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on 10 January 2010
Now this is a tough one. Being a pancake there are obviously going to be some design trade off's here. I also own the DA 70mm limited though and whilst not quite as tiny as the 40mm I've always found it to be bang on with respect to focusing and sharpness.... which brings me to.... maybe my copy is not the best but I've experienced some inconsistent focusing with this lens which I have not yet been able to eradicate with the micro-focusing adjustments on my K7. I'm in 2 minds as to whether to send this in to Pentax for calibration or if I just have unrealistic expectations given the form factor - the closest equivalent lens I own being the FA 31mm Limited which is a step up in IQ terms but a lot heavier and bulkier (and more expensive). For travel purposes and street photography the size of this lens is just perfect and the focal length sits close enough to a normal view that it provides a good compromise (for me anyway). You will take this lens out with you when you would leave bulkier equivalents behind which in the end gives you the ability to get those shots you may otherwise miss. It also makes a nice discreet street shooting package when pared with a K7. The hood and cap combo are unusual (both being screw on working in a stacked manner) but work well in my opinion with the hood giving the front element enough protection that you don't feel the need to replace the cap after each shoot anyway. External build quality is high as it is with all the DA limited lenses. Now I've just got to get the time to try some focus tests out on my old K200 body for control purposes and get to the bottom of what's going on with the back/front focus issues.
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on 1 January 2010
This little lens is an absolute must.
I use mine with the Pentax K20 D. The the results are first class. The auto focus is lightning quick, and accurate. The lens gives a very bright viewfinder; superb for portraits. This is a modern 'pancake' style lens, ideal for reportage work.
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on 23 March 2013
This is my favorite lens by a mile. Photos taken with this lens confirm that I was right to buy a Pentax camera as opposed to the usual suspects. I have the K5 II. It takes amazing portraits and produces critically sharp shots with really rich colours - this lens can pull colours which are barely perceptible to the naked eye. It takes amazing shots even in low lights - indoors and out, and if you are out at night doing street shots, you will easily achieve starburst effects. I only wish all my lens were as good as this one.
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on 23 November 2009
The original 40mm f2.8 M series pancake lens was a classic of the 1980s and now we have here a DA Limited 40mm f2.8, this time designed for the APS-C sized sensors of the Pentax and Samsung DSLRs.

The lens is beautifully engineered in Aluminium and has the strangest lens hood and cap I have ever seen. It's cute though! In common with the other DA lenses, focus can be tweaked manually after AF has locked in, and this is an excellent and most useful feature.

The quality is beyond reproach and those who are used to zoom lenses may be surprised at what is possible. It is compact as well, so bulk is kept to an absolute minumum.

Recommended if you want a compact prime lens of outstanding quality that will not add too much weight to the camera bag.
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on 30 September 2012
What can I say? It's lightweight, autofocus is fast and accurate (better than any other pentax lens I've tried), the bokeh is smooth and creamy, and the build quality is superb! The only negative is the annoying lens cap, so if you buy this lens, do yourself a favour and buy a cheap 49mm lens cap at the same time (mark my words: you will end up buying a new lens cap for it, so you might as well do it at the time of purchase, and save yourself the extra postage later on!).

I also own the 21mm Ltd, and the 35mm Macro Ltd, so I thought I'd give my overall impressions to help others who may be stuck choosing between them. The 35mm macro is a similar focal length, and the macro focussing is obviously a big bonus. The downside however, is that this makes the 35mm much slower to focus, and the focus can be prone to hunting occasionally (especially in low light). The bokeh on the 35mm Macro can be a little bit busy (compared to the 40mm), but it's still a very nice lens. Compared to the 35mm, the 40mm has faster focus, has nicer Bokeh for portraits, and 'feels' better in low light situations (I'm inclined to think their low light performance is actually the same, however the slower focus of the 35mm makes you think otherwise). If you want to take pictures of flowers and insects, get the 35mm macro. If you're inclined towards portraits, or you have subjects that don't sit still (e.g. kids), then the 40mm is the best bet.

Compared to the 40mm, the 21mm doesn't really excite me in the same way. When everything clicks into place, the 21mm can produce some truly spectacular images, however that doesn't really happen often enough for my liking (which is probably down to me more than the lens). With the 40mm, I find my hit rate goes through the roof - the subject is always in focus, and well isolated due to the bokeh. The only thing that will let you down with the 40mm, is your composition skills (or lack of!). Obviously if you need the wider viewing angle, then the 21mm is going to be more suitable for you. (Personally speaking, I prefer the 21mm for it's wider viewing angle, but that's just a matter of personal taste)

Out of all 3, the one I rate the highest is the 40mm, although if truth be told, they all shine in their respective fields. The 21mm is great for landscape/street photograpy, the 35mm excels in macro work (and makes a perfectly reasonable walk around lens), and the 40mm is superb for portraits.

BTW, For anyone wondering how the DA 40mm compares to the old manual 'M' 40mm (which I also own!), I've actually found that the older manual lens is a bit sharper than the DA limited (but not by much). The downside however, is that the older manual lens doesn't focus all the way to infinity on digital bodies, the focussing ring is fiddly, and the bokeh looks pretty horrible on digital! The DA 40mm is a much better lens imho!

So what else can be said? It's a fantastic lens!
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on 27 February 2011
A lens of this quality, both in terms of construction and results, is a steal.
As a primary lens I have nothing but good things to say about this tiny bundle of perfection. The results from my example on a K20D are pin sharp, even at maximum aperture. It can easily be pressed into service as a portrait lens (having a 35mm equivalent of a 60mm focal length).
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on 17 February 2010
This is a great lens. For a comparitively budget price I can take photographs that look like magazine shots. Portability goes without saying and it tends to come with me when I may sometimes have not taken another, even slightly larger, lens. In terms of depth of field, it seems faster than f/2.8. I have to say I quite like the unusual lens cap though it is a bit slow to unscrew when you just need to get that shot and I am sure it will be lost before long.
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