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08-18-2013, 05:39 PM - 5 Likes   #1
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The DA Limited Series Review [15/21/35/40/70]

Having used all of the Limiteds for the past couple of years I thought I share my experience with them, as well as adding some comparison shots. I purchased them in 2011 and 2012, starting with the DA40 in may 2011, then DA15, DA35, DA70 and finally the DA21 in october 2012. All of them expect the DA35 was bought second-hand (used). I have updated my individual reviews of the lenses, so I'll just link to them in this post. There are lots of great reviews on all of the lenses, but sometimes it is hard to evaluate what someone means with sharp, fast auto-focus or good build quality (it will depend on what you compare with and what references you have).

I have used and presently own all of the DA Limiteds, the FA Limiteds, a few A/K/M-series, and several M42 Super-Multi-Coated TAKUMARs. I have for short periods of time used DA*, and previously owned a few non-Limited DA and F-series lenses as well. There has been a fair share of third-party (mostly old manual focus) as well. My general evaluation is that the build quality of the DA Limiteds is up there with the best. I would rate the Super-Multi-Coated TAKUMARs best for manual focus and build quality, with the DA Limiteds pretty equal in build quality, but not very suitable for manual focus with their short focus throw (except maybe the DA35 Macro in close focus range). The FA Limiteds would be of about the same build quality, but their aperture rings do feel a bit loose, bringing down the overall impression just a bit. Then come the K, M and A-series, in that order (with K being the best). Then we will find the F-series and non-limited DA lenses. Neither can be said to be anything special with regards to build, but they are all fine for what they are.

I think of the DA Limiteds as medium-fast aperture lenses (faster than cheap zooms, equal to fast zooms, but slower than most other primes), that prioritizes build quality, small size and that tries to offer something unique in each lens. They all have a bit of a character, as each lens will have a special hood, capability, special feature etc.

I'll hope this post will help someone to navigate the DA Limited lineup, compared to each other and to other lenses as well

Reviews
SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 70mm F2.4 Limited

Comparison shots

Front lens caps on


Front lens caps off


Hoods extended (focused at infinity)


Hoods extended (focused at minimum distance)


Minimal mode


Last edited by DonThomaso; 08-18-2013 at 05:48 PM.
08-18-2013, 10:11 PM   #2
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Thanks so much for these excellent write-ups and the accompanying photos (I really enjoyed the various group shots of the lenses).
08-19-2013, 11:41 AM   #3
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It makes me realize how sad and lonely my lenses are without their 21mm sister...
08-19-2013, 12:12 PM   #4
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I only lack the DA 35 limited from this DA limited series. Tempted to add it after seeing your picture of all 5 arranged together!

08-19-2013, 12:43 PM   #5
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Which lens do you enjoy using the most?
08-19-2013, 02:52 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Driline Quote
Which lens do you enjoy using the most?
I have used the DA15 and DA70 the most. The DA15 has no real competition in my view, but the DA70 has been partially replaced by the FA77, which is my main portrait lens now. They are all good lenses though, so for any particular shooting style or interest others might be better suited.

If one would focus on the pure enjoyment of using the lens, it is harder. They all have their own characters, I like things like the screw-in or glide-on caps, built in hoods (15/35), add-on hoods (40/70) or snap-on hood (21). The internal 43mm filter of the DA21 is a nice touch as well. They all seem to go "outside of the box" in terms of design, with no standard solution to fit all. To me that adds to the joy of using a lens, that it feels unique and thought out
02-28-2014, 03:36 AM   #7
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I envy you. Great presentation of all the DA Limiteds!
03-04-2014, 05:13 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by DonThomaso Quote
Having used all of the Limiteds for the past couple of years I thought I share my experience with them, as well as adding some comparison shots. I purchased them in 2011 and 2012, starting with the DA40 in may 2011, then DA15, DA35, DA70 and finally the DA21 in october 2012. All of them expect the DA35 was bought second-hand (used). I have updated my individual reviews of the lenses, so I'll just link to them in this post. There are lots of great reviews on all of the lenses, but sometimes it is hard to evaluate what someone means with sharp, fast auto-focus or good build quality (it will depend on what you compare with and what references you have).

I have used and presently own all of the DA Limiteds, the FA Limiteds, a few A/K/M-series, and several M42 Super-Multi-Coated TAKUMARs. I have for short periods of time used DA*, and previously owned a few non-Limited DA and F-series lenses as well. There has been a fair share of third-party (mostly old manual focus) as well. My general evaluation is that the build quality of the DA Limiteds is up there with the best. I would rate the Super-Multi-Coated TAKUMARs best for manual focus and build quality, with the DA Limiteds pretty equal in build quality, but not very suitable for manual focus with their short focus throw (except maybe the DA35 Macro in close focus range). The FA Limiteds would be of about the same build quality, but their aperture rings do feel a bit loose, bringing down the overall impression just a bit. Then come the K, M and A-series, in that order (with K being the best). Then we will find the F-series and non-limited DA lenses. Neither can be said to be anything special with regards to build, but they are all fine for what they are.

I think of the DA Limiteds as medium-fast aperture lenses (faster than cheap zooms, equal to fast zooms, but slower than most other primes), that prioritizes build quality, small size and that tries to offer something unique in each lens. They all have a bit of a character, as each lens will have a special hood, capability, special feature etc.

I'll hope this post will help someone to navigate the DA Limited lineup, compared to each other and to other lenses as well

Reviews
SMC Pentax-DA 15mm F4 ED AL Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited
SMC Pentax-DA 70mm F2.4 Limited

Comparison shots

Front lens caps on


Front lens caps off


Hoods extended (focused at infinity)


Hoods extended (focused at minimum distance)


Minimal mode
Really nice review of these lenses. Over the last 3 years I gradually acquired all of the Limiteds, starting with the 15 which I bought new. Here are my impressions of my collection.
15: I bought it new, great ultra wide-angle but a little too wide as a standard walk around. very solid build quality, I gave it a 9,
21: I bought it used from KEH in LN- condition, It could pass for brand new, very solid build, best as a walk around, versatile focal length, I like the hood. This one is getting more use than I expected it would, that bumps it up to a 10 from me.
35: I bought it new, dual purpose lens, gets a lot of use as a normal lens, can't wait for spring to try out macro outdoors, very solid build, feels most solid of my limiteds, I did not rate it yet until I try it out as macro on some spring flowers, but it looks like it could be a 10.
40: I bought it used and cheap in OK condition, inner barrel wobbles but that may reflect previous owner giving it less than tender loving care, may have been dropped. Takes great pictures despite it's wear and tear appearance. I gave it a 9, I find the 35 more useful
70: I bought it used in pristine condition, Absolutely thrilled with sharpness and compact size, sharpness matches the 35. Unfortunately build quality is a disappointment. Inner barrel has wobble, especially with hood on and the aperture spring seems weaker, less snappy than with the other lenses. Because of the build concerns and the hood which I don't care too much for I give this lens an 8. If this lens had better hood design such as built in and the inner barrel was not so wobbly, this could have been my favorite of the bunch.
Still I like them all, I also have DFA 100 Macro and that plus the limiteds makes for an extremely versatile, good for almost everything kit, and very compact too. My next planned addition will be the 1.4X TC later this year.

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