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08-02-2017, 06:50 AM   #1
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Is the new DA 20-40mm a worthy alternative to the DA 21 and DA 40 ltd?

Hello,

I have the DA Limited trio (21, 40, 70) that I like a lot and bring with me when travelling. The thing is we do it with a baby (plus stroller, bags, books, other stuffs), that makes changing lenses sometimes quite annoying. I almost dropped the lens 1 or 2 times being rush, I'm a bit clumsy anyway.

From that point of view, the new DA 20-40mm seems quite interesting, because it covers both focal length, and meanwhile it's a bit slow at the long-end, it's quite compact, light and beautifully made for a zoom. However, it is also very expensive, and I'm wondering if it has some other special features? Image quality, can it be comparable with the two primes?

If there is a step down in image quality, I will forget about it, however, if they are more or less the same, I may think about getting one at the end of the year, providing that I find a good deal.

Thank you in advance for your opinion

08-02-2017, 07:15 AM - 1 Like   #3
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Hi. This topic has come up quite a bit and you might want to search for this topic. Also check the the DA20-40 lens club to see a whole host of images. A few years ago I was in your same situation. Actually also had the DA 35 ltd.. Gave up the whole lot of DA Ltds and loved the DA 20-40. It is also WR so that was a plus for me. They are all high quality lenses so you can't go wrong either way. In the US at least the last few years Pentax has discounted this lens in the end of the year so you can save $100+.

Good luck with your decision.
08-02-2017, 07:38 AM - 2 Likes   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Bui Quote
Hello,

I have the DA Limited trio (21, 40, 70) that I like a lot and bring with me when travelling. The thing is we do it with a baby (plus stroller, bags, books, other stuffs), that makes changing lenses sometimes quite annoying. I almost dropped the lens 1 or 2 times being rush, I'm a bit clumsy anyway.

From that point of view, the new DA 20-40mm seems quite interesting, because it covers both focal length, and meanwhile it's a bit slow at the long-end, it's quite compact, light and beautifully made for a zoom. However, it is also very expensive, and I'm wondering if it has some other special features? Image quality, can it be comparable with the two primes?

If there is a step down in image quality, I will forget about it, however, if they are more or less the same, I may think about getting one at the end of the year, providing that I find a good deal.

Thank you in advance for your opinion
For me the short answer is yes. I had the 21, and 70 mm Limiteds and have all the FA limited's now. The image quality is very good on the 20-40 especially when stopped down at the wide end. The center is good at the wide end of the zoom at f/2.0, but the edges are a bit soft on my copy (this is pretty common). I find the bokeh is a bit better on the primes, but not by much to my eye. Right now, it is the lens staying on my K-S2. You should check out the DA Limited Zoom Club here on PF for some images. I'm planning on this being my main lens for vacation this year.

08-02-2017, 07:41 AM - 3 Likes   #5
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Talk me out of buying the HD DA20-40? - PentaxForums.com

I had a similar discussion recently. I purchased the lens and have not regretted it.
08-02-2017, 08:18 AM   #6
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It's on my list whereas the primes aren't. Not that that means anything.
However, I really can't decide between the 20-40 Ltd and the HD 16-85 as my new WR walkaround. Useful extra range vs pixie dust...decisions decisions...
08-02-2017, 08:36 AM - 2 Likes   #7
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When this lens came out, I had no idea what Pentax thought they were doing. Then I took the DA21/3.2 and DA40/2.8 to Melbourne, Australia, particularly the central business district, and most particularly Swanston Street and Bourke St. Mall, where street performers abound and where there are lots of narrow laneways off to the side (e.g. Degraves St). I had the DA15 and DA70 with me as well, but the 21 and 40 got the most use and I understood at last what the 20-40 was for.

UPSIDES:
One lens in place of two, plus everything in between. Potentially a one-stop, go-anywhere, do-anything solution for the big-city traveller, dweller, or street photographer.
WR.

DOWNSIDES:
Variable aperture (for those for whom it matters), combined with...
Slower by a whole stop at the long end than the prime it nominally replaces (but compactness over speed is a philosophical design compromise common to the DA Limiteds; it's the nature of the beast, and I'm not sure you can really hold this against it).
Nowhere near as compact on the camera as either of the primes it replaces. May not matter to some people, but for those who like the low physical profile (bordering on pocketability) and unobtrusiveness the DA21 and DA40 give a smaller DSLR body or the K-01, it might make a difference.
No screwdrive AF; DC AF only, so early (especially CCD-chipped) Pentax DSLRs cannot use it in autofocus. Irrelevant to some, but perhaps not to others.
Absolutely NOT a full-frame proposition, and definitely not for film. Current or potential K-1 owners who do not also own an APS-C body should consider looking for a secondhand FA20-35 instead.

In the end, I chose not to buy it because (a) I already had the primes that cover both ends, (b) for me, compactness on the camera overrides the need for lens changes (especially when the 21 and 40 both fit easily into moderate sized pockets), and (c) by the time I realised all the above, I knew the K-1 was in my future and any expensive new lenses I was going to buy had to be full-frame compatible.

At the end of the day it depends on how all these ups and downs balance out, and how much the upsides and downsides are relevant to you. You also need to think about when and where you will be using it (bright sunlight makes the slower aperture at 40mm irrelevant for exposure purposes, for example), what you will be shooting with it, and how big the resulting images will need to be. Any of the Limited lenses is easily good enough for Flickr, Facebook, or 6x4 inch glossies in an album, and then some. If you need more than that, I leave you to the tender mercies of others on this board who own it and from all accounts seem very pleased with it.

Also, remember - the baby will grow into a toddler and the toddler into a child, and the volume of stuff you will have to carry to support them will decrease (unless you have more children) - which could also diminish what you regard as the major advantage of the DA20-40 (one-lens solution). You already have the primes at both ends - unless you are going to sell or trade those in, buying the DA20-40 in addition to them seems not to make the most sense. I would wait and carefully reconsider at the end of the year. Rent or borrow one if you can. Then decide.
08-02-2017, 11:16 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I had one for a while...it is a very pretty lens. But it is not as compact as you may think (it has almost the same exact volume as a 31mm limited).
I think it does a fine job for replacing the DA 21/35/40mm limiteds. But I did not find it a great all-in-one solution.
I acquired a 16-85mm and I was much more satisfied. Yes, it is bigger...but I needed nothing else on a recent trip to Hawaii.
Of course, ymmv.

08-02-2017, 11:39 AM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by pathdoc Quote
When this lens came out, I had no idea what Pentax thought they were doing. Then I took the DA21/3.2 and DA40/2.8 to Melbourne, Australia, particularly the central business district, and most particularly Swanston Street and Bourke St. Mall, where street performers abound and where there are lots of narrow laneways off to the side (e.g. Degraves St). I had the DA15 and DA70 with me as well, but the 21 and 40 got the most use and I understood at last what the 20-40 was for.

UPSIDES:
One lens in place of two, plus everything in between. Potentially a one-stop, go-anywhere, do-anything solution for the big-city traveller, dweller, or street photographer.
WR.

DOWNSIDES:
Variable aperture (for those for whom it matters), combined with...
Slower by a whole stop at the long end than the prime it nominally replaces (but compactness over speed is a philosophical design compromise common to the DA Limiteds; it's the nature of the beast, and I'm not sure you can really hold this against it).
Nowhere near as compact on the camera as either of the primes it replaces. May not matter to some people, but for those who like the low physical profile (bordering on pocketability) and unobtrusiveness the DA21 and DA40 give a smaller DSLR body or the K-01, it might make a difference.
No screwdrive AF; DC AF only, so early (especially CCD-chipped) Pentax DSLRs cannot use it in autofocus. Irrelevant to some, but perhaps not to others.
Absolutely NOT a full-frame proposition, and definitely not for film. Current or potential K-1 owners who do not also own an APS-C body should consider looking for a secondhand FA20-35 instead.

In the end, I chose not to buy it because (a) I already had the primes that cover both ends, (b) for me, compactness on the camera overrides the need for lens changes (especially when the 21 and 40 both fit easily into moderate sized pockets), and (c) by the time I realised all the above, I knew the K-1 was in my future and any expensive new lenses I was going to buy had to be full-frame compatible.

At the end of the day it depends on how all these ups and downs balance out, and how much the upsides and downsides are relevant to you. You also need to think about when and where you will be using it (bright sunlight makes the slower aperture at 40mm irrelevant for exposure purposes, for example), what you will be shooting with it, and how big the resulting images will need to be. Any of the Limited lenses is easily good enough for Flickr, Facebook, or 6x4 inch glossies in an album, and then some. If you need more than that, I leave you to the tender mercies of others on this board who own it and from all accounts seem very pleased with it.

Also, remember - the baby will grow into a toddler and the toddler into a child, and the volume of stuff you will have to carry to support them will decrease (unless you have more children) - which could also diminish what you regard as the major advantage of the DA20-40 (one-lens solution). You already have the primes at both ends - unless you are going to sell or trade those in, buying the DA20-40 in addition to them seems not to make the most sense. I would wait and carefully reconsider at the end of the year. Rent or borrow one if you can. Then decide.
If there was one thing to add to this, it's the DC autofocus as a pro. I was surprised and extremely happy with the quick focus and lock on my K3. There seems to be no "hunting" for the focus.
08-02-2017, 11:47 AM - 2 Likes   #10
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Purchase this lens with your heart, not your head. This is a love affair lens. I own it, and the DA* 16-50. The 16-50 is wonderful and doesn't stop down. But guess what... Magic happens with the 20-40. It is a joy to take around, and the colors... oh the colors...

Look, it isn't practical except that it does offer some nice WR. The motor is silent, and the colors are wonderful. Just use it for what it is and enjoy.

I would look at it like this... If you plan to stay with APS-C, might as well enjoy one of the best lenses for the system. Also, you wont get this experience with any other camera system.

One more thing... Because the lens doesn't need to zoom much, you get AMAZING quality. Seriously, just look at the photos people get and make you own mind up.

---------- Post added 08-02-17 at 01:49 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Blacknight659 Quote
Purchase this lens with your heart, not your head. This is a love affair lens. I own it, and the DA* 16-50. The 16-50 is wonderful and doesn't stop down. But guess what... Magic happens with the 20-40. It is a joy to take around, and the colors... oh the colors...

Look, it isn't practical except that it does offer some nice WR. The motor is silent, and the colors are wonderful. Just use it for what it is and enjoy.

I would look at it like this... If you plan to stay with APS-C, might as well enjoy one of the best lenses for the system. Also, you wont get this experience with any other camera system.

One more thing... Because the lens doesn't need to zoom much, you get AMAZING quality. Seriously, just look at the photos people get and make you own mind up.
And on the baby note... My child is only 11mo old, and I don't rock primes at the moment. Zooms are the only way to go in my opinion.
08-02-2017, 12:01 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Is the new DA 20-40mm a worthy alternative to the DA 21 and DA 40 ltd?

Yes, of course - just compare the user review scores in the lens database. It's not expensive for what it is and, in fact, it is cheaper than the two separate Limiteds, plus you have all those focal lengths to fine-tune the field-of-view between 20 and 40. It is neat and well-balanced on a Pentax APS-C body, and (not that this really matters) it looks truly high class! .....because it is.

Philip
08-02-2017, 12:06 PM - 1 Like   #12
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I can't comment on the individual Prime Limiteds, but combined with the 24MP sensor on the K-3II, the 20-40 is spectacular, in a different league to the 16-45 that preceded it. Add the metal build, feel, silent/sure AF to the sheer retro prettiness of it, and yes, it's a love affair. Pixie dust aplenty!
08-02-2017, 12:23 PM - 1 Like   #13
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I have DA 21mm ltd and 40mm XS, but don't have the 20-40mm zoom. It certainly is very tempting. Seems to have lots of character! The reason why I trust the zoom is a good lens is because I've seen some forum posts saying they stopped using the 21mm and 40mm because of this zoom lens. That is a big endorsement!
But you are right about the cost. That is the main reason I'm resisting it for now
08-02-2017, 02:16 PM - 1 Like   #14
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I have the 20-40 which I bought to replace the 21 and 40. I sold the 21 and don't really miss it. I still have the 40 but hardly ever use it - I guess compactness is not that important to me. The 20-40 is soft when fully open, but sharpens up nicely around f5.6. Agree with the earlier points about colour.

I also have the 70 which is my favourite lens, but it is indeed a pain to change lenses all the time.
08-02-2017, 03:53 PM - 1 Like   #15
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...I got one a couple months back and I love it on the K5lls. It renders amazingly.
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