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HD Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited

Sharpness 
 9.4
Aberrations 
 9.4
Bokeh 
 9.4
Autofocus 
 8.9
Handling 
 9.6
Value 
 9.7
Reviews Views Date of last review
8 54,784 Mon March 28, 2016
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Recommended By Average Price Average User Rating
100% of reviewers $549.83 9.75
HD Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited

HD Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited
supersize
HD Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited
supersize
HD Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited
supersize
HD Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited
supersize
HD Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited
supersize
HD Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited
supersize

Description:
The HD Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited is a compact "pancake" lens designed for use on Pentax DSLRs only.

This lens features Pentax's latest "HD" nano coating and is available in both black and silver for $699.95.

HD Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited
Image Format
APS-C
Lens Mount
Pentax K
Aperture Ring
No
Diaphragm
Automatic, 7 blades (rounded)
Optics
8 elements, 5 groups
Mount Variant
KAF
Max. Aperture
F3.2
Min. Aperture
F22
Focusing
AF (screwdrive)
Quick-shift
Yes
Min. Focus
20 cm
Max. Magnification
0.17x
Filter Size
49 mm
Internal Focus
No
Field of View (Diag. / Horiz.)

APS-C: 68 ° / 59 °
Hood
MH-RBA 43mm
Case
Dedicated case
Lens Cap
Dedicated metal push-on
Coating
HD,SP
Weather Sealing
No
Other Features
Diam x Length
63 x 25 mm (2.5 x 1 in.)
Weight
134 g (4.2 oz.)
Production Years
2013 to Present
Pricing
$486 USD current price
Engraved Name
HD PENTAX-DA 1:3.2 21mm AL Limited
Product Code
21410 (black), 21420 (silver)
Notes
The filter thread on the lens is 49 mm. The dedicated hood which screws into the filter thread has a 43 mm filter thread.
One aspherical element.
Variants

Black and silver


Features:
Screwdrive AutofocusQuick ShiftAutomatic ApertureAPS-C Digital Only
Purchase: Buy the HD Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited
In-Depth Review: Read our HD Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited in-depth review!
Sample Photos: View Sample Photos



Add Review of HD Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited Buy the HD Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Limited
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Sort Reviews by: Date | Author | Rating | Recommendation | Likes (Descending) Showing Reviews 1-8 of 8
Loyal Site Supporter

Registered: March, 2015
Posts: 4,834
Lens Review Date: March 28, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Size, subjective image quality
Cons: Not all that fast if low light conditions prevail
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 9    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5   

It's not as wide as the wide end of the kit lens and it's not that much faster enough to matter, but where this lens wins is on size. It is TINY, not that much bigger than the legendarily small DA40 Pancake, and that let me take all four non-macro limited primes around the world in an over-shoulder camera bag. And in the setting of a big city with architecture dating back into the 19th Century, it shines. Effortless wielding, fast focus, great image quality (it's nobody's flat-field copy-stand lens, but then it was never meant to be) - this lens has it all. Like its 15mm and 40mm brethren, this makes an art form of small-is-beautiful.

Only occasionally found lacking for architecture shots close to very tall buildings and in very narrow confines, which is where the DA15 took over, but this is probably the shortest Pentax prime I've handled which will render groups of people as individuals in the context of their surroundings rather than incorporating them into it. From this perspective, perhaps the ideal busy social function or party lens, due to its small size and unobtrusiveness (for adults and teenagers, anyway; for younger kids, you will want a superzoom).

There were times I wished it could be faster, but I suspect that's what tripods were meant for, and there were valid reasons why I wasn't carrying one of those. If the DA35/2.4 isn't doing it for you in terms of wide field of view, this is the go-to for those who love their primes and have the money.

Manual focus is pretty reasonable, I never had an AF problem, and overall I'm glad I bought it. The only thing it doesn't have that it could do with is WR. I have taken a point off here and there because no lens is perfect, but for the uses I had in mind for it, it never really let me down and I gave it an overall ten for that reason.
   
Pentaxian

Registered: February, 2010
Location: Eureka, CA
Posts: 1,829

3 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: March 28, 2016 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $370.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Great color and contrast, produces images that look great to human perception
Cons: none of any significance
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 9    Autofocus: 5    Handling: 8    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: Pentax K-5iis   

While I wouldn't necessarily consider this my best lens, it is one of my favorites. Admittedly, this has as much to do with the focal length as with the quality of the lens. I find that 21mm on APS-C provides a very comfortable FOV. It's how I see the world, at least when it comes to photography.

Oddly enough, on my K-5iis, I have trouble getting this lens to focus accurately at long distances. But that's not a major issue, as I use the lens primarily for landscapes and I have plenty o ftime. I just manual focus the lens like I used to back in the day when I was shooting on my K1000. Manual focus works pretty well on the DA 21, especially considering it's an AF lens.

The DA 21 is sometimes seen as the least impressive of all the Limited primes. Perhaps that's true, perhaps it isn't; but it should be kept in mid how good the other limiteds are, and how high a standard they represent. The main criticism of the DA 21 is the f3.2 aperture. There are other 20mm lenses from other brands that have faster apertures, may be sharper wide open, and may even be sharper in the corners stopped down. Such criticism, however, misses the point. The 21 Limited was not designed merely to do well on numerical lens tests -- although it does quite well, as far as that is concerned. It's reasonably sharp wide open; by f4 it's quite sharp; and by f8 it's pretty sharp across most of the frame, with only the corners and maybe the far edges missing out by just a bit. But the DA 21 was designed to do more than just resolve data. It's a color and contrast lens, and in this regard, it will out perform most of those slightly sharper lenses from other brands that are held up as the DA 21's main competition. Images from this lens have great clarity, "pop", and beauty -- in short, a lens designed to produce images that look great to human perception.

A few samples, all shot at f8:







   
Veteran Member

Registered: July, 2007
Location: Stockport, Manchester. UK
Posts: 377
Lens Review Date: June 19, 2015 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: N/A | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Wonderful rendition, great colours, sharp!
Cons: ever so slight CA
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-3   

This is the replacement to my much loved SMC version. Why? Well it was stolen amongst other camera gear recently and the insurance company replaced it with the updated HD version.

How does it compare?
Well, pretty well really. So far I have only used it on my new K-3, but the colour rendition is excellent. Bokeh? smooth. Sharpness? a tad sharper at all apertures.

Downside? although the slight CA of the older version is improved, it is still there, as is the slight pincushion. However put it through cameraRAW and all is well.

A great lens!
   
New Member

Registered: June, 2008
Location: Pune
Posts: 2

1 user found this helpful
Lens Review Date: December 29, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $599.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Compact, FL, Sharp, Close Focus, Usefullnes
Cons: None
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-01, K10D   

I am Pentax user since last 8 years, and have collection of many old manual and new AF lenses from various brands. I have many zoom lenses (including Tamron 17-50 f2.8) that cover 21mm focal length, so I was bit reluctant to buy this lens; though after buying I am delighted with the decision. Since purchase (last 3 months) I can proudly say this is the most used lens.

If I need to take only one lens, then 21mm Limited is the one that caters all my needs and goes on my camera as it is fast, light, sharp, macro’ish and best FL.

Shooting landscapes using this lens is joy fantastic colour and sharpness. I have more than 30 lenses still I can easily figure out the photos taken using this 21mm without even seeing EXIF. Due to small size and metal built still light this is best fit for hiking / trekking purpose. I have taken many close-up / macro using this lens; not true macro but sufficient for the purpose and you can blur the background due to close focus on f3.2.

This is the best walk-around & street photography lens Pentax have .

Very useful even in indoor functions. Sharp wide-open aperture, f/3.2 is faster than F3.5 & F4 so works for my purpose even in lowlight w/o flash and with flash.

The all I can say - the most useful lens I have presently with me. You might not convince based on specs however you will never regret after you have this jewel.
   
Senior Member

Registered: November, 2014
Location: Newfoundland
Posts: 227
Lens Review Date: December 6, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $650.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: Image quality, build quality, colour rendering, flare resistance, size, lens hood
Cons: None at all
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 8    Autofocus: 10    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-5II   

I have been shooting Pentax for a long time and over the years have shot with SMC A lenses, FA lenses and DA zoom lenses. I have always lusted after the Limiteds for their stellar image quality and superior hand-made metal and glass construction. Indoors this lens is amazing, wide enough to offer a very natural perspective and fast enough on a K-5II to deliver solid available light results. While f/3.2 isn't very fast, it's fast enough if you bump up the ISO a little. At f/3.2 the centre is tack sharp however the edge of the frame is a little soft. For outdoor shots anything shot between f/5.6 and f/8 is tack sharp across the entire frame. The lens hood is superb. This is the first lens that I have felt is well protected enough not to add a UV 0 filter to. The cold metal touch and exceptionally smooth but adequate manual focus both feel amazing. The K-5II is very compact with this lens. I have been shooting with this lens for a week now and it's versatility never ceases to amaze me. I have just ordered the HD DA 40 to go with it. Once you shoot with a Pentax Limited Prime everything else seems "ordinary" by comparison. While I have always loved the warm rendering the FA primes deliver, the HD DA 21 provides true-to-life rendering while capturing subtle details in shadow and highlights that my FA 35 can not match.
   
Site Supporter

Registered: June, 2014
Posts: 62
Lens Review Date: August 27, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $549.95 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharp pictures, great contrast, Good handling, Light weight, built in hood.
Cons: None to date.
Sharpness: 10    Aberrations: 10    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 10    New or Used: New    Camera Used: K-30   

I have used the lens for several months and it has yet to disappoint. I am well pleased with all aspects of the photos achieved. The size and weight make it easy to store in a pocket and make it very easy to handle when installed on the camera. It goes with me whenever I am out for a shoot. Focus speed is impressive. Of the five wide angle lenses I own, this is the most impressive.
   
New Member

Registered: May, 2014
Posts: 1
Lens Review Date: May 22, 2014 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $500.00 | Rating: 9 

 
Pros: very well made, tiny
Cons: Image edges are not good at full aperture
Sharpness: 9    Aberrations: 9    Bokeh: 10    Autofocus: 9    Handling: 10    Value: 9    New or Used: Used    Camera Used: Pentax K-3   

A very high-quality lens, great processed. Great focal length and a pleasant bokeh. It is a lens that you can take anywhere. It is extremely small and fits in your pocket. CA is noticeable only in extreme cases and it is very light compared resistend.
   
Veteran Member

Registered: October, 2007
Location: Melbourne Aus
Posts: 1,144

2 users found this helpful
Lens Review Date: November 23, 2013 I can recommend this lens: Yes | Price: $630.00 | Rating: 10 

 
Pros: Sharpness, Size, colour rendition, 3D rendering/contrast, flare resistance, Bokeh
Cons: barrel distortion, reduced starburst.

I have used this lenses for a month now and I prefer the images I get than the ones I've seen with the SMC 21.
Yes starburst are not as strong but the improved micro contrast of HD vs SMC are definitely giving a nice 3D effect, aka Pixie dust. The other improvement is the Bokeh when using this lens up close. I wasn't expecting to be using the lens this way but close ups with the HD21 produce awesome rendering.
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