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03-12-2014, 01:01 AM   #1
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If you have an FA20-35 and a DA20-40 Ltd.......

..... I'd really like to know how you feel they stack up against each other


When the DA20-40 Ltd was announced I had convinced myself that I would sell my FA20-35 and buy the Ltd zoom, but on the K5iis I'm so pleased with what I'm currently getting that I'm not sure I shouldn't just keep it. I know the DA20-40 is better in some ways (construction, WR, max aperture, range, etc) but how does general image quality compare ?

03-12-2014, 04:42 AM   #2
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I don't have those lenses, so I can't comment on their quality vs each other, but if I were you, I'd ask myself if I intended to upgrade to a FF camera when/if Pentax comes out with one. If you think that's a possibility, it might be worth it to hang onto the 20-35 for a while longer.
03-12-2014, 05:25 AM   #3
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Lenny, i've not owned the 20-40 permanently but i own the 20-35 and sure have got the chance to compare between them.

I would say, subjectively, IF i were to have cash for either one now, i would certainly go for the fa20-35..

Yes, the 20-40 is noticeably better in term of color rendition and sharpness and even flare control with WR to boot!

But i've always believed, if you're not printing them photos out on a regular basis even for personal pleasure, then i would say it's simply way too overpriced.. LoL!

Think about it, the 20-35 can be had cheaper and it doesn't fare badly to begin off with..

PS: Yes, i don't have images to prove it.. But i don't do pixel peeping crap and online imaging resolution is crap for showing them pixels off.. The only image i have is the price tag, and you can look at it on Google.
03-12-2014, 08:09 AM   #4
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Nothing wrong with keeping a lens that makes you happy.

I believe there was someone who had both though I did a quick search and couldn't find anything to point you to. There is nothing wrong with keeping a lens that produces great images and that you're happy with. Unless you find some the features you've already pointed out (WR, metal construction etc.) a must I'd say keep what you've got. Image quality to a large extent is related to the lighting and skills of the Photographer. I've got the 20-40 and it will take something very special to pull it off of my camera, but I do need WR and was willing to pay the premium for the Ltd. construction, and aesthetic.

03-12-2014, 10:16 AM   #5
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I have an FA20-35 and the Sigma 20-40. I've tried unsuccessfully to find someone in the Phoenix area with a Pentax 20-40 who'd be willing to compare all THREE lenses.

In my personal tests, the Sigma 20-40 would get a 9 and the FA20-35 would get an 8.8, they are that close. I'd love for the Pentax to blow both of them out of the water, because then I could justify the 900 purchase. The 20-40 range is an absolute must have for my landscape work and I was thrilled a Ltd series lens was coming out... until I saw the price tag.

The review adam posted on here was less than convincing, which has further muddied the waters. And then there is the harbinger of FF. Do I even need it or want it? I don't know, but I like having a kit that is completely FF ready should pentax release one.

there's just too many conflicting opinions and variables surrounding this lens to get me to pull the trigger on a 900 purchase.

I personally say stay with the FA 20-35 until there is more evidence to justify the switch.

The more I think about it, I'd almost consider the Sigma 18-35 before getting the Pentax 20-40. Even if you went out an purchased the DA40 to cover that focal length, probably still be cheaper, and still FF capable.
03-12-2014, 12:46 PM   #6
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I picked up a FA20-35 a couple years ago for ~$300. I liked the range and thought it would give me better IQ than the 18-55 kit lens on my K-x. The FA20-35 got great reviews, but on APS-C it is not worth it IMO. The build quality is similar to the kit lens, the size is similar, and, most importantly, I found the IQ to be overall the same as the kit lens. At 20mm, the FA20-35 was possibly a tad sharper, but the kit lens had better CA control. On FF, the FA20-35 might be great, but on APS-C, I couldn't justify keeping it.
03-13-2014, 01:01 AM   #7
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Thanks for your comments guys

I am more than happy with the FA20-35 but if I knew the IQ and overall quality of images from the DA20-40 Ltd was superior, coupled with the additional features (WR, faster aperture, better range, better construction, etc.) then I'd be prepared to take to the plunge. I was really hoping for a direct comparison of the 2 lenses with a few images to demonstrate the differences but that doesn't look likely just yet

It's interesting to hear the comment that the IQ of the 20-35 is equivalent to the kit lens, I've heard others who didn't find it as a top quality lens - I suspect this may be down to sample variations because I've owned 2 copies and found them both to be in the top league of zooms, close to the Limiteds and Stars.

I think SyncGuy hit the nail on the head when he said it's "simply way too overpriced" at the moment!
03-13-2014, 06:57 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by LennyBloke Quote
Thanks for your comments guys

I am more than happy with the FA20-35 but if I knew the IQ and overall quality of images from the DA20-40 Ltd was superior, coupled with the additional features (WR, faster aperture, better range, better construction, etc.) then I'd be prepared to take to the plunge. I was really hoping for a direct comparison of the 2 lenses with a few images to demonstrate the differences but that doesn't look likely just yet

It's interesting to hear the comment that the IQ of the 20-35 is equivalent to the kit lens, I've heard others who didn't find it as a top quality lens - I suspect this may be down to sample variations because I've owned 2 copies and found them both to be in the top league of zooms, close to the Limiteds and Stars.

I think SyncGuy hit the nail on the head when he said it's "simply way too overpriced" at the moment!
One of the reasons I'm not picking up the DA20-40 is the upcoming wide zoom. It looks like it may cover 10-30mm. Also, the Sigma 18-35 should be released soon for Pentax. It blows the DA20-40 out of the water, and does it for $200 less than the Pentax. Of course, the f1.8 makes the lens a monster.

03-13-2014, 07:22 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by ironlionzion Quote
Also, the Sigma 18-35 should be released soon for Pentax. It blows the DA20-40 out of the water, and does it for $200 less than the Pentax.
I'm sorry...but really? It hasn't been released yet, but "it blows the 20-40 out of the water"? LOL Put down the magazines and go take some pics.
03-13-2014, 08:42 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
I'm sorry...but really? It hasn't been released yet, but "it blows the 20-40 out of the water"? LOL Put down the magazines and go take some pics.
The sigma 18-35 has been out for a while for Canon and Nikon and has gotten extremely great reviews. You think that the Pentax mount version will be any different? The DA20-40 is a fine lens, but it's main advantage is it's build quality, WR, and significantly smaller size over the Sigma. Optically, there's a clear winner in this comparison. Sorry to burst your bubble.

*maybe "blows it out of the water" was an exaggeration

OP asked for a comparison between two lenses, and I gave an alternative to those lenses based on many, many reviews online and my own experience with the FA20-35. You insult my suggestion saying "LOL Put down the magazines and go take some pics." You could have said that to anyone giving their opinion between two lenses. There are strengths and weaknesses to consider, but of course all modern lenses will take excellent pics.

Last edited by ironlionzion; 03-13-2014 at 08:57 AM.
03-13-2014, 08:56 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by ironlionzion Quote
Also, the Sigma 18-35 should be released soon for Pentax. It blows the DA20-40 out of the water, and does it for $200 less than the Pentax
I've just been looking at images from both lenses from both lenses, including full resolution samples, over at flickr, and neither lens blows the other out of the water. In fact, the best images I view from both lenses were rather impressive. These are both excellent lenses, with the sigma having an advantage in speed, and the pentax in advantage in weight, flare control, and WR. The sigma is a fast aperture specialty lens, the pentax an outdoor lens designed for portability and durability against the elements. To the extent that there's a difference at all, optically, between the Sigma 18-35 and the DA 20-40, I would say the DA lens comes out on top. Some of the shots taken with the Sigma lens suffered from serious contrast issues, which suggests subtle flare problems. And the color rendition from the DA 20-40 was consistently more pleasing across the sample of images seen. From the high resolution images, I could not detect a difference in sharpness between the two lenses.

I own a copy of the FA 20-35. I would only upgrade to the DA 20-40 if I needed the better build quality and WR of the DA lens. The DA 20-40 may be slighty better, optically, than the FA 20-35; but I have yet to see anything from the DA 20-40 to make me assume that the differences are dramatic or significant. I might actually slightly prefer the darker, richer, more film-like color rendering the FA 20-35.

Last edited by northcoastgreg; 03-13-2014 at 09:05 AM.
03-13-2014, 09:11 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
I've just been looking at images from both lenses from both lenses, including full resolution samples, over at flickr, and neither lens blows the other out of the water. In fact, the best images I view from both lenses were rather impressive. These are both excellent lenses, with the sigma having an advantage in speed, and the pentax in advantage in weight, flare control, and WR. The sigma is a fast aperture specialty lens, the pentax an outdoor lens designed for portability and durability against the elements. To the extent that there's a difference at all, optically, between the Sigma 18-35 and the DA 20-40, I would say the DA lens comes out on top. A good number of the shots taken with the Sigma lens suffered from serious contrast issues, which suggests subtle flare problems. And the color rendition from the DA 20-40 was consistently more pleasing across the sample of images seen. From the high resolution images, I could not detect a difference in sharpness between the two lenses.

I own a copy of the FA 20-35. I would only upgrade to the DA 20-40 if I needed the better build quality and WR of the DA lens. The DA 20-40 may be slighty better, optically, than the FA 20-35; but I have yet to see anything from the DA 20-40 to make me assume that the differences are dramatic or significant. I might actually slightly prefer the darker, richer, more film-like color rendering the FA 20-35.
I appreciate your comments. I've always enjoyed reading your blog/posts. Like I said above, my statement "blows it out of the water" was an exaggeration looking back on it. I focused too much on the fact that the DA is $200 more expensive and more than 2-3 stops slower. I do look extensively at reviews online before purchasing lenses, as I don't have an infinite amount of cash to buy every lens and try them out. But I don't always focus on reviews with test charts and resolution. I actually just picked up the 15mm ltd after reading your review, northcoastgreg, as well as browsing through the pictures and reviews by other forum members.

Last edited by ironlionzion; 03-13-2014 at 09:37 AM.
03-13-2014, 09:40 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by ironlionzion Quote
...has gotten extremely great reviews.
In other words, you don't own it, but you've read about it, right? That was my point. The OP can read about these lenses himself. He was asking for direct experience.
03-13-2014, 09:52 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by TaoMaas Quote
In other words, you don't own it, but you've read about it, right? That was my point. The OP can read about these lenses himself. He was asking for direct experience.
You commented on this thread as well without having experience with the FA20-35 or the DA20-40, even though the OP was asking for direct experience. Your comment was valuable though, as a future FF is a factor to take into consideration.

I commented on this thread having experience with the FA20-35. I gave my own opinion that I would take the Sigma 18-35 over the FA20-35 and the DA20-40 (Nomadkng also said the same). The Sigma 18-35 has distinct advantages and disadvantages over the FA20-35 and the DA20-40. While my statement that "the sigma blows the pentax out the water" may be false, mentioning the lens still added to the thread as it is very capable alternative to the lenses OP is interested in.
03-13-2014, 10:29 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by ironlionzion Quote
I commented on this thread having experience with the FA20-35.
You should have stopped there...but you didn't. That's what I was commenting on. Sorry...but this kind of "measure-bating" drives me crazy. Everyone can read about lenses. The OP was wanting to know what people who have used both have found. You have used one of them and you are very right to share your experiences. Stick to what you know.
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