Pentax DA15 Lens — Brilliant!

Discussion in 'Pentax' started by tyler_monson, May 4, 2009.

  1. Last week I bought the Pentax DA15 lens that I have been (not always patiently) waiting for since it first appeared on the roadmap.
    I follow the Carl Weese philosophy in testing: put the lens on the camera and go shoot the sort of pictures you normally take, then see how you like those.
    I like what I'm seeing.
    One striking feature is the near absence of linear distortion. I also enjoy the smooth, 'natural' rendering of detail (opposite of the Flickr school of digital exaggeration).
    Also important is the compact size, since I always have my camera with me. [Found a rubber Nikon 54mm lens cap that just fits tightly over the collapsed lens shade—not perfect but good enough for now.]
    Posts for the last four days on my More Original Refrigerator Art blog (link below) were all made with the DA15.
    May not be your 'cup of tea', but it sure is mine, and worth every penny.

    Cheers,

    Tyler Monson
    http://www.ora2.blogspot.com
     
  2. wow that distortion is just about non-existent in some of your building shots and walls... those straight lines are straight! very interesting...
     
  3. I must say that I am impressed. exactly what I wanted to see. I also agree that when testing stuff, use it as you normally do. It is the best way IMO to judge for one self.
     
  4. Almost no perceptible distortion...now you got me thinking if to get the Voigtlander 20mm or the DA15...now i'm wondering the price difference between the both...
     
  5. jtk

    jtk

    Tyler..excellent!...are most of those images uncropped?
    Your images look more rectilinear than those from my 21/3.2 (the only weakness in that Pentax).
    The most important comparison for me would be with that Pentax 21 (poor man's Summicron or Elmarit), or the 21/4 CV on 35mm (poor man's Super Angulon). The zooms underperform in too many ways, bulk in particular, to be relevant. Looks like your 15 illuminates very evenly, unlike the 21 CV (which is however screaming-sharp).
     
  6. Good stuff, Tyler! I especially like this one and this one .
    The most important lesson you're teaching us is that a lens is only good if the photographer using it likes it. I don't particularly care what DPR has to say about it.
     
  7. Nice to see some positive info on this lens. I subscribe to that lens testing philosophy myself.
    I had a pretty good feeling in an age of computer assisted lens design, that no prime could be as awful as people were trying to imply it was.


    Thus far I see the strengths of this lens are moderately fast, superbly small, lacks distortion, lacks vignetting.
    I think this paired with the 21, 43, 90, and 200mm f/4 will be a great travel setup for me! Compact, light and high quality.
     
  8. Justin ... that's two lenses too many for a "travel kit". Stick to three lenses: you'll be better off.
    Mine: UW zoom, fast normal, fast portrait tele. That's it.
     
  9. 12-24, 35 Limited & 77 Limited?
     
  10. Godfrey,
    I agree, it all depends on what I have in mind. My typical kit is 21, 28/35T&S/43 (pick one), 90. If I know I'll be using a tele, I'll take a longer lens like the 70-300 or 200mm f/4 but I usually don't bother with anything longer than 90mm. The 645 200mm f/4 is bit smaller and lighter than the 70-300, and a bit faster at 200mm.
    However, one of the nice things about Pentax is my kit is smaller than many 1-2 lens zoom kits.
    My 21, 43, 90mm kit is about the size of a FF 28-70 2.8 zoom and weighs less. Had I went with the 70mm it would be even smaller and lighter.
    Since my travel bag consist of a LowePro TLZ and 1-2 attached lens cases I can only carry so much. Since my flash usually takes up one of those cases, I'm even further constrained. Thanfully Pentax has put a lot of thought into compact lenses, and Cosina Voightlander has filled in the gaps!
     
  11. Thinking about it some more ... Pentax' 12-24 is a bit bulkier than I like to travel with.
    Next to last travel with the Pentax kit I carried 21, 35 and 77mm. Last travel with it I had the 21, 43, and 70mm lenses. In both cases I didn't really miss not having the 14mm with me, but I'd have had two/three more options. The 14 was just a bit too big, the 12-24 is bigger, and the 15 is small. So a four lens kit ... 15, 21, 43 and 70/77 ... would do me fine. I use anything more tele than that pretty infrequently.
    It just seems a bit too many choices for travel. I find it better to reduce choices of equipment so as to concentrate more on seeing. :)
     
  12. I agree. Sometimes it's better to have fewer options, so you work with whatever is on the camera rather than always think about switching. Having a lot of options means over thinking and spending a lot of time changing glass. I like a 3 lens kit myself, 4 tops, but when I take 4 usually one of them doesn't see much action.
    The 12-24, 14, and Sigma 10-20 (two I considered, one I settled on) are too big for travel unless you know you need a UW, or UW is your forte and preference. For me it's not, and I think the 15mm would be ideal in the true wide angle role. Plus it's small enough to take it even if you may not definitely need it.
    I really think this lens (the 15 Limited) is going to develop a following down the road after all the backlash dies down.
     
  13. "backlash" ::
    There's always so much debate and silliness on equipment forums.
    Too many people taking things like DPReview and other pundit opinions too seriously. I'm sure it's a fine lens. :)
     
  14. Hi Tyler
    I have a question for you: what's your impression so far of the AF function with the 15mm? Accurate? Consistent? Any quirks?
     
  15. Ah, for the full-frame film days, where you can take a lightweight compact body, a modest-size UW zoom, like the Pentax 20-35mm f/4, or Tokina for that matter, plus the 43mm and 77mm Limiteds! My MZ-S weighs considerably less than even my K200D, and my ZX-L weighs less yet.
    I would not call any f/4 prime, other than a telephoto, "moderately fast". In fact, on the slow side for a prime lens. f/2.8 is average or "moderately fast" for a WA prime. But f/4 is adequate, and obviously a trade for the small size. Speed is not one of the good points here, but small size and low distortion are the emphasis.
    A high-quality option for this new lens in a travel-about or hiking kit will be- the forthcoming compact K7D body, 15mm, 21mm, and 43mm Limiteds, these being small enough so in a separate belt hoster, the DA 55-300mm or even the DA* 50-135mm, is no problem! Going all primes, it would be a LTD set of either the 15mm or 21mm, 43mm, and 77mm. The DA* 200mm can fit into a belt holster as well. That has been my potential thought. Then also possibly taking the 1.4x TC. Each of those LTDs is pocketable, or can fit into a carrying pouch along with the camera with one on it.
     
  16. Carl Weese: I have made about 200 exposures with the DA15 on a K20 (on AF, at all distances) without a single "damn, it's out-of-focus" experience. However, I shoot almost everything at f/8 so there's bound to be a lot of latitude.
    I am going to try the DA15 on my K10 for a while now, and that camera, with the DA21, did have its moments of confusion.
    Anyone know why the EXIF info only reports "distant view", "close view", and "macro"? Reminds me of the old box camera that had three distance settings. Surely there must be a way in which the lens, once focused (via contrast detection or whatever) could relay more accurate numbers to the software.
    Flashback! I remember building a VisiCalc spreadsheet in 1979 to calculate depth-of-field tables for my 4x5 lenses. Ah, the (then) sacred circle of confusion!
    ------------------
    John Kelly: The only cropping is occasional trimming of the sides, because I am less fond of the 3:2 proportion. The rest of the pictures in that blog (with noted exceptions) were all taken with the DA21 lens, and there I've calculated a stock correction for distortion that I apply in Photoshop.
    Cheers,
    Tyler
     
  17. Michael,
    In 35mm film days, there were relatively few fast ultrawides either. The FA*24/2 AL was a notable exception, the A28/2 is almost mythical in how hard it is to find. And with 35mm film, by the time you got to ASA 400, grain cuts down on practical usability far more than an f/4 lens. Etc etc.
    Just kvetching.. ;-) The FA20-35/4 AL was a wonderful lens, even on the *ist DS, with performance to rival many primes and it was light (if not compact). I only stopped using it once I had the DA21, which was a better performer, and then the two lenses I got the most use out of were the DA21 and FA43. The FA43 is one of the most special Pentax lenses of all, imo.
     
  18. My three 'nevers'....
    1. NEVER trust anything ANY lens tester/reviewer says.
    2. NEVER buy any camera without handling it first.
    3. NEVER say never.
    cheers Steve.M.
     
  19. jtk

    jtk

    "I've calculated a stock correction for distortion that I apply in Photoshop.
    Cheers,
    Tyler"
    Tyler: Yikes !.. should we reconsider what you said about distortion and 15/4?
    Have you Photoshopped 15/4 distortion the way you evidently did the 21/3.2 ? Or is the non-fixed 15/4 more rectilinear than the non-fixed 21/3.2 ?
     
  20. That sounds good, Tyler. I've found the 21mm and the 12-24 to have significant AF issues with both K10 and K20, while the cameras' AF functions very well and very consistently with 31, 35, 40, and 70. A low-distortion 15 with reliable AF sounds better and better.
     
  21. John Kelly: In your quote of what I said, step back one more word: "there" meant I was talking about the DA21. The correction that I use with my DA21 is simply +3 on the distortion slider in the lens correction filter. Not a big deal in my book.
    My tests with the DA15 led me to conclude that no correction for linear distortion was required, so I have applied none.
    To my thinking, the computer's "virtual darkroom" is a natural and essential part of digital photography, just as the darkroom was in silver-based photography.
     
  22. Wow...Godfrey and Carl have shown up on the same thread...
    :-o
    Maybe this is a sign that I need to buy the DA 15 Ltd...
     
  23. Carl, I haven't particularly noticed that (yet) with DA21 but with DA12-24 I have often noticed especially in somewhat lower light that I may get AF confirm at a distance that is obviously a foot or more different than reality.
    Anyone know why the EXIF info only reports "distant view", "close view", and "macro"?​
    I don't know but I have a theory and this reminds me of some discussions a while back (with Justin?) about the capability of K-mount lenses reporting focus distance to the body and how the body might use it. I think we were probably dreaming about some automatic hyperfocal mode.
    Good times.
    Anyway, your mention of what EXIF is reporting may be somewhat telling--the lens may only report focus distance back to the camera in a very coarse manner, which doesn't surprise me all that much. I will guess that Pentax cameras have historically used this basic distance information to select scene modes--remember all those AF models with "Auto Pict" and the like? It probably combines this information with the focal length (also reported to the body in somewhat course 'steps') to pick which mode to use--like picking whether to prefer 'macro' vs. 'portrait' vs. Landscape. I wonder whether this data gets used for anything else like flash exposure?
    A little more digging on Boz's tech page , original source unknown to me:
    Lens-to-subject distance . This is used by the more advanced bodies for calculating if the flash is powerful enough to illuminate the subject that is in focus. In addition, this is one of the parameters taken into account when the body is in one of the "smart" picture modes and has to choose a program curve.​
    Furthermore...
    The lenses contain a ROM chip that holds the program curve (brightness/shutter speed/aperture) for prime lenses or up to three program curves for zooms at their different focal length settings. The distance information is hardwired on the lens barrel. A number of tiny parallel conducting/non-conducting strips are glued to the rotating part of the lens. The same number of contacts are attached to the fixed part of the lens. As the lens barrel turns during focusing, different combinations of the strips are detected by the contacts. There are four parallel strips in the F 50/1.7, resulting in at most 16 different distance settings. But for that particular lens not all combinations are used.​
    So perhaps "precise" focus distance isn't in the mount design or at least probably not implemented in actual lenses?
     
  24. Wow...Godfrey and Carl have shown up on the same thread...​
    As far as I can tell, Carl registered with P-net just so he could participate in this thread. Now that's interest!
     
  25. jtk

    jtk

    "To my thinking, the computer's "virtual darkroom" is a natural and essential part of digital photography, just as the darkroom was in silver-based photography." - Tyler Monson
    Yes. I agree 100%....though I do love lenses that don't distort ...not asking a lot of the 30mm equivalent 21/3.2, but it does distort...which means certain images have to be cropped along the long dimension if I want a squared-away image...can't be avoided unless I allow a lot of room around the rectangle, which means the lens becomes effectively less wide on the short dimension (like your crops)...
    My awkwardly-worded question arose because you fixed 21/3.2 distortion. ...I hoped you'd confirm that you DID NOT do that with the 15/4. Thanks for clarifying.
    My only disappointment with the 21/3.2 is distortion, so I naturally wonder about distortion and the 15.
     
  26. jtk

    jtk

    "To my thinking, the computer's "virtual darkroom" is a natural and essential part of digital photography, just as the darkroom was in silver-based photography." - Tyler Monson
    Yes. I agree 100%....though I do love lenses that don't distort ...not asking a lot of the 30mm equivalent 21/3.2, but it does distort...which means certain images have to be cropped along the long dimension if I want a squared-away image...can't be avoided unless I allow a lot of room around the rectangle, which means the lens becomes effectively less wide on the short dimension (like your crops)...
    My awkwardly-worded question arose because you fixed 21/3.2 distortion. ...I hoped you'd confirm that you DID NOT do that with the 15/4. Thanks for clarifying.
    My only disappointment with the 21/3.2 is distortion, so I naturally wonder about distortion and the 15.
     
  27. jtk

    jtk

    "To my thinking, the computer's "virtual darkroom" is a natural and essential part of digital photography, just as the darkroom was in silver-based photography." - Tyler Monson
    Yes. I agree 100%....though I do love lenses that don't distort ...not asking a lot of the 30mm equivalent 21/3.2, but it does distort...which means certain images have to be cropped along the long dimension if I want a squared-away image...can't be avoided unless I allow a lot of room around the rectangle, which means the lens becomes effectively less wide on the short dimension (like your crops)...
    My awkwardly-worded question arose because you fixed 21/3.2 distortion. ...I hoped you'd confirm that you DID NOT do that with the 15/4. Thanks for clarifying.
    My only disappointment with the 21/3.2 is distortion, so I naturally wonder about distortion and the 15.
     
  28. F/4 is moderately fast to me. Considering it's 1-2 stops faster than I generally shoot. I always point out the size of the Sigma 20mm 1.8 FF lens as a comparison for those who whine and cry that f/4 is slow. Yes, it's slow, but it's also compact and personally I'm more apt to battle a slow lens than a big one.
    I don't really believe UWs were meant to be used at very wide apertures. I rarely used my 20mm 1.8 below F/4, and when it was tripod mounted below f/8. Bokeh isn't a strong point of UWs.

    As far as the MZ-S, I agree, but then again the Program Plus, and the MX weigh less than an ist D. Even a metal brick like the K1000 weights less than a K10D. You forget that there is a lot more in the cameras, plus the batteries weigh more.
    Last thing, yep, UWs are smaller on a film camera, but mid range and teles are generally smaller on a 1.5X sensor. For instance the 50-135 is significantly smaller than an equivalent 70-200.
    It's all give and take. Everyone has an ideal in mind, but the fact is that what is a bonus for one person might not be for the other.
     
  29. At 15mm you need a pretty contrived scene to get any bokeh at all. The difference f2.8 to f4 is trivial. The other rationale would be fast shutter in low light -- but for me anyway, a wide-angle lens only gets play outdoors during the day or sunset, when I'm in the f4-f8 range anyway.
    Frankly, I would trade my 14mm 2.8 for a 15mm f4 in a heartbeat. If anyone who lives in Toronto wants to trade, drop me a line :)
     
  30. The design of the 15mm f/4 LTD is for compact carrying and low distortion. To achieve this, speed is sacrificed. It is always the same- a fast lens means more weight and size. The 43mm LTD and the 77mm LTD are fast prime lenses, and remarkable design achievements for size and quality.
    I take a lot of stock in truly scientifically set up tests, that are thorough in testing both near and far focus, and also use actual comparative images that I can see for myself. I am more impressed than peoples' opinions which are made under varying conditions, and are radically contradictory from one person to another.
    I am sympathetic to smaller compact portability. But I understand also why some would put up with added size to gain speed. Regardless if one shoots no wider than f/4, with a fast lens that is not near wide open, and lens performance is hitting its better range by f/4. In addition, the fast lens affords brighter viewing- particularly importent in low light use.
    Full -frame extra wide fast primes are rather uncommon, but not that hard to find. Nikon makes one and Canon makes a couple. It is too bad Pentax dropped the 24mm f/2, but from what I've seen the Sigma 24mm f/1.8 is even better and far less costly. The difference is, from 35mm film bodies where the 24mm field of view IS available in a fast, bright-viewing, low-distortion prime, there is NO such animal for a DSLR, other than having an expensive FF body. Not available AT ALL!!!
    People have repeatedly written in as to being able to see noise in a blue sky at 400 ISO with their K10D. Not a big deal, since if examined closely, a very good low-grain film can exhibit similar results. Print film has been tested as lower grain at ISO 400 and above than slide film. Kodak 400 UC and Fuji Superia Xtra 400 and even 800 are very low grain. So both film and DSLRs can exhibit grain/noise. I have many shots that are very practical and usable from these films.
    Here's one from my Sigma f/1.8 hand held on my K100D, wide open and 1/15 sec and ISO 800.
    00TGzG-132087684.jpg
     
  31. Here is another wide open and 1/20 sec. at ISO 1600 using the K100. I am now about to evaluate the performance of the K20D and NR on "Weak". Results should be pretty sharp, even with this mild NR. We'll see how goes the noise at such ISO. Should be interesting to compare with low light from the K100.
    I would NOT have gotten these shots with an f/4 lens, even if I could see well enough through the VF.
    On a film body, I would have needed a tripod- no SR. But the view would have been much wider.
    00TGzZ-132089584.jpg
     
  32. jtk

    jtk

    Night shots using a very slightly wide(24=36mm) lens on APS don't seem related to discussion of an infinitely smaller, more seriously wide 15/4 (15=22mm).
    Some of us do think of DSLRs as tools for photographing static objects (those gorgeous bridge photos) or other subjects where grossly large and heavy lenses are no handicap (most here seem devoted to zooms rather than primes). An f1.8 lens might be important if one was using a camera with a relatively inefficient finder, but would be less so with a prism, especially at infinity or with good autofocus. I find my slowest lens (3.2) easy to use with K20D at night.
    Some of us often photograph people up-close and personal... monster lenses may be intimidating to our subjects... the tiny 15/4 might be perfect sometimes (15=22 and 21mm has been used forever by Leica shooters for street and various non-extreme illustrations).
    When restricted to film (eg 800iso Fuji NPZ rated 1600) I sometimes found full aperture f1.4-f2 important. But with K20D's brilliant prism, superb IS (good for at least three stops) , noise lower than grain @1600iso (or even 3200), I'm as comfortable using a slower shutter speed and f/2.8 or smaller. And that'd be even more true with a 22mm equivalent lens than with a 36mm equivalent lens.
    YMMV
     
  33. I usually don't shoot daylight shots at ISO 400 on the K10D or the K20D or the ist D. But I never EVER shot an ISO 400 daylight film for anything that was more than a snapshot, or small print.
    ISO 400 film stunk, i'd rather have ISO 400 digital. Quite honestly, you could see grain/noise in a 50 speed film at high enough scan resolution. Often this was pepper granules, but it could also be grain structure. I've noted often people have become a bit jaded by digital and it's higher ISO capabilties, all one needs to do is load an 800 speed (color) film and have a shootout with the K10D to see how much better digital is at higher ISO.
    As far as noise on a blue sky. Take Nik Dfine, use color dropper on the blue, then select the other key areas that lack perceptible noise and set the NR to 0%, and reduce the blue sky till it looks natural. No more noise, yet much more detail in the rest of the scene than a 400 speed film.
    It's all give and take, but there is no way I'd take a 400 speed film over a digital SLR sensor set to 400. The only exception I can think of MIGHT be Provia 400X.
     
  34. BTW, on this image shot at 100 speed fuji c-41 I couldn't stand the grain in the sky at a 10MP scan. So I was forced to denoise it. Again this was 100 speed film with a perfect exposure out of the camera.
    So while the K10D might have noise in the sky at 400 iso, print film had grain in the sky at as low as 100 ISO. I'll take the extra 2 stops!!!
    [​IMG]
     
  35. It is relevant because APS cannot get both fast and wide. So the 15mm LTD has to face a design limitation, hence the fact it has to be f/4.
    Not to put it down at all, just being realistic, that this is not, and cannot be, a fast lens, with the benefits that come along with fast lenses. So Pentax did the logical thing, and designed for compactness and low distortion. Even to get to f/2.8, the size of the DA 14mm f/2.8 is a good example. And this f/2.8 is a truly "moderately fast" WA prime lens, providing like a 21mm FOV on FF. If needing that extra stop of speed, forfeit of the compact size of the new 15mm LTD would be the price. Other brands do not have this choice.
    With having both wider angle and smaller, darker aperture, it is harder to see your framing in very dim conditions, because f/4 in the VF is not as bright, and at a very wide FL objects appear smaller. I know this difference, because I sometimes do use my DA 12-24mm f/4 under such conditions. But for the above use, I had to switch to my less-wide, but truly fast Sigma 24mm, like having a 35mm WA lens on FF, in order to be more functional and to get the shutter speed I needed. It is still WA, and very useful on an APS body. This does not mean I regret having the DA 12-24mm f/4 lens at all- it is indeed a fine lens. Apparently, the amazingly compact 15mm LTD is as well. It just cannot be seen as fast, not could it have been so. For a zoom lens, f/4 is "moderately fast" because f/2.8 is as fast as it gets. There have been expressions of disappointment regarding the 15mm LTD's f/4 aperture, but upon examination, this design limitation is understandable.
    Justin hit the nail on the head when he said there are trade-offs. While there are disadvantages with WA, as he stated, APS advantages in the telephoto area are undeniable. The DA* 200mm f/2.8 is an example. Its equal on FF would be a very costly 5-6 lb. blunderbuss, where instead this lens weighs in a bit over 1-1/2 lb. and is about half the length, having a reasonable 77mm filter size. I can carry it in a large coat pocket without its hood. I stick the hood iinside my jacket, at the risk of looking transgendered. So yes, I will gladly accept the necessary compromises APS imposes at the wide end to get the advantages at longer FL. When I really need to avoid those compromises, I still have and use my film cameras!
     
  36. I recently saw a quite large-size print, I am thinking 16x24, taken under low-light conditions, made by a man who works behind the photo counter at a large chain store where I shop. He shot it with a Pentax K1000, and using Kodak UC 400. It looked amazingly smooth and detailed. Very impressive. I am not sure of the FL used, but it appeared to be a WA shot. The idea that film is so bad it is noisy at anything beyond ISO 50, and with an APS DSLR it is so much less noisy that we no longer need fast primes, is nonsense.
    And BTW, unlike digital, film's "noise" does not change that much as you change to a larger format. Yes, you stretch the grain more with enlargement, but basically still the same with MF as with 35mm.
     
  37. Hmm, this lens is clearly a compact, low-distortion, 800€, "rather soft", f/4 paragon... :) Only a fridge-magnet-fondling fool would disagree...
    But OK, deep down we all know that the main thing is that it says "Limited" on the side and it's made of metal... :)
     
  38. Does this lens have the DOF markings on it? If so, is it optimized for the 1.5 crop factor?
     
  39. 15mm aps-c is not 22mm.
    According to pentax its "23mm"​
    Pentax's have a 1.53x crop factor, so 15mm is 22.95mm-equiv.
     
  40. Javier, yes there is a DoF scale. Whether they've calibrated the DoF markings for DA lenses differently for the smaller sensor compared to how they determine the markings for FA lenses is a good question.
     
  41. The fact remains, to get those shots I needed my f/1.8 Sigma WA.
    There is film and there is film. They differ considerably from one to the other in grain characteristics. When a new one comes out having less grain, you don't have to sell your camera and buy another to get that benefit.
    Then, with a DSLR, all have some degree of in-camera electronic image processing, including NR. If not over-agressive, this will not noticeably reduce sharpness, but will reduce noise. So the end result depends on the sensor, and also the electronic processing of that sensor's output. And that is done WITHOUT additonal optional NR being switched on! Film does not have this in-camera manipulation.
    With more mp, a DSLR is noisier and requires more in-camera NR. From what I have seen, images from a 10mp APS DSLR are not much, if any less noisy at ISO 200-800 than the lower-grain films are WITHOUT ANY NR compensation. With a film camera, If one selects a less than optimum film for grain, that is a different matter.
    From what I have seen, up through ISO 800, there is not much to distinquish the lower grain films from an APS DSLR of say 10mp or greater, that has not had overly aggressive NR processing. The Pentax K series thus far has not tended to do that. The K200D, from all reports did improve its noise processing perormance without over-doing it and losing sharpness, compared to the K10D, which uses the same sensor. The K200D got good ratings for noise.
    I cannot put more than one image together in the same post- but here are 2 images I scanned and downsized from a high-speed film I like, Fuji superia Xtra 800. It is low-grain for this speed, and has extra layers for mixed lighting. The 400 is even a little better for grain, and the Kodak UC 400 *might* be better yet. The first one, I had not planned for this type of WA shot. I was there to shoot action. So I just had my Pentax 28-105mm f/3.2-4.5 zoom. Unfortunately, as I was framing the shot, some guys came quickly down the isle as I pulled the trigger, and the AF was drawn towards them. I did not realize this at the time, but it was still usable to commemorate that event.
    Then I will post one example I took with the K200D at ISO 1600- no added NR used. To my eyes, the K200D at ISO 1600, while acceptably good, does not look cleaner than that film at ISO 800.
    00THPT-132317684.jpg
     
  42. And the K200D shot-
    00THPw-132319684.JPG
     
  43. And BTW, unlike digital, film's "noise" does not change that much as you change to a larger format. Yes, you stretch the grain more with enlargement, but basically still the same with MF as with 35mm.​
    Unfortunately the very nature of "stretching the grain" is the limitation of film. You are correct though the grain structure of films at various sizes remains essentially or exactly the same.

    Bearing in mind in my example above I'm talking about 100 speed print film (c-41) which I never really used for anything other than snap shots. The main reason I have so much c-41 is because I worked at several labs both commercial, pro and 1 hour where I was able to process my film for near nothing (but legal, and within the confines of policy). So buying film in bulk, and then processing it for less than 20 cents a roll (and I could cross process for the same price) meant film was less expensive than digital for me for several years. C-41 in a small SLR was essentially my digital compact! Slide film on the other hand I needed to have processed or process myself at home, the cost per roll was very similar unless I was able to do about 10-15 rolls using a Chrome Six kit at once at home, or I was push processing which could save at least $15-20 for 15 rolls.
    As far as the 400UC I used it a lot actually, it was cheap and decent quality. However, I preferred the harder to get 100UC.
    I just scanned some Kodak Gold 1000 which were mostly shots of the 1999 Yankees ticker tape parade, and Caney. The grain was awful to the point of obscuring resolution. No way would I ever go back to film for high ISO shooting vs. any format DSLR. Fuji 1600 was fine when I was shooting for the paper in the late 1990s, but it just can't compare to digital for resolving power or noise.
    Michael, what I would recommend is you properly expose a RAW shot on your DSLR at 800 and compare it to a properly exposed 800 speed color film of your choice in a reasonable size print (say 8x12), I bet you prefer the digital image!
     
  44. Michael,
    One final point.
    Your hockey shot looks about 1 stop under exposed. I realize with print film you perhaps had a stop of latitude, but digital is more like slide film, and even more so at high ISO. I've always said, with a digital sensor at it's maximum usable ISO (that would be 1600 for the ist D, 2500 for the K20D, and 1600 for the K10D) you need to be on the money when shooting RAW or JPEG. Even in RAW more than a 1/3 of a stop and you are going to have issues.
    This is why I said above to take 2 shots with equivalent ISO (film and digital) and make sure you bracket them, then print the best exposure for each. I am definitely willing to be overall the color print film falls short of the digital. In my opinion while shadow noise in digital at high ISO can be nasty, print film tended to get brown and muddy in the shadows. So 6 of one, and a half dozen of the other.
     
  45. One last post here....what did this thread start on again, and how the hell did we get into a film vs. digital debate.
    I'm not even asking this as a joke, I really am confused how we got to this point. I keep looking at the thread title and scratching my head. I know somewhere it turned into how such and such lens wouldn't be necessary on a film camera or maybe the opposite, but where did the film vs. digital issue come into play?
     
  46. jtk

    jtk

    Justin, it got off topic because somebody wanted to talk about a totally unrelated lens, as well as his noise theories :)
    Then the anal-ists got into the act, anxious about fractional millimeters . Well, hell, somebody's got to do it :)
    In any case, the reason FOR the 15/4 is physical size. Many, used to Voigtlander's similar Leica wides, will be happy with f4, which seemingly will illuminate the frame far more evenly than Voigtlander does but may be less screamingly sharp.
    There's no alternative to that 15/4 unless somebody's willing to haul an absurdity, zoom or prime, in exchange for f2.8.
     
  47. Justin, any more exposure than this and I would start to blow out highlights excessively! Maybe RAW would have preserved the highlights a little better. It "looks" under-exposed, but what you see here is about the way the lighting was. I have noticed, however, that the K200D, and possibly the K20D as well, tends to slightly under-expose, especially in lower lighting. I think it's a metering issue as it relates to ISO sensitivity. Lately, camera tests have not included ISO accuracy. I agree regarding the exposure latitude being closer to slide film. Latitude is one other reason I often turn to print film for certain uses.
    I have done the RAW thing, then just used the Pentax AUTO process, no tweeks, and could see no substantial difference, for the most part. Sometimes very strong highlights are better preserved in very high-contrast situations, and shadow detail can be a little better in some shots.
    I do think film formulas never were successful above ISO 800. When going above ISO 800, a digital APS DSLR is definitely cleaner. To me, what I get with that particular ISO 800 film, as above, is very acceptable for that ISO.
    One way or another, a DSLR image is as much a product of electronic processing as anything else. Generally, even with digital, one tries to keep within ISO 800 when possible.
    I have had difficulty getting digital prints to look as good as those I get back from an ordinary local film service, though I have a very good quality photo printer. There is no denying, for very WA shots requiring a fast lens, one must turn to FF, whether film or digital.
    I think dpreview did try to be fair in its test of the 15mm LTD. When they spotted a shortcoming, they called a spade a spade. At the same time, they acknowledged that it is unrealistic to expect a faster lens in such a design, and that it offers virtues not to be found elsewhere.
    The reason the thread went here is over this lens not being fast, because that cannot be so. To get truly fast and very wide, one has to go to FF, film or digital.
     
  48. One last post here....what did this thread start on again, and how the hell did we get into a film vs. digital debate.
    I'm not even asking this as a joke, I really am confused how we got to this point. I keep looking at the thread title and scratching my head. I know somewhere it turned into how such and such lens wouldn't be necessary on a film camera or maybe the opposite, but where did the film vs. digital issue come into play?​
    Perhaps we should get a mod to moderate. ;-) , now where can we find one.
     
  49. jtk

    jtk

    People who care about print quality often print their own...are unlikely to use minilabs. Epson 3800 is fabulous, but the old 2200 was superb. Shooting film, they often scan it themselves with proper devices, ie Nikon. Makes way better financial/visual sense than extra lenses on lesser DSLRs.
    Claiming "film formulas never were successful above ISO 800" indicates limited experience. Most C41 films happily offer an extra stop if you use a decent (non-mini) lab. Neopan 400 is beautiful at 1200 with Rodinal, 1+100 stand processed.
    All of the E6 films push a stop or more without losing saturation or gaining unattractive grain, though contrast increases so skillful metering is important... of course, that's assuming one of the vanishing, genuinely professional labs (ie dip&dunk processing).
     
  50. I've still got me one of those 14mm 2.8 Tamron full frame lenses with an autofocus pentax mount. I could argue its similar to classic leica "21mm" 2.8 via crop format. Heck my metadata tells me it is a "21mm". I just checked and it looks like tamron discontinued 14mm 2.8 in all mounts. Pentax AF mount 14mm 2.8 got deleted over a year ago. Thanks again Justin for letting me buy it a couple years back from KEH ;^) as its one of my favorite lenses to use on K mount.
    I'll say it also, a 15mm f4 which translates to a 23mm f4 is slow, well slower than any 24mm film lens I've ever owned. But you all want tiny, so to grant your wishes small lenses get slower apertures. But hey! Its made of metal. Whats steel running thesedays? It was like $200. a ton & this 15mm f4 weighs 1/2 a pound total:
    In Glass, Plastic, Metal so its got about 5cents worth of steel in it if it were all metal, no glass.
     
  51. Ok as most of you know, I have only been shooting film for a little over a year. In that years worth of shooting, I have learned that digital simply does not have the DR of film. It is most noticeable when shooting into into shadows or very bright sunlight. But more importantly it is not weather film is better than digital, but one needs to understand that they are simply different. Film has a look all its own. Sure one can spend tons of time in PP digital images to look like film, but it still never really does. Film has a beauty all its own. Fuji'S HI END CAMERAS now have the option of giving you that ''provia or velvia'' ''LOOK'' but it still trully does not.
    The biggest advantage that digtal has is the ability to take sample shots and chimp until your happy with your histogram. With film, there is no such option. BUT because if its DR it is more forgiving...
     
  52. Case in point.
    This image was shot with my K20D and Sigma 10-20mm lens. This was the 4th shot of this particluar series after chimping inside this gold mining rig. The first looked good in the center, but the green tree was white. Others where to underexposed.
    [​IMG]
    This was the one and only shot I took with film. ME SUPER, Tokina 28 f/2.8, 99 CENTS STORE FILM, TARGET PROCESSING.
    [​IMG]
     
  53. I personally really like Chromira printing for color printing. It requires less pixels, quality is excellent, longevity excellent, and you can print very large prints (panoramics with it) but that is just me.
    I'm not sure where you inferred or where I wrote that films couldn't be used above 800. What I said very clearly was COLOR C-41 films are terrible above 400, and really I have never loved them at any ISO for my uses. Are they usable, absolutely, when printing on newspaper printer you can use just about any film and get similar results.
    I spent 3 years shooting 800 and 1600 fujicolor press, my base ISO was usually 800 because of the extra shutter speed control, and the fact it looked identical in a paper to 400 (or 200 or 100).
    As far as Neopan, it's a black and white film, you are throwing in a variable that isn't really needed in our little debate about color digital vs. color film. Black and white is a different animal.

    As far as E6, I've always said certain films pushed amazingly well. Provia 100F pushes well to 400 with really no loss of quality. It has some interesting pluses in that since Provia has a cool tone to it vs. Velvia pushing it around a stop gives you a warmer 200 speed film which has many pluses in landscape and even wildlife photography. I've never personally pushed 400X since it came out after I was mostly shooting digital, but my understanding is it pushes well to 800 and 1600. I'm interested in trying some out myself though pushed to 800 and 1600.
     
  54. Ok as most of you know, I have only been shooting film for a little over a year. In that years worth of shooting, I have learned that digital simply does not have the DR of film. It is most noticeable when shooting into into shadows or very bright sunlight.​
    Javier,
    Have you shot slide film?
    Digital and slide film have the same DR, digital gets an edge in RAW.
    Sure slide film has less DR, but it has less grain, higher resolution, and more vivid colors and contrast than color print film. With the use of filtration and good lighting DR becomes a non factor anyway.
    Your comparison is a bit unfair because you compare digital JPEG (compressed 8 bits) to C-41 print film. A much more fair comparison is digital RAW converted to 16 bit TIFF, and E6 like Provia.
     
  55. Justin, I have not tried slide film yet. I hear it is very good when it is right, but when it is wrong it is wrong. Still, I need to try it.
    Your comparison is a bit unfair because you compare digital JPEG (compressed 8 bits) to C-41 print film. A much more fair comparison is digital RAW converted to 16 bit TIFF, and E6 like Provia.​
    Perhaps I was comparing apples to oranges, but I am only looking at the final product. Since I don't shoot RAW or use TIFF files, this is all I know. Don't get me wrong. I am not putting down Digital. There are many places where film does not even come close and if I had to choose one format or the other, I would choose digital. All I am saying is that there is room in the inn for both.
     
  56. John, if in your vast experience you have indeed found film to be so great above ISO 800, even at ISO 1200, I suggest you have that dialogue with Justin, since his view is that film is inferior at ISO 100.
    All this is going to the idea that we no longer need faster WA lenses than f/4, because with digital all we have to do is increase ISO, where with film as a FF alternative we'd get inferior results at lower ISO.
    I say nonsense, because I know I could have gotten my above night shot taken at ISO 800 as well with a good low-grain ISO 800 print film using the same Sigma 24mm f1.8 WIDE OPEN, but having a wider view than above- similar to that of the new 15mm f/4 LTD on a DSLR, which could never have gotten that shot at all. The Sigma lens must actually be faster, since the info comes in at f/1.7, so for the 15mm f/4 to equal this wider shot if ISO 800 film had been used, the DSLR would have to have ISO pushed some 2-1/2 stops to around ISO 4800. And that would look as good as the ISO 800 film I used above?? I don't think so!!!
    For me, film is still a viable alternative for certain applications, including WA uses where a low-distortion fast prime is needed. And viable also because it is not costly for such occasional use, as in getting another outfit of digital FF gear. I don't blame Lindy for doing that, but I am not prepared to take that step. So this is not even looking at the prospect of this Sigma f/1.8 lens, or one of those Lindy has mentioned, being used on a FF DSLR.
    Again, I am not putting down this fine new lens- just recognizing the limitations imposed by APS in WA use. I also concur that with WA use, a faster aperture is important less often than with other FLs. But sometimes a fast lens IS needed for WA, and one of the reasons I acquired the Sigma f/1.8 years ago.
     
  57. Javier, I agree both film and digital have their uses. When I first started, for years I rarely shot print film- just slides. Sometimes I would have push-process done as well. I still do shoot some slides. But now for practical reasons, I am more into print film. When I want to give out sets of prints, I like print fim best. And it does provide the greatest degree of latitude.
    Slide film is still the standard for accuracy of exposure, and it is less forgiving.
     
  58. I've addressed John's concerns.
    Unfortunately, John is referring to black and white, and not C-41.
    It's very important to stay focused on what films we are talking about. C-41, E-6, and BW all have different characteristics. If someone is making statements about one, it doesn't necessarily apply to the other two. Likewise, films aren't even comparable between ISO when we get specific. For instance, 200-400 ISO slide films aren't typically great either. IMO, it is actually better to push Provia 1 stop than use a base 200 ISO slide film. This of course assumes your goal is to print more than a 4x6.
    However, if people get careless and start grouping all films together then we have a mess of a discussion.
    It seems to me Mike K and Javier are mostly referring to color C-41 film when discussing film, John Kelly apparently BW, and myself low speed fine grained E6 or K14 such as Provia 100F, Kodachrome 64, E100VS, and Sensia.
     
  59. jtk

    jtk

    Justin, please...note that I referred to pushing both slide and C41 films AND B&W beyond 800iso.
    That someone personally hasn't been successful above 800ISO, or that his techniques make him uncomfortable with an f4 lens in a given situation is OK with everybody here, I'm sure: He's his own photographer, it's his judgement call . On the other hand, some of us with different skills in film processing, scanning and Lightroom/Photoshop may enjoy different outcomes with both film and DSLR files.
    The OT is Pentax's new 15/4: The wonderfulness of a gigantic, barely-wide-on-APS lens that, being a Sigma is neither weatherproof, rugged, nor tiny, like the FAR wider Pentax, seems as hilariously off-topic as the high ISO distraction. I'd be the last person to deny that off-topic posts can be entertaining :)
     
  60. I don't think any Pentax Limited Lenses are "weatherproof".
    Only SDM with added * are water resistant. Right?
    Just 55mm f1.4, 16-50 f2.8, 50-135 f2.8, 200 f2.8, 300mm f4 & still unpriced in USA: 60-250 f4 are the only pentax water resistant lenses.
    So John, weren't you In Love with that unissued GH1 from Panasonic. Are you still going to get one?
     
  61. Here's that GH1 thread you started:
    http://www.photo.net/pentax-camera-forum/00T9Cf
    And the "official" weather resistant lens specs from pentax:
    "The PENTAX DA Star series of high grade lenses, designed exclusively for PENTAX digital SLR cameras, features the quiet SDM focus system and tightly sealed, weather-resistant and dust-resistant construction to enhance durability for use in rainy or dusty conditions."
    Pentax Limited lenses are not weather resistant.
     
  62. Evidently, someone who has an odd form of insecurity feels that any remarks directed towards any shortcoming of the fine new lens of this topic, would be off-topic.
    Lindy is correct, the 24mm f/1.8 lens on a FF body has quite the same FOV as the new 15mm f4 lens on an APS DSLR. It is also correct that with APS, no equivelent to such a lens on a FF body could be made. It is obviously not I who is hillariously "uncomfortable" with these facts. Let him who has such superior techniques take his f/4 lens and shoot the above scenes, pushing to ISO 4800, and produce his superior results, putting some examples where his mouth is.
     
  63. Now, now kids, settle down, don't quibble. Let's all shake hands and admit that what we're really fighting over is who is most impatiently awaiting the K-7 :)
     
  64. To put the DA 15 Limited in context, it isn't intended to be Pentax's fast wide lens. they have the DA 14 f2.8 for that. I'd never turn down a faster lens, but f2.8 isn't too bad if you need fast. Now have a look at the size and weight numbers below, decide whether you're carrying the lens in your pocket or in a camera bag, and satisfy your LBA! I bought the DA 12-24 the day before the jacked up the prices in Canada, couldn't be happier with it, but I'm still tempted by the small size of the DA 15, to go with the others Limiteds I've got. Now I've just got to find the perfect bag to carry them for a day of shooting.
    Pentax DA 14 f2.8
    14.8 oz
    3.3" x 2.7"
    Pentax DA 15 f4 Limited
    7.47 oz
    2.5 " x 1.58"
     
  65. John,
    You win!
    You won't hear that often, so there it is. Enjoy it. I expect you will go out to dinner, have a beer on me, and enjoy the moment!
     
  66. Javier, that ME Super + $0.99-store-film shot came out nice, and apparently with relatively little effort. Any exposure comp, or just Av, point & shoot? Out of curiosity, what were the JPEG settings on the digital shot? I imagine in a case like that there might have been some benefit to dialing down contrast though that still wouldn't have convinced the camera to meter to keep the trees from blowing out.
     
  67. I am in the process of replacing my kit lens with a couple of primes. So far I have bought Pentax 35mm Ltd. so I was interested in the 15mm wide lens. I might like the 21mm instead or else go to zooms and get the DA *16-50mm or the DA 16-45mm. So far from this thread, the only thing I've decided to do is to hang on to my film cameras! LOL
     
  68. I sprung for the Pentax DA 15/4! B & H Photo was willing to match a competitor's lower price tag as well as matching the free shipping. I may have it as soon as this Friday. I can't wait to try it out!
     
  69. That's great Kathy. I am still on the fence with that one. Please be sure and post up some pics when you have some. :)
     
  70. If the lens is delivered on Friday, I'll take it out on the weekend and shoot some images.
     
  71. I have a few photos taken today with the new 15mm Limited lens. I took some interior shots with and without flash. The kitchen shot is distorted. The dresser shot shows vignetting with the pop up flash. I don't know how to post multiple photoes in one comment so please bear with me.
    00TQcW-136729684.jpg
     
  72. Distortion corrected Interior shot in kitchen
    00TQca-136731584.jpg
     
  73. Photo of dresser with flash.
    00TQce-136731684.jpg
     
  74. Indoors without flash - not much distortion in this shot. What I can say about the Pentax DA 15/f 4 so far is that it's solid built with some heft to it. It extends out from the camera body about 1 1/2 inches. There is one design improvement over the 35mm Limited lens. The supplied lens cap for the 15/4 mm will still fit if you put a UV filter on the fromt of the lens. That's not the case with the 35mm Limited lens. With that one, adding a filter prevents the supplied lens cap from fitting so I had to get a cheapie clip on lens cap that will grab on to the filter. I will take some more photos outside and some with indoor flash with a conventional Metz flasy (not the pop up). The 15/4 has a built in lens shade that works just fine when you put a filter on the front of the lens.
    All shots were taken with the Pentax K10D camera body.
     
  75. Kathy, the pop-up flash only covers down to 28mm IIRC, so no surprise that there's vignetting there.
    As for distortion, don't confuse perspective distortion with optical distortion (such as barrel or pincushion). In your first shot all straight lines look, well, straight :) The image looks distorted because you're cramming a very wide FoV into a narrow light-collecting area.
     
  76. Miserere, I learn something new every day! :O Next I wll take this outdoors.
    Kathy
     
  77. Next I wll take this outdoors.​
    I expect that's where this lens will shine. Seeing as you're one of the first to buy it, I would suggest you start a new thread once you have some outdoor pics to show off. I don't imagine many people are still following this thread so they'll appreciate having a separate thread with new pics.
     

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