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05-17-2018, 08:20 AM   #1
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Justification for the Pentax 20-40 Limited, compared to 18 50 HD

Hey people,
I own the HD 18 50, and wanted to replace it with a lens, that can give me nicer pictures (OOF, micro contrast, color rendering, etc.). From what it looked like, the 20-40 limited seemed perfect, the size is nice, I like the handling. I tried both out, and to be honest.....My 18 50 is almost as good in every IQ aspect, smaller, lighter, and I am one of the people who is happy with the retraction button.

Therefore, I hope to find answers to the following questions here:
1. Can anyone see from the attached pictures, if it is my copy of the 20-40 limited, that has some issues, or is it really that "meh"?
2. Alternatives: I own the 15 and the 70 limited, and the 20-40 was supposed to be my everyday lens. At the moment (unless someone sees what I could do to massively improve it myself), it goes right back to the seller, as my 18-50 is just a little behind on micro contrast and a little bit bokeh, but only by a percent (price difference: Ä85, and Ä540!!!). Can anyone advise me another lens, that I have not thought of yet? Basically, WR, aperture good enough to isolate normally, but most important, size NOT more than the 20-40. I really love to keep all my everyday equipment in my small side pocket, that is a reason I picked Pentax, among others.
3. Is there maybe something I should look out for in photographic technique, using the 20-40? These are of course not the only pictures, some are of course better, but none can justify this price difference. As an example, my 70mm limited is just beautiful at all times, even though the aperture is not the best for great object isolation.

Thanks in advance for all your input, I really hope there are some ideas out there, as the 20-40 is still a good lens, but.....my copy cannot justify a price increase of nearly 7 times!

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05-17-2018, 08:33 AM - 3 Likes   #2
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Personally, I would say that the strengths of the 20-40 lie in different areas to those in these samples. It is particularly good in contrasty scenes, and is particularly good into the light, and has a 3D separation that makes depth pop... These flat-light flat-field images are bread and butter for any competent lens. Prod it a little and it really shines where the kit lens won't...
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PENTAX K-3 II  Photo 
05-17-2018, 08:52 AM - 1 Like   #3
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On my phone, so canít see what your camera body is (if you put it in your signature). All I can say is that I used my 20-40 at first on my K-5, and while it was visibly better than the previous 18-55 kit and 16-45 zooms, it didnít knock me over. Then I went from the 16megapixies of the K-5 to the 24MP of the K-3II - and then it knocked me over. Itís my walk around and there it will stay!
05-17-2018, 09:01 AM   #4
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Without exif information, how can we tell anything about your images? The 20-40 has strengths but your shots are not really using them. The 20-40 takes some usage in different situations to see what works with your camera body. Even if you keep it you can sell it for nearly what you paid for it in the first place. If the price difference between a plastic mount lens and a Limited is your biggest issue, you may need to rethink your budget. Good glass can be pricy initially, but since Pentax lenses generally last a long time, you will get your money's worth buying good glass. Disclaimer: I do not own the 18-50 but do own the 20-40 and it definitely qualifies as good glass.

05-17-2018, 09:13 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by SSGGeezer Quote
Without exif information, how can we tell anything about your images? The 20-40 has strengths but your shots are not really using them. The 20-40 takes some usage in different situations to see what works with your camera body. Even if you keep it you can sell it for nearly what you paid for it in the first place. If the price difference between a plastic mount lens and a Limited is your biggest issue, you may need to rethink your budget. Good glass can be pricy initially, but since Pentax lenses generally last a long time, you will get your money's worth buying good glass. Disclaimer: I do not own the 18-50 but do own the 20-40 and it definitely qualifies as good glass.
Please, read my post more carefully. I did not write that the price between plastic or great is hindering me, but it should reflect at least in something (the emperor's new clothes).

Personally, if there were pricey lenses amongst Pentax Da* , but they would be in the right size, I would go for them (fully aware that quality makes size, used to have Canon L 24-70, beautiful pics, but the constant 2.8 reflected in the huge tube, I am realistic).

What I asked was, if someone has input about: possible lens correction, photography technique, other quality lenses in small sizes. Exif info I will still include, have to change the pictures again, I did take the above shots at same settings, but somehow the wrong ones were uploaded.
05-17-2018, 09:19 AM   #6
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So - which body are you using it on?
05-17-2018, 09:21 AM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by victormeldrew Quote
Personally, I would say that the strengths of the 20-40 lie in different areas to those in these samples. It is particularly good in contrasty scenes, and is particularly good into the light, and has a 3D separation that makes depth pop... These flat-light flat-field images are bread and butter for any competent lens. Prod it a little and it really shines where the kit lens won't...
Will try a few more other pictures, as you suggested. Although this might not be a great comparison, but basically, every time I use my 70 limited, pictures are at least above average, really nice rendering and contrast. Getting the same with a zoom is of course not as likely, but still.....maybe the last month with the 70 has spoiled me a little

---------- Post added 05-17-18 at 09:22 AM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by microlight Quote
So - which body are you using it on?
Hey, on a K-70, sorry, I thought that it was added just now, when I edited my profile, so it would become visible
05-17-2018, 09:27 AM   #8
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Yeh, canít see the signature on a mobile. The K-70 should certainly allow the 20-40 to show its quality. Give it a chance; itís marvellous. I wouldnít go back.

05-17-2018, 09:29 AM - 1 Like   #9
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One possible solution since you like primes would be to return it and pick up a used DA 40xs and a DA 21 Ltd. I still am sorry I sold my 40XS as it made very nice images. I love my DA 15 but sometimes it is too wide. That is when I use my 20-40 at the wide end. I Am about 50/50 between primes and zooms currently. With a K-70 and a calibrated lens, you should be seeing pixie dust with the 20-40 though. Just like with the DA 70 you like.
05-17-2018, 09:38 AM - 1 Like   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by SSGGeezer Quote
One possible solution since you like primes would be to return it and pick up a used DA 40xs and a DA 21 Ltd. I still am sorry I sold my 40XS as it made very nice images. I love my DA 15 but sometimes it is too wide. That is when I use my 20-40 at the wide end. I Am about 50/50 between primes and zooms currently. With a K-70 and a calibrated lens, you should be seeing pixie dust with the 20-40 though. Just like with the DA 70 you like.
Thanks, initially I wanted to pick up the 21, I loved the rendering, and I love primarily nature shots(and from what I read, the 20-40 is better at rendering, color repro, and IQ, than the 21). The 40, unfortunately, was not to my liking, just the perspective really irritated me, I tried the 43 limited as well for a while, but it seems really that it is not my preferred focal length (not enough image isolation possible, very narrow fov, etc.)
.
The reason for not picking the 21 (or even 31 limited) is, that more than 90% of my shots are in between 20 and 26 mm, and I like to have the WR on the lens that I would use the most. I will of course take my camera away from bad weather, but sometimes, my nature shots are in moist conditions, and I would not want to ruin a lens like that (or have the need to change lenses in moist conditions).
05-17-2018, 10:16 AM   #11
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I own the DA L 18-50 SMC not the HD DA 18-50. I also own the DA Ltd 20-40 as well. They are very different lenses but I would say the DA Ltd is a better lens than my 18-50. The differences as others pointed out are the faster lens with better bokeh and higher flare resistance (but your HD DA 18-50 may be more flare resistant than my SMC DA L 18-50). The 18-50 has also been a bit less precise in focus accuracy on my K-3 (could just be fine focus adjustment is needed). I would say shoot many scenes side by side and then take the files randomly arrange them and look to see if you can see which one is which. The cost is typically not 7x either - not if you buy new: HD DA 18-50 is $297 at B&H today and the HD DA 20-40 is $797. You got a great deal if you got the HD DA version for that price. The best I could do was to buy the DAL 18-50 for around $80 USD and the 20-40 cost me $450 used, the HD DA versions all went for much more here on eBay and the marketplace.
05-17-2018, 10:43 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by UncleVanya Quote
I own the DA L 18-50 SMC not the HD DA 18-50. I also own the DA Ltd 20-40 as well. They are very different lenses but I would say the DA Ltd is a better lens than my 18-50. The differences as others pointed out are the faster lens with better bokeh and higher flare resistance (but your HD DA 18-50 may be more flare resistant than my SMC DA L 18-50). The 18-50 has also been a bit less precise in focus accuracy on my K-3 (could just be fine focus adjustment is needed). I would say shoot many scenes side by side and then take the files randomly arrange them and look to see if you can see which one is which. The cost is typically not 7x either - not if you buy new: HD DA 18-50 is $297 at B&H today and the HD DA 20-40 is $797. You got a great deal if you got the HD DA version for that price. The best I could do was to buy the DAL 18-50 for around $80 USD and the 20-40 cost me $450 used, the HD DA versions all went for much more here on eBay and the marketplace.
I shot side by side the last two days, and I can see which lens is which, but it is just.....kinda not enough. I really hoped for a similar feeling I get each time I take the 70 limited out for shooting, and it is just not there at all.

BTW, the HD version really is great with flare, tried that as well, fared as well as the 20 40 in the shots.

About the price: I was thinking that if the lens was only 2x less, it would be justifiable, but the 18-50s are all going for in between 90 and 120 euros (refurbished, the 20 40 was also refurbished).

At the moment, I am looking through pictures with the 20 40, so I can try to adjust my shooting style a little. Still, the 18 50 is a really good kit lens, much better than the garbage Canon gave along with my 500D ages ago. So maybe, Pentax made the kit lens a little too good, and the 20-40 not quite good enough?
05-17-2018, 10:44 AM - 1 Like   #13
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Most if not all of these images were probably taken around f8, yes? It's a guess as I don't see a link to exif info.

I think portraiture might show more differences between your 18-50 and 20-40. The pictures of the river scene or the single tree shouldn't stress even average lenses.

Alternative primes; DA 21, F or FA 28, Sigma 28 EX (have it, love the IQ, it's huge though) FA 35 f2, DA 35 Ltd, DA 40 or DA 40 XS. I also like the Tamron 17-50. The low-light/hi-ISO performance of the K-70 and the DA 21 or any of the f2.8 28's would make for a very capable combination.

EDIT: Thinking about this some more, an 18-50 might be a really nice zoom to be the 'anchor' around which you build a kit. Good quality primes where you really want something at a specific focal length, and then a do-all zoom that's affordable and easy to pack along. For me that's the DA 18-135, and then I have good primes at 15, 28, and 50mm (along with a bunch of other random lenses, but you get the idea). A good ultra-wide, a good normal lens on crop for walk-about/do-anything, and a good short-tele for portraits. It seems like you're about there anyway and the 20-40 just doesn't have enough of what it takes to buy its way onto your shelf.

Last edited by pres589; 05-17-2018 at 10:50 AM.
05-17-2018, 10:47 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
Most if not all of these images were probably taken around f8, yes? It's a guess as I don't see a link to exif info.

I think portraiture might show more differences between your 18-50 and 20-40. The pictures of the river scene or the single tree shouldn't stress even average lenses.

Alternative primes; DA 21, F or FA 28, Sigma 28 EX (have it, love the IQ, it's huge though) FA 35 f2, DA 35 Ltd, DA 40 or DA 40 XS. I also like the Tamron 17-50. The low-light/hi-ISO performance of the K-70 and the DA 21 or any of the f2.8 28's would make for a very capable combination.
(Just saw that there is a like button, so you got my first one )

Some of them are, because I kinda felt the lens not being sharp, wanted to see what happens. I tried from maximum aperture, though, and 8 for sharpness comparisons, not a lot of improvement, tbh. Maybe I got a bogey lens?

Will now go for some portraits with my son and wife, lets see
05-17-2018, 11:03 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by AlexanderS Quote
(Just saw that there is a like button, so you got my first one )

Some of them are, because I kinda felt the lens not being sharp, wanted to see what happens. I tried from maximum aperture, though, and 8 for sharpness comparisons, not a lot of improvement, tbh. Maybe I got a bogey lens?

Will now go for some portraits with my son and wife, lets see
At f8 almost all the lenses are going to be sharp and nice. Most faults are at wider apertures.
A point to make - if the shots wide open don't seem sharp. Perhaps you need to use live view and manually focus them with focus peaking. The AF fine adjustment is more critical the wider open you are.

---------- Post added 05-17-18 at 02:05 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by pres589 Quote
EDIT: Thinking about this some more, an 18-50 might be a really nice zoom to be the 'anchor' around which you build a kit. Good quality primes where you really want something at a specific focal length, and then a do-all zoom that's affordable and easy to pack along. For me that's the DA 18-135, and then I have good primes at 15, 28, and 50mm (along with a bunch of other random lenses, but you get the idea). A good ultra-wide, a good normal lens on crop for walk-about/do-anything, and a good short-tele for portraits. It seems like you're about there anyway and the 20-40 just doesn't have enough of what it takes to buy its way onto your shelf.
I own the 18-135 and use it as my walkabout - I got the 18-50 to compete with my m43 walkabout kits and see if I could get my K mount kit smaller and still make it light enough and small enough for some purposes that it isn't meeting. It didn't win me over. I haven't decided to sell it yet - the image quality is good and I like it well enough but I haven't used it a lot. I'm more likely to grab the DA 15, 20-40 and 50-135 than the 18-50 plus anything.
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