Equipment: Pentax DA 40mm Pancake Lens
By PF Staff in Influential Photo Gear on Dec 15, 2012
I had originally read about the DA 40 lens here on Pentax Forums. It seemed to offer everything I had hoped for in a street/walkaround lens: small, lightweight, sharp but with pretty oof/bokeh qualities. I decided that I'd look for one on the Pentax Forum second hand market as well as other online sites. I ended up finding one at a good price on Taiwan's Ruten site.
As you can see from the photo of this lens it truly is a pancake design. It's small footprint doesn't attract much attention at all when walking around in crowded(candid rich) locations. It also is lightweight which helps me greatly on my frequent long photowalk sessions. Many have complained about the unconventional lens cap that mates with the hood. I happen to like the machined aluminum hood and screw-on cap. I guess that's the machined metal geek in me. So I'd have to say the all around construction quality of this lens with machined metal parts win hands down.
Obviously small size and lightweight are both nice but the key is lens performance. The DA40 really brings it home on this point! It is really fast to focus and provides very sharp images-perfect for candid street photography where you're composing in the moment. Wide open the bokeh is great also nice for street shots to nicely blur out busy backgrounds and helpful in still life shots to produce really arty DoF background effects. Here are a few examples:
If the idea of something light and compact which is reasonably priced and really performs where it counts in the image quality department is something that appeals to you, you can't go wrong with this little gem. This is the perfect walkaround lens that can do so many photographic tasks well. I have to force myself to take it off every now and then to utilize some of my other glass...
- Mark (bbluesman)