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08-24-2017, 12:54 PM - 1 Like   #1
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HD 20-40 or HD 21 & HD 35 macro

I own a HD 21mm F3.2 AL Limited & HD 35mm F2.8 Macro Limited. Both fantastic lenses, and I love them, well loved them. Since moving to FF they've seen very little use. I find I use my K3 to support my K1 with DA* zooms, rather than the primes. I use mainly primes on my K1 - I only say that, coz I'm actually rather partial to primes when aiming for the best quality I can manage. Now I'm thinking walkabout with the K3 ...

I don't really have a walkabout option for the K1 and I was wondering whether to sell my 21 & 35 and buy, with the proceeds, a HD 20-40mm, reasoning it's similar weight to the 35, but WR and more flexible. Yes I know it will not have the 35's edge to edge sharpness, but it will probably compare well with the 21 and not really be that far off the 35 for a walkabout lens. Swapping for the 20-40 hopefully will mean my old K3 will see more action as it will be a lighter package than my 16-50 which I find I can't use as a walkabout combination. (I have 15mm limited, which I'll never sell, to complement whatever choice I make)

The 20-40 does seem to have rather a mixed bag of views, and I need () advice ... I suppose this is really another (groan) quality V convenience/ prime V zoom question, but because it's specific I hope it's got some value as I can't decide.

Thoughts, anyone please ? Many thanks.

08-24-2017, 01:32 PM   #2
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If you don't use the 35's macro capabilities, don't care much about the pancake-ness of the 21, and like the 20-40's WR-ness and flexibility, then all systems are go, IMHO. ;-)
08-24-2017, 01:44 PM   #3
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I bought the 20-40 for travel, and love it. I may have a bad copy of a 21mm Ltd, but it is my second, and both were similar with rather muted colors. I do not own the 35mm lens. I wanted a high quality compact travel zoom, primarily for urban use, and WR. It has delivered. Others might differ, but I really like the lens, easy to carry, and lovely rendering--with WR. If you like that focal range, I think it is a great option. Mine is not going anywhere as long as I shoot APSC.
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08-24-2017, 01:48 PM   #4
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I personally hate going out without macro capability, so right there, the 35 would be my choice.

08-24-2017, 02:05 PM   #5
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20-40

I often refer to the 20-40 as the most desirable Pentax lens that no one needs. I tried it out in the local store and just love the feel of it. The balance and overall quality of construction is tough to match. However the price vs utility is another matter all together. 20-40 is not much by way of zoom. For the money you can easily find alternatives that are very reasonable in price and offer more flexibility in zoom range. A Sigma 17-70 is one possibility. If you find some way to justify the 20-40 please let me know and maybe I can use the same rational to put it on my K3-II. If Pentax were to lower the price I would certainly be looking closer at it. I have an HD version of the DA-15, a Sigma 18-50, the Pentax 18-135 and a DFA-100. I recently sold my FA-43. I expect to sell my 18-135 as it doesn't get much use anymore.
08-24-2017, 02:12 PM   #6
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I still have my DA 21mm and 40mm Limiteds, and have no plans to sell them. My general-purpose zoom lens has been the DA 18-135mm, which has been great when I need a super zoom. However, last year I decided to also acquire the DA 20-40mm Limited. I got the silver as I think it looks distinctive and classy even on a black body. I was very impressed with it on both my K-S2 and K-5 IIs. In June I decided to get the KP, in silver, at a good price. The 20-40mm Limited has been terrific on the KP. Great IQ, lightweight, WR, balances and handles beautifully! For most purposes where not much tele is needed, or extremes of range, it covers most needs from wide angle to tele with better FL range than just going between the 21mm and 40mm primes. The only time I would employ the DA Limited primes now would be when I need the extra-compactness of the pancakes and/or the f/2.8 of the 40mm.

I also bought the DA 15mm Limited, in silver, which fits into the front accessory pocket of my camera holster case! A great combo! Other lenses I will sometimes have along with the 20-40mm Limited are: FA 77mm f/1.8, FA 43mm f/1.9 Limiteds, DFA 100mm f/2.8 WR Macro, DA* 50-135mm f/2.8, and possibly the DA 12-24mm f/4. I've found the DA 20-40mm Limited to be excellent at the heart of a flexible, high-quality kit.

Last edited by mikesbike; 08-24-2017 at 02:18 PM.
08-24-2017, 02:12 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
I personally hate going out without macro capability, so right there, the 35 would be my choice.
Good pt, Norm. The 20-40 gets down to around 0.3m, so I guess it gets pretty close, but worth thinking on. Thanks.

---------- Post added 08-24-17 at 10:15 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by mikesbike Quote
I also bought the DA 15mm Limited, in silver, which fits into the front accessory pocket of my camera holster case! Other lenses I will sometimes have along with the 20-40mm Limited are...
Thanks Mike, that's along the lines I was thinking: 20-40 and 15. Maybe a longer prime, if I'm being greedy ...

---------- Post added 08-24-17 at 10:17 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Glen Quote
I often refer to the 20-40 as the most desirable Pentax lens that no one needs. I tried it out in the local store and just love the feel of it. The balance and overall quality of construction is tough to match. However the price vs utility is another matter all together. 20-40 is not much by way of zoom. For the money you can easily find alternatives that are very reasonable in price and offer more flexibility in zoom range. A Sigma 17-70 is one possibility. If you find some way to justify the 20-40 please let me know and maybe I can use the same rational to put it on my K3-II. If Pentax were to lower the price I would certainly be looking closer at it. I have an HD version of the DA-15, a Sigma 18-50, the Pentax 18-135 and a DFA-100. I recently sold my FA-43. I expect to sell my 18-135 as it doesn't get much use anymore.
Thanks Glen. You have a pt about it being a luxury lens, but somehow it seems it might just work out, provided I can sell the 21 & 35 to fund it.
08-24-2017, 02:32 PM - 1 Like   #8
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This is a tough call.

I have all three (my primes are SMC version but that makes little difference) and I use them for different reasons. HD DA 20-40 does make an excellent walk around lens with weather sealing, excellent image quality and fast silent focus. It pretty much lived on my K-3 for a looong time and they go great together. On shorter end it probably beats DA 21 picture wise (though some people like unique perspective of that lens) and gives you a bit larger aperture. On longer end, your 35 is definitely better and has the macro option. I honestly think my copy of 35mm may be the sharpest lens I own, period. That said, I know the review on this side was really pretty critical of the 40mm end, but personally I never had much issues with picture quality on my 20-40 so I can't say I'd be too worried. You're not expecting it to be in the same bag as 35mm but it was always great in practical use. I do miss the extra stop occasionally though.

One thing to note is that 20-40 is significantly larger than either of your lenses (although for its size, it's very light) - it's by no means a large lens, but even 35 is tiny compared to it. Since I got KP I use the primes more simply because they seem to belong on that compact camera.

It all comes down to preferences. If weather sealing and not changing lenses is important to you, which it seems it might be, since it's going to be on your secondary and walkaround camera, 20-40 wins. If you want to keep the ultimate image quality (and I honestly think that 35mm may be the sharpes lens I own) in tiny size, primes are still better. And even 21 can make a decent walkaround in many cases.

You could also get 20-40, try it for a while and see how you like it.

08-24-2017, 02:37 PM - 1 Like   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Glen Quote
I often refer to the 20-40 as the most desirable Pentax lens that no one needs. I tried it out in the local store and just love the feel of it. The balance and overall quality of construction is tough to match. However the price vs utility is another matter all together. 20-40 is not much by way of zoom. For the money you can easily find alternatives that are very reasonable in price and offer more flexibility in zoom range. A Sigma 17-70 is one possibility. If you find some way to justify the 20-40 please let me know and maybe I can use the same rational to put it on my K3-II. If Pentax were to lower the price I would certainly be looking closer at it. I have an HD version of the DA-15, a Sigma 18-50, the Pentax 18-135 and a DFA-100. I recently sold my FA-43.
The price/utility point is entirely fair. There are plenty of other options, although some are screw-drive, all are bigger/heavier, some aren't WR, etc. The 20-40 checks all those boxes and gives you a prime-like experience in a package that is small and light enough that you don't mind carrying it all day. It doesn't feel like a conventional zoom for some reason.

QuoteOriginally posted by BarryE Quote
Thanks Mike, that's along the lines I was thinking: 20-40 and 15. Maybe a longer prime, if I'm being greedy ...
15, 20-40, 70 If I had to cull the herd down to a 3 lens kit, this would be it.
That said everyone's specific needs are unique, so YMMV
08-24-2017, 02:47 PM   #10
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Please take a look at the DA 18-55 WR last version with the metal mount. It gets down to 0.25m, is WR of course, costs very little especially used, weighs next to nothing and produces good results given reasonable light and has a wider range. It vignettes less to I believe. As a bonus, it's reported to be fine on the K1 from 24mm.
The 20-40 featured heavily in my 28mm option spreadsheet (you've got to create on of those!) and although it has nice features, and I do believe the user experience is very nice, ultimately I could not get past the small range. That's just me though. As ever owners do produce great images with it. You pays yer money and make a choice. Mine was the kit lens, and I already have good glass so it's the small package, weight, and small lens extension that was attractive. It lives on my K-50 most of the time as a small option for local events and when I want least hassle. The other upside, you get to keep the limited's. Win-Win.
08-24-2017, 03:00 PM   #11
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Unless the lack of WR is a deal-breaker, go have a look at the reviews for the FA 20-35 f/4.0, which would also go on the K-1 if you felt you needed a really wide zoom for that. Yes, it's only available used, but it would seem to fit the bill for both your bodies.

I take your point about primes on the K-1, and mine usually carries one as well; just throwing a left-field option into the mix.
08-24-2017, 04:16 PM   #12
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Sale HD21 and 35 then get the SMC 21 and 35 for kick ass starbrust!
I almost get a 20-40 in the past, but because I like SMC15 starburst, and when I see starbursts from SMC21, I couldn't resist.

I know it really hard to let go the
lenses you really like but it haven't been used that often. Same thing happen to me when I let go my F28 and FA35. if 20-40 can make you go out with the K3 more often, then don't find more reason not to get it. good luck

Last edited by pakinjapan; 08-24-2017 at 04:24 PM.
08-24-2017, 06:13 PM   #13
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What a dilemma!

So many good choices.
08-24-2017, 07:06 PM   #14
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DA 20-40mm is very attractive lens. I handled it at a fair once and it was nice, great barrel. But I never decided to buy it because I already have some primes in that range. And the DA 20-40mm is not exactly super cheap.
So if you already have a good set of primes in that range, it might not be a good idea to sell them just to get the 20-40mm, unless you really need WR zoom lens with silent AF. It definitely has its appeal, I totally get it, but for me, I decided to stick to DA 21mm, M 28mm, DA 35mm (non-macro) and DA 40mm XS. I enjoy taking one lens off and selecting the right lens for the job, I like the differences between them, and I wouldn't want to replace them with just one zoom. I don't need WR or silent AF. But I don't want to discourage anyone from buying quality Pentax lenses
Hope you make the right choice for you. Buying used is a nice way to ensure you have a minimal loss if you decide a lens is not for you
08-24-2017, 07:34 PM - 1 Like   #15
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There is the factor of how often you need true macro capability, and that at 35mm. I would say the 20-40mm Limited is quite good as an alternative to the 21mm LTD, trading ultra-smallness for more FL range, and a little more speed, and WR, and silent, sure AF, while still being compact and light. You gain 40mm in the bargain, as well as all the FLs in between. This range on an APS-C body is similar to 30mm-60mm on FF, which is within the most used FL range for versatile walk-around all-around purposes. With the 15mm LTD added, it amounts to quite a lot of range in a very easy-to carry, very high-quality kit. An ordinary kit lens provides a bit more range, but not with the IQ or speed. I have both, so I know. As you say, you are already satisfying your desire for good prime lens photography with your K-1 and FF lenses.

As to the macro aspect, you might consider selling your 35mm LTD as well as the 21mm, and after getting your new kit, also acquiring the DFA 50mm f/2.8 macro to address such a need. It is not of the build quality of the 35mm LTD, but it does have a very high rep for top-notch sharpness, and adds onto the FL range of your kit instead of duplicating within it. Like the DA 35mm, it is of screw-drive design and does not have WR. It would also be very usable with your K-1, since it is a FF lens. The price is not bad either.

Last edited by mikesbike; 08-24-2017 at 08:07 PM.
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