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05-21-2008, 12:09 PM   #1
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FA* 24/2 and DA 21/3.2 Ltd

Does anyone own both of these lenses (or have in the past) and can offer some thoughts in comparing? (Availability and pricing aside)

The DA 21 seems like the easier choice but I'm wondering if the 24 should also be considered. Thanks for your thoughts

05-21-2008, 03:22 PM   #2
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I would prefer to have Da 21 ltd if you give me these two choices.

Da 21 ltd is small compact and render most of the images at f3.2 relatively sharp even for landscape.

Fa* 24mm f2 is more of a protrait lens, focusing on wider aperture with good bokeh.
05-21-2008, 05:01 PM   #3
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whenever i see a DA21 post, i usually chime in because i think it's the most underrated of the Pancakes.

i can't say i've owned both lenses, but the FA* 24 is quite a honker of a lens.
i really like my DA21 because it makes the camera nice and compact great for casual photography, i don't think i'd get the same vibe using a FA*24 and it's big hood
05-22-2008, 12:45 AM   #4
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Hi Kathy,

You read my mind. I was going to post this question before. But since you've started, I'll just join in.
To start, I own FA*24/2 and almost bought a DA 21/3.2 2 days ago.
I didn't get the DA21 yet, but maybe someday I'll get it just to compare both of them.
What I like w/ my FA*24 is that this is the only wide angle prime lens in Pentax that is fast enough for dim light. It's almost 1.5x wider than DA21.
I don't know how it performed when both tested at f/3.2 but I guess FA*24 will win since it's stopped down.
Also the contrast produced by FA*24 is amazing. Sometimes when I missed the focus, the picture still seems sharp because of the contrast. I think this is another good point of this lens. But again, I wish I have DA21 too for comparison.

As Peter said, the DA21 's advantage is the small size, but if you need it for low light shooting, you'll need to add flash anyway (which adds to the weight and size). For casual need in good lighting condition, I agree that DA21 is more convenient.

My other reason to keep FA*24 is the unique feeling of owning one of Pentax's best lens and satisfy my full frame dream
I don't ask Pentax to make one but in case they do, this lens will outperform DA21 for sure since it's designed for full frame anyway.

05-22-2008, 02:37 AM   #5
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I chime in for the FA 24/2. But on the other hand you simply cannot compare these two lenses, without noticing, that they are made for entirely diferent purposes. The 24/2 is simply a fast lens for available light photography and it execells at that, being sharp and contrasty enough even fully open. Also, its build quality is excellent, including the handling of manual focus etc.

The DA 21 is a pancake lens. And I admit I never understood how this could be a value on its own. My personal preference is for image quality and speed. But another photog might prefer the low bulk and weight of the DAs.

So, any decision should be based more on your personal preferences regarding max. aperture + bulk + weight versus a slow lens + low bulk + low weight. And handling might be point, as I can hardly imagine how to focus the DA manually with that very small focusing ring.

Ben
05-22-2008, 09:22 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ben_Edict Quote
I chime in for the FA 24/2. But on the other hand you simply cannot compare these two lenses, without noticing, that they are made for entirely diferent purposes. The 24/2 is simply a fast lens for available light photography and it execells at that, being sharp and contrasty enough even fully open. Also, its build quality is excellent, including the handling of manual focus etc.

The DA 21 is a pancake lens. And I admit I never understood how this could be a value on its own. My personal preference is for image quality and speed. But another photog might prefer the low bulk and weight of the DAs.

So, any decision should be based more on your personal preferences regarding max. aperture + bulk + weight versus a slow lens + low bulk + low weight. And handling might be point, as I can hardly imagine how to focus the DA manually with that very small focusing ring.

Ben
Photozone tested and reviewed both of these lenses on a K10D, and the DA21 outperformed the FA24 handily - the edge performance of the FA is reported there as being 'dismal'. The FA24 has been found to be excellent on film, so it apparently has issues with digital sensors. Also, the DA21 is a Limited lens, and the build quality is excellent as well. The value of the pancake lenses can be attested to by anyone who does any backpacking or hiking. Of course, if you really need the speed for low-light, the FA24 will do the job.
05-23-2008, 06:24 PM   #7
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I can definitely chime in on both, I used to own both for quite a while and I really like both.

the FA*24 is an excellent lens, sharp, very contrasty and with a n overall pleasant rendering.
Bokeh is surprisingly decent.

The DA21ltd is perhaps one of the finest rendering lenses for landscape work I have come across from any brand, there is soomething to the landscapes from this lens that is just wonderful.

If I weere to chose two lenss from the entire Pentax lineup old and new, the DA21ltd would be one of them.

Both are great lenses though and the spped of the FA*24 for say aurora shooting at night is very nice to have.
For people I prefer the FA*24 over the DA21ltd, but generally speaking i like the renderings and FOV from the DA21ltd better.
05-23-2008, 06:31 PM   #8
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hmm.. thanks for the info guys.. i am also debating on which of the 2 i should get..

05-24-2008, 01:26 AM   #9
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To be honest, I don't have any of these two. But DA21 is on my shopping list. If it's performance is anywhere around that of DA40 (and reportedly it is) then it's a no brainer. It simply must be a great lens...
my 2p
05-24-2008, 01:29 AM   #10
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one more thing

QuoteOriginally posted by HermanLee Quote
....What I like w/ my FA*24 is that this is the only wide angle prime lens in Pentax that is fast enough for dim light. It's almost 1.5x wider than DA21.
...
REALLY?!?
or is it typo and it should have been: It's almost 1.5x FASTER than DA21
now tha would make sense...
05-24-2008, 05:20 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
To be honest, I don't have any of these two. But DA21 is on my shopping list. If it's performance is anywhere around that of DA40 (and reportedly it is) then it's a no brainer. It simply must be a great lens...
my 2p
I would go as far as saying it is a better performing lens, but that is based on renderings and a personal thing.
05-24-2008, 01:12 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by axl Quote
REALLY?!?
or is it typo and it should have been: It's almost 1.5x FASTER than DA21
now tha would make sense...
What I meant is the aperture compared between 3.2 and 2 it's 1.5x wider in the opening

Well, I really like my FA*24/2 and one day I'll try that DA21 too.
I think both has it's own advantage, at least for speed and size.
05-24-2008, 10:35 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by GaryM Quote
Photozone tested and reviewed both of these lenses on a K10D, and the DA21 outperformed the FA24 handily - the edge performance of the FA is reported there as being 'dismal'. The FA24 has been found to be excellent on film, so it apparently has issues with digital sensors. Also, the DA21 is a Limited lens, and the build quality is excellent as well. The value of the pancake lenses can be attested to by anyone who does any backpacking or hiking. Of course, if you really need the speed for low-light, the FA24 will do the job.
I have used the FA24 for a couple of years, and have recently rented a DA21 for a week to see how it worked. Size-wize they are worlds apart, as others have said. The 24 is a really big and heavy lens, almost as much as my Sigma 18-50/2.8. I like its build quality and the silver look. It has been my most used lens as I like the focal length and the speed. I have not had issues with its sharpness, even wide open. It is certainly not dismal.

The DA21 is fantastically small and light, and if I were buying again I would go for that instead of the 24 as I do a lot of walk -around street photography and the 21 is much lighter and more discrete. It's not as fast, obviously. Construction is at least as good as the 24. Sharpness is perhaps slightly superior to the 24 at the edges (can't say I see much difference in the center). Color rendition of the two lenses is quite different, the 24 is warmer and the 21 cooler (apparently this is common to the newer lenses). 21 appears to have very good flare control and little fringing. I've only got limited experience with the 21 so far, but I would say the bokeh of it is slightly inferior to the 24.

You can see a few photos I've taken with the 24 here: Zenfolio | Adam Richardson | Pentax FA*24mm f2

Hope this helps!
05-30-2008, 01:23 PM   #14
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Hi,

Sorry if this is deemed inappropriate, but since you appear to be considering the FA* 24/2, I thought that I'd let you know that I have one up on German Ebay, auction ending sunday June 1st:

Pentax FA* (STAR) 24/2.0 IF & AL bei eBay.de: Pentax (endet 01.06.08 21:00:00 MESZ)

Regards,

Jens
08-19-2008, 11:04 PM   #15
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I'm very impressed with the FA24 shots in general, but #6 in particular. How much post processing went into that 'cause if it's right out the camera it's the lens for me,
FHPhotographer
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