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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2008
Back in the '80's I owned a Pentax ME Super and I thereafter soon bought several "M" lenses to go with it (most notably the 28mm F2.8 and the 135mm F3.5). These lenses were given the "M" classification because of their Miniature size. I always loved the optical and mechanical performance of those little wonders. I have now finally found in the 21st Century an equivalent (actually they're even a bit better!) in the Pentax Limited Series. I am now the proud owner of three of that breed: the DA 21mm f3.2, the DA 35mm f2.8 Macro and the DA 70mm f2.4. I love the 21mm- it's perfect for street photography,landscapes, all around "snapshots" and, with it's close focusing, even near macro. It's small in size and light in weight which makes it a joy to carry and it is actually made of real metal! It focuses quite fast with AF and if needed it can be overridden to manual focus without pushing any buttons or moving any levers. While it is in the wide angle family, it is not an ultra wide, so there is little to no distortion to be found. I would highly reccomend this lens (and any member of the Pentax Limited Series, for that matter) to anyone who wishes to push the boundaries of their photographic experience and invest in some superior quality primes. You can see the difference!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on February 9, 2008
I love this lens. The focal length is directly in the "sweet spot" for street photography, indoors, landscapes and even aerial photos. It focuses amazingly close for dramatic macro-like effects, and when you combine this with a small aperture you can get a very wide depth-of-field, as well. Overall, a very well-made "stealth" lens that is a versatile must-have!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on September 20, 2010
Reviewing my travel and other shots, I find that this lens' focal length covers 80% of what I shoot. I have always loved the 35mm focal length for film, and find the 28mm useful. This little 21mm crops to about a 31.5 equivalent, right between the two.

How often have I seen travellers crading a huge 72-filter size zoom like a drunk protecting his bottle. A lens this small, especially on one of the smaller Pentax DSLR bodies, makes an SLR pretty close to (winter) coat pocketable.

This lens has been criticised for having barrel distortion approaching 2.5%. My particular sample doesn't seem this severe. If you are concerned about this, learn how to correct barrel distortion in your imaging program. I find no fault with the DA 21's sharpness past f4. Shooting at low ISO's and at full resolution, you can do pretty severe crops and still maintain a decent file size.

I paid $429 for mine new at B&H two years ago. The prices I am seeing now are ridiculous, even for a lens this good. These small lenses are what drew me to Pentax, but I would not have bought this or any other DA lens at these latest prices. Pentax is in no position to be shooting themselves in the foot.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2009
If you are looking for a camera lens that transforms the look of your imposing SLR into a advanced point and shoot (everyone jumps out of the way of SLR for some reason), while maintaining excellent image quality, and increased ease of handling, the DA 21 is the perfect lens for you. With respect to handling, I hate carrying around a bagful of camera gear. There are many times where I want to walk around with just the camera and lens. The combo of K200D+DA21 is about as light as a SLR+lens can get and it handles beautifully. Two potential negatives include wishing for either a bit more width (or more focal length), and a maximum aperture of only 3.2.

Wanting more length is not a problem, as the DA21 takes high enough quality pictures to allow me to crop until I get what I want. I can't do anything about width, but 21mm was good enough for me in cities such as Hong Kong and Seoul. Also, in the times when I needed to take hand-held self portraits with my significant other, the DA21mm performed flawlessly. Try taking one handed self portraits with the DA* 16-50!!

When there isn't ample lighting, which is the case in most indoor photography, i do increase the ISO more than I'd like, and at that point, high ISO+slower shutter speed means crap photos. But I'd rather carry around my monopod than carry around my FA50mm. With my monopod, i can user a lower ISO and get results i like.

In short, a lot of rambling later, the DA21mm is just about the perfect walk around lens. I would take it over the FA35mm too. Just because the significant other hated the fact I couldn't take self-portraits with the 21mm:)
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
I just bought this lens for my Pentax K10D and it is truly stellar. I love to shoot wide angle landscapes and this lens has such clarity and absolutely no flaws that I can find so far. I have not had to use denoising software on a picture I've taken with it yet. It is well worth the price you will pay for it, and I have no doubt that it will be the "prime" lens affixed to my camera most of the time.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on January 16, 2008
Without getting into the optical qualities in detail, I can only say that I find the drawing and color properties pleasing. Focus is fast, and the build quality is excellent.

Combined with the Pentax K10D, this is my sketchpad -- the kit I carry when I don't carry much.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 12, 2012
This is a lens I had been considering for use on my K-5 as a moderate wide walkaround for some time. Every time I just about pulled the trigger on it, I would read some so-so review and look at the price and think, no way. Well, even after seeing the first few images taken with this lens, all I can say is WOW! The color and contrast this lens produces is just incredible. It's readily apparent even wide open, where the performance of this lens is beyond anything I expected (the color and contrast is as good as any Zeiss or Leica glass I have shot over the years). From a few reviews, I was also a little worried about sharpness. I don't know if I just lucked out but my copy is very sharp. Anyway, if you have been going back and forth on this lens, all I can say is just buy it! It's really that good.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on December 3, 2011
I've gone sort of nuts buying Pentax lenses for my k5 and kx. I have the 10-17 Fisheye, 15mm Limited, 21mm Limited (sold it), 35 mm Macro Limited, 40 mm Limited, 70 mm Limited, 200mm DA*, 50mm Takumar m42 and just bought the 50mm f1.2 SMCA. I take a lot of events/street, flowers and nature shots. With the exception of the 21mm, I have liked all of them. I was very excited about the 21mm lens out of this lineup because of the focal length and size. It seemed perfect for candid street and event photos. Unfortunately, I found that 21mm to be sorely lacking when compared to all the other Limited lenses that I own. It has a high degree of barrel distortion. At least you can correct it later. The real problem is the lack of contrast and to a lesser degree the lack of sharpness. I seldom was able to take a picture with this lens that measured up to ones taken with the 15mm Limited or 35mm Limited, even when taken at the same spot. It is the only lens that I have sold. If you want a wide lens for APS Pentax, I suggest the 15mm. It is a bit wider but has less distortion(!) than the 21mm, better contrast, and better sharpness. And the size isn't all that much larger.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on June 27, 2008
This is the perfect lense for walking around and grabbing shots. Easy small and the quality is great. If my main purpose isn't to take pictures but I want to have my camera with me or if I am trying to be more inconspicuous it's the one to have.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 31, 2014
This was the 2nd Pentax Limited "pancake" lens I've purchased (the 1st was the 40mm). This has probably become my most-used lens! It's always either on my camera or in my pocket for quick retrieval. I use it for architecture photography and anything that I need to get a lot into a photo or can't step back enough to get with the 40. All three of these pancake lenses (21, 40, and 70mm) are a unique Pentax-exclusive that Canon and Nikon simply don't make and I absolutely love them. This one takes beautiful photos that look great even when fully cropped. I sometimes wish the aperture would go down a little below 3.2 (it's the slowest of the three), but it still takes beautifully sharp photos wide open, but it's absolute best sharpness lies between 5.6 and 8. Contrast is also great. I never remove the beautiful little custom metal hood that twists on and seems to do an excellent job of both shielding out extraneous light, but well protects the lens when you cram it into your pocket, which I do frequently! If I want to use a filter, like a polarizer, I simply hold one up over it and turn it to the desired position with one hand and shoot with the other, since it + a Pentax camera are so light and easy to shoot with one hand!

I purchased mine used, but it is good as new, except it came missing the original felt-lined front cap but had a cheap standard 49mm snap-in cap which can NOT be used with the hood on, so I go capless, but then again, I generally leave all my caps in the bag to avoid losing them. I leave my little 40mm cap at home too since the hoods do a great job of protecting the lenses. This lens is all metal and glass too, no plastic! Focus is quick (particularly since it's lightweight and there's not much for the camera's little focus motor to have to move. If you want a really great walk-around prime lens (something better, lighter, and more compact than your kit zoom), get this lens, you can't go wrong!
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