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

HD Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited

Sharpness 
 8.8
Aberrations 
 9.4
Bokeh 
 8.6
Autofocus 
 9.2
Handling 
 9.4
Value 
 8.9
Reviews Views Date of last review
19 81,667 Wed November 2, 2016
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
95% of reviewers $551.67 9.37
HD Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited

HD Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
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HD Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
supersize
HD Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
supersize
HD Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
supersize
HD Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
supersize
HD Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
supersize

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

This lens features Pentax's latest "HD" nano coating and is available in both black and silver for $699.95.

HD Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 7 blades (rounded)
Optics
8 elements, 6 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
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
HD,SP
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
63 x 39.5 mm (2.5 x 1.58 in.)
Weight
189 g (6.7 oz.)
Production Years
2013 to Present
Pricing
$459 USD current price
Engraved Name
HD PENTAX-DA 1:4 15mm ED AL Limited
Product Code
21470 (black), 21480 (silver)
Notes
One aspherical element and one ED element.
Variants
Black and silver

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



Add Review of HD Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited Buy the HD Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
Author:
Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 19
Pentaxian

Registered: April, 2014
Location: Cambridge, MA
Posts: 917

5 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 2, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $550.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, flare resistance, small size
Cons: Maximum aperture f/4
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

What they say in the lens club is true-- the 15mm Limited CONTROLS MY MIND!!! Seriously. I've checked the stats on my photos, and half of the keepers, and half of my best-ever shots, were taken with the 15mm Limited.

It's sharp. It's not as sharp as my 14mm Rokinon, but that thing is giant and heavy, with a delicate front element, and doesn't have autofocus to boot. But don't get me wrong, the 15mm Limited is definitely still awesome sharp. I generally use it between f/7 and f/11.

The 15mm Limited is ridiculously flare-resistant. When it comes to lens flare, the 15mm is the Honey Badger. Shooting a wide-angle shot directly into the sun? The 15mm don't care. It doesn't give a . The 14mm Rokinon on the other hand, will give you all this blobby green lens flare, so you have to be super careful with it.

The 15mm Limited itself is tiny-- just a wee bit too big to be called a pancake-- and the lens cap screws on. This is brilliant. It is the perfect lens for scrambling around on rocks because its small size and low weight don't cause the camera to jerk around, and you KNOW the lens cap isn't going to fall off. With my 14mm Rokinon, I have to secure the camera to my back with multiple caribiners to keep it from flopping around, and even then, I'm nervous.

Why would you buy the 14mm Rokinon instead? If you want to do astrophotography (maximum aperture f/2.8 instead of f/4), if you value sharpness above all else, if you want a lens you'll definitely be able to use on full-frame, and if you really don't mind going through multiple copies to find one that isn't decentered. Otherwise, get the 15mm Limited. You won't be disappointed.

And here's another.

And another.

And another.

Did I ever mention that this lens controls my mind?
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2013
Posts: 14

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 13, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $399.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Beautiful colours, contrast, sharpness also lightweight
Cons: none I can think of
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k 30   

First of all, its a beautiful piece of equipment. Well made, lightweight aluminium material. Very small size so light weight to carry when on trails. The filter size is small as well, so filters are cheap.

Optically, lens is sharp. The contrast is better than DA 12-24 out of camera. Colours are true and bright.

The only drawback if any is that its a prime. So you have to take steps backward or forward while shooting landscapes, which may not be always possible. Plus you will not get to change the perspective.

But overall its a great lens if you want lightweight well made lens capable of producing best quality images, and you can play within the constraints of a prime lens.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: May, 2016
Posts: 237

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 31, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $400.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: image quality, small, build quality, built-in lens hood
Cons: coma, screw-in cap
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 7    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3 II   

With such a wide angle, it can be used for street photo without the viewfinder, at most you'll need to crop the result a little. As with other limited primes, the build quality, colors and contrast are great! I find sharpness to be perfectly fine, but I guess the edges are a little softer than the center wide open. I don't know what to think about the cap... it feels nice and I use it, but I wish it was push-in like on the 70mm.

edit: updated the aberrations rating to account for the coma it shows at max aperture. Does it matter? No, not really, I only noticed after starting to use it indoors and at night. Anything less than f/4 reduces the issue almost entirely so I am not changing the overall rating.
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2016
Location: Sydney
Posts: 6

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 3, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $496.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: size, wide angle, sharpness, solid build
Cons: screw on cap, small-hard to grab
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 6    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 6    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k-50   

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nNeTXMP6Sk
   
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 1,118

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 19, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $359.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: color, contrast, sharpness, field curvature useful for many subjects, work against bright light, size, build quality
Cons: screw drive focus
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k-3   

Lives up to the hype. Colors, contrast are visibly better than good zooms, and even better than primes like DA50mm F1.8.
I find the field curvature to be a positive feature, not a fault. On the contrary - I find it very useful.
I found it quite fun to work with the field curvature of this lens, it makes me think more about the composition and how can I utilize my equipment. I found it be a fun exercise and I think it makes me a better photographer.

Field curvature can, for example:
- help getting both the background and the horizon in focus, when the lens is pointed down.
- help a group of people stay sharp at low F-stop, if they stand in a semicircle
- give an extra depth to the picture


This lens is a solid ten, don't have any second thoughts about buying it.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2015
Posts: 3,674

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 6, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Size, focal lenght, build quality, rendering
Cons: field curvature, price
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5 / K-3   

Great little add-on lens to have for use indoors where field curvature may even help to get sharper edge than with the flat field lens. It's my preferred lens for indoor architectural photographs. I wouldn't recommend this lens for landscapes, there are better alternatives, either use another wide angle third party lens or the highly rated Pentax DA 12-24.

DA 15 Ltd
> Pros:
- small size
- great metal build quality
- color rendering
- center sharpness

> Cons:
- field curvature when used for lansdcapes/cityscapes, even stopped down to f11 or more
- a bit expensive for being f/4 and not full frame usable
   
Veteran Member

Registered: June, 2013
Posts: 1,458
Lens Review Date: March 4, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Color rendition, build, lack of distortion
Cons: could be faster
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k-3   

I decided t add this review after being so impressed by a commonly overlooked aspect of this lens...the color rendition....For me, it is far superior to even my fa primes, which was a completely unexpected surprise when I first started shooting with this lens.....Actually this lens has surprised me on many levels. The virtual lack of distortion, the clarity(after reading other reviews), and its ability to focus quickly and accurately at close range for a wide angle....I love this lens and find the wide angle to be surprisingly playful and very useful.....I am enclosing a photo to show the color rendition, with no added vibrancy or saturation in post...I hope the coming Pentax FF will have adaptability to these DA lenses....would love to see how this rolls as a true 15mm on the FF
   
Forum Member

Registered: July, 2011
Location: Texas
Posts: 81
Lens Review Date: February 28, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $496.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ, vivid color (polarized skies w/o polarizer), build quality, hood
Cons: wide open is F4
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 8    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-30, K-x   

I can't complain at all. Even the F4-wide open is fine for the types of wide-angle shots one will use this lens for. I was most struck by the rich, dark blue skies and color I get with it (vs. my other limiteds which are all SMC-coated). I wouldn't use a CPL polarizer on such a wide-angle lens due to the gradient effect, but with THIS lens, I get dark blue skies WITHOUT one! Only thing I'd be hesitant to do with it is make large, blown up landscape posters with it, since the sharpness in the corners falls to just above "kit-quality", but only if blown up 1-1. This is most likely a tradeoff for such a wide-angle in such a compact lens. If doing that, I'd use the 21mm pancake and step back a bit. Also, hide your beautiful cap away for safekeeping and get yourself a cheap snap-on one and USE it if you plan to carry it around in your pocket (the front element is large and exposed to scratching). The hood slides perfectly, not too tight or loose and remains where you put it, so you don't need to used the included cap with a lip, you just have to REMEMBER to extend the hood! Here's my full, detailed review and images: If you love your other pancake limiteds, you'll love this one too. If forced to choose between this and the 21mm, get this one and crop, except as I explained above!

https://wildstar84.wordpress.com/2015/02/27/hd-pentax-da-15mm-f4-ed-al-limited-lens-review/
   
Forum Member

Registered: December, 2009
Posts: 94
Lens Review Date: February 12, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: IQ, contrast, rendering
Cons: small aperture
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-m   

First I would just like to suggest that the negative reviews found here are probably due to front- or back focusing or other issues such as decentering. My copy is flawless and incredibly sharp.

Best is to close it down to f/8 or f/11.

To me this lens shines most with respect to rendering, contrast, microcontrast and an extraordinary ability to reproduce highlights as well as low lights. The example below tries to illustrate this.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: August, 2011
Location: Austin, Texas
Posts: 302
Lens Review Date: January 28, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $430.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Size, build, image quality, autofocus
Cons: a bit soft corners, but not really noticeable in practice
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3   

This is my first Limited lens and I am impressed with how well built it is. Every bit the equal of old SMC lenses. The images are quite good so far and I love the size. I sold my Tamron 10-24 because it was just too big and I prefer primes where possible. I already had one of the wonderful Pentax FA 20-35 lenses and wanted something wider. After experiencing my first Limited, I have just ordered a DA 70 . The rest of my Pentax kit is a 50 1.4 SMC-A, 50 Macro SMC-A, and a Tamron AF 28-75. I have never cared for long lenses, having used Leica rangefinders primarily. The 15 fits very well and is so small that you can always have it with you. It makes my K-3 feel so nice in my hand. Reminds me of a Leitz Super-Angulon without the corner vignetting and better color.

Here are two images I made yesterday evening with the 15


This second photo could have benefited from having a level camera. Pointed a bit down makes the building tops wider than their base.
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2014
Location: Montreal
Posts: 16
Lens Review Date: December 5, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 8 

 
Pros: Rectilinear wide angle
Cons: a bit soft on the edges
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

I already have a the 10-17 fish eye and wanted something not as wide and producing less deformation (which isn't difficult). I'm very happy with the DA 15. It's a pleasure to use and the fact that it is so compact means I don't have to compromise and take out another lens from my bag to make room for it.
I find that 15mm is probably as wide as you can get without getting unnaturally wide.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: August, 2012
Location: Queensland
Posts: 3,298
Lens Review Date: October 30, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $660.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Beautiful build
Cons: Limited lenses are expensive.
Sharpness: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5   

There are enough comments on the photographic aspects of this lens, and I haven't enough experience to add anything useful in that regard, especially since it had had a full review on this Forum. I have the silver HD version.
I will say one thing, where I disagree with many others; that is in regards to the lens cap and the lens hood. I love the lens cap and the way it fits. The quality just oozes from the construction and fit. The lens hood is very convenient, one just has to pull it out if one needs it. This lens, like the other Limiteds is a pleasure to own, and so far has worked well for me. For those who find fault, mostly pertaining to edge sharpness, perhaps a little context is in order. After all, this is a wide angle lens, and certain allowances for flatness of field should be considered. Otherwise stick with the normal macro 35mm/f2.8 (perhaps my favourite Limited)
   
Pentaxian

Registered: July, 2014
Location: Paris
Posts: 1,828
Lens Review Date: October 23, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: IQ, small, wide, lack of distortion
Cons: not full frame ?
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5 IIs   

Detail review will be updated with photos soon !
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2009
Posts: 497

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 16, 2014 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: Great center sharpness, build quality, quick-shift, & the way it feels in your hand
Cons: Corner Sharpness
Sharpness: 6    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 6    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K5 IIs   

It was apparent during the short time I owned my copy of this highly regarded lens that it has many positive attributes, but if you, like I, primarily intend to shoot landscapes, are looking for sharpness across the frame, or intend to make large prints, I would look elsewhere.

I think the pros and cons I've listed above pretty much explains the low ratings I've given this lens (all things considered, I feel I've honestly been pretty generous, considering it has no use to me whatsoever). If its corner sharpness was on par with its center sharpness this would be a must own; maybe even the lens to own. Unfortunately it's nowhere close, not even stopped down, in my experience.

My advice to those considering purchasing one: research it, don't look at tiny pics online and get your hopes up too high. It might fit your needs, it might not.
   
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2008
Posts: 154

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 10, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $820.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Short focussing distance, no flare, barely any CA, lightweight
Cons: the metal lenscover (see review), sharpness in the corners
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-5 and K-5 II   

I am a wildlife photographer and I was searching for something different to add to my lens lineup. I bought this lens because I wanted a wide angle lens with short focussing distance. I wanted to make close-up wide angle photos. After using it for six months I can tell you that this lens does what I wanted to do!

This lens is extremely good in backlight situations. When you photograph into the sun there is no flare and barely any chromatic aberrations. Another advantage is that this lens is lightweight and easy to cary with you.

There are downsides. The corner sharpness is not great, but most of the time the subject is not there. So you will have unsharp bokkeh.
The lenscover is made of metal. I have the black version and I bought it brand new. There are already a lot of scratches on it. I know it is just cosmetically, but it annoys me. I also do not like it that the lenscover is a screw on. It takes too long to screw it of and screw it back on.

Should you buy it? Yes, if you want to make close-up (or macro-ish) wide angle shots, landscape shots, or travel photography (people in a landscape or in front of an touristic attraction).

Samples:









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