How good is the DA 20-40 compared with DA 21 and 35 Ltds?

Started Apr 20, 2014 | Questions
miles500
miles500 Contributing Member • Posts: 959
How good is the DA 20-40 compared with DA 21 and 35 Ltds?
1

I have the DA 15, 21, 35 and 70 Ltds as well as the DA 40XS.  I also have the DA 18-135 and 55-300 zooms.  I much prefer shooting with the primes from a weight and handling point of view, but it can involve a lot of lens changing. With that in mind I left most of the Ltds at home and took the zooms on our last big trip.  However viewing and comparing with my pictures from a previous trip when I did the opposite and took mainly primes, I found that I had got the better pictures on that previous trip.

The reasons are probably that the primes do give a superior rendering ( or at least I think so) and that you really have to think a little more before you take a shot when using primes.

I suspect that a lot of the lens changing is between the DA 21 and the DA 35 and the acquisition of the DA 20-40 would avoid that need, but question arises and maybe those who have the 20-40 can advise me - is the DA 20-40 as good as the DA 21 and DA 35 ( at those focal lengths)?

The DA 20-40 is certainly not cheap so I do not want to make a costly mistake.

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Miles500

 miles500's gear list:miles500's gear list
Fujifilm X70 Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm X-T20 Fujifilm XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS +4 more
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Zvonimir Tosic
Zvonimir Tosic Senior Member • Posts: 2,639
It is good

DA20-40 is good enough to be labelled as Pentax Limited lens.

It is not a macro lens, so not comparable to DA35 entirely.

Do you need it? I think you do; anyone travelling with a family needs a zoom because that what works for the photographer working alone is an obstacle when there is no time for a dedicated and careful work. Plus, if a family is using a camera too, it is unlikely they will use a camera plus prime in the same way a photographer would use it, nor bother with framing, nor moving towards the subject looking for a best angle, etc.

In other words, zooms are a horrible compromise, but a necessary one.

On the other hand, do you need a $990 zoom when roaming around? Ehh ... don't know.

But if you can, keep the DA21 and DA35. They will remind you that there are times when you must go alone to take an extra step to do a photograph worth remembering.

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Madamina, il catalogo è questo; Delle belle che amò il padron mio; un catalogo egli è che ho fatt'io; Osservate, leggete con me.

klimbkat
klimbkat Senior Member • Posts: 2,229
Re: It is good

While I do not have either the 21 or the 35 ltd, I do have the the DA 15, FA 35 M40, FA 43, and DA 70. In my experience the DA 20-40 ltd compares very well with these, particularly the 15, 43, and 70. Like most of these lenses, it has its own character and quirks, but delivers very nice results. The DOF is thin and at wider apertures I believe there is some field curvature, particularly toward the wider end of the range which can lead to the impression that edge sharpness is not particularly good.  In my experience, at least with the shooting I do (not flat scenes wide open), this is not an issue.  While not macro, the close focus is very good, much like the DA 16-45.  Just looking at the numbers, DXO gives the 20-40 essentially equivalent results to the 21 and 35:

http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Pentax-HD-DA-20-40mm-F28-4-ED-Limited-DC-WR-on-Pentax-K-3-versus-Pentax-HD-DA-21mm-F32-AL-Limited-on-Pentax-K5-versus-Pentax-HD-DA-35mm-F28-Macro-Limited-on-Pentax-K5___1262_914_1219_676_1220_676

I have had my copy since early December and it is now my default walkaround lens - light, WR, and great rendition.

Brick Walls

North Falls

Trusty Sack

Bleeding Hearts

Most of these originals are pretty big.  If you are looking for a light, WR, normal zoom with limited rendition, for me at least, the DA 20-40 ltd. works very well.  I pair it with the 15 and 70 for a small, flexible travel or walkaround kit.

miles500
OP miles500 Contributing Member • Posts: 959
Re: It is good

Zvonimir Tosic wrote:

DA20-40 is good enough to be labelled as Pentax Limited lens.

It is not a macro lens, so not comparable to DA35 entirely.

Do you need it? I think you do; anyone travelling with a family needs a zoom because that what works for the photographer working alone is an obstacle when there is no time for a dedicated and careful work. Plus, if a family is using a camera too, it is unlikely they will use a camera plus prime in the same way a photographer would use it, nor bother with framing, nor moving towards the subject looking for a best angle, etc.

In other words, zooms are a horrible compromise, but a necessary one.

On the other hand, do you need a $990 zoom when roaming around? Ehh ... don't know.

But if you can, keep the DA21 and DA35. They will remind you that there are times when you must go alone to take an extra step to do a photograph worth remembering.

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Madamina, il catalogo è questo; Delle belle che amò il padron mio; un catalogo egli è che ho fatt'io; Osservate, leggete con me.

Thankyou very much for your comments which are very helpful.  In the event I get the 20-40, I will almost certainly hang on to the 35 Ltd which is probably the best all round lens I have and is of course a macro lens.  I would also be tempted to hang on to the 21 as I have always come to regret the sale of a lens later on when I wanted a particular combination.  The WR capability  of the 20-40 is also an attraction.

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Miles500

 miles500's gear list:miles500's gear list
Fujifilm X70 Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm X-T20 Fujifilm XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS +4 more
miles500
OP miles500 Contributing Member • Posts: 959
Re: It is good

klimbkat wrote:

While I do not have either the 21 or the 35 ltd, I do have the the DA 15, FA 35 M40, FA 43, and DA 70. In my experience the DA 20-40 ltd compares very well with these, particularly the 15, 43, and 70. Like most of these lenses, it has its own character and quirks, but delivers very nice results. The DOF is thin and at wider apertures I believe there is some field curvature, particularly toward the wider end of the range which can lead to the impression that edge sharpness is not particularly good. In my experience, at least with the shooting I do (not flat scenes wide open), this is not an issue. While not macro, the close focus is very good, much like the DA 16-45. Just looking at the numbers, DXO gives the 20-40 essentially equivalent results to the 21 and 35:

http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Pentax-HD-DA-20-40mm-F28-4-ED-Limited-DC-WR-on-Pentax-K-3-versus-Pentax-HD-DA-21mm-F32-AL-Limited-on-Pentax-K5-versus-Pentax-HD-DA-35mm-F28-Macro-Limited-on-Pentax-K5___1262_914_1219_676_1220_676

I have had my copy since early December and it is now my default walkaround lens - light, WR, and great rendition.

Brick Walls

North Falls

Trusty Sack

Bleeding Hearts

Most of these originals are pretty big. If you are looking for a light, WR, normal zoom with limited rendition, for me at least, the DA 20-40 ltd. works very well. I pair it with the 15 and 70 for a small, flexible travel or walkaround kit.

Thankyou Doug for posting these images and I am reassured about the DA 20-40 Ltd.  That would also be my travel kit.  I guess I would have to pack the 55-300 just in case there is a need for something longer.  I like to have some WR capability on trips to less clement climes so the DA 20-40 would give me that.  I am looking ahead to a trip to Nova Scotia in September where the weather could be somewhat variable - just as it is here in the UK.  I had better start saving up now!

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Miles500

 miles500's gear list:miles500's gear list
Fujifilm X70 Fujifilm X-T2 Fujifilm X-T20 Fujifilm XF 60mm F2.4 R Macro Fujifilm XF 18-55mm F2.8-4 R LM OIS +4 more
Bill Robb Senior Member • Posts: 3,332
Re: How good is the DA 20-40 compared with DA 21 and 35 Ltds?

miles500 wrote:

I have the DA 15, 21, 35 and 70 Ltds as well as the DA 40XS. I also have the DA 18-135 and 55-300 zooms. I much prefer shooting with the primes from a weight and handling point of view, but it can involve a lot of lens changing. With that in mind I left most of the Ltds at home and took the zooms on our last big trip. However viewing and comparing with my pictures from a previous trip when I did the opposite and took mainly primes, I found that I had got the better pictures on that previous trip.

The reasons are probably that the primes do give a superior rendering ( or at least I think so) and that you really have to think a little more before you take a shot when using primes.

I suspect that a lot of the lens changing is between the DA 21 and the DA 35 and the acquisition of the DA 20-40 would avoid that need, but question arises and maybe those who have the 20-40 can advise me - is the DA 20-40 as good as the DA 21 and DA 35 ( at those focal lengths)?

The DA 20-40 is certainly not cheap so I do not want to make a costly mistake.

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Miles500

I mostly like the 20-40. I'm not much of a zoom user at best and bought the thing more out of tradition, I have every Pentax LTD lens, I figured what's one more.

On paper it is about as big as the 31mm LTD, in actuality it is substantially larger. It has very good imaging qualities, though surprisingly, I was able to get fringing off of it in what I considered a relatively routine picture taking condition. It might be something to watch for.

The zoom range is limited enough that one still should be bringing a prime lens mindset to the lens, the lens quality is such that it isn't all that distinguishable from the DA primes, it's speed is such that it isn't far off of them either.

klimbkat
klimbkat Senior Member • Posts: 2,229
Re: How good is the DA 20-40 compared with DA 21 and 35 Ltds?

Bill Robb wrote:

On paper it is about as big as the 31mm LTD, in actuality it is substantially larger. It has very good imaging qualities, though surprisingly, I was able to get fringing off of it in what I considered a relatively routine picture taking condition. It might be something to watch for.

I've had some PF as well in the usual locations (edges, high contrast), easily correctable of course.

fototim Regular Member • Posts: 281
Re: It is good

klimbkat wrote:

DXO gives the 20-40 essentially equivalent results to the 21 and 35:

http://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Pentax-HD-DA-20-40mm-F28-4-ED-Limited-DC-WR-on-Pentax-K-3-versus-Pentax-HD-DA-21mm-F32-AL-Limited-on-Pentax-K5-versus-Pentax-HD-DA-35mm-F28-Macro-Limited-on-Pentax-K5___1262_914_1219_676_1220_676

I'm afraid this compare is not valid, since the zoom is measured at K-3 and the primes at K-5.
The actual numbers for the macro are much better in reality.

Here I have changed camera for the primes.
www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Pentax-HD-DA-20-40mm-F28-4-ED-Limited-DC-WR-on-Pentax-K-3-versus-Pentax-HD-DA-21mm-F32-AL-Limited-on-Pentax-K-3-versus-Pentax-HD-DA-35mm-F28-Macro-Limited-on-Pentax-K-3___1262_914_1219_914_1220_914

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