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03-25-2020, 03:31 PM   #1
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Limiteds - DA 21 or DA 70 as my next lens? As a treat to myself...

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?

03-25-2020, 03:36 PM   #2
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Actually the buyer of a couple of my lenses has told me not to ship it anymore - totally understandable since his country is in lockdown, so I will probably have some extra time to think about this...
03-25-2020, 03:50 PM - 1 Like   #3

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Hi Christian

The DA 70 is next ....... then the 21 .......then the 15 ....... then the .......FA s know it never ends.........
......the 16 - 45 is a good lens .. well I like mine so yep the .. DA 70 next....

03-25-2020, 04:09 PM - 4 Likes   #4
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21 hands down! (Though I probably won't ever say anything else, it's certainly my favourite lens).

It practically lives on my K-50, and I love the compact kit it is. I can't recommend it enough.

There's my 2 cents. I've heard that a picture speaks a thousand words, so start listening:

(I'm sure the 70 is a decent little lens as well...)

03-25-2020, 04:15 PM - 1 Like   #5
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I have the 70 and don't use it that much. It's a cool lens, but maybe that focal length on ASP-C just isn't ideal for me. I have a very cheap F35-70 that takes great photos and that range works well for walk around.

If you need a dedicated portrait lens, maybe you'd use the 70 more.

I'd swap mine for or toward a 15/4 in a heartbeat. No real thoughts on the 21, but it's not calling me like th 15 is as a tiny prime.
03-25-2020, 04:21 PM - 4 Likes   #6
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I just repurchased a 21..... best everyday apsc limited I reckon. I find the 70/77 rarely used if specific people type shots are not ones thing.... and then only for "organised" people or thing shots. My life is not like that.... when in those situations a zoom gives me more flexability. I might sell my 77... but somehow I would feel 1/3 less.... a bit like selling my brain..... I don't use it much but I expect it would be missed.

I find the 21 a everyday lens and the 15 a specialty lens.... as the focal lengths (FF equiv) have always been.

Last edited by noelpolar; 03-25-2020 at 04:26 PM.
03-25-2020, 04:22 PM - 1 Like   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by dbs Quote
Hi Christian

The DA 70 is next ....... then the 21 .......then the 15 ....... then the .......FA s know it never ends.........
......the 16 - 45 is a good lens .. well I like mine so yep the .. DA 70 next....

beware there is some evidence that ownership of any of the " limiteds " can be addictive

the limiteds do they live up to the reputation and why - Page 23 -

the original 3 FA primes ( in order of creation - 43, 77 and 31 )

8 SMC and HD DA primes

and the " odd ball " zoom DA 20-40mm
03-25-2020, 04:28 PM - 1 Like   #8
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Really had to think back on my experiences with both lenses. Looking at your list of lenses, it would seem like the DA 21 would provide a better way to flush out your kit. But I do agree with dbs above about the progression on lenses. It's been quite a while since I had my DA 21 but my memory of it is that it's an ok lens but I remember it had a tendency to exhibit some barreling of images. I didn't sell it because of that, I traded it for a Samsung 12-24 f4 (rebranded Pentax lens), which for a very long time was my go to landscape lens. With that, the 21 was superfluous. I still have my 70 it's an HD version and I found it to be very versatile. Again, looking at your list I could see it fitting into it as a light weight, fast, short tele.

Clearly you have to decide, but I believe you could go either way.

03-25-2020, 04:31 PM - 3 Likes   #9
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the DA21 is really special:

DA 21mm f3.2 AL Limited | Flickr

but the SMC A 20/2.8 is truly amazing:

SMC A 20mm f2.8 | Flickr

and when you're ready for the next lens, the DA 70 Limited is so full of pixie dust....
03-25-2020, 04:40 PM - 1 Like   #10
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The 70 Limited is a very nice lens, though for some reason gets less use from me than it deserves. Whenever it goes out, on APS-C or FF, I am always happy with the results. Excellent for portraits.

I don't have the 21, but those that do seem to use it a lot. A good street and landscape lens.

So, depending on whether you want the lens for people or street/landscape, the choice may differ.
03-25-2020, 04:46 PM - 1 Like   #11
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Pepperberry is right. A20 over DA21 every time (IMHO), but you have a versatile MF kit already. Looking at the AF lenses I personally think a longer lens would fit better; so the 70 … but throughout al my time using the K-7/5/3 I always took the DFA 100 before the DA 70. So much more versatile. The Da70 became my indoor lens for portraits in the end so I suppose it depends how you see yourself using it. ��
03-25-2020, 04:47 PM - 1 Like   #12
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Really, it depends on the type of scenes you like to capture.

I am partial to the DA 21 because I prefer a wider angle to take in the entirety of a scene knowing I will crop down to isolate a subject in a scene if necessary. I used it as a walk-around lens when I had an APS-C camera. IT is so good I sometimes think about buying another APS-C camera just to make use of it again.

Since I already owned an FA-77mm, I did not purchase the DA 70mm, but I had rented a DA-70 several times when I owned an APS-C camera, and it is a great lens as well, perhaps not as versatile since the crop factor makes it better for portraits or detailed studies, but by no means a bad lens, just more specialized.
03-25-2020, 05:02 PM   #13
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you could spend a little money and rent the lenses to do your own trial

Information on Businesses that offer cameras and lenses for rent - Page 2 -


LensRental is running this special

Get 25% off orders arriving by 3.31



one use per customer
03-25-2020, 05:02 PM - 2 Likes   #14

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I am thinking of getting a 70 too. I just let my 100wr go and want to replace it with DA70 because of its size and weight. I hope I make the right decision. [fingers crossed]

21 or 70 for street?
I mostly do night urban street photography and 21 is one of my most used lenses.. As for you it very much depends on where you shoot and your shooting style. I used to have FA35, F28 and still have K28 f3.5. I hardly use them for what I like to do. I am on K3, by the way.
In an Urban setting on my street: 28, 35 mm are not long enough when I want to stay in a distance. 50-55 is perfect for that.
They are not wide enough to capture everything when I want to show a sense of scale because urban buildings are tall, some alley is really really narrow, etc. 20 or 21 and 15 or 10-17 are better for the job. Therefore, 90% of my street in an urban setting are done with 21 and 55 mm.

So if your street is similar to my street, and your style is similar to my style, I would go with 21 then 70 later.
If I have 16-45, 24, 30, 35 like your, I would only keep the 35 and/or whatever have an aperture ring for time-lap photography, then get either 20-40 wr + 70 or 21 + 70.

My 0.2$

Last edited by tokyoscape; 03-25-2020 at 05:10 PM.
03-25-2020, 05:17 PM - 5 Likes   #15
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DA 21 is just so amazing on a KP, Here is a wildlife image I took with it.

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