a time I required wider zoom than what the 15mm ltd offered.

I have recently sold this lens only due to my downsizing to the Fuji X system. If I was ever to devote myself entirely to Pentax again, the DA 15mm Ltd would be at the top of my list of lenses to buy .






   
Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2009
Location: Gladys, Virginia
Posts: 22,556

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 17, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $425.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, flare resistance, good colors
Cons: Soft wide open, not a fast lens
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5, K5 II, K-01, and K3   

The DA 15 limited is a very special lens. It definitely is an aberration in a time where people seem to want their primes to be large, sharp wide open, and really fast. Here is a lens that is small, has a maximum aperture of f4 and should be shot at f5.6 to get good sharpness. That said, it is one of the lenses I would want to take with me, if I were shipwrecked on a small Caribbean island.

It's weaknesses are what I mentioned already. It is not a very fast lens. I don't shoot much narrow depth of field with it, but the bokeh really is a bit rough. It does have some purple fringing in high contrast situations, but overall it is pretty well controlled. In practice, I use it as a tripod lens for landscapes -- a one trick pony as it were, but what a trick it is!

Strengths are its colors, micro contrast, sharpness stopped down and its flare resistance. This last feature definitely stands out. I have not seen another lens that can shoot into the sun the way this lens can and still maintain good colors and contrast. Distortion is really minimal as are aberrations.

I shoot a fair amount with the DA *16-50 and at 16mm, the 16-50 is probably a little sharper at f4, but with considerably more distortion and a lot more flare. Even if the sun is just outside of the image, the 16-50 can still blow out part of the image.

Overall, this is one of my favorite lenses. It is a joy to shoot and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in this focal length.


Dawn by Vincent1825, on Flickr


Dawn at Patoka by Vincent1825, on Flickr
   
Pentaxian

Registered: November, 2012
Location: Newark, Delaware
Posts: 969
Lens Review Date: March 1, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: compact size, build quality, sharpness, autofocus speed, good for close ups, built in hood
Cons: nothing significant
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5 and K10D   

Not much I can say that hasn't been said already. This is a great wide angle lens, compact and exceptionally well built. This was the first of the limiteds that I bought and it did not take long before I made it my goal to get them all. This along with the 21 mm limited fulfill all I could want for wide angle photography. Also this lens takes beautiful close ups as well.
   
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 95
Lens Review Date: February 28, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $520.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Flare resistance, Colors, Hood Design
Cons: Screw in lens cover
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K01; K5   

I also have DA21 and DA40 but they cannot reach a 'Wow' sharpness and colors that DA15 has. A50 F1.4 can catch up the sharpness but the flare resistance is far away from DA15. I can be quite free to take photos with DA15 even if with he bright sun included.

Build quality is very good and the hood design is smart and fun!

I travelled to Japan last November. Originally I wanted to buy a DA or Sigma 12-24mm but finally purchased a DA15 in Kyoto Japan. It became the main lens on K-01 during the trip and occasionally DA 18-135 is used.



   
Site Supporter

Registered: July, 2007
Location: Arnold, Md.
Posts: 762
Lens Review Date: November 1, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $499.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, color, flare resistance
Cons: none so far
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5   

Bought this on closeout sale because I don't think the new coating on the new models will be worth the extra bucks. I can see why it has such a following. I'm sure it will become one of my favorite lens. Cannot understand why some are complaining about the lens cap unless they are suffering from excessively chubby fingers.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2009
Posts: 342
Lens Review Date: August 10, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $480.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Flare resistance, Color Rendering, Build & feel
Cons: Field curvature, stupid screw-on lens cap
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K20D, K-01   

This lens is almost perfect. It's incredibly sharp, has amazing color rendition and flare resistance, and it's a Limited lens, so it feels solid as a rock.

My results 90% of the time are stellar. The other 10% are not so stellar due to one drawback -- field curvature. Because the lens is so small, its plane of focus is very curved, and this is very noticeable in interior shots straight on a wall (I was shooting my studio setup). The center is fine, but as you progress towards the edges of the photo everything gets noticeably more out of focus. This is visible in my last photo of the mountains -- click it to enlarge and notice how the horizon on the left and right is out of focus but the rocks in the bottom right are sharper/in focus. This isn't apparent in every landscape situation is noticeable if peeping.

A very annoying (but not very important) issue is the screw-on lens cap. Not only is it difficult to screw back on (you have to find the right thread spot), it's also very easy to scratch the front element of your lens with this thing, since you're fiddling to get it back on and oops -- it slides sideways.

I won't bother reviewing the bokeh. It's alright, but do you really need it in such a wide lens?

I don't believe I have to review the good parts of this lens, just take a look at the "15mm controls my mind" thread here. The results speak for themselves. It's the REASON I bought this thing. No regrets at all.

EDIT: Here are some sample photos (because those are important too )











Note that these photos have all gone through PP in lightroom. I don't go crazy however (except maybe on the 2nd to last pic)
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2012
Location: Beijing, China
Posts: 7
Lens Review Date: July 12, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $480.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Small, Super rich color, contrast
Cons: hood is filmsy
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5   

This lens is the one that I used less often but the one that gave me the best results!

The color rendition is super, rich, vivid and fascinating in all the shot that I took with it. I am not going to talk about bokeh because as being a wide angle lens I believe we cannot everything.

The hood is a bit filmsy so it does not constitue a sufficient protection for your lens when you let your camera hanging from your shoulder: special care is necessary.

The light are easily repruduce with the star effect if stopped down, the resistance to flare is astonishing: even shoting into the sun during the day or sunset sunrise is very hard to have flare.

The lens is a bit expensive considering that is not gonna be glued to your camera all the time due to the field of view..but in the end what it matters is how many good picture worth printing you take and this lens just have the best results from this point of view!

A must have
   
Senior Member

Registered: January, 2011
Posts: 293
Lens Review Date: June 2, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: small, sharp, contrast, build, built in hood
Cons: screw on cap (yuck), field curvature
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K5   

I'll save myself, and you, some time. Read what v5planet said about this lens. I agree with everything, including the apt description of the character of the DA vs FA lenses. It's a great little lens and unique in DSLR land across all manufacturers. Field curvature is it's #1 issue being so small. But I have no intention of dumping it any time soon. I've taken all kinds of my favourite shots with it.
   
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2009
Location: South Florida
Posts: 206
Lens Review Date: February 20, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $539.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Beautiful colors, very sharp. Awesome sun shots!
Cons: Screw in lens cover
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5   

Beautiful for landscapes, especially for shots into the sun. The sun bursts are incredible! Nice size and well built.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: February, 2009
Location: Ireland
Posts: 1,555

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 9, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Small, great resistance to direct sun, colours, contrast
Cons:
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5   

Love the way it handles, I actually use it more for faces than anything else


or



Colours and contrast just blow you away, and the way it handles almost direct sunlight is mind blowing.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2007
Location: Phoenix
Posts: 1,056
Lens Review Date: February 1, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ, size, build quality
Cons: Fussy lens cap
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K100D, K20D, K-x, K-30   

I use this lens far more often than I ever thought I would use a 15mm. Images are beautifully rendered even wide open. Great for portraits in tight spaces if you are careful -- the distortion control is very, very good. I find the size to be just perfect on a DSLR. It handles amazingly well.

I prefer this lens over the DA 21/3.2 for sure. It is a little longer and heavier, but they are both very small lenses. The focal length is substantially wider than the 21, which makes it a better fit alongside a 28, 31, or 35.

The only issue I have with it is the screw-in lens cap, which is just kind of annoying. I'd hate to put a plastic press-on cap on the front of it though, so I live with it. It is a very small price to pay.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: May, 2010
Location: Hong Kong / Irvine, CA
Posts: 619

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 18, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $539.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: small, sharp, love the hood, love the focus ring
Cons: screw in cap, I change another snap-on cap
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K30   

One of the best lens I have.

Very nice focusing ring and feels good.
I can put a regular 49mm pentax filter in front and no problem with using the hood.
I don't get vignetting until I put 1 more ND filter on it

I don't own it for a long time but I prefer it way more than my sigma 10-20, and my sigma 12-24on FF.
If you don't need to go that wide, this is the lens for you.
Add Review of SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited Buy the SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited



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