Pentax-DA 21mm F3.2 Review

Conclusion

It is hard not to love the DA 21mm Limited. Its diminutive size and weight, its build quality and the very high image quality it delivers constantly impress. It boasts a very high level of sharpness and microcontrast and produces bright and vibrant images. Aberrations as a whole are well controlled, though barrel distortion could be lower. The particular bokeh might take some time getting used to but creates pleasing and effective images.

The uncommon focal length and only moderately fast aperture might put off some users. The lens hood design also takes some time getting used to, and might not please everyone. It is obvious that Pentax designed this lens thinking about size first and foremost, but with no compromises on image quality. A faster lens at this focal length would be larger, heavier, and by necessity cost even more.

With a price tag over 600$ USD after the price increase in March 2012, this lens may not appeal to everyone. However, it is a lens that constantly delivers and lives up to the Limited name.

Who is it For?

At more than 600$ new, the DA 21mm is not an affordable lens, even though it can be found for a lower price on the used market. The small size, focal length, and high quality optics make it a perfect candidate for street photography. Its relatively fast aperture and close focusing capabilities also make it a good travel lens. The small weight means it will not tire the user even after prolonged use. The focal length also makes it a good choice for landscapes and architecture.

The diminutive size of the DA 21mm does not compromise its usability. The focus ring is well positioned and easy to find by touch. It is well textured and easy to operate. However, the distance scale is all but hidden by the flash bump and, because, of this, is of limited use in most shooting conditions.

Rating

Sharpness 
 9
Aberrations 
 7
Bokeh 
 8
Autofocus 
 10
Handling 
 9
Value 
 8
Overall 
 8.5 (Very Good)

Ready to get your DA 21mm Limited? B&H has it in stock at a discounted price! Also, if you currently own the lens and would like to write your own review, please visit our Pentax user reviews section.

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