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11-26-2011, 09:02 AM   #1
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Opinions wanted: DA 21mm as walaround main prime

I have a K10D and the DA 50-135mm f2.8. I find the 50mm too long for pictures of kids on trips, or outdoors (in close quarters) and indoor. (can't always back up to get the angle of view).
I tried da 35mm but it's going back because it did not give me much more angle, and has horrible front focus (and my K10D is already adjusted for my zoom's back-focus).

I was thinking of going with DA 21mm. IF you have it, had it, or have a zoom that covers that range, what is your opinion of using it as a walk around lenses. As an example, we are going on a cruise in a month - I will not take the bulky zoom. So I would have only the K10D and the DA21mm (or whatever else you recommend :-) ) . My thinking is the 21mm will be useful for close quarter on the ship, but give me a chance to get a few landscape when we hit the highlands.

Never had a wide angle before. The Zoom was purchase to take kids sport pictures in low light (ex: hockey rinks). I'd be grateful if you shared your own experience.

Also, given that the K10D has no multiple lenses adjustment, could you comment on whether the DA21mm tends to front or back focus?

11-26-2011, 09:42 AM   #2
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For my taste, the 21mm is too wide for a walk around all purpose lens. I like the 21mm more as a landscape/architectural lens. My choice would be a 28mm.
11-26-2011, 09:52 AM   #3
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Agreed. I use a Tokina 21/3.8 for from-the-hip urban shooting, not a general walkaround. In tight spaces, a Kiron 24/2. For outside generally, a Komine 28/2 CF -- this is maybe my most-used prime.
11-26-2011, 10:01 AM   #4
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If you are talking weight on a K-x you can walk around all day with it. And it's a really snappy lens. But I prefer my 18-135 as a walk around lens. Sure it's heavy but in FF terms , you're talking 27 to 200mmm, that's a really nice range, if only it wasn't soooo slow. SInce you have the 50-135...the 21 is a perfect addition. I've been out lots of times with my 60-250, 10-17 and 21 and 50. The 50 for it's 1.7 f stop and the 21 for it's great rendition.

11-26-2011, 10:23 AM   #5
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Normally I prefer my 28/3.5 as a walkaround but on a cruise I would take a 20mm or 21mm.
Add a 40mm or 43mm and you have a very small and good combo. On a ship the 28mm is too tight indeed I think.
11-26-2011, 10:33 AM   #6
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I am very happy with my DA 21mm as my walk around prime. If you want AF, nothing comes close to the 28mm many people suggest, except the FA 31mm...
I find my DA 35mm a little too tight sometimes. Or else you could get the Sigma 30mm.
11-26-2011, 10:58 AM   #7
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If you ask me it's too wide also, I would opt for the 31mm as well. It's available and under $1000.

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11-26-2011, 11:39 AM   #8
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As some of the others said, 21 is too wide (for me) yet not wide enough.
For general walkaround 24-28mm is ideal for me, for wide, 10mm rectalinear was nice (I nearly never used Sigma 10-20 over 14mm when I had it). I stuck with 24mm as it allows good distance to prevent perspective distortion yet captures enough of surrounding. But I have to say that on zoom 28mm seems to be enough for me too...

As far as K10D multiple adjustments go. I believe if done by certified technician it can be adjusted for up to 4 lenses. I had all my K10Ds in debug mode with little sticker at the base saying what adjustment I had to dial for each lens I had.

11-26-2011, 11:44 AM   #9
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The 21mm distortion is pretty visible, especially shooting buildings, or structures with straight lines, and is pretty slow.
Faster lens in this range will be FA* 24mm, but larger and heavier.

I found 21mm a bit too wide (and distortion) for street shooting (I like the 31mm better for street shooting). But since you said 35mm is wide for you, then 21mm seem like a logical choice for you.
... and only the 40mm beats the pancake size of 21mm.

11-26-2011, 11:59 AM   #10
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Distortion: I see edge distortion with any rectilinear lens shorter than 28mm. If I'm documenting 'scapes, that matters. Shooting people on the street, it doesn't really matter. Even the DA18-55 @20/5.6 is a decent street lens.

Cruising: I did my first (and last) cruise a couple years ago, down the Mexican Pacific coast. The cruise was followed by an extended stay elsewhere so I took about 30 lenses. What I *used* when cruising both onboard and ashore were 1) Zenitar 16/2.8 for tight interior spaces, 2) FA50/1.4 for darker spaces and action, and 3) DA18-250 for most everything else. The DA10-17 FE didn't see much use.

With what I have now for my K20D, my minimum cruising kit would be: Tamron 10-24, DA18-250, FA50/1.4, and Raynox DCR-250. I'd also slip in a few fast primes, most of which I didn't own then: Kiron 24/2, Komine 28/3 CF, Nikkor 85/2, as well as my usual ultralight stuff-in-a-pocket kit. Faster wider lenses are good aboard the ship, and longer lenses for onshore. Ships' compartment are small but not so small that a dozen or more lenses won't fit!

Last edited by RioRico; 11-26-2011 at 12:08 PM.
11-26-2011, 12:55 PM   #11
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I'm in the camp that likes something around 30 as walk around; I find my FA31Ltd wide enough and long enough. Choosing between 28 and 35, I would opt for the wider one, but that is personal. You might want to consider a Sigma 30/1.4 or try to find an older 28mm.
11-26-2011, 01:30 PM   #12
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If you are going on a cruise then the 28 would be fine on the ship. Once you get off, you will need something more substantial in my opinion. For our 4 month World Cruise I bought a Tamron 18-250 for the K100D. No regrets at all. Not the lightest combo but I always have the focal length I need. The main issue is that you usually don't get to chose how close you can get to the subject or to compose by moving around.

Now that I have a K5, I bought a Sigma 18-250 for it, the previous equipment is now in my wife's capable hands.

Yes I know those lenses have some compromises but I avoid the risk and mess of changing lenses in a hurry (you always have the wrong one mounted when on tours or walking around) and LR is more than happy to do the lens specific compensation in post.

For around town, I am experimenting with 35 and 50mm on my tele to try out the prime lens I want/need/must have. I found 24 a bit on the wide side.


Photos from latest cruise (K5 and K110D) and World Voyage (K100D and Optio Z10) are at Gerrit and Pat’s Travels
11-26-2011, 02:13 PM   #13
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I'll chime in and throw in a plug for the lowly 18-55 kit lens. It's light, not too big, has good IQ stopped down a little and you can probably find one for 50 bucks. Not that you can't get the DA21 also. You can carry it in your pocket. The problem with asking a question like this is that 100 people have 100 different ideas for a walk around lens. My 2 most used lenses are the DA 10-17 fisheye and the DA 15. I shoot wide a lot and I would probably get a lot of use out of the DA21. I did some browsing through my kit lens shots and I have found the majority of them to be 24mm. You could certainly get by with the DA 21 as a walk around although you might end up doing some cropping in PP.
11-26-2011, 02:26 PM   #14
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If the flickr goup for the 21mm is anything to go by... I want one... 21mm would work for me as a walkabout...

Flickr: PENTAX-DA 21mmF3.2AL Limited
11-26-2011, 04:11 PM   #15
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I do not think any prime can be a single-lens answer to the walk-around question. It will inevitably be too wide or too long for some shots.

Last edited by SpecialK; 11-26-2011 at 11:54 PM.

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