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09-08-2015, 05:17 AM   #1
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HD DA 40 Ltd f2.8 - good choice?

I've been looking at this new HD version of this tiny lens, not something previously even considered, but suddenly it seems a compelling option. Thinking towards FF as well, this lens has the full frame image circle. It would be ridiculously small on a FF body, but so what? At least it wouldn't increase the total size at all!

The in-depth review on this site is very positive .... https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/hd-pentax-da-40mm-f28-limited/introduction.html?src=lrdb, and in the UK it's going for 319 pounds, so looks fairly good value. I don't find much use for 50mm on aps-c but until FF comes my way I think 40 would be more useful ... ?

Looking for views and pointers, plus just any educated opinion I don't need to shoot wide open much, it'll be mostly for landscapes and people shots, perhaps architecture. I'm very happy with screw-drive on the K7 ...I assume screw-drive will be included in the new FF? So, is it a really good bargain and should it be on top of a list of modern standard-type primes? ....


Last edited by mcgregni; 09-08-2015 at 05:27 AM.
09-08-2015, 05:31 AM   #2
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I have the DA 40mm XS, and its fairly good. It has rounded aperture blades, so it produces nice bokeh even stopped down, it has fast AF. And the HD version has even better coatings, has distance scales and a more sensible filter size. And a hood.
So Id say its a good lens. Just keep in mind that its f2.8, which is not really super bright for a prime, but thats the price you pay to get such a super compact lens that you can always take with you. On a smaller camera, this lens makes it almost pocketable.
Wide open it has some fringing in very bright light, but stopped down a little its really sharp and full of detail, with not much distortion (so its okay even for some portraiture, especially full body portraits)
09-08-2015, 05:54 AM   #3
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This is one of my favorite lenses. Small, light, hardly adds weight to the camera. Manual focus is a little hard because of the small focus ring. Bokeh got improved on the HD version but you might need to shoot wide open to see the difference.

At f4.0 this lens has superb center sharpness and very good edges. Works really well for half body/full body shoots and does well for close ups. Colors are SUPERB.

These are some images from the last time I used the lens.
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09-08-2015, 06:06 AM   #4
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I have the SMC version; it was my first prime lens for my *ist-DL. I've used this as my only lens for round-the-world trips twice, and it did not disappoint. It depends on what you're used to and what you've already got. If you use a 50mm quite happily, 40mm will give you a little extra FOV but will not be as fast as any of the fifties. If 35mm is in your current lineup and is a sweet spot, 40mm will be a bit tighter and no faster. On the other hand, if this falls into a neat little gap for you and/or if compactness is the primary concern, it's a very good choice.

One thing, though - I'd get a 49mm UV or skylight filter (if you believe in protective filters) and a pinch cap for it - the lens hood and small screw-in lenscap were, I found, very fiddly and a deterrent to frequent use.

It appears to play well on the P3 and the P30T - it will mount, meter and fire, albeit in program mode only - but I can't speak for the results on "full frame" until I get back the roll of film I just finished. And yes, I did take a picture of a pure white target. On these small film cameras, it really does become a "shove it in your pocket" proposition (depending of course on the size of the pocket).

09-08-2015, 06:47 AM   #5
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I have the SMC version and love mine. I use it for an all around 'normal' prime as well as intimate portraits. It is a delightful lens.

I only have a couple of shots on Flickr with it but these might help. https://flickr.com/photos/129729978@N02/sets/72157656614328235
09-08-2015, 07:35 AM   #6
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Thanks for those responses ! I'm very tempted. The nearest I have to it is the A50 1.7 , and as I said I don't use it much. I thought the wider length plus AF on aps-c would be an improvement and find much more use. I'm not worried about the wider FOV on FF because of the cropping potential, so it seems a versatile choice.

Nice example images, thanks aldorp and Uncle. .....The fiddliness of the hood and cap was a concern ....I suppose it's a small price to pay for what sounds like a great lens generally. What do all think of the price ? Is around 300 British pounds good value for what it is ?
09-08-2015, 07:52 AM   #7
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i have two smc da 40s one black one silver.... They work as body caps... :-) great lens!
09-08-2015, 08:16 AM   #8
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This lens has a fantastic price to quality ratio. It has probably the best flare resistance and microcontrast in the whole line up. You can have a used SMC for even less money ($200, probably some 200 pounds in the UK), and the XS version for even less.

09-08-2015, 09:16 AM   #9
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I'll also jump in and say that the HD DA40 is a lovely lens - and, at that price, great value for money. The extra depth in perspective compared to 50mm is noticeable, and I find myself happy to use it more often than my 50s. It could be a little faster, of course, but since it is perfectly useable wide open, there aren't many situations where I've needed more light. Plus, with the bespoke hood that comes as part of the package, it is incredibly compact. Handles quite well too, though such a shallow lens does take some getting used to

Edit: I haven't found the hood fiddly. With a good UV filter fitted inside the hood as designed (I use a B&W) you can safely leave the cap off during your entire shoot and just use a dust blower to clean it at the end of the day. As the filter is inset between the hood and lens, it won't get dirty or wet...

Last edited by BigMackCam; 09-08-2015 at 09:23 AM.
09-08-2015, 09:16 AM   #10
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30.5mm plastic snap caps are available to make the screw in cap less of an issue.
09-08-2015, 10:18 AM   #11
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Thanks for those extra responses! Not many negatives coming through. I suspected that it was good value. The review suggests that the HD coating offers a small improvement as well over the older SMC version.
09-08-2015, 10:48 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by mcgregni Quote
Thanks for those extra responses! Not many negatives coming through. I suspected that it was good value. The review suggests that the HD coating offers a small improvement as well over the older SMC version.
reviews say the HD coating reduces flare better than SMC, but I revere my classic SMC DA40 nonetheless. Admittedly it lives nearly permanently on my K-01, but that combination harkens back to the MX / M-40/2.8 of yore.
09-09-2015, 05:55 AM   #13
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I have the DA40XS and M40. I'll keep the M for my manual film bodies.

The XS is wonderful in that it adds no net thickness to my K-5II, and has the rounded blades.

But I personally would trade the few extra mm of thinness to get the Quick Shift, standard 49mm filter threads, and sweet hood of the smc/HD versions.
09-09-2015, 06:17 AM   #14
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It seems clear enough that for someone looking for around that focal length, the IQ and compactness all make it a no-brainer. Price is not too bad either .... Thanks again everyone! I may start shopping soon
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