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Thread: Pentax K5 + DA-15mm f/4 limited

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    Pentax K5 + DA-15mm f/4 limited

    The Pentax 15mm Limited has received a wide range of review comments, but I decided to give it a try for wide angle landscape work. As others have noted, corners are a bit soft, but distortion seems to be very well controlled and center sharpness seems OK, but not outstanding. Build quality is excellent and this compact little lens seems to be an ideal companion to the 35 and 70 for a light weight travel kit with the K5. Here are a few sample shots taken on a brief trail walk this afternoon.









    Carl
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    Re: Pentax K5 + DA-15mm f/4 limited

    Hi Carl
    I love the first shot.

    Yours looks sharper than mine was (especially in the corners). The lens is such an attractive proposition, but the one I bought simply wasn't that good. I swapped it for a Sigma 10-20 f4 - not as sexy, but cheaper, sharper, BIGGER . . . .and with better corners . . . . but maybe I really did have a bad one.

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    Re: Pentax K5 + DA-15mm f/4 limited

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi Carl
    I love the first shot.

    Yours looks sharper than mine was (especially in the corners). The lens is such an attractive proposition, but the one I bought simply wasn't that good. I swapped it for a Sigma 10-20 f4 - not as sexy, but cheaper, sharper, BIGGER . . . .and with better corners . . . . but maybe I really did have a bad one.
    Thanks Jono. My 15mm copy does seem to be a good one and I'll probably keep it. I almost bought one of the wide zooms, but I'm really dedicated to trying to keep my travel kit as small as possible.
    Carl
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    Re: Pentax K5 + DA-15mm f/4 limited

    Quote Originally Posted by scho View Post
    Thanks Jono. My 15mm copy does seem to be a good one and I'll probably keep it. I almost bought one of the wide zooms, but I'm really dedicated to trying to keep my travel kit as small as possible.
    Sure - I quite understand . . . I think we have different priorities here (my travel kit is really the M9).

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    Re: Pentax K5 + DA-15mm f/4 limited

    I have to say each time I see some of these K5 captures I am pretty amazed. I am considering where to go next with my aging Leica M8 kit and I am beginning to wonder whether I'll get better results with this camera than paying 5 times the price for a M9. Very worrying ideas indeed...

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    Re: Pentax K5 + DA-15mm f/4 limited

    Very nice image quality at f/8! I own one and find it a pleasant FL on APS-C even though I don't use it as much as I like it (I own a K20D and a K-x, not a K-5). However, all these comments - not just here and this lens, but in general - make me wonder how much of a difference there really is between individual identical lenses and how much it is a subjective feeling about a lens? I mean, I realize that rather small changes can affect a lens's optical performance, but I guess camera lenses should be rather tightly spec'ed with low tolerances. Is there really such a thing as some lenses of a kind being lemons and others great?

    I'm not saying there is or isn't as I'm really not that experienced.

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    Re: Pentax K5 + DA-15mm f/4 limited

    Quote Originally Posted by biglouis View Post
    I have to say each time I see some of these K5 captures I am pretty amazed. I am considering where to go next with my aging Leica M8 kit and I am beginning to wonder whether I'll get better results with this camera than paying 5 times the price for a M9. Very worrying ideas indeed...
    I think that Jono is best qualified to comment on this comparison since he has both cameras. I sold my M8 kit about two years ago and went back to Canon (5DII) for a primary system, but I've not been comfortable with the bulk of the camera and lenses for travel. I also tried several m43 outfits (still have and use an IR G1), but for color work did not like the limited dynamic range and poor high ISO performance. The K5 is so far a pleasant compromise and meets most of my needs in terms of usability and image quality.
    Carl
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    Re: Pentax K5 + DA-15mm f/4 limited

    Quote Originally Posted by emr View Post
    Very nice image quality at f/8! I own one and find it a pleasant FL on APS-C even though I don't use it as much as I like it (I own a K20D and a K-x, not a K-5). However, all these comments - not just here and this lens, but in general - make me wonder how much of a difference there really is between individual identical lenses and how much it is a subjective feeling about a lens? I mean, I realize that rather small changes can affect a lens's optical performance, but I guess camera lenses should be rather tightly spec'ed with low tolerances. Is there really such a thing as some lenses of a kind being lemons and others great?

    I'm not saying there is or isn't as I'm really not that experienced.
    I think that lens sample quality variation is real but evaluation is probably difficult, except in cases where issues are obvious or easy to diagnosis. Lens element decentering is probably one the more common issues I've heard about.
    Carl
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    Senior Member biglouis's Avatar
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    Re: Pentax K5 + DA-15mm f/4 limited

    Quote Originally Posted by scho View Post
    I think that Jono is best qualified to comment on this comparison since he has both cameras. I sold my M8 kit about two years ago and went back to Canon (5DII) for a primary system, but I've not been comfortable with the bulk of the camera and lenses for travel. I also tried several m43 outfits (still have and use an IR G1), but for color work did not like the limited dynamic range and poor high ISO performance. The K5 is so far a pleasant compromise and meets most of my needs in terms of usability and image quality.
    Yes, maybe he'll comment. I have been thinking of a DSLR body (a D700) and converting Leica R lenses which are so ridiculously cheap it is a crime. Adjusting for the crop factor you can see how a K5 and a converted R-24, R-35, R-50 and R-90 would be a pretty decent set.

    I also think some of the Pentax lenses are a steal as well. The 200/2.8 is particularly attractive.

    LouisB

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    Re: Pentax K5 + DA-15mm f/4 limited

    Quote Originally Posted by biglouis View Post
    I have to say each time I see some of these K5 captures I am pretty amazed. I am considering where to go next with my aging Leica M8 kit and I am beginning to wonder whether I'll get better results with this camera than paying 5 times the price for a M9. Very worrying ideas indeed...
    Hi there
    That jono always has too much to say!
    Well, you'd get better results in very low light, and the DR is probably better.

    But nice though the Pentax limited lenses are, I don't think they're a patch on Leica lenses however:
    1. this is only my opinion
    2. I haven't tried all the limiteds
    3. it would be strange if it wasn't the case, the leica lenses costing about 3/4 times as much.

    This hinges on how you define 'better results' - if you mean better image quality, then the answer is absolutely not, with the possible exception of very low light and very high contrast. The extra detail you get with no AA filter is not minor . . .but then maybe you don't mind about that?

    I love the K5 - I use it a great deal, mostly with the excellent 18-135 lens, but my M9 is still my main camera.

    This probably doesn't help at all!

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    Re: Pentax K5 + DA-15mm f/4 limited

    Quote Originally Posted by biglouis View Post
    Yes, maybe he'll comment. I have been thinking of a DSLR body (a D700) and converting Leica R lenses which are so ridiculously cheap it is a crime. Adjusting for the crop factor you can see how a K5 and a converted R-24, R-35, R-50 and R-90 would be a pretty decent set.

    I also think some of the Pentax lenses are a steal as well. The 200/2.8 is particularly attractive.

    LouisB
    Another option that might be worth considering is a Sigma SD1 converted to accept Leica R lenses. See post #44 in this thread:
    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19655
    Carl
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    Re: Pentax K5 + DA-15mm f/4 limited

    Quote Originally Posted by biglouis View Post
    I have to say each time I see some of these K5 captures I am pretty amazed. I am considering where to go next with my aging Leica M8 kit and I am beginning to wonder whether I'll get better results with this camera than paying 5 times the price for a M9. Very worrying ideas indeed...
    In my opinion the K5 is very nice but the IQ at ISO up to 640ISO the M8 and M9 beat ithe K5. I am talking micro contrast and sharpness. And the Leica lenses seem to also beat most Pentax lenses, specially in corner sharpness. Plus Leica lenses are available with larger apparture. The Pentax Limiteds are very nice but the DA ones are not fast lenses.

    But then the K5 offers AF, zooms, tele, weather proof.

    In the end I would say its more about the question small dslr vs rangefinder.
    Personally I like to have both

    However of all DSLRs I know the K5 and the nice, small, good DA primes is the system which has similarities compared to the M:
    Small body, unobstrusive, silent shutter, small and nice primes.

    What I particulary like about the Pentax IQ is the color and tonality. I prefer it to what I get with Canon.

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    Re: Pentax K5 + DA-15mm f/4 limited

    Colour and tonality indeed. I read in some forum somebody likening the 'tone fall off' to medium format. Hmn, I am not sure about that but I am enjoying the images from the K5.

    LOL, Leica, I could never justify it, even though I would find a way to justify up to 1000 on a lens if need be (stop it, Lee, you don't *need* that Pentax 31mm Ltd!) and the thought of a manual focus Voigtlander on Panasonic GH2 makes me wonder too but I doubt somehow the GH2 will match the K5 for IQ, not from the samples I have seen on the various forums. I am rambling now, so I will go away!

    Carl - I just love your images but I don't understand how you make them look so sharp and 'medium format' like!

    Lee

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    Re: Pentax K5 + DA-15mm f/4 limited

    Quote Originally Posted by Sapphie View Post
    Colour and tonality indeed. I read in some forum somebody likening the 'tone fall off' to medium format. Hmn, I am not sure about that but I am enjoying the images from the K5.

    LOL, Leica, I could never justify it, even though I would find a way to justify up to 1000 on a lens if need be (stop it, Lee, you don't *need* that Pentax 31mm Ltd!) and the thought of a manual focus Voigtlander on Panasonic GH2 makes me wonder too but I doubt somehow the GH2 will match the K5 for IQ, not from the samples I have seen on the various forums. I am rambling now, so I will go away!

    Carl - I just love your images but I don't understand how you make them look so sharp and 'medium format' like!

    Lee
    Thank you Lee. I don't do anything special, just process the raw files in LR3.3 and if needed boost clarity a bit for micro contrast emphasis. Occasionally I will also use the clarity preset in the Topaz Adjust plug-in.
    Carl
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