Pentax HD DA 21mm f3.2 AL Limited lens review: Enhanced image quality

By Kevin Carter - Monday, January 13, 2014

Lens Review
Introduction | Pentax HD DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited lens performance | Pentax HD DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited versus Pentax smc DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited | Conclusion
Pentax HD DA 21mm f3.2 AL Limited lens review: Enhanced image quality

Pentax has revamped the DA Limited lens range adding a rounded diaphragm opening and new HD coatings for improved rendering, transmission and lower ghosting and flare. Read on to find out how well the new HD DA 21mm f3.2 pancake model performs.

Pentax DSLR owners can take advantage of the widest range of dedicated lenses covering the smaller APS-C sensor, and the DA Limited series is one of the smallest and best made of the various lens series that the company offers.

As a moderate wide-angle model, the equivalent of a 32mm on full-frame camera, the HD DA 21mm f3.2 AL Limited is an update to the original ‘smc’ model. As well as new rounded diaphragm opening for improved rendering of out of focus areas, the new model has nano-tech ‘HD’ (High Definition) multi-layer lens coatings. As well as a new coating process, which is claimed to reduce unevenness that can affect image quality, the HD coatings are claimed to increase light transmittance and lower reflectance by more than 50% compared to conventional coatings, thus reducing flare and ghosting.

In other respects the HD version is much the same as the original. It retains the high-grade aluminum alloy outer and somehow manages to squeeze 8 elements in 5 groups into a body that measures just 1” (25mm) in length.  In spite of the all-metal body it weighs just 0.30 lb (134g). With a 49mm filter thread and a minimum focus distance of 0.7” (0.2m) the new Pentax HD DA 21mm f3.2 AL Limited is available now at $699.

Pentax HD DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited lens performance

Pentax HD DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited versus Pentax smc DA 21mm F3.2 AL Limited

Conclusion