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07-09-2019, 12:07 PM   #1
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Why the 40 if...

I hear a lot of people talk about the 40, either in XS or non-XS form. it gets good reviews, seems clean and shoots well. Not bad for an f/2.8.

But, if you already have a 35 f/1.4 (the Sigma art in my case) and a 50 f/1.4 (the FA in my case), is there ever a reason why you'd need a 40? A slower lens at that. Why would the 40 also not be released with a faster aperture? It's in the same length range. Shouldn't be that hard to produce.

Just idle curiosity on my part.

07-09-2019, 12:29 PM   #2
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depending upon your point of view, you may see a gap in your lens range that a 40mm lens would fit into...
07-09-2019, 12:35 PM - 2 Likes   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaronjamesgray Quote
I hear a lot of people talk about the 40, either in XS or non-XS form. it gets good reviews, seems clean and shoots well. Not bad for an f/2.8.

But, if you already have a 35 f/1.4 (the Sigma art in my case) and a 50 f/1.4 (the FA in my case), is there ever a reason why you'd need a 40? A slower lens at that. Why would the 40 also not be released with a faster aperture? It's in the same length range. Shouldn't be that hard to produce.

Just idle curiosity on my part.
The 40 Ltd which I own is even smaller than the 35. Further, I really like its color rendition over the 35 and over the nifty 50 as well (don't know about the 50 1.4). As well, it turns the K-70, at least, into something approaching a P&S.

Last edited by jgnfld; 07-09-2019 at 12:42 PM.
07-09-2019, 12:38 PM   #4
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The Pentax 40's did not have the same design goals as the Sigma 35 Art. The 40's are excellent travel lenses, render decently, and are not sharp all over until stopped down to f5.6 or f8. The Sigma 35, from what I understand, was meant to be pretty nicely sharp wide open and sacrifice weight and size to do this at a wide max aperture.

If you want to keep your kit logically stocked and you already have the 35 Art and an FA 50 1.4 then it would probably be hard to justify any of the Pentax 40's. What the 40 XS brings to the party is decent rendering in a tiny package the size of a body cap. On a K-01 or KP, for instance, it seems like a wonderful street photog lens. It also seems to perform well enough on full frame as evidenced by some photos that have been shared here on this forum. Aside from the lens cap (I find it to be an easily lost silly thing to have done on Pentax's part) it's a pretty neat little lens.

I think both the Sigma 35 and 40 XS are nice lenses but they're conceptually miles away from each other. And maybe that's why you might be able to justify owning both.

07-09-2019, 12:44 PM   #5
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The beauty about this lens is it’s size and weight. The XS is hardly bigger than a mount cap and weights next to nothing. Releasing it with a faster aperture would make it much bigger and heavier. Also because the lens elements are few and lightweight it has probably the fastest autofocus of any screwdrive lens out there.
07-09-2019, 01:09 PM   #6
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Really, if you want a lens like that with a faster aperture, the FA 43 Ltd is waiting for you. I think the out of focus rendering of the DA 40 XS is the best of the three Pentax 40's or the FA 43.
07-09-2019, 01:15 PM - 2 Likes   #7
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I'd say it would be worth it for the tiny size of the lens alone. It's like a polar opposite of the Sigma

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07-09-2019, 01:18 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by aaronjamesgray Quote
I hear a lot of people talk about the 40, either in XS or non-XS form. it gets good reviews, seems clean and shoots well. Not bad for an f/2.8.

But, if you already have a 35 f/1.4 (the Sigma art in my case) and a 50 f/1.4 (the FA in my case), is there ever a reason why you'd need a 40? A slower lens at that. Why would the 40 also not be released with a faster aperture? It's in the same length range. Shouldn't be that hard to produce.

Just idle curiosity on my part.
Apart from the excellent answers you have already been given, do not forget that Pentax always values it's past.

The DA 40mm 2.8 was harking back to the M series 40mm 2.8 released in 1976. This was the original pancake lens.

But the reason for the small size of the original was fashion. This was the 1970's, the era that saw Pentax release smaller cameras like the MX and ME. Olympus's small OM series cameras were huge sellers in this decade . Think also of the Sony Walkman. The trend was for small.

When in 2004 a requirement was for a small prime, they simply borrowed design cues from the past.

M 40/2.8 | The K-Mount Page

07-09-2019, 01:28 PM   #9
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The appeal lies in the size, I guess. I had the M 40mm f/2.8 back in the eighties, but not for long. It just didn't appeal and then an A 50mm f/2.8 macro came up for sale. And so it had to go.

It did work as advertised. A Super A with 40mm would fit into a shirt pocket.

I would like to have one again, but more to complete my collection of M lenses than to take pictures with it.

Having said that, I have found that my M 28mm f/2.8 on APS-C works well for street photography. That translates to a 42mm equivalent in full frame terms. So a K1 with 40mm would do the same job. Maybe one day...
07-09-2019, 01:35 PM - 2 Likes   #10
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I'll just point out that the Sigma 40/1.4 Art is more than thirteen times the weight of the Pentax DA 40/2.8 Ltd.
07-09-2019, 01:37 PM - 1 Like   #11
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For me, it's how it handles for street/travel and how light it is for landscapes that require a strenuous hike. If there's no normal-ish focal length in the kit I know I want to bring, adding the 40 will not increase the weight or bulk noticeably. I usually shoot stopped down in these situations.
07-09-2019, 01:40 PM   #12
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I have the SMC Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 XS

Diam x Length 62.9 x 9.2 mm (2.5 x 0.36 in.) Weight 52 g (1.8 oz.)

Read more at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/smc-pentax-da-40mm-f2.8-xs.html#ixzz5tDQU2DO6

and the SMC Pentax-DA 40mm F2.8 Limited

Diam x Length 63 x 15 mm (2.5 x 0.6 in.) Weight 90 g (3.2 oz.)

Read more at: https://www.pentaxforums.com/lensreviews/SMC-Pentax-DA-40mm-F2.8-Limited-Pan...#ixzz5tDQFNJXG

I got the XS first and then the Limited

neither bought new but " experienced "

and I like them both

to each his own

Last edited by aslyfox; 07-09-2019 at 02:22 PM.
07-09-2019, 01:48 PM - 1 Like   #13
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The DA 40mm makes for a great body cap !
07-09-2019, 01:57 PM   #14
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All fair responses. I was speaking clearly from an optical standpoint, but the easy portability of the 40 is understandably appealing. Personally, I don't mind walking around with something as big as the Art. I care about optical quality over ease of use so I don't mind lugging around a bigger lens, but I admit I'm probably out of the norm when it comes to that.
07-09-2019, 02:10 PM   #15
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Iíve actually been really impressed by the optical quality of the 40xs.

Sure, it doesnít do narrow DoF, but itís sharp, has good colors and contrast, and keeps aberrations under better control than most of my (mostly vintage) glass.

Itís definitely the best optical performance by weight in the lineup

-Eric
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