Pentax smc DA 15mm Auto Focus Review

The smc DA 15mm F4 ED AL Restricted is Pentax latest lens, which was shown in model form at Photokina 2008 and officially presented in April 2009. It’s a unique monster indeed: a wide position set central duration (‘prime’) lens that is purpose-designed for APS-C structure digital SLRs. The 15mm central duration gives an position of perspective comparative to a 22.5mm lens on the Negatives format; essentially, this lens is the modern comparative of old most favorite such as the 24mm F2.8 or the 21mm F3.5. The ‘Limited’ tag signifies top quality development, with the lens gun barrel made entirely from high-grade aluminum, which comes as a relaxing change from the technological innovation plastic materials used almost globally by other producers.

Pentax smc DA 15mm
Pentax smc DA 15mm

As a small central duration lens, the 15mm is much less heavy and smaller than zooms with a similar position of perspective, and requires rather simpler optics as well. The system uses 8 elements in 6 groups, such as one multiple aspherical factor and one extra-low distribution (ED) glass factor, which merge to reduce distortions and chromatic aberrations. Other key destinations of the design are the ‘quick shift’ focus system, which allows guide modification even when the camera is set to auto-focus method, and a smart built-in moving petal-shaped bonnet.

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Headline features

  • 15mm wideangle main length, F4 maximum possible aperture
  • ‘Quick Shift’ system allows information adjustment of focus in AF mode
  • Built-in shifting petal-shaped lens hood
  • High high quality metal construction

Pentax smc DA 15mm Body And Design

The 15mm F4 is a member of Pentax’s family of ‘Limited’ primes, which are unique amongst popular auto-focus contacts in having a gun barrel shaped entirely from top quality aluminum. Development is, in a word, fantastic, with fine technological innovation in everything, accompanied by marks which are etched into the gun barrel in comparison to simply coloured on. With its jewel-like construction, this is a lens which will certainly attraction to traditionalist photography lovers raised on good old-fashioned guide focus SLRs and their all-metal primes.

Pentax smc DA 15mm Body And Design
Pentax smc DA 15mm Body And Design

The most uncommon feature of the style is the built-in petal type bonnet, which creases by moving back into the lens body system. While moving hoods aren’t anything new, they are generally seen on larger contacts (normally telephotos) and therefore are simple tubes in shape; handling to press one into a body system this small is an amazing task of style and technological innovation.

Lens body system elements

  • The lens install is Pentax’s standard KAF type, using a combination of electronic and technical relationships to interface with the digicam. To install the lens, arrange the red dot with that on the digicam body system, and perspective clockwise. The dark steel handle manages the aperture, and auto-focus is motivated from the digicam body system using a attach coupler; three and a half changes are needed to travel from infinity to nearest concentrate.
  • The narrow line is 49mm and does not move on auto-focus, which is good for narrow customers. In this view that unique petal-shaped moving lens bonnet is shown completely rolled away. However it still projects past the narrow line, which may take advantage of rectangle narrow (such as Cokin or Lee) rather challenging. Unscrewing polarizers can also be quite difficult, as there’s only a little space to hold them.
  • Here’s that very brilliant lens bonnet completely prolonged. It has minor side in front side that act as holds, creating it easy to glide in and out. The activity is sleek, including to the overall impact of perfection technological innovation, and the within is covered with dark experienced to reduce the representation of wander light into the lens.
  • The lens can be used with normal width (as compared to slim) polarizers without vignetting, creating for a far cheaper solution than the slimline 77mm filtration needed with most wideangle zooms. As can be seen here, though, you have no chance of modifying the narrow with the lens bonnet prolonged. Get used to sinkable the bonnet, spinning the narrow, then increasing the bonnet again.
  • The concentrate band has a 5mm extensive hold, produced into the aluminum. It moves 80 levels anticlockwise from infinity to 0.18m, with a super-smooth action. Pentax’s ‘quick shift’ guide concentrate system allows you to modify concentrate personally even which the digicam is set to AF.
  • Pentax provides a proper distance and detail of field range, with the marks etched into the lens gun barrel rather than merely coloured on. This (in concept at least) allows you to use hyperfocal or area concentrate techniques very basically, great for road or scenery photography, for example.
  • The lens even features 7mm-wide produced aluminum holds for having the lens while increasing and dismounting it. The sum of all these little hits turn this into lens (like the rest of Pentax’s Restricted series) an overall satisfaction to use.
  • It’s not often we talk about lens hats, but this one’s different. To suit the ‘Limited’ ethos, Pentax provides an attractively designed screw-in aluminum cap, which is even covered with experienced to guard the top side factor.
  • Like all screw-in hats, though, it’s hopelessly incorrect in actual use, especially if you change contacts frequently. Buy a 49mm video cap instead (just ensure that they fit within the hood).

Pentax smc DA 15mm Images Quality

The Pentax 15mm F4 works quite properly in our studio room assessments. However like the Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 we examined lately, it reveals unique curve of area, which causes issues with our (flat-field) graph assessments at the capturing range used (approx 2m). As with the Sigma, we have selected offer information that is officially a little bit rear-focused, and therefore gives a better opinions of the advantage and area sharpness at the price of the center (this information is also most associated with the outcomes acquired when using the digital camera’s autofocus). Our analyze example was also a little bit decentered, providing partially smoother outcomes on the right side of structure.

Compared to the Sigma 10-20mm F4-5.6 EX DC HSM (at 14mm), the 15mm F4 comes out on top; it’s a hair clearer, and has reduced distortions and falloff. Unfortunately it does not come out so well against the outstanding Tokina AT-X PRO SD 12-24mm F4 (IF) DX, which we’d anticipate to execute near-identically to Pentax’s own smc DA 12-24mm F4 ED AL (IF) – in such cases the zoom capability is clearer, and has reduced falloff and similarly low distortions, although it does display more chromatic aberration.

Macro Focus

Wideangles are not usually first choice for macro work, but the 15mm F4 does not do too poorly in our analyze. Highest possible zoom capability is 0.16x, with a calculated nearest concentrate range of 18cms, and a working range of just 9.5cm from the topic to the lens.

Pentax smc DA 15mm Macro Images
Pentax smc DA 15mm Macro Images

At such a good concentrate range gun barrel distortions has become quite apparent, but chromatic aberration is still reasonably low with just a little red/cyan fringing. Main sharpness is great, but the sides of our analyze graph taken stay smooth until the lens is ceased right down to F16, again due to curve of area.


Control of surface is an important function of a wideangle lens; with such an extensive opinion of the world, shiny mild resources will find themselves in the structure on a consistent foundation. The 15mm F4 usually works well in such circumstances, with little picture deterioration from surface results.

Pentax smc DA 15mm Flare
Pentax smc DA 15mm Flare


Sharpness answers are reasonable but not outstanding (however it’s important to comprehend that curve of area results are making the lens look less distinct than this indicates in practice). Main sharpness is quite great start up but sides are smooth, however the lens enhances significantly on avoiding down. The best possible answers are acquired in the area of F6.3-F9; avoiding down further leads to modern conditioning due to diffraction, with apertures more compact in comparison to F16 best prevented (and hardly ever necessary in exercise anyway).

Chromatic Aberration

Lateral chromatic aberration is noticeable although not extreme, and has a relatively straight line information which should make it simple appropriate in application if preferred. Fringing is primarily red/cyan in shade, and is actually invariant with aperture.

Pentax smc DA 15mm Chromatic Aberration
Pentax smc DA 15mm Chromatic Aberration


We consider falloff to become apparent when the area lighting drops to more than 1 quit less than the center. We see just 1.3 prevents start up, which reduces gradually on avoiding down; at F6.3 and more compact it’s successfully vanished completely. Overall nothing to be worried about.


Distortion is incredibly low, with just a very minor gun barrel impact (0.3%). To all intents and reasons this will be unseen in real use.

Pentax smc DA 15mm Specifications

Street price • $600 US
• £750 UK
Date introduced March 2009
Maximum format size APS-C
Focal length 15mm
35mm equivalent focal length 22.5mm
Diagonal Angle of view (APS-C) 86º
Maximum aperture F4
Minimum aperture F22
Lens Construction • 8 elements/6 groups
• 1 Hybrid aspherical element
• 1 Extra-low-Dispersion (ED) glass element
Number of diaphragm blades 7
Minimum focus 0.18m
Maximum magnification 0.15x
AF motor type • ‘Screw drive’ from camera body
• ‘Quick shift’ manual focus system
Focus method Unit
Image stabilization Via camera body
Filter thread • 49mm
• Does not rotate on focus
Supplied accessories • Front and rear caps
• Soft case
Weight 212g (7.5 oz)
Dimensions 63mm diameter x 39.5mm length
(2.5 x 1.6 in)
Lens Mount Pentax K