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PentaxWide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens
 
4.6

(based on 37 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (25)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (11)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Lightweight (34)
  • Strong construction (33)
  • Fast / accurate auto-focus (30)
  • Consistent output (24)
  • Durable (23)

Cons

  • Poor in low light (4)

Best Uses

  • Landscape/scenery (27)
  • Low light (10)
  • Night photography (8)
  • General purpose (7)
  • Street photography (6)
    • Reviewer Profile:
    • Photo enthusiast (20), Semi-pro photographer (5), Enthusiast (3), Professional (3)
    • Was this a gift?:
    • No (22)

Most Liked Positive Review

 

Pentax 21mm Limited impressions

Using this as one of 2 main lenses on my Pentax K-5. After shooting daily for 2 weeks with this lens, I must say, it's good.

It's not flawless:...Read complete review

Using this as one of 2 main lenses on my Pentax K-5. After shooting daily for 2 weeks with this lens, I must say, it's good.

It's not flawless: corner CA is noticeable at moderate magnifications onscreen (but that can be easily remedied in RAW conversion or even in-camera, for the K-5 at least..). There is also slight barrel distortion (so slight that it's almost always negligible).

Also, a minor niggle-- the hood which comes with the lens is a gorgeous metal shield with a cutout, which click-locks onto the front of the lens, and complements its style perfectly. Unfortunately, the hood design prevents simultaneous use of the hood and a polarizing (or any other rotating) filter.

Now the good parts. Wide open, it is sometimes capable of the so-called "pixie dust" look often associated with Pentax limited lenses. This is to say: pleasing bokeh and very nice tonality. (The bokeh isn't of the butter-smooth type, you really have to test the lens in person to see if you like it. I did.)

Stopped down, it is a very sharp lens. Sometimes a bit *too* sharp for my taste actually, but its sharpness and contrast is never harsh-looking as some Nikkors can be.

In common with many Pentax lenses, color transmission is gorgeous. This trait it shares with my other main lens, that old gem the Pentax-A 35-105mm f/3.5, which has also acquired a quiet reputation for good color. This shared trait gives my images a consistent look when I change lenses.

I have not noticed flare from this lens in any instance. Reviewers have noted that this lens can flare sometimes, but in practice it's never been a problem for me so far. I do, however, consistently use the hood; your mileage may vary.

Lastly, I've heard that some samples of this lens have a back focus problem. If so, I must be very lucky, since mine focused exactly right.

Some folks have complained that this lens does not perform quite as superbly as its Limited brothers. With its slight CA and barrel distortion, perhaps that's true, but it still compares favorably with non-Limited lenses of this focal length. I chose this lens because of its more than good enough optical quality, durable build and unmatched compactness (more than a trivial advantage when I go hiking or do street photography! It is quite unobtrusive). You'll have to test it in person to decide if it's for you.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

The wide-normal limited lens

I purchased the three limited in one time. This, for my use, is a wide-normal lens, with a classic 30-35mm perspective, in FF terms
The great thing is the size,...Read complete review

I purchased the three limited in one time. This, for my use, is a wide-normal lens, with a classic 30-35mm perspective, in FF terms
The great thing is the size, colors, construction and the hood, very interesting for me.

It´s a pity the lens has a weird distortion, for a fixed lens, and the so small aperture. 2.8 would be nice...

Sorry my poor english

Reviewed by 37 customers

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5.0

Size Matters

By mcgyvermark

from NW, PA

About Me Photo Enthusiast

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Strong Construction

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Landscape/Scenery

    Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

    Since I already had a DA* 16-50 I debated if I really needed the 21mm Limited. Additionally the lens I had on the camera body the most was a FA43 limited. So I told myself that the 21 was immensely smaller than the 16-50 and it would focus closer than the 43. These two features warranted the addition of this lens to the collection.

    Since I prefer using a UV filter for protection I put the OEM hood and cap in the box and use a traditional hood and a pinch style 49mm lens cap.

    As others have said, the build quality is great.

    I find that with the 21 I'm more inclined to take the camera with me for casual shooting.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

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    4.0

    Street lens

    By Jeff

    from Usa

    Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

    This is great street lens. Stop down to 5.6 - 10 f-stops for razor sharp pictures. Wide open is still good if it's dark and you need more open aperture.

    Share this review

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Can this be a standard lens?

    By JB

    from Australia

    About Me Photo Enthusiast

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Consistent Output
    • Lightweight
    • Sharp
    • Strong Construction

    Cons

    • Cost

    Best Uses

    • Cityscapes
    • Family
    • Landscape/Scenery
    • Street photography
    • Weddings/Events

    Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

    Very light and compact, perfect for the K01. A great 'street' lens. Focusses well in auto mode, but also works very well as a manual 'set to hyperfocal distance' lens since DOF is quite large. Lens hood prob works well but I've not used it yet, I leave it off as it looks dorky and makes the lens bigger than necessary. Instead I use my hand as a lens hood, and have put to use an old 49mm screw type lens cap I found left over from my OM1 days. The 21/3.2 is sharp and I find useful for surprisingly wide angle appearing images. It equates to 32mm in 135 speak which is about 1/2 way between 28 and 35mm and works well for me. Almost an all purpose or 'standard' lens. But I also own and appreciate the 70/2.4 Limited. The 21 sounds slow at F3.2 but you sure can use it wide open. Perhaps this is a rather expensive lens, but you get what you pay for.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    Share this review

     
    5.0

    Another Great Pentax Lens

    By G

    from Los Angeles

    About Me Photo Enthusiast

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Beautiful
    • Consistent Output
    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
    • Lightweight

    Cons

    • Max Open Aperture

    Best Uses

    • Landscape/Scenery
    • Street photography
    • Video
    • Wildlife Photos

    Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

    These Limited Lens by Pentax are great. The DA 21 is my third lens of these series. Needed something between the 15 and 35 and this lens fits the bill.
    Very small and compact perfect for street shooting.
    I have been very pleased with the performance of this lens. Like all of the Limited lens a very well crafted jewel and a pleasure to use.

    • Was this a gift?:
    • No

    Share this review

     
    4.0

    Perfect focal length APSC Street Shoot

    By Chuck

    from Tacoma, Wa

    About Me Photo Enthusiast

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Consistent Output
    • Durable
    • Lightweight
    • Strong Construction

    Cons

      Best Uses

        Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

        If you are buying this lens you know what you are getting: PRO: Small, high quality, metal construction. CON: Slow (3.2) for the $. So if you are shooting outdoor street photography it should suit your needs quite well. I hope that the Pentax Limited Zoom that is on the roadmap is faster but I doubt it will be.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

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        5.0

        Destined to become a great street lens

        By Garfish

        from Pacific Northwest

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Consistent Output
        • Durable
        • Easily Interchangeable
        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
        • Lightweight
        • Nice Bokeh
        • Rugged
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

        • Poor in Low Light

        Best Uses

        • Landscape/Scenery

        Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

        If I were to pick just one Pentax limited lens to walk around town with I think it would be this one. I've long been a fan of 24mm and 35mm lens for film cameras, but if forced to choose just one for an afternoon stroll, I think it would be the DA 21 f3.2 (32mm on Full Frame). It's vey sharp and contrasty, and slots nicely between 28 and 35mm lenses. Beautifully built and a very useful wide angle. To me this may be the perfect landscape lens.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • Yes

        Share this review

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Great for Landscape and Street work

        By Garfish

        from Pacific NW

        About Me Photo Enthusiast

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Consistent Output
        • Durable
        • Easily Interchangeable
        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
        • Lightweight
        • Nice Bokeh
        • Rugged
        • Strong Construction
        • Unique Focal Length

        Cons

        • Poor in Low Light

        Best Uses

        • Landscape/Scenery
        • StreetDocumentary

        Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

        I use the 21mm f3.2 at our local commercial boat basin as well as for seascapes. Sharpness and contrast are excellent. At 32mm equivalent, I like the angle of view-- a nice compromise between 28mm and 35mm. I use it in conjunction with the also excellent 15mm f4 and 35mm macro ltd(s). AF is very good and not overly noisy for a screw drive.

        Another limited Gem by Pentax, the build quality and small size are excellent. It would be nice if it were f2 wide open, but that would make it larger. Weather proofing would be a bonus too.

        • Was this a gift?:
        • No

        Share this review

        (0 of 10 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Lim is Lim

        By sergeymorozov

        from Russia

        About Me Semi-pro Photographer

        Verified Buyer

        Pros

        • Lightweight
        • Nice Bokeh
        • Strong Construction

        Cons

          Best Uses

          • Landscape/Scenery

          Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

          Landscape & Portrets

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this review

          (13 of 15 customers found this review helpful)

           
          4.0

          Pentax 21mm Limited impressions

          By Czisek

          from St. Paul, Minnesota

          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Consistent Output
          • Durable
          • Easily Interchangeable
          • Fast / accurate auto-focus
          • Lightweight
          • Nice Bokeh
          • Rugged
          • Strong Construction

          Cons

          • A little CA
          • Slight Barrel Distortion

          Best Uses

          • Cityscapes
          • Indoors/Low Light
          • Landscape/Scenery
          • Night Photography
          • Street photography

          Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

          Using this as one of 2 main lenses on my Pentax K-5. After shooting daily for 2 weeks with this lens, I must say, it's good.

          It's not flawless: corner CA is noticeable at moderate magnifications onscreen (but that can be easily remedied in RAW conversion or even in-camera, for the K-5 at least..). There is also slight barrel distortion (so slight that it's almost always negligible).

          Also, a minor niggle-- the hood which comes with the lens is a gorgeous metal shield with a cutout, which click-locks onto the front of the lens, and complements its style perfectly. Unfortunately, the hood design prevents simultaneous use of the hood and a polarizing (or any other rotating) filter.

          Now the good parts. Wide open, it is sometimes capable of the so-called "pixie dust" look often associated with Pentax limited lenses. This is to say: pleasing bokeh and very nice tonality. (The bokeh isn't of the butter-smooth type, you really have to test the lens in person to see if you like it. I did.)

          Stopped down, it is a very sharp lens. Sometimes a bit *too* sharp for my taste actually, but its sharpness and contrast is never harsh-looking as some Nikkors can be.

          In common with many Pentax lenses, color transmission is gorgeous. This trait it shares with my other main lens, that old gem the Pentax-A 35-105mm f/3.5, which has also acquired a quiet reputation for good color. This shared trait gives my images a consistent look when I change lenses.

          I have not noticed flare from this lens in any instance. Reviewers have noted that this lens can flare sometimes, but in practice it's never been a problem for me so far. I do, however, consistently use the hood; your mileage may vary.

          Lastly, I've heard that some samples of this lens have a back focus problem. If so, I must be very lucky, since mine focused exactly right.

          Some folks have complained that this lens does not perform quite as superbly as its Limited brothers. With its slight CA and barrel distortion, perhaps that's true, but it still compares favorably with non-Limited lenses of this focal length. I chose this lens because of its more than good enough optical quality, durable build and unmatched compactness (more than a trivial advantage when I go hiking or do street photography! It is quite unobtrusive). You'll have to test it in person to decide if it's for you.

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this review

          (3 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

           
          3.0

          The wide-normal limited lens

          By andyamasaki

          from Sao Paulo, Brazil

          About Me Semi-pro Photographer

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Lightweight
          • Strong Construction

          Cons

          • Distortion
          • Price
          • Slow max aperture

          Best Uses

          • Landscape/Scenery
          • Night Photography
          • Weddings/Events

          Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

          I purchased the three limited in one time. This, for my use, is a wide-normal lens, with a classic 30-35mm perspective, in FF terms
          The great thing is the size, colors, construction and the hood, very interesting for me.

          It´s a pity the lens has a weird distortion, for a fixed lens, and the so small aperture. 2.8 would be nice...

          Sorry my poor english

          • Was this a gift?:
          • No

          Share this review

          (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Fantastic Lens

          By Marty

          from Saint Marys, OH

          About Me Photo Enthusiast

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Consistent Output
          • Durable
          • Easily Interchangeable
          • Fast / accurate auto-focus
          • Lightweight
          • Nice Bokeh
          • Rugged
          • Strong Construction

          Cons

            Best Uses

            • Everyday prime lens
            • Indoors/Low Light
            • Landscape/Scenery
            • Night Photography
            • Street type shooting

            Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

            In ancient times I considered a fixed 35mm lens and my prime lens. The 21/3.2 fits the bill perfectly and its small size is great for everyday shooting and easy to carry around. This is one solid, small lens with great proformance.

            • Was this a gift?:
            • No

            Share this review

            (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

             
            5.0

            Exactly what I looked for!

            By Jürgen

            from Augsburg, Germany

            About Me Photo Enthusiast

            Verified Buyer

            Pros

            • Fast / accurate auto-focus
            • Lightweight
            • Strong Construction

            Cons

              Best Uses

              • Indoors/Low Light
              • Landscape/Scenery
              • Video

              Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

              The product might produce not the very best quality pictures available on the market.
              But for me, as an ambitous amateur the pictures are wonderful. And the very best is, that the lens is so light and small that I really like to carry my photo equipment around with me...
              I had 1kg lenses from other companies and I don't want to miss my new small and light limited! Great!!! Pentax rocks!

              • Was this a gift?:
              • No

              Share this review

              (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              Perfect (for me) walk-around lens

              By JohnM

              from San Francisco CA

              About Me Photo Enthusiast

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Consistent Output
              • Durable
              • Easily Interchangeable
              • Lightweight
              • Rugged
              • Strong Construction

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • architectural
                • Landscape/Scenery
                • Street photography

                Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

                It's lightweight, it's tiny, it's sharp as a tack... granted, it's wide angle, so there's some distortion around the edges, and at f3.2 it's not exactly fast, but its small size and tank-like build lead me suspect that it will be my everyday lens moving forward. [...]

                • Was this a gift?:
                • No

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                (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                My favorite Pentax Lens for everyday use

                By Dmitry

                from Kharkov UA

                About Me Photo Enthusiast

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Durable
                • Easily Interchangeable
                • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                • Lightweight
                • Nice Bokeh
                • Strong Construction

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Indoors/Low Light
                  • Landscape/Scenery
                  • Weddings/Events

                  Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

                  I already have some nice lenses for my Pentax D-SLR, but all of them are big and heavy. So I would buy something useful but compact and light-weight. After meticulous seeking I chose SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited. And I am not disappointed! This pancake lens is really cool: fast, sharp, pretty tiny, solid and multipurpose. It is able to shot panoramas and landscapes, street photo, parties, portraits and even some macro with close-up lens! All-in-one, now it's my favorite lens for everyday use.

                  • Was this a gift?:
                  • No

                  Share this review

                  (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Great Walkaround Lens

                  By Jay

                  from Oregon

                  About Me Photo Enthusiast

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Consistent Output
                  • Durable
                  • Easily Interchangeable
                  • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                  • Lightweight
                  • Nice Bokeh
                  • Rugged
                  • Strong Construction

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Landscape/Scenery

                    Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

                    I bought this lens after purchasing the DA 15 limited. The longer focal length is great for snapshots.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    Share this review

                    (2 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    4.0

                    Normal lens

                    By Alex

                    from Russia, Ural

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Easily Interchangeable
                    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                    • Lightweight
                    • Strong Construction

                    Cons

                    • Poor in Low Light

                    Best Uses

                    • Indoors/Low Light
                    • Landscape/Scenery
                    • Video

                    Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

                    The compact lens, specific blend. A minus that it is impossible to use the filter of 49 mm together with blend.
                    Excellent lens for photographing of mountains.

                    • Was this a gift?:
                    • No

                    Share this review

                    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

                     
                    5.0

                    Lovely lens

                    By bjdavey

                    from New York

                    About Me Photo Enthusiast

                    Verified Buyer

                    Pros

                    • Consistent Output
                    • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                    • Lightweight

                    Cons

                      Best Uses

                      • Landscape/Scenery
                      • Street photography

                      Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

                      I bought this lens for general walkaround and street photography, for which it is perfect. Deserves the "pancake" label. With the 21mm on my K-5, and the DA 40 in my pocket, I have a discrete, compact kit with top image quality, that suits most of what I need for general purpose photography. Images are sharp, with rich colours, and soft bokeh - a typical Pentax Limited, which I am delighted to own.

                      • Was this a gift?:
                      • No

                      Share this review

                      (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

                       
                      5.0

                      the perfect lens

                      By patricklgv

                      from Sonoma County, CA

                      About Me Semi-pro Photographer

                      Pros

                      • Consistent Output
                      • Durable
                      • Easily Interchangeable
                      • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                      • Lightweight
                      • Rugged
                      • Strong Construction

                      Cons

                        Best Uses

                        • Indoors/Low Light
                        • Landscape/Scenery
                        • Night Photography

                        Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

                        perfect for discrete photography. beautiful colors - just a high quality, easy to use, lightweight, and small lens. it's hard to imagine a more useful lens!

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

                        Share this review

                        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                         
                        4.0

                        Sweet lens.

                        By Josh

                        from Richmond, VA

                        About Me Casual Photographer

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Durable
                        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                        • Lightweight
                        • Nice Bokeh
                        • Rugged
                        • Strong Construction

                        Cons

                        • Difficult to Clean
                        • Odd Lens Hood

                        Best Uses

                        • Indoors/Low Light
                        • Landscape/Scenery
                        • Wildlife Photos

                        Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

                        Great for street photography. Great for indoors where the action is compact (got that wide angle). Overall a great lens.

                        • Was this a gift?:
                        • No

                        Share this review

                         
                        4.0

                        Wonderful

                        By Sabine B

                        from France

                        About Me Photo Enthusiast

                        Verified Buyer

                        Pros

                        • Easily Interchangeable
                        • Fast / accurate auto-focus
                        • Lightweight
                        • Strong Construction

                        Cons

                          Best Uses

                          • Landscape/Scenery

                          Comments about Pentax Wide Angle SMCP-DA 21mm f/3.2 AL Limited Series Autofocus Lens:

                          Good for walking in the street or for small spaces.
                          Discreet, small.
                          I like wide (luminous) objectif, more than f/3.2 but it has other things (see above) to like it !

                          • Was this a gift?:
                          • No

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