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10-09-2009, 03:06 PM   #1
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Touristy lens: DA 16-45 mm F4 vs. DA 21 mm F3.2 Ltd

I'm looking for an affordable touristy lens for my K-m camera.

I already possess DA 40 mm F2.8 pancake lens and I think it's a great lens,
but I don't find 40 mm very convenient for casual touristy photography, which is
in my case mostly architecture. It can also be cumbersome when shooting indoors
or trying to fit a bunch of people.

Since I've managed to destroy my kit lens, a zoom like DA 16-45 would come in
very useful. It is also cheaper than DA 21. On the other hand, it's a relatively big lens.
I haven't tried DA 21 yet, so I'm not sure how smaller it really is.

Any suggestions? Thanks!

10-09-2009, 05:03 PM   #2
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I had both. I now only have the DA21. @ 21mm, the DA 16-45 is a better lens. Sharper, with less distortions. However, it is much larger. Much. The DA21 is tiny. That being said, I hope to sell my DA21 and pick up the DA15 as 31.5mm is not quite wide enough for me.

They are both great lenses, but not directly comparable. If you are interested in my DA21, drop me a PM.

10-09-2009, 05:05 PM   #3
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Here is a pic of the DA21 on my K2000.
10-09-2009, 05:10 PM   #4
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The DA 16-45mm is a good affordable lens that does the job of a casual touristy photography well. There is also the Sigma 17-70mm and the DA 17-70mm alternatives that can also do the job. The DA 21 is nice and compact but the difference in angle of view compared to the wider and cheaper DA 16-45mm is A LOT.

10-09-2009, 05:24 PM   #5
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I think maybe you could research the DA 21 distortion to see if it'd be suitable for archituctural shots.
10-10-2009, 07:45 AM   #6
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I only tried the DA 21 in a camera store, but I found the distortion disturbing. The 16-45 has no distortion at 21mm, is sharper than the prime at every common aperture and only 2/3 stop slower. It's a lot larger of course, but my 16-45 substitutes for 16, 21, 24 and 28mm primes in my kit, so the size is justified.
10-10-2009, 09:20 AM   #7
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I like the idea of the DA21 a lot, but the distortion was *immediately* apparent to me when I borrowed one for an afternoon. Immediately on viewing the images at home, anyhow - even just looking at a page full of thumbnails, the ones taken with the DA21 as opposed to the other lenses I used that day jumped out in a way I'm not used to seeing with even the 18-55. Wouldn't be issue for landscapes, but for architecture, it's hard to miss. So I still use my 18-55 (II) when I want wide angle. I'm sure the 16-45 is better, but the 18-55 is already bigger than I'd prefer - takes up the space of 2-3 primes in my bag. And really, the 18-55 is more than adequate for the purposes I use it for.

BTW, I use an M28/2.8 a lot when I want a wider field of view than the DA40, such as shooting groups or "street" shots. Obviously, not "wide" on APS-C, but it's a FOV I find incredibly useful. Then again, I also very much like the 40mm FOV.
10-10-2009, 09:33 AM   #8
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A vote for the DA 16-45 here. It's truly a superb lens for the money, plus it has macro like close focusing. If it is too big I would definitely look into the DA 35 LTD, it's a small wonder in it's own right.

10-10-2009, 10:55 AM   #9
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I think it really comes down to what type of travelling you will do.

If you can move around have time to really compose your photo, take the DA21 Limited.
But if your friends/family/tour group is rushing along and you can't move into position to make that perfect composition with the beautiful DA21, then get the DA16-45. You'll save yourself some major hassle and getting left behind. hehe. Trust me

But the DA21 is small and light. If you're going incognito, DA21 Ltd.
10-11-2009, 10:16 AM   #10
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I have the DA16-45, as well as the DA21 and the DA40. They are three of my favorite lenses for travel.

To me the big difference between the 16-45 and the 21 is the size, weight and bulk. As much as I like the convenience of a zoom, after a day of carting it around I always seem to switch to the much smaller prime for the rest of a trip. I carry my camera in my hand at my side often, after a bit any zoom gets heavy.

Here is a gallery of shots from a short weekend trip to San Francisco. The first day was shot with the DA16-45, after that it was all with the DA21. If you mouse over the larger image on the right side of the smugmug page a button will pop up that will show allow you to see image data, including the focal length. You'll be able to tell when I switched from the 16-45 to the 21 partway through the trip.

San Francisco Trip

I shoot handheld, and never shoot test targets, so any minor differences in image quality between the 2 lenses is lost on me. In the end I think it comes down to what feels better in your hand when you're walking around sightseeing.

By the way, I've been using just the DA40 for a while as a walking around lens. With a bit of care it really is pretty versatile.
10-11-2009, 10:40 AM   #11
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I was on vacation with my family for a week and the lens on the camera 80% of the time was the DA 21 Ltd.

Love the size, weight, focal length and quality.

Never bothered by distortion either !
10-11-2009, 10:48 AM   #12
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I found that the DA 21mm together with the DA 70mm made a GREAT travel combo. The only examples I seem to be able to find right now are here Amsterdam - a set on Flickr
most of them were shot with the DA 21mm
10-11-2009, 11:46 AM   #13

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Don't have the 21, but do have the 16-45. The 16-45 is a wonderful lens, very sharp, clear, great colour rendition. I have it as my regular lens on my K10D and have had since Dec., 2007.

It balances nicely on my K10D with battery a little big on my KM (K2000)..I generally use the kit 18-55 on the KM.

The kit 18-55 is good, but I can tell which pix have used the 16-45.
10-11-2009, 11:12 PM   #14
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The 16-45 is a great travel lens with 2 shortcomings - 1) 45mm isn't quite long enough (however the wide end - 16mm - somewhat makes up for this, and you can always crop), and 2) the barrel extends at the wide end, so you've got to be mindful of that when using on-board flash.
10-12-2009, 05:44 AM   #15
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Distortion can be corrected in PP programs. Only you can decide which lens would suit you. *I* prefer the smaller primes.

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