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04-25-2011, 03:04 AM   #1
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How does DA21 compare to DA*16-50?

hi All, i'm in the fence between these two and would like to ask people who have owned both. How do IQ compare between these lenses? I did a search here and it seems this has been discussed before but the threads are quite old and sample images are no longer available.

Virtues of having Prime vs Zoom is out of the question. I'm also not concerned with DA21's distortion or DA*16-50 faster aperture. I'm more concerned with Colors, Contrast and overall resolution. I'm leaning towards DA21, but i'd like to know how it compares with DA*.

Sample image comparison would be very helpful. Thanks guys.

04-25-2011, 04:54 AM   #2
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The biggest differences will really be things other than image quality. Stuff like size, SDM versus screw drive, weather sealing, focus speed. This is in the strongest range for the 16-50. It has quite a bit of distortion wider than 18mm, but in the 20s, my copy is very sharp.

The other thing is that 21 is bound to be much more resistant to flare and decreased contrast as a result of shooting at strong light sources.

Anyway, that's my two cents...
04-25-2011, 05:18 AM - 1 Like   #3
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I agree with Rondec.

Both are pretty good for colours and contrast.
Obviously, I don't have the exact same scene with both lenses.

DA* 16-50







DA 21 Ltd







The difference is more in the size and weight and prime versus zoom approach.
04-25-2011, 06:51 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by cromdeg Quote
How does DA21 compare to DA*16-50?
I'm not sure that there's even any point in comparing the two. They match completely different sets of selection criteria.

04-25-2011, 07:44 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
The other thing is that 21 is bound to be much more resistant to flare and decreased contrast as a result of shooting at strong light sources.
Thanks for highlighting this.. this would be a big bonus..
04-25-2011, 07:46 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bart Quote
I agree with Rondec.

Both are pretty good for colours and contrast.
Obviously, I don't have the exact same scene with both lenses.

The difference is more in the size and weight and prime versus zoom approach.
Thanks for sharing the pictures.. comparisons like these ares what i'm really looking for.. i hope somebody has some test shots for both at similar scenes..
04-25-2011, 11:21 PM   #7
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The DA21 is arguably the least loved of all the Limited lenses, which is not to say that it is bad, but rather not quite up to the optical standards of some of the other lenses in the 2 Limited series. I bought one and returned it, because I could not see much advantage over my DA*16-50. Mind you that if size and weight were my top priorities, I would have no reservations about using the DA 21.

Rob
04-26-2011, 04:44 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
rather not quite up to the optical standards of some of the other lenses in the 2 Limited series
I have to disagree, but at that level it's opinion, nothing else.

The cotnrast, richness of colours, and saturation produced by the DA21 is immediately visible on my pictures, I can spot pictures shot with it easily when browsing my shots. Only the FA50 macro comes close for colours. Its bokeh is weird but (to me) in a positive way. It's much warmer than the colours produced by the F50 f1,7, but still doesn't have a yellow tint like the Sigma 17-70.

I agree with others though, it's not really the IQ that will completely separate the 16-50 and the 21, it's the rest : small size, AF speed, VS zoom range, WR.

04-26-2011, 05:31 AM   #9
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I have both lenses. As far as sheer image quality without taking anything else into account, the DA21 can often beat the DA* 16-50 ... but not by much. I agree with the other posters that it comes down to the flare control and contrast a fixed lens can offer. But again, we're talking about a very small difference between two truly wonderful lenses.

My 16-50 is my vacation lens and my "cover all bases" lens. My 21 is my stealth lens when I want my gear to be as light and small as possible and I'm willing/able to zoom with my feet.

So, in the IQ area you can't go wrong with either. You'll need other criteria to make your selection.

best
04-26-2011, 07:33 AM   #10
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Many thanks for all the replies.. It seems I will be sticking with my earlier decision to get the DA21. I would have been happy if it matches the IQ of DA*16-50, so the other pluses is just icing in the cake.

Just to share where i'm coming from, I used to have a DA17-70, FA31 and DA70 combo, but I had to sell alll my lenses & camera stuff for varied reasons, and now i'm leaning towards a 21,43 70 combo.

I really loved the FA31 but I feel that it's too expensive for a take anywhere lens, especially for what I use it for. That job now goes to my E-PL1+Pan20mm kit.

I plan on using DA21 a lot indoors and FA43/DA70 when there's ample space. I guess my next question would be how does DA21 do with skin tones? (like people shots at indoor parties)?
04-26-2011, 07:56 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by cromdeg Quote
I really loved the FA31 but I feel that it's too expensive for a take anywhere lens, especially for what I use it for. That job now goes to my E-PL1+Pan20mm kit.
I hear that. I have a Panasonic micro four-thirds kit for the same reason. I use my DA* lenses with my K200D (likely to upgrade to a K-5 this year) for photo-specific outings.
04-26-2011, 08:27 PM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by cromdeg Quote
I plan on using DA21 a lot indoors and FA43/DA70 when there's ample space. I guess my next question would be how does DA21 do with skin tones? (like people shots at indoor parties)?
Exactly the same as your DA70. I have the DA15, 21, 40, 70 and they all render colours the same way, and are similair in contrast. I also have a DA31 which is quite different form the DA's ltds in look.
04-27-2011, 03:43 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by twitch Quote
Exactly the same as your DA70. I have the DA15, 21, 40, 70 and they all render colours the same way, and are similair in contrast. I also have a DA31 which is quite different form the DA's ltds in look.
I'm really glad to hear that... It's hard to judge colors from sample images on the web (what with PP and stuff).. I really like the colors from DA70 so i'm sure I will be happy with DA21... thanks..
04-27-2011, 04:18 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgo2 Quote
but rather not quite up to the optical standards of some of the other lenses in the 2 Limited series.
I'll also disagree. This was my second limited purchase after the 40 I got with my k7 and it is easily the equal of the 40. It's only weakness that I can find is the distortion which has a very good correction available in lightroom. It also has 7 aperture blades which makes in my opinion the nicest starbursts with 14 points.

The only reason I would get the DA* over it and a 31/35/40/43 would be the weather resistant aspect.
04-27-2011, 04:24 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by cromdeg Quote
I plan on using DA21 a lot indoors and FA43/DA70 when there's ample space. I guess my next question would be how does DA21 do with skin tones? (like people shots at indoor parties)?
It will shine for this. The rich colours and contrast will create pleasing effects. I'm constantly shooting my pregnant wife these days, and the DA21 is my go-to lens for that.

QuoteOriginally posted by tsangpo Quote
The DA21 also has 7 aperture blades which makes in my opinion the nicest starbursts with 14 points.
That's entirely true! I discovered that a short while ago, and it indeed creates wonderful star effects around light sources.
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