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SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited

Reviews Views Date of last review
91 288,699 Sun November 13, 2016
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
98% of reviewers $529.77 9.30
SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited

SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited

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
Image Format
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Automatic, 7 blades
8 elements, 6 groups
Mount Variant
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (screwdrive)
Min. Focus
18 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 88 ° / 77 °
Built-in, slide out
Pouch 37748
Lens Cap
Dedicated metal screw-on
Weather Sealing
Other Features
Diam x Length
63 x 39.5 mm (2.5 x 1.58 in.)
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)
One aspherical element and one ED element.
Black and silver
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

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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 31-45 of 91

Registered: May, 2010
Location: Hong Kong / Irvine, CA
Posts: 561

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.
Senior Member

Registered: October, 2011
Location: Cambridge, Ontario
Posts: 179
Lens Review Date: December 16, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $750.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Superb build, light, excellent IQ at F8
Cons: price, but you get what you pay for
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5   

I have had this lens for almost 2 years and is a companion to the 40 and 70 for walk around. It performs best at F8 and is a joy to use. It is a quality piece and the pictures it produces are stunning. I use this a lot for waterfalls and landscapes. It got a lot of use a couple weeks ago in the Mayan Riviera. The ruins were detailed and the colors are typical Pentax.

I would recommend it for anyone that wants a quality wide angle, especially if you like to travel light.
Forum Member

Registered: May, 2011
Location: Lund, Sweden
Posts: 80
Lens Review Date: October 8, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Low aberrations and distortion, superb in backlit conditions!, good sharpness, compact, fun to use, pictures look great!
Cons: Wobbly built in hood, sharpness at longer distances?, a bit pricey
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 7    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5, K-x   


Most important: this lens is great fun to use and the pictures look great. It's huge fun for dramatic and distorted perspectives. Can be great for street photography, and for architecture too. (It guess it might do good landscapes too but personally I prefer longer lenses for that.)

Sharpness at close distances is stunning, though at longer distances it could perhaps have been better? But perhaps I'm asking too much resolution-wise, details are after all depicted on a very small scale with 15mm at long distances.

The best aspect of this lens is for me how great it is in backlit and sidelit conditions. You almost have to provoke flare to get any, and colours and contrast remain great. I'm quite impressed with this lens in this department. This is really important for such a wide angle lens because you often have bright lights in or just outside the frame.

I haven't noticed any CA or PF at all. Distortion is low for such a wide angle and easy to correct in PP.

I really appreciate the compact size and good build quality too (apart from the hood, see below).


The built in lens hood is too flimsy for my taste, it's not smooth but easily wobbles when you extract and rectract it. And it's easy to push in by accidental touch. I guess it's difficult to build with tighter tolerances in such a compact lens, but I think a snap on or even screw in would have been better. Or a permanent one.

Many seem to be annoyed with the screw on lens cap, and it is a bit silly. But it's no big deal for me since I leave the cap off for as long as I'm out shooting. Don't know why the hood and cap are lined with velvet though, it attracts dust.

Price is a bit high, but then again extreme wide angles don't really come cheap. (I got it for about $700 and that's a bargain in Sweden, typically it's about $1000...)
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2009
Location: Kyoto
Posts: 71
Lens Review Date: October 7, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Compact, excellent subjective results.
Cons: Soft corners and distortion.
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K10D   

First, this lens is in the "just buy it" category. I waffled for several years, even trying out a Tokina 12-24 F4 in Nikon mount as a half-price proxy, mainly because I was unsure about whether I would actually use of the ultra-wide focal length.

Well, I can tell you two things:

1. The Tokina actually performs better in a lens test evaluation. It's sharper in the corners and there is less distortion. But the DA15 produces stunning results, which the Tokina zoom cannot match.

2. Do not underestimate the advantage of a compact ultra-wide. The zoom lenses are not huge, but they completely change the way you handle the camera, and how often you take it out. The DA15 is far, far nicer to shoot with.

I don't use the DA15 that often, but I'm very glad I have it.

Registered: December, 2008
Location: Perth, Australia
Posts: 1,367

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 17, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: Flare resistance, starbursts, size, quality
Cons: Maybe the cap
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-7   

Astonishing flare resistance. No trouble at all to include the sun in the scene.
In my mind, this lens is the number one reason to shoot Pentax (and APS-C for that matter).

Starbursts are perfect and very easy to produce, from about f/5.6 onwards.
Haven't seen any purple fringing, except in very out of focus areas, which is rare in wide angle lenses.
Autofocus very zippy / almost unnoticable.

Very close focusing. It is possible to get (somewhat) out of focus areas if you get close enough to the subject, but they stay a bit busy, which is hardly surprising for the focal length.
Colour, contrast, sharpness seem on par with my 35 limited - they make a nice pair. f/5.6 to f/8 is retina-slicing-sharp at any focal distance. Skies look rich and deep blue.

I like the pull out lens shade - very convenient. Screw on/off cap is too fiddly for me - I'm worried about scratching the lens or damaging the filter thread, so I'm now using the Pentax 31491 cap, same as is standard on the FA50.

Only 'weakness' of this lens is that you don't want to shoot a landscape at f/4, because it doesn't produce a perfectly flat imaging plane like a macro lens would. However f/4 is perfectly good for close ups.

In the pictures below detail is completely retained right next to the sunburst!!

Senior Member

Registered: August, 2012
Posts: 118
Lens Review Date: September 15, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $560.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Everything
Cons: Nothing
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-30   

There is little I can add to the other reviews, this is a great lens, and a must have for a photographer who likes a compact system. Shot an art exhibit opening with numerous point light sources—no flares or distortion and a minimal "wide-angle effect" . It does exhibit some coma wide open at the corners. One note: use an empty 49mm filter ring as a spacer to enable the use of filters which won't fit within the retracted lens hood. You can usually add one filter without much vignetting.
Forum Member

Registered: July, 2012
Location: Nevada
Posts: 59

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 21, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $560.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Everything!
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5   

I love this lens! This lens is one of the main reasons I decided to switch to Pentax from Sony Alpha. It is well built and worth it's current price tag I feel. The best thing about this lens is it's amazing color rendering and contrast! Not to mention it's amazing flare resistance and amazing sunburts at f/8 or more. It's nice and sharp, although as other reviewers have mentioned, it is can be soft in the corners when wide open. This lens is simply the best ultra wide lens on the market right now! Here's some examples:

Gull Lake California in the June Lakes area-

Twin Lakes sunset near Mammoth Lakes California-

Classic sunburst with the 15mm-

Squaw Valley USA rustic fence-

Gold and silver ore crusher from California gold country-

Registered: August, 2009
Location: Western MA
Posts: 2,249

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 20, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 10 

New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5   

I haven't have much extensive use for this lens, So I will reserve my review for now.
But I wanted to mention that the 49mm Marumi thin slim super DHG CPL will work on this lens without problem, while the "brass" version of this CPL, the "Brass 49mm CPL Digital Pro Filter Lens Marumi MC Thin Slim" will not work on this lens as this filter has a ring that is slightly larger than 49mm.

Hope this info helps.
New Member

Registered: July, 2012
Posts: 11
Lens Review Date: August 6, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $649.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Very sharp, clors are perfect
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K30   

I just got it and took few shots indoor and love the results already, looking really good. Very sharp, colors are really nice and overall I believe this will be my main lens.

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Eureka, CA
Posts: 1,828

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: July 28, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $520.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Lives up to hype
Cons: Built-in hood
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New   

Looking through the images posted from this lens on this site, it's hard not to suspect that Pentaxians are doing some of their best work with the DA 15; and while the photographer bears the ultimate responsibility for the final product, a superb lens can inspire a talented photographer. And I believe that's what we see in spades with the DA 15.

The DA 15 provides as good image quality as you're going to get at this focal range with a Pentax DSLR. It's as sharp as my K 50 f1.2 and DFA 100 f2.8 WR, two of Pentax's sharpest lenses. It produces the rich, distinctive, eye-catching colors that the best Pentax lenses are known for. The microcontrast of the DA 15, combined with the resolution, gives images a degree of clarity and vividness that appears only considerably more expensive lenses. And this is all provided in a compact, exquisitely engineered package. The built-in hood can be a nice additional feature, provided you don't need to use square filters. Then it becomes a bit of a nuisance.

Some complaints have arisen over the corner resolution of this lens. In the more than half a year use of the lens, I haven't run into any serious problems with corner resolution. Are the corners less sharp than the center, even when stopped down? Yes. But it must be kept in mind that the center is so sharp that a loss of resolution toward the corners is not terribly significant. The corners have plenty of resolution for all but the most uptight photographers, as can be noted in the following 100% crop:

The DA 15, thanks to its excellent flare control, has developed a reputation as a great lens for "sun" photography:

It also acquits itself very well in images that don't include the sun:

Site Supporter

Registered: April, 2011
Location: Richmond, VA
Posts: 479
Lens Review Date: April 28, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: Sharpness, image quality, solid construction, built-in hood
Cons: What's up with that lens cap, anyway?
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

I rented this lens so I could use it while taking photos of an event for a local museum, and after using it in a variety of different settings, I wish I had just bought it outright. I can't go in-depth since I haven't used this lens much, but I am absolutely impressed by this lens's indoor performance. Combined with the K-5 or a K-r the DA15 was able to focus very quickly even in very dim conditions. Of course, there is distortion (it's a 15mm lens!), but the distortion actually isn't bad. It's very easily corrected for in Lightroom, though it's perfectly fine to leave it as is in many situations. Images were very sharp, even at f/4, with very little corner fringing or blur.

I've also used this lens to take some portraits of people, and if they don't mind you getting reeeeeally close to them, you will get excellent results.

So yeah, I really need to buy this lens when I can afford one. It's built for landscapes but can be adapted to any situation for a unique perspective.
Forum Member

Registered: September, 2011
Location: Colestin, OR
Posts: 79
Lens Review Date: April 28, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $570.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: sharp, small
Cons: can't use lens cap with filter
New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-01   

This is a well-built, sharp little lens. I wish it was a little wider - 13mm instead of 15mm - but it's a great match for the K-01: at last a Pentax setup I can carry in my backpack!
I have a circular polarizer on the front, which means the lens cap doesn't fit and put a little sock over it instead... somewhat inelegant, but what does that matter?
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2010
Location: Hong Kong
Posts: 327
Lens Review Date: March 16, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: sharp when stopped down, small size, great colours, quick shift
Cons: corners not that sharp until around f8
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New   

great build quality, best use is obviously landscape

needs to be stopped down for best sharpness, the colours are great as well

best thing of all is the small size - best tradeoff in terms of FL + speed which i don't see a need for f2.8 for this type of lens

the screw cap is a bit annoying for me (as it was for the da40) and hence replaced it with a generic 49mm pinch cap (It does not scratch the front element)
New Member

Registered: January, 2012
Posts: 19
Lens Review Date: March 4, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $510.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Smaller light lens. Stylish, well made, one of Pentax's better designed in built hoods
Cons: Depending on your needs-not wide enough, lens cap
New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-5   

Vanyager's review above covers a lot of points and I fear my own review will pale in comparison.

This lens is a very stylish and well made lens which takes great photos. I did find that it was not wide enough sometimes for what I wanted, and eventually sold it for a wide angle zoom lens. I like to take photos of rooms and places. I won't say architecture- that presumes I am a serious buildings person, and I'm far too UN knowledgeable to say that.

Size and weight is not so important an issue for me- after all, the K-5 already weighs750 odd grams, there's not much difference between 200+grams for the 15mm and, say 420grams for the tamron 10-24mm which I bought after, added to it. I am now thinking about getting the Sigma 8-16mm.

If 15mm is the right angle for you, then feel rest assured, it is a great piece of glass. The lens cap is a real pain though, and the first thing I did was put it back in the box and use a B+W 49mm pinch lens cap.

Regarding Resale value, in Singapore, where I currently live, it seems to be difficult to buy retail and is highly sought after on the second hand market. Within 45 minutes of me placing my advertisement selling the 15mm, a fellow Pentaxian had reserved it for a viewing, and 4 hours later it was sold.
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2011
Location: Boston, MA
Posts: 177

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: February 28, 2012 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $484.45 | Rating: 8 

Pros: size, quality, quick shift focus override, keeps value well
Cons: price, maybe suede lining of the cap and hood, no aperture ring
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 4    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 8    Value: 6    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

A great wide lens, it is unique if you are looking at a prime with AF. And this was a deal breaker for me.

What does this review add to the other 49 reviews:

  • how does the lens keep its value over time (has not been mentioned in any of the previous reviews)
  • more extensive list of available alternatives
  • few reviewers have mentioned the drawbacks of small form-factor, I add my voice to that
  • no one (I believe) has mentioned the issue with using a polarizer on such a wide lens (not a "con", just a feature of all ultra wide lenses)
  • only 1 reviewer has mentioned the dust magnet behavior of the inner lining of the hood, I contribute on that as well, since this was the biggest issue for me (other than the fact that 15mm happened to be too wide for me)

1. AF primes: Pentax-DA 14mm F2.8 - more expensive, much bigger, may be too wide for many
2. wide-angle zooms by various manufacturers (Pentax, Tokina, Sigma, Tamron) Usually those are 12-24mm or 10-24mm. Some reviews claim some of those zooms are superior to the 15mm f4. Here is the list of available zooms in that range:
Cheaper than the 15mm f4 Limited: Tamron 10-24mm F3.5-4.5 Di II
Similarly priced ones: Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM
More expensive ones: Sigma 10-20mm F3.5 EX DC HSM, SMC Pentax-DA 12-24mm F4 ED AL [IF]
3. manual primes:
Cheaper than the 15mm f4 Limited: Samyang (Bower) 14mm F2.8 ED AS IF UMC
More expensive ones: Sigma 14mm F2.8 EX Aspherical Rectilinear

There are other lenses however most of them have been discontinued and are hard too find. Note: cheaper vs more expensive above refers to Brand New offerings. If you are looking for used those lenses do not keep their value as well as the 15mm f4 Limited and thus can be purchased much cheaper (sometimes).

My buyng/selling reasoning:
Purchased one because I used to shoot wide a lot (~28mm in 35mm equivalent).
Sold mine because it did not see much use. Found myself to be much more comfortable with a fast zoom (Tamron 17-50 f2.8). 17mm happened to be wide enough and I really needed 50mm for portraits and 50mm is what use most of the time now). 15mm f4 still remains on my list - only after I have a "normal" prime (28-35mm), a "portrait" lens (55-77mm). Maybe another fast zoom 50-135mm f2.8. Then I will consider another super-wide lens and if the prices stay the same, I will go for the 15mm limited again.

Image Quality:
The lens did not disappoint me. Distortions are smaller than I have ever seen. Of course if you will have people close to the edge of the frame it will be noticeable. For nature and architecture - not an issue imho. There are a lot of technical reviews on this subject.

Experience with the lens/Handling:
Build quality is excellent. Size - very small. So small it might be a disadvantage for some (for instance if you have big hands and like to hold onto the lens when composing). Even with my small hands it seemed too small on the K-5 body. (still, the small size is more a positive for me than negative).

Be carefull:

  • when using a polarizer with this lens: the field of coverage is so wide, the light is coming from completely different angles within the frame and might create unnatural effects with polarizer attached
  • as many have mentioned before: compose carefully. Due to 15mm being very wide you have to watch for close objects squeezing within the frame.

Most annoying for me was the felt lining of the inner side of the hood and lens cap. It is a dust magnet! Maybe that's the purpose of it, but it is quite hard to protect it from accumulating dust and removing dust from there. It might become an issue, as the dust particles on the inner side of the hood might cause some unwelcome light reflections (never heard of it happening though).

The major reason I have decided to sell this lens was that 15mm happened to be too wide for me.

Quick explanation of my ranking:

Sahrpness: 10, observed no issues here for my use of the lens
Aberrations: 9, unavoidable distortions for such a wide lens, noticeable when people close to the side of the frame
Bokeh: 4. I'm not an expert here. Not sure one should be talking about bokeh for such a wide f4 lens at all. Please pm me if I'm wrong about bokeh I will update my review. I would qualify the 15mm f4 limited bokeh as flat and uninspiring. Though maybe this is what it should be for a wide lens.
Autofocus: 10 Spot-on and quick, no AF fine-tuning required on my K-5.
Handling: 8: Size advantage becomes a "con", so small it is. It also feels awkward on the K-5 body. Lack of aperture ring (common to all DA lenses) is a big drawback for me too.
Value: 6. It is hard to talk about "Value" when there is not much to compare this lens too due to its uniqueness. Compared to the Pentax own 14mm f2.8 it seems good value, though not great and thus 6 points only. Considering there are a bunch of manual focus fisheyes at similar focal lengths at much cheaper prices (< $100), this isn't good value. Old manual rectilinear primes also can be found at lower prices. Good quality zooms offer stiff competition too, making the value of this lens less. Overall the current price of the lens is a "good value" however one might expect even better value for a prime, while in this case zooms of similar image quality cost the same (sometimes even less).

Another BIG "pro" which was a big decisive factor for me as well:
Being offered brand new at ~$500 now in the US the lens keeps its value very well! And I believe this will stay like that for some time, due to uniqueness of this lens.


Despite a few negative notes in my review and despite the fact I have sold the lens, I strongly recommend it. For its niche, this is the absolutely right lens. It delivers and owners love it. Furthermore, it does not depreciate as many other lenses do. Which means you can buy it, play with it and if it doesn't fit your style, sell it with little loss!!!! (Of course if you buy it at a good price, which is not available in all regions unfortunately)
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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