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09-28-2013, 02:07 PM - 1 Like   #1
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DA 21 lens First Quick Impressions

Wow....nice lens. I'm glad I listened to Sandy Hancock .

I was wondering however if this lens is supposed to be soft at 3.2 to about 4.5 shooting an object (a car in my case) about 25' away focused on the middle of the drivers side door. It is tack sharp and beautiful from 5.6 on and especially nice at 6.7 or F8.

My lens also came with a promaster UV filter (MC) was wondering if I should get a better one.

Picture shot at 3.2 No PP done.



with +10 AF fine adjustment added


And one at F8 No PP done.



And here's the one I like. I focused on the locomotive so look there first




Last edited by Driline; 09-28-2013 at 03:30 PM.
09-28-2013, 02:10 PM   #2
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The first shot is a little out of focus. The DA 21 is soft at F3.2, but not THAT soft
09-28-2013, 02:11 PM   #3
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I looks as if focus is in front of the car in the first shot. Look at the brickwall to the left. It is sharp at the far edge of the window. Which AF mode were you in?
09-28-2013, 02:12 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by JinDesu Quote
The first shot is a little out of focus. The DA 21 is soft at F3.2, but not THAT soft
Hmmm maybe I need to do focus adjustment for this lens?

09-28-2013, 02:16 PM   #5
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Unless you were in center point AF, the camera could have picked a focus point to the far left. Before you mess with AF adjustments you should run more tests. The grey car is not a good test target - the low level of contrast of the door could have fooled the AF sensor if the door was what was focused on.
09-28-2013, 02:22 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ole Quote
I looks as if focus is in front of the car in the first shot. Look at the brickwall to the left. It is sharp at the far edge of the window. Which AF mode were you in?
Center.

Here's another picture but using manual focus at 3.2 Much better.......

09-28-2013, 03:03 PM   #7
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Nothing wrong with the sharpness of the lens!
09-28-2013, 03:11 PM - 1 Like   #8
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I would see how many skips you can get that filter to make on some lake or pond. That lens is protected very well by the hood without some cheap thing in front of it.

09-28-2013, 03:23 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
I would see how many skips you can get that filter to make on some lake or pond. That lens is protected very well by the hood without some cheap thing in front of it.
+1 to that. There's no excuse for sticking an image-destroyer (read: filter) in front of the 21mm, given the funky hood.

[I'm of the opinion that there never are justifications for anything but pol and ND filters on digital photos, except for if one think that ones lens is just too sharp, has too much contrast, doesn't flare enough, and has too much resolution]
09-28-2013, 03:27 PM   #10
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+1 on losing the filter. The hood is the best protection you will ever need.
It looks like you have already answered your initial question. Enjoy this wonderful and largely under-appreciated little gem of a lens!
09-28-2013, 03:33 PM   #11
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I just did some testing on shots with and without AFfine adjustment. The +10 looks leaps and bounds better than no adjustment at all. I added a picture in my first post that shows the +10 next to no correction. Gee...my first lens requiring AF fine adjustment. Wondering if I should send it in for calibration anyway? I shoot at 5.6 and above anyway so maybe this won't matter too much.

Again with +10 correction (at 3.2)


Last edited by Driline; 09-28-2013 at 06:10 PM.
09-28-2013, 09:15 PM   #12
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+10 adjustment isn't a big deal. A majority of lenses require fine tuning out of the factory. That's why quite a lot of camera bodies have individual lens AF adjustment.
09-29-2013, 12:17 AM   #13
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My DA 21 (early example) focused differently up to f4 vs f5.6 and above. This problem was reported by other users in those early days. Stopped down AF results were more front-focused than wide open, making effective fine adjustment impossible. After years of frustration I sent it back to Pentax, who fixed it. It's fine now. The throw of the focus ring is very short, so just a mm of maladjustment makes a difference, despite the focal length and generally large DOF. Test whether AF shifts noticeably as between f/4 and f/5.6.
09-29-2013, 07:41 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by timo Quote
Test whether AF shifts noticeably as between f/4 and f/5.6.
Mine does not. I do however have an early model like yours. Serial number is 0003902. I'll take some more wide shots today now that it's sunny and check the differences between 3.2 and F8 and post a few pics.
Just out of curiosity what did you pay to get it fixed?
09-29-2013, 07:42 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by SpecialK Quote
I would see how many skips you can get that filter to make on some lake or pond.
I will take you up on that challenge and post it to you tube.........Stay tuned.
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