Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
01-29-2015, 09:35 AM   #1
Veteran Member




Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Austin, Texas
Photos: Albums
Posts: 302
Compare the FA 20-35 and DA 20-40

I have owned a FA 20-35 for many years now and it still pleases regularly, but recently I had a chance to try out the new HD DA 20-40. Since I recently acquired a K-3, the fact that the 20-40 is a WR lens and a Limited as well has been making me think about it as a replacement. The modern coatings on the DA would probably be superior on a DSLR.

Some thoughts about how the two lenses stack up against each other would be appreciated.

01-29-2015, 10:11 AM   #2
Pentaxian




Join Date: Nov 2011
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,001
Up through the summer of 2013, I was trying to get hold of a good copy of the FA 20-35
for use as a compact walk-around lens on APS-C (K5, K-01, K-x),
and almost bought one available new from a chain of shops by the Mississippi.

However, I was also intrigued by the "DA Limited Zoom" that had showed up on the road map,
and since I was expecting it to be a rework of the FA 20-35,
but with Quick-Shift (a very important feature for me),
I decided to hold off on the FA 20-35 purchase.

Late in 2013, I put in an order for the DA 20-40 almost as soon as it became available.
Fortunately, I did not end up with one of the early "beta versions"
that seem to have more than their share of IQ problems (for a supposedly "Limited" lens),
and I have been really pleased with the copy that I have been using since early in 2014.

Its exceptional rendering is the thing that surprised me the most.
The FA 20-35 images look very nice,
but they don't have that special quality that I'm seeing in the DA 20-40,
and which I've only seen otherwise in the ZK primes.
01-29-2015, 10:28 AM   #3
Veteran Member




Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Austin, Texas
Photos: Albums
Posts: 302
Original Poster
Sounds good so far. A lens designed for film should render differently on a DSLR than one designed for digital. Some people have complained about the limited range of 20-40, but is seems pretty darn good to me. Like having a 35 (30) and a 50 (60) in one lens. It appeals to my Leica bones. There have been times when the top end on the 20-35 seemed a bit short (but of course you just move closer or put on a 50). The FA 20-35 is lighter weight and has a constant aperture, but the 20-40 I tested seemed very well balanced on my K-3.
01-29-2015, 10:39 AM   #4
Pentaxian
Na Horuk's Avatar

Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Slovenia, probably
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 11,183
QuoteOriginally posted by jeverettfine Quote
Some people have complained about the limited range of 20-40, but is seems pretty darn good to me.
Hah, yeah. As limited as the 20-40 is, the FA has 5mm less and constant f4 (while limited is variable and is faster at the wide angle). I have read about the 20-40mm having quite nice rendering, some character, which is unusual from variable aperture zoom lenses. But what I am interested in is landscape performance. So, wide DoF, f8, are the photos equally sharp across the frame, or is one lens better than the other?

01-29-2015, 12:08 PM - 2 Likes   #5
Pentaxian




Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Eureka, CA
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,099
I own a copy of the FA 20-35. I've seen scores images, including high resolution samples, from the DA 20-40. I've been very impressed with what I've seen from the DA 20-40. I'm pleased that Pentax had the courage to make a compact high-end WR zoom (it's the lightest such lens you can get from any manufacturer). However, I would not chose the DA 20-40 over the FA 20-35 on the grounds of sharpness alone. From the high resolution samples I've seen from the DA 20-40, I don't see a significant difference in edge to edge sharpness over the FA 20-35, particularly at f8. Whatever differences do exist, in terms of sharpness, between the two lenses will not be detectable in terms of practical output.

The HD coatings might make a subtle difference in terms of lens contrast, particularly in strong light and back-lighting situations. The most notable difference in the two lenses, optically, would be their respective color renditions. The DA 20-40 features the HD DA style of color rendition, familiar from the other HD limiteds; the FA 20-35 features the FA ghostless coating color rendering, similar to the FA 24-90, the FA 35, the FA* 200 and the FA limiteds. It's purely a matter taste as to which one might prefer.

Probably the best justification for "upgrading" from the FA 20-35 to the HD DA 20-40 would be for the WR and the superior build quality. The extra range on the long end and the HD coatings would be slight bonuses as well.

One thing to consider: the DA 20-40 features 55mm filter rings, rather than the 58mm rings of the FA 20-35. That could be an issue for those who often use filters (not many Pentaxians will have 55mm filters!).

Another thing to consider: the FA 20-35 is a full-frame lens. If and when Pentax releases an FF camera (some rumors claim it could be as early as this June), the price of this lens could go up significantly. So anyone who wants to sell this lens should probably hold to it until then.
01-29-2015, 12:19 PM   #6
Veteran Member
JinDesu's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: New York City
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 5,631
If you ask ogl, the DA 20-40 is terrible in comparison to the FA 20-35.

I find my DA 20-40 to be fantastic. The distortion is a little annoying, but not too hard to solve.
01-29-2015, 01:36 PM   #7
Site Supporter
Site Supporter




Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Richmond, CA
Posts: 1,107
I think northcoastgreg summed up everything you'll need to consider. Unless the DA20-40 +'s in his list are needed, I think it would be worthwhile to keep what you've got especially if you are happy with the output from the FA. I really didn't give the FA much consideration because I wanted the WR capabilities of the DA20-40.
01-29-2015, 01:43 PM   #8
Veteran Member




Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Austin, Texas
Photos: Albums
Posts: 302
Original Poster
I won't be selling my 20-35 because I still occasionally shoot film (B&W). I have a lab available that even has rental darkrooms. From the comments above, I think I can easily hold off buying a 20-40. I've seen used examples below $600, but that money might be better applied to something like a FA 31. There must be good reason the 20-35 is still in production for the Japanese market. Also waiting for a FF Digital Pentax

01-29-2015, 03:05 PM   #9
Pentaxian




Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 4,857
I found the DA20-40 to have really great rendering. Some shoots on the DA20-40 club... I have never seen other lense do like this, included the best FA ltd or any photo on flickr I have gone through in general.

The rendering is simply esquisite but very different say than an FA.

The DA20-40 is going to get as much clarity, contrast and color as possible in the image. It will also make the subject pop very interrestingly.

The DA35 ltd miss the unique subject pop of the DA20-40, but to me is already quite great for clarity/constrast. The guy go with outstanding sharpness, colors and macro support.

The DA15 ltd is another lense that get kind of rendering of DA20-40. But the focal and apperture prevent to approach the rendering you can get with the 20-40 without doing close-ups. DA15 is specilized lense, DA20-40 can be used in many more cases.

FA lenses will do very different thing. The good FA like FA31/43 would give you also 3D/pop rendering but a VERY different one. The bokeh will be different and the colors also.

So that really what rendering do you prefer ?
01-29-2015, 03:06 PM   #10
Pentaxian




Join Date: Nov 2011
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,001
QuoteOriginally posted by jeverettfine Quote
There must be good reason the 20-35 is still in production for the Japanese market.
It is discontinued now. They stopped listing it once the DA 20-40 was up and running:

Discontinued Lens for Digital single-lens reflex camera / Lens lineup/ Lenses / Products | RICOH IMAGING
01-29-2015, 06:12 PM   #11
Pentaxian




Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southern California
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,229
QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
Its exceptional rendering is the thing that surprised me the most.
The FA 20-35 images look very nice,
but they don't have that special quality that I'm seeing in the DA 20-40,
and which I've only seen otherwise in the ZK primes.
Could you (or anyone else) please link to a set of images (or a few sets) with this exceptional rendering? I just haven't seen it yet. So now I've simply assumed this lens doesn't have great character, and I gave up expecting anything much good a while ago.

But all these comments make me think I should revisit my opinion. Any examples? Of course it may still end up being a matter of personal preference, but I'd like to at least give it another chance if there's something I've missed.

---------- Post added 01-29-15 at 05:23 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by northcoastgreg Quote
The HD coatings might make a subtle difference in terms of lens contrast, particularly in strong light and back-lighting situations. The most notable difference in the two lenses, optically, would be their respective color renditions. The DA 20-40 features the HD DA style of color rendition, familiar from the other HD limiteds; the FA 20-35 features the FA ghostless coating color rendering, similar to the FA 24-90, the FA 35, the FA* 200 and the FA limiteds. It's purely a matter taste as to which one might prefer.
Interesting observations. I've noticed some of this, but hadn't quite formed it into a complete thought or expressed it as well as you. I'll keep an eye out for this when I look at the images again, and add my own thoughts to it.

I liked the FA20-35 when I had one, and I appreciated its very good performance stopped down only 1/3 stop. Sharpness is seldom the key criteria for me. I'd never stop a lens down to f/8 just for sharpness, unless the scene and lighting really called for that aperture anyway. I acknowledge I generally like FA (and especially F and A) color rendering. And I'm not convinced I like the HD rendering as much - in any of the newer lenses.


But most importantly I believe the HD DA20-40 images I've seen appear flat - not 3D-like, and not with much "life." So I'll be looking out for these characteristics. Since I haven't seen any new images from this lens recently, I'd really like to see some more.

Last edited by DSims; 01-29-2015 at 06:32 PM.
01-29-2015, 07:43 PM   #12
Pentaxian




Join Date: Nov 2011
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 4,001
QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
Could you (or anyone else) please link to a set of images (or a few sets) with this exceptional rendering?
@Nicolas06 effectively already did (https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/247859-da-limited-zoom-club.html):
QuoteOriginally posted by Nicolas06 Quote
I found the DA20-40 to have really great rendering. Some shoots on the DA20-40 club... I have never seen other lense do like this, included the best FA ltd or any photo on flickr I have gone through in general.

The rendering is simply esquisite but very different say than an FA.

The DA20-40 is going to get as much clarity, contrast and color as possible in the image. It will also make the subject pop very interrestingly.
But as you say:
QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
I just haven't seen it yet. So now I've simply assumed this lens doesn't have great character, and I gave up expecting anything much good a while ago.

But all these comments make me think I should revisit my opinion. Of course it may still end up being a matter of personal preference, but I'd like to at least give it another chance if there's something I've missed. But most importantly I believe the HD DA20-40 images I've seen appear flat - not 3D-like, and not with much "life."
. . . it may indeed be a question of personal taste,
especially if you prefer a more aggressive style of rendering.
Don't forget, too, that many of the DA 20-40 images are offered without much PP,
because a lot of users are happy with them as they are.
01-29-2015, 09:34 PM   #13
Pentaxian




Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southern California
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,229
QuoteOriginally posted by lytrytyr Quote
@Nicolas06 effectively already did (https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/247859-da-limited-zoom-club.html


But as you say:


. . . it may indeed be a question of personal taste,
especially if you prefer a more aggressive style of rendering.
Don't forget, too, that many of the DA 20-40 images are offered without much PP,
because a lot of users are happy with them as they are.
Thanks - hadn't seen these yet (at least not since the first page or so was posted).

Looks like a $300 lens. Even less if it were a prime.


I have to agree with ogl on this one (and I often don't).

It was the landscapes on the last couple pages that clinched it for me. Fantastic scenes made odd or mediocre by the lens. Not the photographer's fault.


It may have some fairly good colors and flare control, as well as sharpness - but this doesn't mean it turns out eye-catching or emotionally involving shots.

[BTW, please edit the link so it works directly.]
01-30-2015, 12:39 AM   #14
Pentaxian




Join Date: Nov 2013
Posts: 4,857
Me for example I'am very impressed by this page:

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/247859-da-limited-zoom-club-15.html#214

The one with the tea pot on fire and a sausage and the one with a fish. i really like this rendering.

Here: https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/247859-da-limited-zoom-club-5.html#69

Look at the photos from Jyrkira. You get lot of colors, clarity and contrast. No lighting is burned, no a bit on flare.

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/247859-da-limited-zoom-club-3.html#42

Here the color/constrast is again very very nice, counting the weather was far from being good.


https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/122-lens-clubs/247859-da-limited-zoom-club-17.html#248

Again fantastic colors, contrast.


Many of the Dice shoot exhibit clarity you'll not find on another lense except maybe DA15 & DA35 ltd. Some interresting rendering even if I think he pushed the sharpening too far in his post processing: https://www.flickr.com/photos/safetynerd/sets/72157638718753174

What you see through if you pixel peep is that the resolution is average. Not bad, but not ultra sharp of whatever. But when I think of it the 16-50 isn't that sharp neither or the 17-70... The DA21 might be slightly better on center but is weaker on corners. Yeah for sure sigma 18-35 would be sharper, but it would not render the clarity/contrast/colors and the weight would be in another league.

So in the end, would I want it? I don't know! there many choices between DA35 ltd, FA31, FA43, DA20-40... that is far on from behing easy to decide what to take. It also depend of what you want/prefer. I didn't make my mind on this. I'am a bit afraid I would not find sharp enough.

Last edited by Nicolas06; 01-30-2015 at 12:50 AM.
01-30-2015, 01:02 AM   #15
Pentaxian




Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Southern California
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 3,229
QuoteOriginally posted by Nicolas06 Quote
Me for example I'am very impressed by this page:

DA Limited Zoom Club

The one with the tea pot on fire and a sausage and the one with a fish. i really like this rendering.
I know - I noticed the fish (2nd one with the hook in its mouth) - this was one of the photos which made me remark it must have good colors and flare control. But this doesn't make up for the lack of character.

The tea pot and the sausage, for example. It's almost like watching a 3D movie, except in a 3D movie it's more clear that one object is in front of the other. The sausage looks like it's on its own plane. So does the teapot. But the sausage barely looks like it's in front of the log and fire. At least the teapot is clearly separated from its background. But like a 3D movie, both of them look like flat objects within their own flat planes - not part of a continuous 3D space. And there's virtually no roundness and no contour to the objects themselves, either. Maybe the technology (e.g. coating) which reduces the flare also reduces the visual clues which give us the 3D effect - I don't know. Perhaps it's even like a medium quality digital recording, which reduces the overtones and nuances which give the music "life," or takes away the sheen that violin strings have in real life. In any case, I might as well be wearing 3D glasses, seeing that artificial-looking 3D effect which doesn't truly mimic real-life vision. Or perhaps looking at felt characters on a storyboard, like we had in pre-school.

And that fish - it has nice, shiny colors. But I can't even tell how far it is from the fisherman's jacket. Not even as much as a good attempt to give my brain that information or fake it, even if the distance is off a bit. It's very confusing ...

Or take the D FA 100 WR for example - the colors are a little overdone - even artificially shiny like hard candy. But the photos it turns out are absolutely gorgeous - so no offense taken for this overdone characteristic. Perhaps it even ends up enhancing the photos in the end. I can engage in a little phantasy if it looks convincing, even if better than real life. I only wish the DA20-40 would turn out gorgeous photos too - but I'm still looking for them! Pentax lenses don't produce flat-looking, non-dimensional photos, but perhaps Ricoh lenses do!


The funny part is, for the casual viewer, none of my long attempts at defining and explaining the problem matter. He simply won't notice your photo, or he won't continue to look at it very long.

QuoteOriginally posted by Nicolas06 Quote
What you see through if you pixel peep is that the resolution is average. Not bad, but not ultra sharp of whatever.
Actually, I thought it was sharp - I never questioned this. But I didn't pixel peep - maybe I was wrong. But I wouldn't ding it for that anyway - DA10-17 technically isn't very sharp, but it turns out nice looking photos.

Last edited by DSims; 01-30-2015 at 01:42 AM.
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
adjustment, af, calibration, color, da, fa, fa20-35, features, fish, hd, images, k-mount, lens, lenses, limiteds, matter, page, pentax, pentax lens, price, sausage, slr lens
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Worth Taking a Risk on the DA 20-40 Limited? Biro Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 54 12-06-2014 10:27 PM
DxOMark tests the DA 20-40 rawr Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 10 02-20-2014 04:31 AM
The DA limited is 20-40? and WR?! LFLee Pentax News and Rumors 1331 02-13-2014 10:55 PM
DA 20-40 comparison with Fa 20-35? VladM Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 3 12-31-2013 09:33 PM
Da 20-40 friolet Pentax K-30 & K-50 2 12-21-2013 01:26 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 06:36 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top