On no, I've been converted!


Link Posted 29/06/2018 - 22:26
So I used to be an almost exclusively zoom lens user. For a long time I have had the DA*16-50 and DA*50-135 as my two go everywhere lenses. I also have a DA18-135 but it is on 'long-term' (permanent ) loan to my father. For a long time I'd been umming and arring about the Limited primes. Every time I got my hands on one to test I'd be irritated by the tzzz-tzzz of the in body AF motor knowing how silent my zooms are. Then I'd be disheartened by the lens speeds thinking "my zooms are constant f/2.8"!

In 2015 having been waiting a long time for a 100mm macro with WR and silent AF I gave up walked into my local camera shop and forked out for the DA100 WR Macro. Not my first prime lens as I had the DA*300 which sadly hardly ever saw, nor still sees, much use . It is just a bit too big and specialised to carry around all the time. I fell in love with the build quality, all metal outer construction, the old fashioned DoF markings and completely solid tank-like construction. Since then my DA*50-135 has basically not seen any use ! It became my permanent travel companion with my DA*16-50, my most used lens.

I started occasionally only taking the 100mm macro and nothing else. I found I because a lot more creative thinking with my framing, composition and looking for details that would work with that focal length. I started thinking "maybe there is something more to primes" and again looking around at the Limited series. Later that year I travelled to Mexico taking only two lenses. A borrowed DA35 plastic fantastic and my DA100 WR. This furthered my thinking about shooting with primes. This is because I wanted to travel light and because I realised that I use zooms like double primes! Photos taken with my DA* zooms are over 90% from 16, 50 or 135mm. I didn't really use the rest of the zoom range much at all.

Fast forward to the end of 2017. I'm looking to start travelling light. I am getting very fed up of carting around a lot of big and heavy kit. I am finding my kit large, obtrusive, difficult to pack and very 'in your face' (and it is still very small compared to digital FF!). I start looking at moving system, or adding a camera from another system. The Fuji fixed-lens APS-C X100 'range finder' or just upping and moving to Olympus and their OM-D EM1.

Both the above are impressive! The Fuji is a thing of beauty and the Olympus feels like a techno-marvel. My aunt is an Olympus shooter, strangely on my recommendation as she wanted small and light but to move up from a Panasonic.

Then the stark realisations. The Fuji is 1000; it doesn't have interchangeable lenses and isn't much smaller or lighter than my K-5's body! The Olympus kit to replace what I have in Pentax mount is well over 4000 !

Solution? I liked the focal length of the Fuji and the speed of the lens. Closest Pentax equivalent? The DA21 Limited.

Looking at the prices I was a bit shocked at the increases over the last few years for new lenses. Then reading reviews and doing my research i discovered people praising the DA Limiteds for producing some special results the HD Limiteds do not. The new coatings are great but the rounded bladed on the wide angles took away their 'star-bursts'.

I decided to look around for the old DA Limited 21mm instead of the new one. I found one at SRS and I've not looked back!

The seeming lack of speed doesn't matter. I can get some wonderful shallow DoF framing correctly and getting close to my subject. The tzzz-tzzz of the AF motor is now a reassuring sound that this solid built lens is doing its work. The DoF scale helps me get the right aperture in all situations for the result I want. The small size makes it unobtrusive. It is great for travel as it is light and takes up so little space. The DA21 Limited made me fall in love with my camera and photography again.

I was no longer looking around at other systems. I am still tempted by a newer camera but my K-5 seemed to be reborn and more capable than ever. Yes, my set-up isn't WR any more but I'm not really trekking around in all weather. I can also put the camera away quickly and easily in a small bag. Obviously not pocket-able, but a good size.

Unfortunately, I have LBA again! After my first taste of the Limiteds I want to get all the original DA Limiteds. Only because it feels wrong to mix and match the old DA and new HD Limiteds . I managed to find a DA15 Limited locally recently. I love this lens for its field of view and flare resistance. The screw on lens cap is an annoyance I have learned to cope with. Especially as I get a bit of OCD annoyance because the 'PENTAX' lettering doesn't sit the right way up !

Other positives about the Limiteds? 49mm filter thread! Got myself a circular polariser. I can use it on the 15, 21 and 100. It makes a big difference in a lot of different scenarios. Small filters are also much cheaper. That is the main reason I never got a 77mm polariser for my DA*16-50 (which incidentally is a flaring monster compared to the DA15).

Next challenge is finding a DA35, 40 and 70 to complete the set. I also want to get the two plastic fantastics as they'll compliment the set. It is a shame the 50mm has a 52mm thread though. I now also understand why the DA100 WR Macro is referred to as an 'honorary' Limited lens. If it had a green/red ring and Limited slapped on it it would fit right in.

Basically, I'm finding there is much more to the Limiteds than I ever really expected. They are not incredibly fast lenses, they are not quiet. With the two I own, have I ever been left wishing for F2.8 or faster? Nope. The DoF difference at 15mm would be minimal and the size increase would be huge. Just look at the size of the DA14. The 21mm is perfectly adequate at f/3.2 and an extra 1/3rd of a stop isn't going to make a damned bit of difference.

There is something really special to these small, light all metal 'tanks' of lenses. Pentax's problem? People, the press and the industry can't get over the need for speed, silence and specifications. I for one am glad I jumped onto this ship. I'd recommend to anyone getting on the Limited bandwagon. But, don't out-bid me on any lenses !



Link Posted 30/06/2018 - 00:48
My favorite is the DA70.
Just lovely pictures and you can always take it with you, it's so small.


Link Posted 30/06/2018 - 00:53
That was a very interesting bit of writing, many thanks for sharing your thoughts.
Best regards, John


Link Posted 30/06/2018 - 10:34
johnriley wrote:
That was a very interesting bit of writing, many thanks for sharing your thoughts.

I would second that. It was a good read too 👍🏻👍🏻👍🏻
I know what i like, If not always why.


Link Posted 30/06/2018 - 13:38
It was about 10 times longer than I'd originally intended . Once I started writing I just kept going . Thanks for the feedback .



Link Posted 30/06/2018 - 17:59
Good to read - the DA limiteds have pulled many into Pentaxland and secured the places of others. I certainly wouldn't be without mine - the 35mm is my favourite lens with absolutely stunning image quality.
Pentax hybrid user - Digital K3 & K200D, film 645 and 35mm SLR and Pentax (&other) lenses adapted to Fuji X digital
Fan of DA limited and old manual lenses


Link Posted 30/06/2018 - 20:02
Since acquiring the K1 I have sold the DA70mm. A very nice lens but one I had no more need for.

The DA40mm however will always be in my bag.

My Flickr page


Link Posted 30/06/2018 - 22:04
I've been tempted by a second hand K-1. I have the 100 and 300 that would work in FF mode. The Limiteds would allow me to shoot portrait and landscape shots simultaneously of an APS-C siz (by shooting FF or 1:1 and then cropping).



Link Posted 01/07/2018 - 17:20
I follow Elena Shumilova on Flickr, worth a look for truly original images. I think she just uses two prime lenses on a FF body, a 50mmf1.2 and mostly an 85mm f1.4. The lesson here is spend your money on a couple of top quality primes to suit what you do.


Link Posted 01/07/2018 - 22:13
Or you could track down a 43 and 77 in lieu of the 40 and 70 , a little bigger (but not much) and have that little extra ne plus ultra.
My Gallery
[url=http://pentaxphotogallery.com/Robbie Corrigan]ppg[/url]


Link Posted 01/07/2018 - 22:41
[quote:3496ace15f="johnriley"]That was a very interesting bit of writing, many thanks for sharing your thoughts.[/quote


I'd agree wholeheartedly with your enthusiasm for the 100 macro WR Dan, it's been my favourite lens for most of the past six months since I acquired it.




Link Posted 02/07/2018 - 08:02
Fully agree with this post.

Finding the setting that governs iso weighting calculations in Av mode, (and informing the camera Id like a faster shutter speed wherever possible please), coupled with the plastic 35mm prime reinvigorated my Pentax gear and attitude on my last holiday.

Simple things to address at home, before shopping elsewhere.


Link Posted 04/07/2018 - 12:51
I'm having a lens buying amnesty until the end of the year, but the 21 Limited is definitely on my 2019 hit list.
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