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02-05-2013, 10:52 PM   #1
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DA 21mm Limites vs. DA 40mm XS

Hi All,

New Pentax convert here

Got in on the great K01 deal w DA 40mm XS. Need a wider angle for indoor event shots so got the DA 21mm Limited. I must say that the DA 21mm (or my copy of it) is underwhelming. It just does not seem to have the contrast, the sharpness or the richness of the DA 40 XS.

I have attached two pics. 1st is w DA 21 and second with DA 40. Both are at 1/80; f3.2, ISO 800
Please share your expertise.


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02-06-2013, 12:55 AM   #2
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That distortion is pretty yucky too- for shooting paintings you'll definitely want to use the 40mm (due to lack of distortion), if not a 50mm or an 85mm lens, just like for portraits.

Based on reviews it would seem that the DA 21mm has quite a bit of vignetting too. I'd say it's the least appealing of all the limited lenses.

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02-06-2013, 02:57 AM   #3
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I've been impressed by my 21mm so far, but the distortion means it's not ideal for shooting paintings in this way unless you're willing to correct them afterwards. Don't the newer bodies automatically correct for DA lenses (at least in jpeg)?
02-06-2013, 03:19 AM   #4

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Almost all quality lenses need to be stopped down by 1/3 or 2/3 stops (lesser lenses by even more). Try shooting it at f/3.5 or f/4.

The rendering is a little out of the ordinary on the DA21, but it can create some compelling images. I almost bought one after trying it out, but I went for the FA20 instead.

If you bought it for the new price (or anything close to it) I'd suggest spending the money on the FA*24 instead. It isn't too big (smaller than I thought it would be for a full-frame f/2 lens), but If the lens must be even smaller, the DA15, FA20, A24/2.8, and FA28 are good (all but one of which I still have).

If size isn't such a problem, a good used copy of the DA*16-50 is actually quite good for a zoom, especially from ~20-50mm at f/3.2 or slower. Nevertheless, I think the DA21 is still a pretty good lens.

02-06-2013, 05:05 AM   #5
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I love my DA 21mm for on the street in good light, stopped down it can't be beat!

BUT yes, shooting wide open in a dimmer environment without flash it is not the best. I did find this lens a bit of a grind to exploit its strong points but now I can't imagine not having it.

I also noticed in your exif info that the one with the 40mm says it was shot at 1000 iso not 800.

QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
If you bought it for the new price (or anything close to it) I'd suggest spending the money on the FA*24 instead.
This seems like really good advice if you are still within your return period if you don't see yourself loving this lens or if its not doing what you envisioned.

Hope it works out
02-06-2013, 05:52 AM   #6
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I think that shot looks probably about right for the DA21. A little hard to tell based on the subject being a painting and also because the metering came out a little darker than the 40xs image.

My DA21 doesn't have the same clinical sharpness of my 40xs, DA40, or D-FA100. But it renders images really nicely, more towards the way my FA31 does, and so it is good for shots where I would normally shoot a wide angle. While I am attesting to my own direct observations, I think this is consistent with what most others have said.
02-06-2013, 05:59 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
I'd say it's the least appealing of all the limited lenses.
I have not tried them all, but the 21 is one of my most compelling lenses...

QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
The rendering is a little out of the ordinary on the DA21, but it can create some compelling images.

QuoteOriginally posted by Tanzer Quote
the metering came out a little darker than the 40xs image.
I believe the main difference between the colours of those two images is simply that, exposure. Balancing the histograms would even out the colours.

The 40XS is, by all accounts, an excellent lens. the DA21 also is. However, it has limitations.

It's not a portrait lens. It's not a products lens.

It's a fantastic landscape, cityscape, nature lens. The colours (when properly exposed) are rich and extremely well saturated. It creates beautiful star effects around light sources. It's fine for candids.

If I leave home with only one prime, I will take it instead of the 50 or 100. But I would not shoot paintings with it.

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