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03-26-2020, 07:32 AM - 2 Likes   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by AfterPentax Quote
As a treat to yourself I would not buy a limited 21 or 70. You only will get disappointed. I do not think that the price of a limited is in accordance with what they deliver. You have a lot of lenses and even some outstanding ones. Although it is not a limited you have the 35mm F2.4. One of the best lenses there is at a reasonable price. Alright, the build quality of the limiteds is very good, the 35mm mentioned is "plastic", but it only shows you that it is not about the build quality, but about the glass used in manufacturing the lens. I own a 40mm SMC limited and it is one of the worst lenses I own (read the Pentaxforum review, it gets a 5 for sharpness and a 10 for buildquality "https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/da-35mm-40mm-limited-xs-shootout/conclusion-da-40mm-f28-li.html" and an overall conclusion of "very good". It looks lovely on my K-01 and better looks than the 40mm XS. I also ordered a 21mm limited and I had it returned to the seller. It is the only lens, no matter what F I used, that did not give a good picture, it is not about sharpness but about an overall view you get. All my other lenses do, even the standard 18-55 Mark II gives better results. The 40mm limited sometimes gives an outstanding picture if the circumstances are perfect. But circumstances are not always perfect. Other lenses are a lot easier to use. To treat my self I bought a little while ago the plastic fantastic combo 35mm and 50mm. My K-01 is now a happy camera. It loves primes and it shows it in its pictures.
But a special treat might be the F 28mm F2.8. Or the 20-40mm Limited, It gives you great results, it looks fabulous on a camera because of the "old fashioned" design (I bought this one quite cheap for a new lens). Or you could fill in the gap between 50mm and 70 mm and buy a fabulous HD 16-85, which fills most gaps between 45 and 100.

I read your review (in the review section) of the 40Limited and wished had provided proof of your poor review...

03-26-2020, 07:32 AM - 1 Like   #32
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I was reading all the responses last night and today and want to thank everyone for thoughtful and helpful responses! Like I expected, it does give me a lot to think about.

As I said the sale of a couple of lenses got cancelled so I'm not doing this right now but it will happen... one I think soon and then I might buy the other later this year hopefully. Hobby funds usually take a while and budget is always what limits me...

Also, I want to say that I would have more use for the 70 than just portraits. I love short tele landscapes and scenery in general, and the DA 70 seems to really excel in that regard. Just to give an example, to me the best Ansel Adams landscapes - and the ones that to me define his work - were all in the short telephoto range. His wide angle stuff doesn't even move me...

So a comment on a few posts...

QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
21 hands down! (Though I probably won't ever say anything else, it's certainly my favourite lens).
And you make a very compelling case for it.
I keep seeing - your pictures are an example of it, and so are @northcoastgreg 's - a difference between the HD and SMC versions of the 21mm lens. I know you have the HD, and so does Greg - they just seem to have more of that "Limited" magic than the regular SMC version. Could be in my mind? Could be the processing?
So in that case, it would make sense to get the SMC DA 70 first (which I can afford sooner as I see them going for sometimes less than 200 but usually in the low 200s) and buy the HD 21 later when I can afford it (high 200s/early 300s for a used copy)?

QuoteOriginally posted by tokyoscape Quote
21 or 70 for street?
Both of course But I don't do just street, I am a jack of all trades and a master of none, currently

QuoteOriginally posted by SSGGeezer Quote
DA 21 is just so amazing on a KP, Here is a wildlife image I took with it.
Yes that is a great shot but imagine that taken with the DA 70 Or one of my 50s, or my DA 35 Limited!

QuoteOriginally posted by ramseybuckeye Quote
Note: I've also been involved in a Coronavirus busted deal. The seller doesn't want to leave his house to ship. (I understand too, but I know I can buy the postage online, the Postal Carrier will pick it up on the porch, a postal scale was a great investment)
I still have one lens that I have yet to ship out and the buyer's been very understanding... the issue is I don't have a scale like you and I need some packing materials. Otherwise I could do it online as you said, I've done it once before (and got the weight wrong but thankfully I went to the postal office even though I had it prepaid, so I could pay the difference and the package did not get rejected).

QuoteOriginally posted by Just1MoreDave Quote
Edit: I also like the DA 16-45 but it doesn't do sunstars. The SMC DA 21 does. You have to accept the "green blob" as a tradeoff.
Ah other than a couple test shots of my Christmas tree years ago, I don't think I've ever really done sunstars purposefully... so if I can eventually afford it I think I'd love the HD version of the 21.

QuoteOriginally posted by caliscouser Quote
My immediate thought was replacing these:

DA 16-45
Tokina 24 2.8
M 28 3.5
DA 35 Limited and 35 2.4
....with the DA 20-40.
@Tokyoscapes had a similar thought. I can't really do that because:
  • I would miss the 16mm from the 16-45
  • The DA 35 Limited is my only 1:1 macro, and I don't think the 20-40 can really replace it. It's just magical....
  • The 16-45 has the wobble so probably not worth hardly anything (though it doesn't affect optics at all) and the DA 35 2.4 has a little scratch on the front element and the filter ring is 1/3 broken off (no I didn't do either of those things... family members who think the camera and lens could be set at the floor of the minivan...

But I will agree that the 20-40 is a lovely lens and if I could afford it I think I'd prefer it over the 21.
03-26-2020, 07:48 AM - 2 Likes   #33
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Some more comments...

QuoteOriginally posted by cooks333 Quote
I had both the 21 and 70 paired w/ a K3 for several years before I took the plunge on my K1 last year. They're both fantastic and I don't think you'd regret going with either one. I found more uses for the 21, but the 70 is the lens I got most excited about using and produced a lot of my favorite shots. Hard to put my finger on it, but the texture/sharpness/contrast/tone combination it produces would sometimes just blow me away.
I see the same thing you see in the DA 70 shots! But I'm also seeing a lot of it in the HD version of the 21, not so much in the SMC version. But it could be just in my head.

QuoteOriginally posted by Arjay Bee Quote
So the three limiteds get little use due to the ease of use and quality of the 16-85.
Thanks for sharing your progression... very interesting read. Though I think in my case the 16-85 is not going to be an option. I've never seen a 16-85 shot that made me go "wow" or made me feel like I was immersed in the scene. Personal taste, I know...

QuoteOriginally posted by pepperberry farm Quote
if you watch/have patience, you can find A20/2.8's for considerably less - but I understand the point...

we have huge, open skies and complementary fields for sunrises and sunsets here and the A20/2.8 kills the DA21 in color saturation and clarity...... but I have to submit, the DA21 is considerably cheaper and and a tidier package to carry around....
I do like the shots I see from the SMC-A 20 2.8 a LOT. Same with the SMC-M 20 f4.
I'm interested in hearing about your experience but I have never seen an A 20 2.8 for less than 400 dollars ( and they're usually 500-600) that wasn't full of fungus and/or haze and/or balsam separation. Even the ones that have all that sell for over my budget (in the 300s). The M 20 f4 is also up there in price these days.

QuoteOriginally posted by BigMackCam Quote
The DA21 and DA70 are fabulous lenses, so whichever one you choose, you're going to have a blast with it.

I find I make much more use of the DA21. After my favourite Sigma 30/1.4 Art (which I know you also like), it's my next favourite prime lens for APS-C. The field of view is versatile (more so than with the 70mm, for my own photography), and the rendering's lovely - it actually bares more than a passing resemblance to the Sigma in the way it performs, how centre performance strongly leads the borders, etc. It demonstrates some optical "limitations" that are forgiveable for a compact pancake lens - and I say "limitations" in quotes, because IMHO they contribute to the pleasing rendering.
Mike, you make the most compelling case for the DA 21 yet
My previous experience with the 21 was marred, I think, by the fact that the K20D was my camera and the DA 21 is not a good match for that sensor. Thinking about this, yesterday I did a flickr search on K20D and 21mm Limited, and I don't really like any of the pictures I've seen.
I was almost decided for the 70 until I read your post... thank you!

QuoteOriginally posted by AfterPentax Quote
As a treat to yourself I would not buy a limited 21 or 70.

(...)

I also ordered a 21mm limited and I had it returned to the seller. It is the only lens, no matter what F I used, that did not give a good picture,

(...)

Or you could fill in the gap between 50mm and 70 mm and buy a fabulous HD 16-85, which fills most gaps between 45 and 100.
I'm at a bit of a loss for words regarding your experience... I think you might like different things from what other people like.
Regarding the 21... I believe you when you say that you couldn't get good pictures out of it, but I know others can... and I'd like to hear your experience with the 70 if you have any, or at least know why you don't recommend it.
I do know that my DA 35 Limited is better than my DA 35 2.4 - it's obvious to me, though they are both equally as sharp. And I can't get excited about the 16-85... and it's out of my budget anyway.

Last edited by ChristianRock; 03-26-2020 at 07:57 AM.
03-26-2020, 08:01 AM - 1 Like   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
And you make a very compelling case for it.
I keep seeing - your pictures are an example of it, and so are @northcoastgreg 's - a difference between the HD and SMC versions of the 21mm lens. I know you have the HD, and so does Greg - they just seem to have more of that "Limited" magic than the regular SMC version. Could be in my mind? Could be the processing?
So in that case, it would make sense to get the SMC DA 70 first (which I can afford sooner as I see them going for sometimes less than 200 but usually in the low 200s) and buy the HD 21 later when I can afford it (high 200s/early 300s for a used copy)?
As far as HD vs SMC, I'm not sure I've seen a lot of difference in forum shots, but I'm not really paying attention half the time... But I like the rendering mine (HD as you said) gives, and I can tell you it's not PP as I am completely clueless when it comes to that... mine are all just straight out of camera.

As far as cost, I got mine for 200 USD. Pretty good deal, but can be found if you hunt around and don't mind waiting a bit.


As I said earlier, it's a (almost) perfect walk around lens for most subjects, landscapes, street, even portraits (and they almost give a '3d' pop with the separation wide open and focused close). I'm also planning on doing some astro with it, if the weather ever clears up...

03-26-2020, 08:14 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
As far as HD vs SMC, I'm not sure I've seen a lot of difference in forum shots, but I'm not really paying attention half the time... But I like the rendering mine (HD as you said) gives, and I can tell you it's not PP as I am completely clueless when it comes to that... mine are all just straight out of camera.
That makes the case for the HD 21 even more compelling! I wish I could get both the 21 and the 70 right now and just be done with it I'm already planning my first outing with the 35 on the camera and the 21 and the 70 on each pocket...

QuoteQuote:
As far as cost, I got mine for 200 USD. Pretty good deal, but can be found if you hunt around and don't mind waiting a bit.
Amazing deal! I've never seen one go for less than high 200s... and that's even rare.
03-26-2020, 08:21 AM - 1 Like   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
Amazing deal! I've never seen one go for less than high 200s... and that's even rare.
Doing some more looking around... it looks as if I did get an amazing deal.
SMC is generally low 200 and HD high 200 as you say.

I posted in the 'Wanted' section and had a few people PM me selling ones. One HD was 200 and another was 230, so I just presumed that was the going price... I guess your mileage may vary...
03-26-2020, 08:24 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by bertwert Quote
Doing some more looking around... it looks as if I did get an amazing deal.
SMC is generally low 200 and HD high 200 as you say.

I posted in the 'Wanted' section and had a few people PM me selling ones. One HD was 200 and another was 230, so I just presumed that was the going price... I guess your mileage may vary...
I hadn't thought about that, but when I am ready to buy one, I'll do as you did and start with the Wanted section! Thanks for the tip
03-26-2020, 08:50 AM - 2 Likes   #38
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I missed your thread, until now.

I'm in the 21 camp, just for the reason, I like travelling with the 55-300 PLM and the 21 is a great "you won't even know it's there" wide end kind of lens to switch to if needed.
It is the only lens that I purchased (between 2010 and 2012) that still spends significant time in my camera bag.
It's not the absolute sharpest, but it renders great.

If you have an FF in your future, I might consider the 40XS instead.


Last edited by normhead; 03-26-2020 at 09:24 AM.
03-26-2020, 09:18 AM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
. . . If you have an FF in your future, I might consider the 40XS instead.
QuoteQuote:
Evaluation Criteria
We have evaluated the performance at select F-stop/focal length combinations per the following scale:

A: Full coverage
B: Full coverage, but with slightly soft corners
C: With reservations. Heavy vignetting and/or soft corners
D: With reservations. Very soft corners and vignetting
F: Fail, no coverage (black corners)
We used these F-stops: WO (wide open), F5.6, and F11. We also used three focus setting at each focal length and aperture: near, moderate, and far. The evaluation is thus condensed into a single rating that accounts for all focus settings. . . .

DA 15mm F4 Limited
15
WO F
F5.6 F
F11 F


DA 21mm F3.2 Limited
WO F
F5.6 F
F11 F
Read more at: Full Frame Coverage of DA Lenses: Comprehensive Test - Gear Guides | PentaxForums.com
03-26-2020, 09:27 AM   #40
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But based on price performance and having used the 40XS on full frame, I'd recommend the 40XS. Also for it's extremely small footprint. You can get bigger lenses, you won't get much better.
03-26-2020, 09:34 AM   #41
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No plans for full frame in the near future... but if I did, I think in that range my DA 35 2.4 actually would get lovely results. I think it might be a better full frame lens than APS-C lens, in all honesty. Not that it's a bad APS-C lens...
03-26-2020, 09:42 AM   #42
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QuoteOriginally posted by normhead Quote
But based on price performance and having used the 40XS on full frame, I'd recommend the 40XS. Also for it's extremely small footprint. You can get bigger lenses, you won't get much better.
I really liked my copy of the XS which I recently sold

I call it the best lens in its class [ of one ]

I believe it shares the same optics as are in the SMC DA 40 F2.8 Limited
03-26-2020, 09:42 AM - 5 Likes   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by AfterPentax Quote
As a treat to yourself I would not buy a limited 21 or 70. You only will get disappointed. I do not think that the price of a limited is in accordance with what they deliver.
In a less charitable moment, I might have thought this was trolling At the very least, it's markedly different from the view most owners have - and when there's an outlying opinion such as this, so far outside that of the majority, we have to question why.

QuoteOriginally posted by AfterPentax Quote
You have a lot of lenses and even some outstanding ones. Although it is not a limited you have the 35mm F2.4. One of the best lenses there is at a reasonable price. Alright, the build quality of the limiteds is very good, the 35mm mentioned is "plastic", but it only shows you that it is not about the build quality, but about the glass used in manufacturing the lens.
Interestingly, the DA35 f/2.4 has an almost equal number of fans and detractors here on the forums. I really like it - it used to be one of my favourites, in fact. I'm not sure I'd call it one of the best lenses there is, though. But, then, these things are highly subjective, aren't they?

QuoteOriginally posted by AfterPentax Quote
I own a 40mm SMC limited and it is one of the worst lenses I own (read the Pentaxforum review, it gets a 5 for sharpness and a 10 for buildquality "https://www.pentaxforums.com/reviews/da-35mm-40mm-limited-xs-shootout/conclusion-da-40mm-f28-li.html" and an overall conclusion of "very good".
And here we get into the real "meat and potatoes" of the matter. I own the HD DA40 Limited, and whilst it's not my favourite of the DA Limiteds, I consider it to be a very good pancake lens - and I have some pretty nice glass across two different platforms. Mine is sharp at all apertures, but especially good from f/4. Look at the rest of the reviews, and you'll see most folks think it's great. So I have to wonder why yours isn't. Do you have an example photo or two that you could post, complete with EXIF data?

QuoteOriginally posted by AfterPentax Quote
I also ordered a 21mm limited and I had it returned to the seller. It is the only lens, no matter what F I used, that did not give a good picture, it is not about sharpness but about an overall view you get. All my other lenses do, even the standard 18-55 Mark II gives better results.
You clearly had a bad copy of the DA21, pure and simple - especially if your 18-55 MkII gives better results. I sold my 18-55 MkII some time ago - it's a decent-enough kit lens, for sure, but doesn't come close to any of the DA Limiteds at the same focal lengths, assuming the lenses tested are performing correctly. The only time my DA21 does not "give a good picture" is if I screw up as the photographer. Seriously, it's one of my favourite lenses.

To demonstrate what I mean, as well as providing a quick example of rendering for the OP, how about a photo of a cat? I took this just now with my K-3, because I had to convince myself I wasn't imagining how nicely the DA21 renders. We all know that a good cat photo proves whether a lens is decent or not Well, this photo isn't very good, but it has a cat in it, and it serves a purpose The second image is a 100% crop from the original. A few things I'd draw attention to that I find pleasing... Firstly, sharpness - look at the definition of the eye's iris slit, and the small hairs directly below the eye that are on the focal plane. This was shot wide open. It gets sharper between f/4 - 5.6. Secondly, note the transition from in-focus to out-of-focus on the fur - whilst not buttery smooth as with some lenses, the transition is never busy. Lastly, out of focus rendering - the leaves outside the window.

Again, I have to wonder, since the DA40 and 21 Limited are so popular amongst most of us (some of whom - unlike me - are very accomplished and demanding photographers), why you're not getting the results you should be from yours. Or is it simply a personal taste thing?




Last edited by BigMackCam; 03-26-2020 at 11:56 AM.
03-26-2020, 09:46 AM - 1 Like   #44
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
Also, I want to say that I would have more use for the 70 than just portraits. I love short tele landscapes and scenery in general, and the DA 70 seems to really excel in that regard.
Couldn't agree more. What I didn't mention in my earlier comment is that the overwhelming majority of my shots are landscape/nature/adventure and so I prefer the 70 even without considering portraits at all. I love short (and even longer) telephoto landscapes and the 70 is probably one of the reasons why.
03-26-2020, 09:53 AM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by ChristianRock Quote
Before I even start - I know the answer to my question is "only you can know the answer"... but I know the fine folks in this forum can think of things from a point of view that I might not be seeing. So I'll explain what I'm trying to decide...

I'm about to ship some lenses once I get out of the house (long story, I'm not sick but was a bit sick last week so I'm basically quarantine-ing myself).

So I am in a position to soon be able to spend a couple hundred dollars and changeon a new lens... and I keep telling myself that my next lens has to be the DA 21 Limited - it's easy to find it under 200 dollars these days (SMC), or the HD version can be sometimes found used in the mid-200 dollars.

That's what I thought a couple of months ago too, when I also sold some things and had some cash... and a DA 35 Limited appeared in great condition for 179 dollars shipped and I jumped on the "best lens ever" instead of the DA 21

I don't know if I'd use the 21 that much. While I think that carrying the small wide pancake on the K-S1 would be the ultimate little street and walkaround setup, the fact is that my DA 16-45mm does such a great job, and f/4 is not that different from f/3.2. The 16-45 certainly does not lack sharpness with my 20MP sensor, even wide open (though contrast, microcontrast and color saturation improve as you stop down - they're not bad to start with).

I think I'll like the DA 21 this time around... I had it for about a couple weeks some 5 years ago but that trade ended up reversed... and I missed the DA 16-45 that I had traded for it (plus cash). This time I'm keeping the 16-45...

...but I just love the pictures of the DA 70. So am I going to end up with that instead? I don't really need the 70 either, my 50/55mm lenses are probably close enough, and my M 100 2.8 takes gorgeous pictures. Either lens would be a treat.

So considering I have...

DA 16-45
Tokina 24 2.8 (which I do like but the DA 21 would definitely be an improvement)
M 28 3.5
Sigma 30 1.4
DA 35 Limited and 35 2.4
several 50s including K 50 1.2 and K 55 f2
M 100 2.8
Takumar Bayonet 135 2.8
M 200 f4
SMC-A 70-210mm f4
Tamron 70-300 f4-5.6 LD DI

...among others, what would you do?
I think I'd have either the 70 or an F or FA 28 f2.8 or the Sigma Super-Wide II AF 24mm. 21mm on crop is a bit wide and the DA 21 is a bit slow; I'd want a bit more speed for background separation. I'm, thinking street shooting, candid shots, etc here. 21mm on crop is just such a compromise focal length that it feels kind of not great for a lot of shooting but okay for some. The DA 70 images have always impressed me and it seems like a great portraits focal length.
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