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HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited DC WR

Reviews Views Date of last review
41 171,564 Mon October 29, 2018
Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
93% of reviewers $798.47 9.22
HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited DC WR

HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited DC WR
HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited DC WR
HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited DC WR
HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited DC WR
HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited DC WR

The HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited DC WR is the first zoom lens to join the Pentax lineup of ultra-compact "limited" lenses. This lens features a sleek all-metal barrel manufactured to very high standards.

This is also the first Limited series lens to feature silent DC autofocus as well as a weather-sealed design. Like the other HD Limited lenses, this lens features Pentax's latest lens coating promising less ghosting and flare.

As is standard for all premium Pentax lenses, this lens allows for full-time manual focus adjustments (Quick shift) and it is treated with Pentax's Super Protect coating to protect the front element from dust and scratches

The lens covers a wide-angle to normal focal length range, and is compatible with Pentax APS-C DSLRs. It will be available in both black and silver in December, 2013 for $999.

HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 ED Limited DC WR
©, sharable with attribution
Image Format
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
Automatic, 9 blades (rounded)
9 elements, 8 groups
Mount Variant
Check camera compatibility
Max. Aperture
Min. Aperture
AF (in-lens motor)
Min. Focus
28 cm
Max. Magnification
Filter Size
55 mm
Internal Focus
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 39-70 ° / 33-62 °
MH-RA 55mm
Soft pouch P70-150
Lens Cap
Metal push-on O-LW65A
Weather Sealing
Yes (WR)
Other Features
Diam x Length
71 x 68.5 mm (2.8 x 2.7 in.)
283 g (10 oz.)
Production Years
2013 to present (in production)
$594 USD current price
Engraved Name
HD PENTAX-DA 1:2.8-4 20-40mm ED Limited DC WR
Product Code
23000 (black), 23010 (silver)
User reviews
In-depth review
Unofficial Full-Frame Compatibility Tests by Pentax Forums
★★☆ Full coverage at some F-stop and focal length combinations
Show details
One aspherical element, one ED and one extra-low dispersion element.
No autofocus on older bodies (*istD series, K100D, K110D, and film).

Black and silver

Supersonic AutofocusQuick ShiftWeather SealedAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital Only
Purchase: Buy the HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited DC WR
In-Depth Review: Read our HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited DC WR in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos

Add Review of HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited DC WR Buy the HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited DC WR
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New Member

Registered: October, 2009
Location: Montreal (Quebec)
Posts: 26

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: October 29, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $700.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Colour Signature, CA Control, Sharpness, Useful Focal Range, Built Quality, Quiet AF, SMALL!
Cons: Would LOVE a bit Wider, with a Fixed 2.8 Aperture
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   


Against all odds, in spite of academic snobbery, a high price tag, a limited production worldwide, and the constant brand rivalry even in my own backyard, this lesser-known "HD Pentax DA 20-40mm Limited WR" by Ricoh has luckily ended up in my camera bag somehow; acting in tandem with an ageless K-3, it has quickly become one of my favourite zoom lenses ever (up there with the Zuiko 12-60mm or Leica D 14-150mm in FT Land!)

Not the sharpest versus the sharpest primes, not with the fastest aperture compared to more professional workhorses, not the broadest focal length window either... Yet, the HD 20-40mm offers a very SWEET RANGE of opportunities for travelers on APS-C sensors. Let me tell you how:

This gem gets mesmerizing as soon as the fireworks start dazzling! An eminently CLEAR & BRIGHT internal glass design, an especially RICH & VIBRANT COLOUR SIGNATURE, a PURE SIGHT refreshingly free of the most dreaded optical aberrations, a relatively fast, QUIET, PRECISE AF, all that in a very SMALL, STURDY, BEAUTIFUL retro-looking metal format.

A somewhat unduly unexplored (Pentax) system-seller, IMHO!

View image in gallery

View image in gallery

View image in gallery
New Member

Registered: April, 2014
Posts: 3
Lens Review Date: September 10, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $980.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, cool design, light, bokeh, wr, nice zoom range
Cons: lens cap, metallic coating material
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax kp/k30   

I needed a good-quality and light travel zoom to replace the DA 18-55mm wr. Therefore, I bought this lens which is very versatile despite the limited zoom range: 20 mm is ok for landscape photography, 35 mm is the typical normal focal lenght, 40 mm although not optimal, it's good for close-up and portraits.
The lens is very light and it's easy to handle with the KP. It's sufficiently sharp for my needs and the bokeh is also very pleasant. I didn't notice any CA or fringing.
Autofocus is silent and precise, but no so fast.

For me, the only drawabacks of this lens are: i) the cap, which falls easily; and ii) the black coating material of the knurled part of the lens that tends to get damaged.
Below a couple of photos taken with the K30.


Registered: March, 2010
Location: Manila, Philippines
Posts: 1,221

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: June 21, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 7 

Pros: WR, metal build, retro design, surprisingly light
Cons: slow to focus, so-so sharpness, expensive

Let me begin by saying that I have tried all the DA limited lenses before I got this lens. My most favorite is the DA 21, followed by the DA 70 and the HD35 if you want super sharp images.

I bought this lens simply because of its the WR claim plus the rendering of a limited lens and the focal length is very ideal for my use as I really want a WR travel camera set up. Truly that the lens is light and a joy to hold because of the retro design and it is very light. The AF is silent but not that fast (maybe more on the slow side for me). The images that it produces are good but not that great as the 21 / 35 / 70. At 20 mm the HD 20-40 is sharp wide open but the 40mm f4 it is not. The color rendering, micro contrast is very nice and really punches as well as the micro contrast.

I think the lens should only cost about $500 brand new

If you plan get this lens and think that you can replace your existing 21/35 limited lenses, you might get frustrated as the primes produce better IQ overall. But if you want a small lens that is WR, silent, sexy and passable IQ during travel, this can do the job.
New Member

Registered: May, 2018
Posts: 5

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: May 4, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Great for everyday usage and travel. Fast focus, razor sharp and beautiful colors.
Cons: I think that f4 on 40mm is a small problem, cons 2.8 will be better.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: KP   

This lens is absolutely great for everyday usage and travel. Fast focus, razor sharp and beautiful colors. Before this lens, I use Tamron 17-50 2.8, and when first shot on DA 20-40 was being taken, I don't believe my eyes. Supper Color, absolutely great build quality and DC focusing. WR feature gives me freedom when going in mountains. Multicoating working well in all situations.
Junior Member

Registered: July, 2016
Location: Alps
Posts: 35

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: April 29, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $530.00 | Rating: 8 

Pros: Compactness, limited handling, rendition
Cons: AF
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 9    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3 II   

Great lens, typical limited rendition / handling, a bit big for a Ltd though - but still really compact for a zoom with this specs, definitely lightweight.

After hesitating for a while for which normal prime I wanted, I ended choosing this Ltd zoom...
31 Ltd was a long time wish but so expensive. I owned the DA 35 but was not impressed and didn't like the cheap plastic feel. The FA 35 was going to be a bit similar. The Ltd 35 was almost my choice but the endless macro focus ring didn't appeal me. The Sigma Art 30 is just too big for my taste - compactness I value most over max aperture & bokeh (for my "art-ish" bokeh captures I use the M 50/1.4).
I already own a M 28/2 that's quite good but no AF, and the Sigma 17-50/2.8 which is bigger and heavier, doesn't have the Ltd handling and rendition, but a much better AF and zoom range, which is my choice when I need to be more reactive and versatile.

In the end I consider it an "adjustable prime" -zoom range absolutely not an issue- and it fits perfectly for my use : a high quality normal field of view with superb contrast and colors, and compactness. AF is quite slow and hunting so think about it for what you intend to use it. Sharpness is impressive and so is the bokeh (close-ups) considering the slow aperture.

Example @40mm F/4 ISO100 with K-3 II :

100% crop :

It fits well in a compact/quality kit, consisting of the additional Ltd 15 and PLM 55-300 (relative quality compared to Ltd's but still!) - and eventually M 50/1.4.
Forum Member

Registered: October, 2017
Posts: 87
Lens Review Date: March 19, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 9 

Pros: Rendering and colours, bokeh, low aberrations and flare, beautiful design and build.
Cons: Not terribly sharp nor fast, some distortion at 20mm
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 8    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-S2   

Yes, is not that sharp until stopped down.
Yes, is f2.8 only between 20 and 25mm.
Yes, there is some distortion at 20mm.

But I couldn't care less, even if it's a bit expensive. It renders beautifully, reproduce gorgeous colours and has that limited's pixie dust really nice bokeh, specially for a not so fast zoom.
It is lightweight, compact, weather sealed, silent focusing, has fantastic build quality, handling and tactile feedback from the focusing and zoom ring.
And oh my, it's a beautiful, BEAUTIFUL lens...a Pentax limited with Takumar breed, without superfluous switches or rubber rings.

A must buy if you have other limiteds (I've 15 and 35 macro) IMHO, and a worthy addition to your lens lineup, if you don't.

Forum Member

Registered: March, 2010
Location: Norfolk
Posts: 83
Lens Review Date: March 16, 2018 I can recommend this lens: No | Price: N/A | Rating: 6 

Pros: Superb build, nice handling, good balance on hefty K-3
Cons: IQ at wide end (20~30) frankly poor. Weird hood probably not much use.
Sharpness: 5    Aberrations: 8    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 8    Handling: 10    Value: 3    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-3   

Found an 'as new' copy from a highy reputable dealer but returned it. Using my K-3 this lens was very soft at 20mm and 30mm zoom settings unless stopped down to at least f5.6, so I did some careful indoor comparison shots against the 18~55 version II kit lens and an old 18~35 FA-J from the film era. These two budget lenses easily out-performed the 20~40 'Limited' at the wide end. That's not how it is supposed to be.

A big price for mediocre performance and not worthy of the 'Limited' tag, in my opinion. Possibly unlucky to be landed with a rogue copy, but that's enough to put me off searching for another one. A real pity, as it's beautifully engineered and great to handle. Judging by this experience and some other comments Ricoh maybe have a quality control issue here.

Registered: July, 2007
Location: Brampton, Ontario
Posts: 3,974
Lens Review Date: February 21, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: very sharp, pleasing color rendition, light weight and WR
Cons: mild distortion at wide-end but easily corrected
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: K-1 and K-3   

I bought this lens in Japan, it was in 'best' used condition category. I used this lens exclusively on the k-3 until I bought the k-1 last year. I consider this lens a perfect walk-around lens for street photography because of the focal lengths that suits my shooting style. I also find this to be suitable for 'event' photography especially when I can get close to the subject (performer). I am really happy with the pleasing tonal range and lively characteristic images I get from this lens. Although this lens is designed for the cropped sensor, it is completely usable on the k-1 FF camera with some vignetting to be expected at the wide-end. I wish there is DFA version of this lens with similar specs so I can fully utilize it on my k-1 without worrying about vignetting. Here is an example of the image I got from a recent event (shot at 1/200 f4 iso1000)

Registered: June, 2015
Location: South West UK
Posts: 1,325

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: January 7, 2018 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $580.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Pixie dust, WR, fast quiet AF, small and lightweight, great IQ
Cons: Bit slow, expensive at full retail price
Sharpness: 7    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 7    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3II   

I have only had this lens a few weeks, after picking it up at an excellent discount in a black friday event. Right from opening the box and taking the first images, I was in love. The lens feels very well made and solid, yet at the same time lightweight and compact. The lens pouch is a nice, if superfluous inclusion, since I can't see it spending much time off my K-3II. The zoom ring falls nicely to hand, as does the focus ring. The focus scale is a nice touch and rare on a lens these days. All in all it handles beautifully on the camera.

The FL range for me is spot on my sweet spot for walkaround landscape, street and detail shooting. Makes a passable portrait length too on APSC, but its biggest weakness shows up here - it's rather slow. f/2.8 is only available at 20mm and you're limited to a paltry f/4 at 40mm. This is the trade off for the lightweight design, but it does feel limiting in some circumstances, particulary if you're trying to provoke some bokeh. However, it is possible if you try, and it is rather pleasing when it appears.

AF is excellent with its DC motor, both fast and quiet. But here again the lens speed means you may struggle to get a lock in low light. WR is an added bonus and was one of the main reasons for my purchasing this particular Limited over one of the primes, since I spend a lot of time on the beach and rather enjoy a rainy day.

In terms of IQ, it is not without its flaws. There is noticeable distortion at the wide end, but perfectly correctable in LR using lens profiles (and probably in camera too). There is also a slight softness in the corners, possibly more down to field curvature than anything else. Nothing major and not unheard of in wide-ish lenses and zooms, but worth knowing if you expect clinical sharpness across the frame.

All this said, despite (or possibly because) of its flaws there is a certain quality to the images, the famous pixie-dust, that is not easily described, but gives them a quality all their own. Almost all of the images I have taken, even the most hum-drum snaps, have a pop to them, and a colour rendition that none of my other lenses have. It makes exquisite mono images too. Away from the extremes, it has perfectly acceptable sharpness, and contrast. CA is almost non-existent and flare is very well handled, in fact shooting into the sun creates some of its most stunning images.

Since putting this lens on my camera I already feel no more need for my Tammy 28-75, despite losing out on the constant f/2.8 and the longer reach, thanks to the pixie dust and the huge reduction in weight. The Samyang 16mm now feels clunky, oversized and hard work with its manual focus. The Pentax 18-55 is going straight on ebay - it's a good lens, but not remotely in the same league. The only lens I will be keeping in this general range now is the Sigma 50mm macro and the Lensbaby Velvet for their specialities, and the 70-200 for its incomparable reach and boceh-liciousness for portraits and nearby wildlife.

This lens has stolen my heart. I only wish I'd had it sooner. The one and only reason I hadn't was the hard-to-swallow price. But a 30% discount made that problem go away for me and now that I have it in my hands, I feel I got a hell of a bargain.

I had to mark sharpness and bokeh down because of its weakness in the corners and slow aperture, and value because at full price you might assume it should be hewn from pure unicorn horn. I only wish there was a 'pixie dust' category, to make up for I gave it an overall 9 to reflect this. If there was just a half a stop more speed, it would be a perfect 10 for me.
Forum Member

Registered: April, 2015
Location: Italy
Posts: 64
Lens Review Date: October 29, 2017 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $800.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: WR, no CA, build quality, IQ
Cons: shortness of zooming range

Stunning image quality. This lens deserves the Limited moniker. Everybody shooting a lot of pictures within the 20-40mm range can't go wrong buying one of these marvels; it's expensive - no doubt about it - but its image and build quality make it worth to acquire it. The absence of CA is remarkable, in terms of optical quality this is one of the best lenses I have ever had.
My only regret is that already at 25mm you have a 3.5 lens, so I wonder if it would have been better a fixed f4 lens with a slightly extended zoom range.
Senior Member

Registered: February, 2010
Location: California
Posts: 108

6 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 29, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 9 

Pros: Sharp, WR, light weight, build quality, flare resistance, lack of CA
Cons: focus is not super fast, and sometimes inconsistent, vignetting at 40mm
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 7    Autofocus: 7    Handling: 8    Value: 8    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3 II   

One thing about upgrading to the K3 is that it really shows you how sharp your lenses are (or aren't!). Anyway, one of my film era zooms was really soft at the edges on the wide end, and having sold my DA 21 limited to help purchase the K3 II, I had nothing that could deliver the goods between my DA 15mm and my DA 40mm limiteds. Also, I was looking for a general purpose zoom.

I was leaning toward the DA 16-85mm or the Tamron 17-50 f2.8. I had initially discounted the DA 20-40mm because of rather negative reviews and the high price. The DA 16-85mm was appealing for the range, WR, and good IQ, but is a bit slow at the long end, and a bit big and heavy. The Tamron is appealing for its f2.8 and good IQ, but no WR.

Trying to figure out what being limited to f5.6 at 85mm meant, I started looking at pics on the web from the DA16-85mm. I found many nice photos, but nothing that was really saying wow. Not very scientific, but still telling. While doing this I came across a number of shots from the DA 20-40mm that caught my eye. I found the reviews on this site that are generally positive, and full size images that were definitely sharp across the frame. That, along with the substantial price reduction this summer, made me reconsider this lens.

I am so glad that I did. I ended up ordering the 16-85 and the 20-40, with the intention of keeping one of them. I did a quick test to make sure neither were decentered or otherwise defective. I was mostly concerned with across the field sharpness at infinity, as that was what I was not getting with my film era zoom. Neither lens was obviously decentered, but the 20-40 was definitely a little sharper than the 16-85 across the 20-40 range. I wasn't expecting this. Sharp enough wide open, (much better at the deges than my DA 21mm f3,2 was) and razor at f5.6

My first outing was an overnight ski trip above Lake Tahoe to shoot panos of the Milky Way. Admittedly I used the 15mm for the star shots, but I got some beautiful sunsets with the 20-40mm. The rendering was definitely showing that limited quality, and shooting right into the sun is no issue with this lens. Sharp across the frame, no flare, no CA, great color. You got to love it! The next outing was in the High Sierra and I got the same results.

I tried some Miky Way shots, and I was disappointed that the combination of coma and sagittal astigmatism at f2.8 is quite bad. The good news is that is way better at f4. With the astrotracer, f4 is doable for the Milky Way.

My last outing was on the San Francisco bay shooting sailboat races. Once again, sharp and no flare. The wind really came up, and I was getting splashed frequently. It was really nice to be able to put the camera under the faucet at the end of the day to get the salt water off.

I am very happy with the lens, and I would recommmend it to anyone looking for a light, well made, good IQ lens in this focal range.

Here are some example shots:

The last two were using a polarizer.
New Member

Registered: September, 2016
Posts: 2

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 29, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Compact,sharp,built quality,WR,Diaphragma,range,colors ...
Cons: none so far ( if you set the Sensor shift right )
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K3 Prestige Edition   

I was searching for a better walk around lens than the Kit -
and I have a great collection of K,M,A and M42 Lenses , so I like the look
and the feel of it as much as the extraordinary quality of this lens !
You have to try it to say such things - and after setting the right Focus in my K3,
there is no doubt about the optical quality as well !
This is the right Lens I expected for my needs - lovely rounded Blades give a nice bokeh even at 20mm ;-) For more angel I take my 15mmLtd. or my 10-17mm fisheye with me ... It give a nostalgic feel in f2,8 and is extra sharp from 3,6 / 4 upwards - like also the 3D Rendition especially for HDR-Shots !
A quite good reason to stay with my lovely K3 Prestige Edition ...
Not cheap, but the output gives the answer !
Highly recommended !
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2016
Location: Gislev
Posts: 84

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 15, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

Pros: Image Quality, Build, Handling, Zoom range, Size and Weight
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-3 II   

This is an extraordinarily good lens of perfect build quality.

Optically it's among the best on the market (I've tested mine against some renowned lenses - and it more than holds its own):

IQ is gorgeous being razor sharp at practical working apertures (I do not venture farther than f/11 on any lens, if I can help it). More over CA's, fringing (if any at all) and distortion are negligible. Flare and reflexes are next to non-existent (Sigma Art's are a pain in this department), and it does an unbelievable job of retaining information and details in highlights and shadows (something that distinguishes excellent lenses from the rest - ask Leica-aficionados).

The zoom range is perfect for street photography and the likes, and the size and weight of the lens - though larger than the rest of the DA-Limited lenses - are non obstructive. The Sigma Art's are way to large and heavy in comparison (I do, in fact, own a couple of them). On top of that, I do prefer lenses from the camera producers, as they do have their brand much more at stake - also in the mechanical build department - as compared to third party producers.

Did I forget to mention the Bokeh? Smooth, lovely and unbelievably buttery for a zoom - then again, this seems to be a prime lens with a variable focal length-type of lens.

IMHO this piece of Pentax-glass is worth every last penny - and if you still don't believe it, please read this review:

Clearly a FIVE STAR Lens. And Pentax does make a lot of them ...
New Member

Registered: October, 2014
Posts: 8

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: September 7, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Beautiful rendering
Cons: Within the accepted constraints; none.
Sharpness: 8    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K3   

Knowing how anal most review sights are about technical specifications I read the reviews with a pinch of salt. I have the classic limited primes and have always admired the amazing rendering of colours, focus transition, local contrast, and accurate colour separation and definition within complex images. The 15 f4 ltd is my favourite. Appreciating the complexity of design that is required to re-create those characteristics in a zoom, I am very happy with my 20-40 ltd. It maintains the same character in performance as the limited primes. Considering this and the amazing construction I would consider it an absolute bargain.
Veteran Member

Registered: April, 2014
Location: Cambridge, MA
Posts: 928

8 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: August 18, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $600.00 | Rating: 10 

Pros: Compactness; fantastic sharpness, color, and clarity
Cons: Nothing major
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

I wanted a small-ish all-around weather-sealed lens to take with me on my recent cross-country road trip. This lens was perfect, and I love it. It's my shiny silver buddy who's fun to be with.

This lens filled the "travel lens" niche perfectly. It's lightweight and reasonably small (about the same size as my 31mm Limited, but lighter), so I can carry it with me almost everywhere. The 20-40mm zoom range covers the focal lengths I most commonly use, though I should note that I brought along a second K-3 with the 15mm Limited. The f/2.8-4 maximum aperture seems a little slow, but in practice, I never had trouble using it indoors. When I'm visiting museums, I tend to use the wide end anyway, and f/2.8 is fine. I never had to test the weather sealing, but it was very good to have it.

As far as image quality goes, the 20-40mm Limited is fantastic. The sharpness, color saturation, and clarity are simply outstanding. It stacks up well against my other Limited lenses. (I put together a whole gallery here, if you're interested).

-- It's sharper than the 21mm, and has comparable bokeh; at this point, the choice of which one I bring with me mostly depends on whether I want the smaller lens, and whether I need the weather sealing.

-- It's very slightly less sharp than the 31mm Limited, but you'll only see the difference if you are a fanatical pixel-peeper. The rendering and the bokeh are noticeably different to me between the two lenses. I think the 20-40 reproduces colors more vividly, but I think the bokeh of the 31 is smoother, and I generally prefer its rendering.

-- The 40mm Limited wins for sharpness, but then again, it's the sharpest lens I own; the 20-40 is also very, very sharp. The color saturation and rendering are generally comparable.

I only have a few complaints, and they're relatively minor. The autofocus is noticeably worse than the 21, 31, or 40-- sometimes it hunts around for a while, and sometimes it latches on to something, and sometimes it doesn't. I'm not sure what's going on, but my primes don't have this problem. Next, there's noticeable vignetting at 40mm at f/4.0, but this can be cleaned up unproblematically in post. There's noticeable distortion at 20mm, so if you really like to photograph straight vertical lines near the edges of the frame, you might be sad. Finally, the silver finish on the lens hood rubs off relatively easily.

In short, it's a wonderful little lens, and unless you really need a wider zoom range or a larger aperture, you won't be disappointed.

Enough talk! Now photos!

20mm @ f/11. You can see how well this lens nails textures...

...and colors.

20mm @ f/7.1 You can see a noticeable amount of distortion at 20mm, more than the 21mm Limited, I think.

23mm @ f/3.5. Just throwing in a photo at a relatively wide angle and a relatively wide aperture.

29mm @ f/5.6. See, it does reasonably well indoors.

30mm @ f/3.5. An example of the bokeh. It's quite nice!

31mm @ f/11. It's still sharp at the middle of its zoom range.

34mm @ f/11. Ditto.

40mm @ f/4.0. You can see what I was talking about with the vignetting, but IIRC there were more egregious examples.

40mm @ f/11. Still sharp.

40mm @ f/4.0. It's not a fast telephoto lens, but it still does reasonably good portraits.

Anyway, if you really cannot get enough example photos, the entire road trip album is here.

It's a great lens! It got, I think, unfairly slammed by confused lens reviewers who didn't think through the handling/portability implications of the relatively slow maximum aperture, and who didn't appreciate the pixie dust. The original price of $1,000 was pretty steep, and I certainly wouldn't pay that much for it, but $600 is entirely reasonable. If you do end up buying it, I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!
Add Review of HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited DC WR Buy the HD Pentax-DA 20-40mm F2.8-4 Limited DC WR

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