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Pentax smc 21mm f/3.2 Limited Review


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Background

 

One more Limited lens in the world of Pentax.

 

The smc Pentax-DA 21mm f/3.2 Limited lens is a small little lens. Little it is, not as small as the 40mm f/2.8 Limited, but nicely compact.

 

A field of view of 32mm on the APS-C sensor cameras, this is a bit of a wide “normal”.

 

If you want to deep dive into the whole DA Limited lens experience, here is the official Ricoh website with information:
https://www.ricoh-imaging.co.jp/english/products/limited_lens/da_limited/

 

Disclosure – images were post processed to my liking and in various styles. Some were processed from RAW and others may be out of camera JPG.

 

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Handling/Size/Weight/Build
This is a small lens, again as mentioned earlier, not as small as the Pentax 40mm f/2.8, but still something very easy to drop into the bag and keep with you when needed.

 

Despite the small size, removing the friction cap is easy. Grabbing the full time manual override ring is easy to find and manipulate with hard stops at close focus and infinity.

 

All metal and glass construction give you a sense of confidence in the build and the lasting power of the the lens.

 

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Weather Sealed
From what I can tell, the DA Limited lenses are not weather sealed. There are a lot of weather sealed lens options for Pentax, so if you need the weather sealing, you’ll need to look at other lenses. In my estimations, I highly doubt that a sprinkle of rain would hurt anything. As always, make your own determinations on the types of external elements you are willing to submit your gear to and don’t rely on my writings here for that.

 

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Image Quality
So here is what most want to know. Yes, we have another limited lens that does indeed live up to hype that I’ve read so much about. Color and contrast are great, as is sharpness. It is weakest wide open, but definitely more than usable. Stopping down only helps to bring the sharpness level up.

 

Definitely gives me a positive vibe for what is possible to get from the Pentax DSLR system.

As always, check out the sample images here to make a determination for yourself on the capability of the lens.

 

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Focusing
Focusing is just as much the lens as it is the camera and its auto focus system. There appears to be the slightest of hesitation when initially acquiring focus, definitely better than the DA zoom lenses like the 18-135mm and 55-300mm. The confidence is much better.

 

For static shots and street photography, the lens works well.

 

Another nice addition is the full time manual focus override. Just grab the ring at any time and right into manual focus – no need to flip switches – just grab, twist and go!

 

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VR (Vibration Reduction Stabilization) / IBIS (In-Body Image Stabilization)
Pentax K-3 has IBIS, so no VR is in this lens. Given that, I found the K-3 IBIS to be capable of working well with the focal length of this lens.

 

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Bottom Line
I’m definitely enjoying the output of the Limited primes from Pentax. The 21mm Pentax lens is a nice addition to the lineup. It is fast enough, sharp and small enough to tuck away in a bag and keep with you when you need it. If you like wide, then you’ll like this lens.

 

I find that the roughly 32mm field of view is adequate enough for most wide shots and close enough to 35mm that I really gel with it.

Prices on the used market are very good, so picking one up is an attainable goal.

 

Bottom Line = Highly Recommend.

 

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See my content here:

http://www.visualohio.com | BESTLIGHTPHOTO BLOG | 500px Profile & Pics

 

I shoot Nikon, Olympus, Minolta, Pentax and Leica.  Probably not enough!  LOL

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