Forgot Password
Pentax Camera Forums Home
 

Reply
Show Printable Version Search this Thread
07-01-2009, 08:41 PM   #1
Veteran Member
stl09's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: St. Louis, MO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 487
Looking for everyone's thoughts on the following two lenses...

I'm thinking about getting some prime lenses and seriously considering the following two lenses. I'm hoping that everyone will share their thoughts and let me know what they think of these, their quality, etc.

PENTAX smc DA 21mm F3.2 AL LIMITED

PENTAX smc FA 43mm f1.9 LIMITED

Thanks,

Kevin

07-01-2009, 08:52 PM   #2
Pentaxian
Marc Sabatella's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Denver, CO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 10,686
Both are listed in the lens review section of this site, and there have also been many previous threads on these, so my first suggestion would be to read over the ton of stuff that has already been written.
07-01-2009, 09:13 PM   #3
Veteran Member
stl09's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: St. Louis, MO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 487
Original Poster
Mark,

Thanks I did read thru the lens review but most not reviews were older reviews or comments and I was hoping to see what people thought with the more current pentax models out in the market place.

Clearly most seem to really like the 43mm lens.

thanks again for your suggestions


QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Both are listed in the lens review section of this site, and there have also been many previous threads on these, so my first suggestion would be to read over the ton of stuff that has already been written.
07-01-2009, 09:35 PM   #4
Junior Member




Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Suzhou
Posts: 25
I think the 43mm lens is well suitable for general purpose, and it's quite capable.

The 21mm pancake lens, nice too, is for street and landscape. FF and BF problems were reported. One of the lens drawbacks is it's not so wide open as the 43mm lens and you can't get the bright view as FA*24/2 when looking through the camera. I'm thinking about selling it.

photos by FA*24


My suggestion is you can narrow your selection of first prime between the FA43 and DA35. I have the DA35, and really LOVE it.

photos by DA35:







Last edited by springtian; 07-01-2009 at 09:42 PM.
07-01-2009, 09:49 PM   #5
Veteran Member
stl09's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: St. Louis, MO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 487
Original Poster
Thank you very much for you suggestions and the excellent photo's, like they a picture tells a thousand words. I was really thinking about getting the 43 first figuring it would be a more well rounded lens. I guess I will have to look around and see what the 35mm goes for as well. I would love to pick up a * lens but the prices are so high on those units.

Thanks again


QuoteOriginally posted by springtian Quote
I think the 43mm lens is well suitable for general purpose, and it's quite capable.

The 21mm pancake lens, nice too, is for street and landscape. FF and BF problems were reported. One of the lens drawbacks is it's not so wide open as the 43mm lens and you can't get the bright view as FA*24/2 when looking through the camera. I'm thinking about selling it.

photos by FA*24


My suggestion is you can narrow your selection of first prime between the FA43 and DA35. I have the DA35, and really LOVE it.

photos by DA35:




07-01-2009, 10:01 PM   #6
Veteran Member
stl09's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: St. Louis, MO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 487
Original Poster
I do have a question for you as well. You mention 35mm lens. Are you talking about the 35mm f2.8 macro lens? I didn't really think of macro lenses as a prime lens.
07-01-2009, 10:36 PM   #7
Junior Member




Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Suzhou
Posts: 25
QuoteOriginally posted by stl09 Quote
I do have a question for you as well. You mention 35mm lens. Are you talking about the 35mm f2.8 macro lens? I didn't really think of macro lenses as a prime lens.
Yes! The DA35/2.8 Limited, which is called, by some very experienced photographers, the best 35mm lens ever made.
07-01-2009, 11:29 PM   #8
Moderator
Site Supporter
Blue's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Florida Hill Country
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 17,212
This is a very tough area because Pentax has some really good glass in the 21-43mm range. FA 35mm and DA 35mm ltd are both really good but different creatures. The to really confound things there are the FA 31mm ltd and the FA 43 ltd as well as the DA 40mm. The 21mm ltd is sort of by itself so that helps on that decision with the exception of the new DA 15mm ltd.

All of these are good lenses. See why it is so easy to pick 2? The price of the 31mm usually helps that decision.

To be honest, the DA 21mm and FA 43mm would be a good pair though because of the focal length separation and the 43mm would eliminate the need for the FA 50mm or DA* 55. Then you could worry about whether or not to get they FA 77 or DA 70.

07-01-2009, 11:39 PM   #9
Veteran Member
stl09's Avatar

Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: St. Louis, MO
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 487
Original Poster
Blue,

It sounds like these two would be a nice pair to have and then to add one of the 70's at some point. I don't want to go over board, but I know that I should have a few primes to balance out my zooms. It's just that Pentax has quite a few choices and I clearly don't need to buy all of them. So I'm trying to make an educated but also a good money choice as well.

I really appreciate your insight.

Thanks again,




QuoteOriginally posted by Blue Quote
This is a very tough area because Pentax has some really good glass in the 21-43mm range. FA 35mm and DA 35mm ltd are both really good but different creatures. The to really confound things there are the FA 31mm ltd and the FA 43 ltd as well as the DA 40mm. The 21mm ltd is sort of by itself so that helps on that decision with the exception of the new DA 15mm ltd.

All of these are good lenses. See why it is so easy to pick 2? The price of the 31mm usually helps that decision.

To be honest, the DA 21mm and FA 43mm would be a good pair though because of the focal length separation and the 43mm would eliminate the need for the FA 50mm or DA* 55. Then you could worry about whether or not to get they FA 77 or DA 70.
07-02-2009, 08:29 AM   #10
Moderator
Site Supporter
Blue's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Florida Hill Country
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 17,212
QuoteOriginally posted by stl09 Quote
Blue,

It sounds like these two would be a nice pair to have and then to add one of the 70's at some point. I don't want to go over board, but I know that I should have a few primes to balance out my zooms. It's just that Pentax has quite a few choices and I clearly don't need to buy all of them. So I'm trying to make an educated but also a good money choice as well.

I really appreciate your insight.

Thanks again,
The reason I have the DA 35mm is that needed the macro and didn't want to duplicate the manual 50mm macros and already had the FA 50. However, if I had no lenses and didn't need the macro, and were to pick 2 lenses, it would be the 21mm and 43mm.
07-03-2009, 05:40 PM   #11
Junior Member




Join Date: May 2008
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 44
Kevin,

I own and regularly use both the 21 and 43 (with the 77 completing the triumvirate). Both do their jobs extremely well.

As for the 21 specifically, it is one of my workhorse lenses for weddings (receptions) and interior/architectural (admittedly in large buildings, though). Although the f3.2 bit sounds scarily slow, I have actually NEVER had a problem with this. During wedding receptions I bounce flash ('foofing') and when taking architectural shots I have as much time for an exposure as necessary, so there's never been an opportunity to run up against this limitation. Now keep in mind this is for my usage of the lens; consider your intended usage and think about whether the relative slowness (in comparison to the other primes) would affect what you need/want to do.

As for the 43, it's sweet. At first it was a love/hate thing. I had sold the 50/1.4 to get the 43, and the improvement is marginal, and in some areas actually not as good. For example, wide open the 43 is not as sharp or contrasty as the 50/1.4 (or 50/1.7, for that matter), and does suffer more from CA in high contrast situations. This lens demands a hood in those conditions, and the one that comes with it is inadequate for APS-C sensors. I got the following metal hood from B&H and it remediates a lot of the aforementioned issues:
B+W 49mm Screw-In Metal Telephoto Lens Hood #960

The bokeh on the 43 is sometimes buttery smooth, sometimes not, depending on aperture and what's in the background. It's a diva in this respect.

That being said, the 43 is capable of producing rendering you'll fall head over heels for.

Attached are some 43 images. Note that these have undergone post-processing (I always do post, to me it's an integral part of the photographic process, so why let a canned in-camera algorithm do it?) for sharpening, CA correction, distortion correction, blended exposures (not true HDR, but a similar concept), etc. But the 43 gives you mighty fine images to work with.
Attached Images
 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K20D  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K20D  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX *ist D  Photo   
07-03-2009, 06:07 PM   #12
Moderator
Site Supporter
Blue's Avatar

Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Florida Hill Country
Photos: Gallery | Albums
Posts: 17,212
Here's one from the DA 21mm ltd on a K200d. This was taken just before dusk.

07-03-2009, 06:09 PM   #13
Pentaxian
Miguel's Avatar

Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Near Seattle
Photos: Gallery
Posts: 2,726
I tend to hesitate describing solutions for undefined problems. So it would help me, at least, if you were to provide some requirements. What kind of shooting are you needing either of these fine lenses for? How 'bout lighting conditions. Action? Art? Snapshots?

What body(ies) would you be using as well?

M
07-03-2009, 06:54 PM   #14
Senior Member
dantekgeek's Avatar

Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: NYC
Posts: 100
I think the DA21 gets a bad rap.

Sure, it might not be quite as stunning as the 35 Macro or have the same rendering characteristics as the 34, but despite its lack of *do something special* pixie-dust, I think its an awesome lens.

The thing about this lens is that it does what its designed to do, and well. Its sharp wide open, light, small, and focuses quickly. The slow(ish) aperture is mostly compensated for by the wide FOV (and helped further by IS which easily allows 1/15 to be hand held).

It seems a bit ironic that we're so spoiled by Pentax and the incredible Limited lenses they've produced, that when we find one that isn't quite as special as the others, we're tempted to bad-mouth it, despite it being a great lens, and far-and-away better than almost any non-Limited alternative.
07-03-2009, 07:49 PM   #15
Junior Member




Join Date: May 2008
Location: Pasadena, CA
Posts: 44
Agreed! It's one fine little lens. Yeah, it's probably one of the weaker of the Limiteds, but you know what....it's still a Limited by name and by optical performance. That lens has brought home paychecks and wall-hangers. If it fits your needs and budget, you can't go wrong with it. 21mm is quite a bit wider than 35mm.

I personally love the looks on people's faces when they gawk at my K20D, flash bracket, 540, and then are shocked by the teeny tiny pancake 21 on the front.

Make no mistake, the 21 delivers, and delivers well.

Here's some photo made from 21 images (note that the softness on last one is deliberate negative clarity in Lightroom for artistic purposes; the lens is sharp at all apertures):
Attached Images
 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K20D  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K20D  Photo 
View Picture EXIF
PENTAX K20D  Photo 
Reply

Bookmarks
  • Submit Thread to Facebook Facebook
  • Submit Thread to Twitter Twitter
  • Submit Thread to Digg Digg
Tags - Make this thread easier to find by adding keywords to it!
k-mount, lenses, pentax, pentax lens, slr lens, smc
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Thoughts Of These Sigma EX Lenses? Christopher M.W.T Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 16 08-25-2009 07:24 PM
Thoughts: K30D, APS-H, Ultrawide lenses jfsavage Pentax News and Rumors 59 02-16-2009 10:51 AM
A few thoughts about travelling with the 100D and 4 lenses. Alfisti Photographic Technique 17 09-16-2008 10:18 PM
Your thoughts please-HELP rmtagg Photographic Technique 19 04-18-2008 03:23 PM
Questions And Thoughts On Portraits And Portrait Lenses Mike Bokeh Pentax SLR Lens Discussion 18 03-31-2008 07:31 PM



All times are GMT -7. The time now is 10:56 AM. | See also: NikonForums.com, CanonForums.com part of our network of photo forums!
  • Red (Default)
  • Green
  • Gray
  • Dark
  • Dark Yellow
  • Dark Blue
  • Old Red
  • Old Green
  • Old Gray
  • Dial-Up Style
Hello! It's great to see you back on the forum! Have you considered joining the community?
register
Creating a FREE ACCOUNT takes under a minute, removes ads, and lets you post! [Dismiss]
Top