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11-08-2010, 11:33 AM   #1
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Does the DA 21 afford many advantages over the DA 18-55 II at 21mm?

Other than size, which is a consideration, is the DA 21 a big upgrade over the Kit (II) at 21mm?

I find the barrel distortion of the kit at 21 to be noticeable, but I'm not sure how different it is from the DA 21. Corner sharpness might be a consideration, but maybe not enough (for me) to justify the price, when I could buy a different lens instead (maybe the 15 or 70). Does the DA 21 render fine detail noticeably better? Contrast / tone rendition is finer (for landscapes, e.g.)? Maximum aperture is not so different. Is there something else I should consider?

Thanks! When comparing the 15 to the 21, I will admit that while the 15 looks amazing, the 21 seems like a more useful focal length overall. However, if the kit lens is not much of a downgrade, it might make the decision a little easier.

11-08-2010, 12:16 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Actually, I'd have to go and test the two lenses to address the barrel distortion question but look:

1. a prime lens tends to be sharper than a zoom lens
2. the kit lens is good but not as good as a prime lens
3. the DA 21 is f3.2 and the kit lens is about f3.8-f4 at 21 mm? so the prime is faster at that length.
4. the DA 21 is smaller a lighter than the kit lens.
5. I do recall that there is some small amount of barrel distortion with the DA 21 on indoor images.

For me, there is no question here, I expect to and get better results from the DA 21 over the kit lens.
11-08-2010, 12:54 PM   #3
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Thanks for the reply. I would agree that the sharpness and speed of the prime over the kit is not to be overlooked.

What about things that lens tests tend to ignore?

1) Colour "pop"
2) Tonal rendition
3) 3d "look"
4) Overall "quality" - a VERY subjective thing.

I want this to take pictures of people in environments, so if it will result in a much richer photograph I will be happy.

I suppose I am asking, furthermore, whether my 500 should go towards the 21 which I have covered in a way, or the 15. I see the 21 being more useful, and a compact prime is much more likely to make it into the bag. I can see owning one in the long term - the question is really how much of an improvement will I see, or would my money be better spent on a focal length I do not have yet?
11-08-2010, 01:18 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
I want this to take pictures of people in environments, so if it will result in a much richer photograph I will be happy.

I suppose I am asking, furthermore, whether my 500 should go towards the 21 which I have covered in a way, or the 15. I see the 21 being more useful, and a compact prime is much more likely to make it into the bag. I can see owning one in the long term - the question is really how much of an improvement will I see, or would my money be better spent on a focal length I do not have yet?
I've read some of your posts in various thread (limted related) and i cant help to wonder if the answer your after already has been answered by yourself.
I can clearly see in your words that the 21 is the thing for you. But you cant help to think of the 15 too.

Your primarily objective seems to be street shooting and the 15 is to wide for that. 21 might just be perfect. It would clearly force you into the perspective and make you "think" 21mm. If you just settle for the zoom as a street lens, you will loose the magic and you'd probably just zoom to frame.

On another point, the 15 would complement the zoom very well. you would then use the 15 for what its made for. It screams wide angle and you would have to be very very close to take "street" type shots.

Regarding optical qulity....its a prime, you simply wont get the same thing with the zoom at 21mm. Regardless of what the lens tests say about performance. The limited has the right colors, contrasts, sharpness and so on.

If i may say (not meaning to make this harder on you), why havent you considered the DA 35 2,4 DA 35 Limited or DA 40 Limited for a street lens? The 21 is still pretty wide imo.

Personaly im in a kind of same situation having a very hard time to take the next step. I have the 15 wich is great for WA and pretty cool for closeups bringing alot of background into the frame. But the hard part is to choose the next one.

The 21 is to close to 15 for my taste and buying it would interfear with my use of the 15. The 40 seems to long, but im not sure. The 35 Ltd seems so very macro made. The 35 2,4 seems to be made more for normal shooting, but it lacks the build i want. So im stuck to

11-08-2010, 01:23 PM   #5
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to me, would be the ease of use. With 18-55mm, you would be tempted to zoom wider or narrower but by the time you are done..the moment would have passed.

Thats why i primarily use prime these days. The 18-55mm stays in the bag till i need 18mm or have time to work the composition.
11-08-2010, 01:40 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by the swede Quote
I've read some of your posts in various thread (limted related) and i cant help to wonder if the answer your after already has been answered by yourself.
I can clearly see in your words that the 21 is the thing for you. But you cant help to think of the 15 too.

Regarding optical qulity....its a prime, you simply wont get the same thing with the zoom at 21mm. Regardless of what the lens tests say about performance. The limited has the right colors, contrasts, sharpness and so on.

If i may say (not meaning to make this harder on you), why havent you considered the DA 35 2,4 DA 35 Limited or DA 40 Limited for a street lens? The 21 is still pretty wide imo.
I considered the 35 Macro and wow it looks like a great lens... but I was not at all intrigued by the macro bit. A DA 40 is on it's way to me as we speak . That decision saved me enough money to fund 1/2 of a second limited.

So I need something wider to complement it. I love landscapes, but I also really look shooting people IN landscapes. For that reason, while the DA 15 looks quite marvelous, I feel it would be a limiting decision (pun intended). However if the DA 15 crops nicely to 21 sizes, that would work, assuming I don't lose half of my megapixels!

I have considered the DA 70 as well, but my K55 is quite a kicking portrait lens, so I feel that one can wait. I do lack a good wide angle. The 28mm is good but more of a "normal" lens. The 21 looks great, but it also has some lackluster qualities COMPARED to the other limited (it still looks fantastic). i HATE the kit at 18mm, and I do like landscapes, so the 15 would see use. However if I only had one to use for a whole year, I feel the 21 would be more useful. But then I was thinking "Hey, if the kit isn't a huge compromise at this focal length, then the 15 would give me more flexibility in my kit". Many people have told me that the 21 is, in general, more useful. And I am not enthralled with the kit lens. It is very good, very functional, but the older primes I have purchased blow it away.

Thank you for your input. I realize I have really beaten this subject to death but I am an over-analyzer at heart, and I know that I will have to wait another year to buy the next limited. I could see myself owning the 15/21/40/(70 or 77) eventually, but I do not have a lot of money to throw around so I have decided to do this over many years. A zoom would be less expensive, but I just love primes, and I feel that this is something worth investing a little in. I also believe the primes are nicer for the subjects - people tend to be a little more nervous when a big long zoom is stuck in their face (I don't know what it is... maybe the resemblance to a gun!.. or HAL ) The limited primes seems to be the least offensive and I'm hoping that will lead to more natural photographs.

So while I expect that the consensus is that the 21 blows the kit out of the water, I wanted to hear from the people who know for sure .
11-08-2010, 01:53 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by the swede Quote
WA and pretty cool for closeups
Do you shoot the DA 15 close to people? How does it look?

I'm gonna guess that the dramatic closeup would work better with the 21 than the 15.
11-08-2010, 02:12 PM   #8
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I agree with the Swede... I think you want the 21. And that combined with the 40 is a great way to start a DA Limited collection. If your landscapes/cityscapes usually feature people as the main points of interest then I'd go with the 21. The 15 is better for pure landscapes/cityscapes/architectural shooting.

11-08-2010, 02:23 PM   #9
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Ill post some of my favorite landscapes I have shot so far. These were all shot close to 18, so they sit in the middle. Sometimes I think that the added drama of the 15 would be helpful, but maybe the 21 makes the most sense in terms of flexibility.











I realize I'm still a novice . So do you think the DA 21 would not be a dramatic compromise for shots like these?
11-08-2010, 02:24 PM   #10
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Personally, if street shooting is what you want, the DA40 is about right for that. I use the DA21 for landscape work and not much else but I have a lot of other lenses in this area including the DA*16-50, DA14, DA12-24 (my favorite for UWA landscapes), a Tokina 19-35, F17-28, DA10-17, and of course, the DA18-55WR lens. With all of those choices the DA21 gets a little lost.

The other thing here is that from discussions with other users and reading a lot of user remarks, the DA15 seems to be 'the' lens for IQ on landscapes etc. Look for a thread - the DA15 rules my mind.

Edit: Here are most of my DA21 shots from my flickr site. Nothing special but you do get a range of subjects. http://www.flickr.com/photos/blackcloudbrew/tags/da21limited/
YMMV
11-08-2010, 02:30 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by blackcloudbrew Quote

Edit: Here are most of my DA21 shots from my flickr site. Nothing special but you do get a range of subjects. Flickr: blackcloudbrew's stuff tagged with da21limited
YMMV
Thanks for the links, I'll have a look.

I'm not sure that street shooting is what I really want... assuming you mean candids of strangers. I will mostly be taking pictures of people who know me... and landscapes. The DA 40 will serve nicely to isolate individuals, but I want something wide for drama - here is a famous example:



If the 15 is too wide for this, I will settle on the DA 21 and buy the 15 next year, as eventually my landscape lust will require it .
11-08-2010, 02:32 PM   #12
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If you would look at a zoom the tamron 17-50 2.8 is a nice sharp, low distortion/CA lens thats a nice and not too pricey kit replacement. It is pretty much prime sharp, mine does BF a bit at 50mms though. Nothing is perfect
11-08-2010, 02:52 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Do you shoot the DA 15 close to people? How does it look?

I'm gonna guess that the dramatic closeup would work better with the 21 than the 15.
Nope, sorry. I meant that in a nature enviroment, not people

But then again. I've seen some spectacular street shots with the 15 in crowded areas

Hey....isnt this all summing up to that we need them ALL.... 15,21,40,70

I was thinking replacing my 15 for the 21 and continue with 40 and 70....but i would really miss the 15 But the 21 would be a perfect allround lens..... *sigh*

Im closer to a nature type of photographer, so the 15, 40, 70 combo would be nice......or the 21, 40, 70.....or...or....or
11-08-2010, 04:39 PM   #14
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Well, paperbag... given the landscapes you've shown us above - in which people are NOT the main focus - perhaps the DA 15 Limited is the right lens for you after all. Check out this string if you haven't already:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/86234-15mm-lim...s-my-mind.html

Now, the DA 15 and DA 21 Limiteds each run about $500. For $700, you can opt for the DA 12-24mm f/4 zoom, which is a fabulous lens. Of course, it's still not going to be as small and light as a DA Limited prime. The 12-24 is larger and heavier than your 18-55 kit lens... but a lot smaller and lighter than the DA* 16-50 and DA* 50-135 f/2.8 zooms.

However, if you're simply in DA Limited prime mode, no problem... get the 15 or 21 to go with your 40 and keep working on it.

Edit: In case you didn't notice, there's a similar 15 vs. 21 string on this forum right now. perhaps you'll find it to be helpful:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/116125-21mm-15mm-ltd.html
11-10-2010, 05:27 PM - 1 Like   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
Thanks for the links, I'll have a look.

I'm not sure that street shooting is what I really want... assuming you mean candids of strangers. I will mostly be taking pictures of people who know me... and landscapes. The DA 40 will serve nicely to isolate individuals, but I want something wide for drama - here is a famous example:



If the 15 is too wide for this, I will settle on the DA 21 and buy the 15 next year, as eventually my landscape lust will require it .
My recollection is that this Diane Arbus photo (part of a set) was taken with a TLR camera. I mention this as I'm not sure that it had a Wide angle lens on it - most likely it was a rolleiflex with an 80mm normal
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