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04-25-2009, 10:19 AM   #1
emr
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21mm or 40mm ltd for street & town?

I think I want a good small AF lens for street and general town shooting (buildings etc.), preferably a pancake. I already have an MF 28mm and an FA 50mm, which would probably work pretty well but I'd like the lens to be actually even smaller and of shorter FL than an FA 50 and with AF. Now my choices seem to be more or less 21mm and 40mm limiteds. 21mm focal length would probably work better, but its image quality doesn't seem to get quite as much praise as the 40mm and it's also significantly more expensive. 40mm on the other hand is relatively cheap and seems to have a great picture quality. Unfortunately I'm afraid it may be a little long for the planned use.

So what do you think, 21 or 40?

04-25-2009, 10:36 AM   #2
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I think 40 would be too long buildings. Have you considered the DA of FA 35 also?
04-25-2009, 10:38 AM   #3
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standard street photography focal lengths don't exceed 50mm-e
but it depends on your style. maybe you should try out w/ the kit lens to see which focal length suits your street photography best
04-25-2009, 10:39 AM   #4
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Definitely the DA 21mm Limited...

04-25-2009, 10:45 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
I think I want a good small AF lens for street and general town shooting (buildings etc.), preferably a pancake. I already have an MF 28mm and an FA 50mm, which would probably work pretty well but I'd like the lens to be actually even smaller and of shorter FL than an FA 50 and with AF. Now my choices seem to be more or less 21mm and 40mm limiteds. 21mm focal length would probably work better, but its image quality doesn't seem to get quite as much praise as the 40mm and it's also significantly more expensive. 40mm on the other hand is relatively cheap and seems to have a great picture quality. Unfortunately I'm afraid it may be a little long for the planned use.

So what do you think, 21 or 40?
The 21 has great IQ, contrast and sharpness, especially when used at f/5.6. I like the 43 (or 40) for street, but I like more close-ups and people shots, rather than the buildings.

Where the 21 is lacking is speed, bokeh and distortion control (which is only really important if you're shooting the architecture, but it's also not horrible). If the focal length works for you and you like to get close to people, it's a great little lens!
04-25-2009, 10:47 AM   #6
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The 21, based on focal length alone.
04-25-2009, 11:11 AM   #7
emr
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Thanks, everybody.

QuoteOriginally posted by Stratario Quote
I think 40 would be too long buildings. Have you considered the DA of FA 35 also?
No, I hadn't actually. They're not really that much shorter than the 40mm and I guess they're much bigger physically than the pancakes. I'd want the lens to be as unobtrusive as possible. (I guess that's the word I was after...)
04-25-2009, 11:19 AM   #8
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How do you like the 28 MF lens, focal length wise? That should give some indication to which way you'd like to go.

Myself, I like the 43 - it renders stone beautifully and gives me a decent FOV - I actually like it on both digital and film. Architecture shots tend to be of the traditional back up to normal lens territory, or medium detail. And the 43 is pretty tiny too.

Because of the above, I'd vote for the 40, with maybe a wide zoom or mf prime wide angle for the times I just had to go wide like that. With the wides AF isn't as big a deal, with all the DOF available, and a 40 + mf wa are pocketable.

04-25-2009, 11:58 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by emr Quote
... much bigger physically than the pancakes. I'd want the lens to be as unobtrusive as possible...
I believe that it is a misconception that putting a small lens on a DSLR will give you an unobtrusive camera.
It's still a (d)SLR. If you feel more comfortable with a small camera in town, you might consider a decent P&S, like LX3 for instance. I suppose this would be in the same budget range.
Me, I have a FX500 I like very much - much cheaper, smaller, still good quality and all the controls. No RAW, though.

Now, if you would like a new lens, that I can understand .
In that case, I'd go with the DA21.

Once, I made a walk through a city with a short tele as my only lens. My normal zoom was on "strike". This did gave me some unusual photo's. Quite interesting, actually. But then this tele was longer than the DA40.
04-25-2009, 01:36 PM   #10
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The difference in size between a 28 & 21 is miniscule. Unless maybe you have an unusually large 28 - it isn't an f/2, is it? Is it a Pentax?

I agree with the suggestion to start walking around with the 28 and seeing if you find yourself wishing for longer or wider more often. It's pretty personal, really. I actually find 28 nails it for a lot of shots, but sure, sometimes I want wider. And sometimes longer. So for me it's either the 28 or a small zoom (eg, 18-55).
04-25-2009, 01:40 PM   #11
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My 28's a Tamron Adaptall f/2.5 lens. It's not too big but it's MF only. But it is true that trying it (or just the kit lens as was suggested) would give me the idea of the optimal FL.
04-25-2009, 11:44 PM   #12
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The 40 is pretty-well regarded as the better lens, but the focal length of the 21 is really handy. So, obviously the answer is to get both.
04-26-2009, 12:28 AM   #13
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You get an excellent rangefinder for the price of the 40ltd. I suggest you get a film rangefinder. Not only is it quiet and small. It will also make you take less pictures and hence be even less obstrusive.
04-26-2009, 12:40 AM   #14
emr
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Some very good suggestions. However, I'm not really into film. It has many very interesting aspects but as I've never really got into it, I personally see little point in starting film shooting in 2009. I know it's a fantastic option for many, just not for me.
04-26-2009, 01:03 AM   #15
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Being a beginner with street photography, I find wider lens harder to use but keeper usually has more impact.

Da 21mm ltd does have weakness in sharpness wide open but not really a problem for street portraits or candid. At the same time, street scenery or abstract can be done nicely with this focal length as well. The lens being small and non-intimidating does give photographer an edge to avoid nervous subjects coming to realisation that they are being photographed.

My recent article on Street Photography here








Da 21mm ltd gallery

Other the other hand, Da 40mm f2.8 would be great for street but I prefer Fa 43mm f1.8 giving that edge to speak construction and weird rendering signature associated with this limited.
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