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10-15-2009, 07:31 PM   #1
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DA 21 LTD or DA* 16-50 next?

Right now I have a DA 35 LTD macro and a DA* 50-135. I really need a wider lens and the speed of the 35's AF just won't cut it to be on my camera most of the time. I have to decide whether the DA 21 LTD or the DA* 16-50 is the right one for me.

The weight and size of a lens doesn't bother me as long as it works for what I need. The DA* 16-50 is more versatile and has great optical quality but at the same time this lens is the most reported for SDM failures, though SDM failures don't scare me yet, I am willing to take the risk.

The DA 21 LTD is cheaper than the DA* 16-50 and won't be as wide, but it has really good optics and should be wide enough to cover down what I am missing from the 35 and 50-135, as well as being fast enough to be on my camera most of the time, unlike the 35 Macro which isn't fast enough for every use.

I would like some recommendations of which lens to get. Also without my preferences, which lens would you get on your own preferences and why? How is the AF speed of the DA 21 LTD? How does that compare to the DA* 16-50?

10-15-2009, 08:59 PM   #2
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Hmmm - tough call. I haven't used the 21, but it looks like a neat lens love the size of those pancakes (even though I don't have any). The DA* is a great lens, but it's heavy and bulky (it's still my most used lens for landscapes or family events). I've done a quick and dirty comparison of my DA* 16-50 head to head with the DA 35mm, and it's equally sharp except in the corners and extreme edges, and based on the respective reviews at photozone.de (sharpness and distortion pages: DA* 16-50mm, DA 21mm ltd.), the DA* looks both sharpen and less distorted.

I think I saw you mention elsewhere that you're buying a K-7? If you are, you can forget about the slow focusing of the 35mm ltd. - it's a very snappy focuser on my K-7 (as is everything ). I would guess that the 21mm will focus faster than the DA* since it's a screwdrive lens and those tend to focus faster.

I suppose I would vote for the DA*, but they're so different, it's really hard to compare 'em.
10-15-2009, 09:05 PM   #3
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Would you be happy being stuck with 21mm as your focal length for what you want to do?
Yes? get the 21 ltd.
No? get something else.

Do you want SDM and WR?
Yes? get the 16-50 (and IMO forget the failures - you've got the advantage of being in the US and having warranty)
No? get something else.

Do you want an ultra-wide, or a wide-normal zoom?
Ultrawide? Get the DA 12-24.
Wide-normal? Get the Tamron 17-50

None of these lenses fall short of producing brilliant images, so I don't think you can go wrong with any of them. Have I left anything out?
10-16-2009, 10:49 PM   #4
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Difficult to advise when we don't know what you want to do with it. These two lenses are very different beasts and don't really compare at all. Personally I dislike large zooms, so the 21 would be the way I'd go, but this said, I also got the K28, M50/1.7, DFA 50, DA40, DA70, M150, DA*300 and DA15 coming... so primes is my preference all the way. Can you tell us more ?

10-17-2009, 06:46 AM   #5
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QuoteQuote:
The weight and size of a lens doesn't bother me as long as it works for what I need. The DA* 16-50 is more versatile
Though I love primes this would be my most used lens and at the wide end most of the time. I cannot fault it, it is truly the best zoom I have used. If you like your 50-135 then you will love this as well.

I have primes in this range like the magical FA31, but for when things are tight and you need the extra width then a moment later 35mm or 50mm suites a shot then this is the lens for you.


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10-17-2009, 08:34 AM   #6
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The 16-50 is a perfect match with your 50-135 and should sufice for most purposes. The 21 would be a great lens where you are looking for a one lens solution for street shooting or other work where that focal length and compact dimensions are advantageous. I have the DA15, 35 and FA77 but would like the 21 as a one lens solution when x-country sking for example.
10-17-2009, 09:25 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ash Quote
Would you be happy being stuck with 21mm as your focal length for what you want to do?
Yes? get the 21 ltd.
No? get something else.
Doesn't that seem a bit harsh? Perhaps a question like "Would you feel that a 31mm focal length would meet your needs?" I think this question is more of a Prime versus Zoom question than anything else. Do you find yourself zooming for composition a lot? Or do you find yourself looking for scenes with a specific framing already in mind?

For me, wide angle is wide angle is wide angle. I don't find myself zooming a lot with wide angle zooms. I either need "fairly wide" or I need "really really wide". This is one reason that I am considering the 15mm in addition to my 21mm. My 21mm is my "everyday fairly wide" lens and I would benefit from a hiking lens that could go "really really wide" for when I'm shooting in tight canyons, trying to capture a foreground object along with a mountain, or getting an entire tree or large object in frame. I could do this quite easily with a zoom, but honestly I prefer "pre-framing" with a lens so my eye is looking for a photo before the camera comes to my eye. I also have a consistent perspective for my photos.

Again, this is more of a zoom versus prime question. Buy what you are most comfortable with but don't expect a prime to be more versatile for composing or a zoom to be as compact as a prime (at least a limited one).
10-17-2009, 11:49 AM   #8
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Tamron 17-50mm F2.8

May I suggest you also look into Tamron 17-50mm F2.8. It's smaller and lighter than the DA*. Its optical quality is perhaps better than DA21 with less distortion and is also faster. It's also sharp edge to edge.

10-18-2009, 09:39 PM   #9
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Thanks a lot for all the suggestions you guys. But I decided to get the DA 21 Limited instead, I will eventually get the DA* 16-50 in the future though.
10-18-2009, 09:45 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rich_A Quote
Doesn't that seem a bit harsh? Perhaps a question like "Would you feel that a 31mm focal length would meet your needs?" I think this question is more of a Prime versus Zoom question than anything else.
Right on both counts Rich.
Didn't mean to be harsh - just being a firm straight-shooter about it.
Primes are not something I feel 'stuck' with at all - I love 'em myself.
But it is a prime vs. zoom preference...
10-18-2009, 09:45 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by LeDave Quote
Thanks a lot for all the suggestions you guys. But I decided to get the DA 21 Limited instead, I will eventually get the DA* 16-50 in the future though.
I'm sure you won't be disappointed - it's a fine little beauty.
Well done.
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