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08-20-2008, 08:25 AM   #1
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Which pancake? 40/2.8 M versus DA

I am really getting interested in adding a pancake 40/2.8 to my arsenal.

On film, 40mm is a favourite focal length of mine. On digital 60mm-equivalent would be a handy near-normal length.

Of course I am attracted by the small size and convenience of such a miniature prime.

Because I shoot film and digital, I really want a pancake that will work nicely for both. The autofocus of the DA is appealing, the lack of aperture ring less so. But neither of those are a dealbreaker.

I am concerned about softness on full frame film. I have been looking at the sample shots from Boris Liberman http://boris.isra-shop.com/da_lim_on_film/DA40_028.jpg and am concerned by the corner softness.

My question is -- does the 40/2.8 M actually perform any better? Or does it also have soft corners? Is there any image quality issues one way or the other?

Tell me your opinions. DA or M?

08-20-2008, 08:36 AM   #2
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check the lens review on this forum, but the DA Limited is excellent but most people do not like the M40 and it seems to be more of a collector's item rather than anything else
08-20-2008, 06:27 PM   #3
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I've owned the M 40mm and currently have the DA 40mm. Both are decent lenses, although I think the DA 40 shows slightly better contrast on digital which I would attribute to the lens coating. You can see actual side by side image comparison of the 2 lenses here.

yˆ’B~ˆ‚ƒŒƒ“ƒY‚—~‚‚ƒb!zƒyƒ“ƒ^ƒbƒNƒX smc PENTAX-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited
08-20-2008, 07:44 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by filmamigo Quote
I am really getting interested in adding a pancake 40/2.8 to my arsenal.

On film, 40mm is a favourite focal length of mine. On digital 60mm-equivalent would be a handy near-normal length.

Of course I am attracted by the small size and convenience of such a miniature prime.

Because I shoot film and digital, I really want a pancake that will work nicely for both. The autofocus of the DA is appealing, the lack of aperture ring less so. But neither of those are a dealbreaker.

I am concerned about softness on full frame film. I have been looking at the sample shots from Boris Liberman http://boris.isra-shop.com/da_lim_on_film/DA40_028.jpg and am concerned by the corner softness.

My question is -- does the 40/2.8 M actually perform any better? Or does it also have soft corners? Is there any image quality issues one way or the other?

Tell me your opinions. DA or M?
Probably DA, unless you can find an M for really cheap. I've owned 2 M40mm lenses, and they quite surprised me. Their reputation is far different from their picture making ability.
They are a good lens in a field of very good to excellent lenses.
The DA40 is a very good lens.

08-21-2008, 07:29 AM   #5
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Great link, creampuff. Those side by side examples were just what I wanted to see.

The DA images are what I expect from a Pentax lens -- nice contrast and colour rendition. The M images are good, just not fully Pentax.

The bokeh on both lenses is really nice, however. And I think the M lens would be a great choice for B&W.
08-21-2008, 12:30 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by filmamigo Quote
I am really getting interested in adding a pancake 40/2.8 to my arsenal.

On film, 40mm is a favourite focal length of mine. On digital 60mm-equivalent would be a handy near-normal length.

Of course I am attracted by the small size and convenience of such a miniature prime.

Because I shoot film and digital, I really want a pancake that will work nicely for both. The autofocus of the DA is appealing, the lack of aperture ring less so. But neither of those are a dealbreaker.

I am concerned about softness on full frame film. I have been looking at the sample shots from Boris Liberman http://boris.isra-shop.com/da_lim_on_film/DA40_028.jpg and am concerned by the corner softness.

My question is -- does the 40/2.8 M actually perform any better? Or does it also have soft corners? Is there any image quality issues one way or the other?

Tell me your opinions. DA or M?
You may want to take a look at the Voigtlander 40/f2 pancake.

BA229DPX Voigtlander Ultron 40mm f/2 SL-II Aspherical Compact Pancake Manual Focus Normal Lens for Pentax Film & Digital Cameras

It works on film and digital and it's a reasonable price. If you can live with manual focus it may be a winner.
08-21-2008, 02:28 PM   #7
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I have no insight into which lens might perform better in image quality, except to parrot what others have said - some say they are the same optically, some say the DA is definitely superior, but hardly anyone ever claims the M is superior.

What I can add to the discussion is this: the DA version not only has AF, it has probably the *fastest* AF of any lens Pentax has ever made. That to me is one of its strongest features - one of the things that makes this lens an interesting choice over the FA35, DA35, or FA43. If you're considering giving that up and getting an M40 - which costs no less than the DA - I'd personally be considering one of the FA lenses instead.
08-21-2008, 05:32 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by filmamigo Quote
Great link, creampuff. Those side by side examples were just what I wanted to see.

The DA images are what I expect from a Pentax lens -- nice contrast and colour rendition. The M images are good, just not fully Pentax.

The bokeh on both lenses is really nice, however. And I think the M lens would be a great choice for B&W.
You're welcome.
Unfortunately the M 40mm did not get a makeover to have the A setting on the aperture ring. One thing I noticed about the M lenses is that the colour rendition is a little cooler compared to the present lenses. But I think you can't go wrong with any one of them. The 40mm Voigtlander Ultron is also a good alternative if you want a faster lens.

08-22-2008, 11:59 AM   #9
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Oooh, that Voigtlander looks nice. I didn't even know about it.

But it's a big price spread. I can get a DA40 for $260 Canadian.
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