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

HD Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited

Sharpness 
 8.7
Aberrations 
 9.2
Bokeh 
 8.3
Autofocus 
 9.2
Handling 
 9.5
Value 
 8.9
Reviews Views Date of last review
27 123,468 Tue June 2, 2020
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
96% of reviewers $534.32 9.30
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
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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
© www.pentaxforums.com, sharable with attribution
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 7 blades (rounded)
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
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 (in production)
Pricing
$446 USD current price
Engraved Name
HD PENTAX-DA 1:4 15mm ED AL Limited
Product Code
21470 (black), 21480 (silver)
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 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
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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-15 of 27
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2014
Location: Cambridge, MA
Posts: 935

7 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?
   
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2015
Posts: 175

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 18, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $450.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: outstanding contrast and rendering, small size, useful focal length
Cons: field curvature
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3   

This lens has an outstanding contrast, colour rendition and dynamic range.

It delivers very pleasant pictures, which need very little post processing, even in high contrast scenes or difficult light.
It is very resistant to flare and shows very little distorsion fo such a wide field of view (15mm is 22.5mm FF equivalent).

Due to field curvature, it is not a lens for those looking for corner to corner sharpness: the focused target will be tack sharp, even at f4 and close to a corner, but keep in mind that if your target is a distant landscape, the focus will be further away in the center and closer to the photographer in the corners.The only way to mitigate this is to close the aperture around f8.

Yet, in real life, this may not matter because your subject may often include a closer foreground near the border of the frame, or you will appreciate the main target on which you have focused to pop out in kind of a 3D effect.

It is my favorite landscape lens.
Here is a lanscape in Arequipa, Peru:
IMGP6272.jpg by Denis Bousquet, sur Flickr

Another sample in Angkor area, Cambodia:
Le grand bassin du Neak Pean by Denis Bousquet, sur Flickr

This one was in Corsica, at sunset:
IMGP4754.jpg by Denis Bousquet, sur Flickr
   
Veteran Member

Registered: September, 2013
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 1,125

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: December, 2013
Posts: 795

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 15, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $430.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Small, sharp
Cons: No starbursts, filter thread behind retracted hood
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 7    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: KP, K-30   

This is an excelent wide angle lens, sharp and well corrected. The main advantage is it always fits in my bag. Perfectly complements the FA31, FA43, FA77 set or the DA18-135. I have only two problems with the lens. The first is the filter thread which is behind the retracted hood, so I can't use step up rings or a conventional lens cap. The other is the speed of the lens. F4 is slower than F2.8 on the DA*16-50 or F3.5 on the DA16-85. Altough the distorsion of the DA*16-50 is much worse than the distorsion of DA15 Ltd. I think the sharpness is good from corner to corner, but I think I never used the lens wide open after the testshots (there is the Da*16-50 for dark situations).
Sometimes I miss the sturbursts, which I see with the older not HD version.

Here are some examples:
IMG171104_0007 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG171229_0002 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG171229_0004 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr

IMG180331_0065 by Benjámin Czétényi, on Flickr
   
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
   
Senior Member

Registered: July, 2008
Posts: 154

2 users 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:









   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2009
Location: egypt
Posts: 432

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 4, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: sharp.compact.flare killer!
Cons:
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: k3   

I used both SMC and HD version.
the HD one is more flare controlled.
you can get starburst at f4 . it is VERY clear.
I like mine and happy da15 HD user!
   
Pentaxian

Registered: May, 2015
Posts: 1,297

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 2, 2020 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $619.00 | Rating: 7 

 
Pros: size, rendering, flare resistance
Cons: unsharp edges regardless of stopping down
Sharpness: 6    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5 and K-3 II   

A really great compact lens for reportage and environmental portraits. It's incredible contrasty and delivers punchy images. The tiny size makes it effortless to bring along. Close up photographs of objects render really well with great depth.

The lens works best when the subject is in the central part of the frame and the edges are there for context only. For many this will be the primary use case for a wide angle lens.

The main weakness of the lens is the soft mushy edges that stay mushy as you stop down. This makes the lens less suitable for descriptive architecture shots and landscape images where there is detail and interest across the frame.

I have given an average sharpness score because it is razor sharp in the center but soft at the edges.
   
New Member

Registered: January, 2018
Posts: 1

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 6, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: colors, distortion
Cons: difficult to mount a cokin filter(vigneting
Handling: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: k5iis   

Sorry for my bad englisch. I've got the Sigma 10-20 and I find it good, but it takes a lot of space and I found a HD 15 limited for sale. It's always on my camera and I have much less post production work to do. It's amazing. The only problem was when I tried to mount a Cokin filter to shoot landscape: The adaptor is impossible to fix because of the lens hood. So I had to screw another neutral filter and I got dark extrem corners. This lens is as good as written in the other reviews, but be aware of the problem of fixation system for filters.
   
Junior Member

Registered: May, 2013
Posts: 47

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.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: May, 2016
Posts: 2,438

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.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: February, 2015
Posts: 8,077

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
   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2009
Posts: 877

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.
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2013
Posts: 5

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 15, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: build, colour rendition, lowlight capabilities
Cons: non so far
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5 II   

Please beware.....that review is based on testing it for 20 minutes !

It is one little, solid build beauty. By it's weight and the full metal chassis you can tell that this piece will stay with you for quiet a time.

After a view test shots I could see that it controls very well distortion and gives fine colour rendition and contrast. It seems well sharp in my first test-shootings.

CA can be a problem in extreme situation but otherwise it controls it a bit better in general as my other lenses. Certainly better than my Pentax 18-250mm .

Bokeh is jolie for what I saw until here but this was anyway not the reason why I bought this lens.

It's get soft on the sides at F4 but I don't think that this could be an incredible discovery. You stop it down and it's all fine.

Astonishing is that you can approach an object very closely and that the AF seems to work perfect even in lowlight. The K-5 II and this little baby are therefore a perfect match it seems.

I can not compare it to the 15mm limited without HD and nano-coating but hard to imagine that you should buy this lens to upgrade your old 15mm limited. But other reviewer might have more details here to give.

I can do an update on this review in a couple of days or few weeks to confirm my first impressions.

EDIT :
So, I ran a bit through town to play around with my new toy. Not sure if the pics are going to help you for your decision but I think I like this little lens. Very convenient for it's size and the possibilities 15mm are putting into your hands. I do underline my first impressions. Build, colour rendition, contrast and sharpness are very good ! AF struggled a little bit but still very impressive and accurate especially for it's low-light capabilities. Distortion is fine (which was important for me) and for "into the sun" shots I might still have to learn how to do it. Remember, theses pics are among the the very first I took now.
Pictures 1 to 4 are showing a non treated jpeg out of the camera and shot at F13, 1/125. The rest is a mix of shots I did in 3 days, all treated in PS and therefore not really a reliable source for you.


colours, contrast and sharpness..... works for me


soft corners, at this croprate ok for me but F13 is maybe not the best example


CA. No incredible news here. It is existent in the pics but mostly easy to fix in PS


still sharp enough when cropped a bit




nice DOF










15mm, wide enough for me
   
Senior Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Svealand
Posts: 172
Lens Review Date: May 18, 2019 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $417.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: rendering, small, build quality, built in hood, short focussing distance, quick-shift,
Cons: No starbursts
Sharpness: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-5   

I earlier owned a DA 15mm Limited but I sold it. Missed it a lot but could not find one to by so I went for the HD Pentax-DA 15mm instead. It's a great lens that I strongly recommend but I do miss the starburst that the old 15mm had.
Add Review of HD Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited Buy the HD Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited



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