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07-03-2013, 07:31 AM   #1
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which is better "DA 21MM F3.2AL Limited" or "SMCP-FA 20-35MM F4" ?

I've been looking into these 2 lenses, my liking is inclined towards the SMCP-FA 20-35MM F4, reason being it's more versatile as a zoom & also I used to shoot more often in the focal lens of around 28-40 with a bridge camera.The downside is that it's a bit pricey & it may not worth the money if the image quality isn't good.As for DA 21MM F3.2AL, i'm not sure that i'll be comfortable with this fixed focal length, though it certainly offers better image quality. I currently owned a FA 50mm F1.4 & DA 70mm ltd, so I intend to have a wide angle lens for enviromental portrait. Would it worth for the money for the FA 20-35MM F4? what's your thought? Thank you!

07-03-2013, 07:38 AM   #2
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QuoteOriginally posted by Flame Angel Quote
I've been looking into these 2 lenses, my liking is inclined towards the SMCP-FA 20-35MM F4, reason being it's more versatile as a zoom & also I used to shoot more often in the focal lens of around 28-40 with a bridge camera.The downside is that it's a bit pricey & it may not worth the money if the image quality isn't good.As for DA 21MM F3.2AL, i'm not sure that i'll be comfortable with this fixed focal length, though it certainly offers better image quality. I currently owned a FA 50mm F1.4 & DA 70mm ltd, so I intend to have a wide angle lens for enviromental portrait. Would it worth for the money for the FA 20-35MM F4? what's your thought? Thank you!

The FA 20-35 f4 is an interesting lens which I had thought about it before... as it is a very useful focal length for street photography and f4 constant is also nice. However, I ended up getting the DA 16-45 f4 instead as it is cheaper and sharp wide-open between 20-35 range. OTOH, the FA 20-35 f4 is more compact than the DA 16-45 f4.
07-03-2013, 08:30 AM   #3
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They both have there pluses and minuses. The FA works on film bodies and the DA LTD does not. The FA is a zoom but the DA is slightly faster at f3.2 and also more compact. There is also and FA 20mm lens out there as well. The DA LTD is a nice little lens imho.
07-03-2013, 08:56 AM   #4
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I have both and comparing their images at 21mm on digital, I'd have to give a slight nod to the DA 21, but only slightly. It's also tiny and unobtrusive which i really like. But what the FA20-35 offers is extremely sharp images and expanded coverage and I can use it on my full frame film bodies. The FA 20-35 is also small for a zoom. If you have to choose one or the other and you are considering full frame shooting, I'd recommend the FA20-35.

07-03-2013, 03:03 PM   #5
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I see the FA20-35 as a specialized lens. IŽd rather a zoom like DA16-50 or tamron, sigma equivalents which conseal the same range with similar if not better IQ at f/4. If you have a normal zoom, look it at 21mm for a month (rubber band, tape, etc) and see how it works out
07-03-2013, 07:45 PM   #6
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The upcoming Sigma 18-35 looks very promising. Probably available in early fall.
07-03-2013, 08:25 PM   #7
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use the FA20-35 for FF camera.
Use DA16-45 instead on APSC. You are wasting the capability what the FA20-35 can offer you.

Or get the DA21, it is a nice little pancake gem.
07-04-2013, 05:30 AM   #8
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Hi Guys, really appreciate the input from you!
Beside the zoom versatility, i'm also looking into the image quality, sharpness & colors as well.
Good to know that the image quality of both lenses is just a marginal difference. I see that the
FA 20-35M has not been receiving much attention, most of the interest has fallen on the DA 21MM LTD
May be the FA 20-35mm has shown its age in this digital age!
My initial thought with those FA lenses was that they may not do good in digital camera but when i got
my FA50 F1.4 i was quite happy with its image quality, though the IQ still couldn't go up to par with the
limited lenses. This makes me consider about getting the FA 20-35mm. The tamron 16-50 did cross my mind but i've dropped it due to the focus issue i read. As for the DA* 16-50, the potential SDM failures has put me off. As i prefer to buy my gadget off at oversea webstore, any issue i'll not be covered under warranty. So i'll pass the third party lenses!
Please share your FA 20-35M here if you have, thank you again!


Last edited by Flame Angel; 07-04-2013 at 05:37 AM.
07-04-2013, 06:39 AM   #9
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So, I cannot compare the two, as I have only the 21mm Limited. I can tell you why I chose that lens, though:

1) All the limiteds I've tried have been quite exceeding expectations, quality-wise, so you can say that I came to trust the brand/series to deliver.

2) Size. The 21mm Limited is nice and compact, it really is a very small package.

3) It's a prime, not a zoom. This necessitates an explanation, I know.
I do not like zooms much. This is personal, but when I do not have to "move to compose", I just stop composing, and snap-shot away. I have a zoom, but I take it out only when I feel the need to snapshot. Also, my experience is that most primes vastly exceed most zooms in IQ.

4) Look & Feel - yeah, that's subjective, I know. But to me, the Ltd just looks and feels better than most FAs

For those reasons, especially the first 3, when I was shopping around, the 21mm was obvious, especially given that I have a Ltd in the 30-35mm range also, and I didn't even look to see what there was in the zoom-department in the same focal range.

Not sure it helps, but those were my criteria.
07-04-2013, 08:10 AM   #10
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Hi tclausen,
I agreed with your points on the limited lenses, as i've owned an DA 70mm ltd. They are ergonomic lenses, lightweight, great to feel in the hands & superb build quality. Look likes i've to give the DA 21mm a serious thought. Thanks!
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