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Thursday, 07 November 2013


I live in this focal range. I'd buy one in a second if I shot Pentax. Looks very nice.

It's costly (about 100k yen) but I want. If, that is, the image quality is there. I usually bring the 21mm f/3.2 and the 35mm f/2.8 with me; this could possibly be a very convenient alternative.

At last! A brilliant idea from Pentax. If only there was such a beautifully made little number in full frame. No chance, of course, from Nikon, Canon or Zeiss, with their overblown gas-guzzlers, but maybe from The newly professional looking Sigma, or more likely a manual version from Voigtlander, people who understand the words small and light? I hold my breath.

A 'tetch'? Is that the photographic equivalent of a 'tad'?

Very tempting. I just wish it were FF and fixed aperture. A truly outstanding and compact 30-60mm f2.8 (or 3.5 or 4.0) would be nice, particularly with stabilization and within-arms-reach MFD at all focal lengths. Not sure I'd buy one, but I'd definitely be thinking about it.

I thought it covers full frame. That would make it quite wide. There are many super wide zooms that have limited zoom range. Olympus has 7-14 and 9-18, Panasonic 7-14, Nikon 12-24, etc. In the smaller format it is not that wide so not really comparable to these. But that makes the lens smaller and probably optically better.

The Olympus 11-22mm is possibly my most used lens...

Of course, having made autofocus 20, 21, 24, 28, 31, 35, 40 and 43 mm lenses, Pentax already had most people with a `slightly off' preference in their `normal' length pretty well covered.

But that aside, interesting little thing. Still jealous of Pentax shooters and their lens options... ;-)

Perhaps it's the old age and creaky joints talking, but I've been dreaming about a lightweight, limited zoom for some time now. I would love to see a 24-50 f/2.8 using the new Sony FE mount.

The 20-40mm (APS-C) is in a sweet-spot for this mostly-candid-family photographer. I ran the stats on my photos for the last 6 years (essentially the age of my son) and came out with a full 50% that fall in the 20-40mm range (and surprisingly to me only 10% below 20mm and 40% above 60mm; I expected those two to be reversed based on my taste!) I suspect the figure would have been even more skewed to 20-40mm but for only having one prime lens that falls in that range for the last year.

I've been evaluating purchasing something in the 16-50 range (63% of my photos) for a few months, and now that decision just got more interesting!

The Leica Tri-Elmar (28-30-50) and Wide-Angle Tri-Elmar (16-18-21) lenses are even less zoom-like than the Pentax; you "sort of" don't even get the intermediate focal lengths. The zoom barrel has detents at the three settings, and at those settings the lens brings up the appropriate framelines on Leica M cameras.

Very interesting lens. I sold all my Limited lenses a while back, except for the 35 f/2.8 macro. I had hoped to build a compact travel kit, but it seemed I always had the wrong lens on the camera. Now I can have one lens and though limited in focal lengths, it offers a sufficiently useful range and mounted on my new K3, it may replace my Fuji X100s as my walk about kit.

I think Pentax is on to something...again. The Sony RX1r is a terrific walk-around camera, but I frequently heard a follow up comment about it along the lines of "I just wish it was a little wider/longer" or something. The way I shoot, a lens spanning 30-60 (equivalency) would address 70% of what I normally shoot. For this reason, I've been giving a bit of attention to finding a good Nikkor 35-70 AIS as the "always on" lens. In either case, they're convenient, mostly compact, and if the IQ passes muster, a simple solution.

I'm going to own one as soon as I can. This will be a great alternative to the chunky, but lovely 16-50/f2.9 DA*.

Looks quite handy. Nice size, too. Too bad it's not a constant F2.8.*

* Never having been a Pentax owner my lament means little.

Drool... Would have liked slightly longer (up to 75mm equivalent) but I think 30 to 60mm is still a great, useful range. Add the small size, weather resistance, and moderately fast speed (on the wide end), and I think it would be a great lens to own. Kudos to Pentax. Not for manual focusing, though, as there isn't a whole lot between the 1.5m and infinity markings on the distance scale. I guess that's not the point of these lenses anyway.

Wow, what an interesting departure from the "usual" Limiteds. Not only is it a zoom, and weatherproof (WR), but it also has an in-lens focusing motor. Lovely that it's still a tiny, metal and glass gem, but that zoom ring makes it look like a Russian Helios 44-M:

Thought this was a late April Fool post until I read the crucial "It was never put into production". Had me worrying that I'd forgotten too much of my homework on Bojidar's site back in the days when I carried a Pentax *istD. Yes that old M30/2.8 was a great lens.

24-55 would seem a more useable range for APSC surely? I know I always want another 5mm reach on my equally tiny (but plastic) Samsung 20-50mm.

I agree that this could be a very useful lens in a small, well built package. I expect that the optical quality will be excellent. Think of it as the opposite of a superzoom. The only drawback that I see is the f4 aperture at the long end.

I like the idea of specialized zooms with a narrow range of lengths, but such lenses should really be a tad faster than this. If it were a 23-33 f/2-2.8 I would like one for myself. The solid construction, sealing and DOF scale are definitely a nice touch.
BTW, my favorite zoom is a (somewhat more bulky) Four Thirds 11-22.

I guess Pentax indeed made that "Flexi" later on. One of the best "normal" zoom lenses I've ever had was the Pentax FA 20-35mm F/4. The older FA and this new lens are very similar in size.


Yet another wonderful specialist lens from Mr Pentax....But where is the 24mmf2..???????....TWELVE YEARS AND STILL WAITING!!!!! Or at least I would be if I had not seen the light and dumped the pentax stuff these three years ago and never looked back.......

Olympus makes a super-sharp 11-22 f/2.8-3.5 2 to 1 zoom in their 4/3 line of lenses. It is effectively a 22-44mm zoom. It weighs 575 g, stands 13 cm high and 8 cm wide with its MMF3 adapter to M43 installed and front and back caps on. I understand that it focuses well, if not brilliantly, on the OM-D E-M1. I had one with my E-1 in 2004 or thereabouts, used it to the exclusion of almost any other lens except the 50/2.0 macro. Just bought another to use in the M43 world. And it works very well http://www.getdpi.com/forum/546587-post157.html .


Cheers Mike,

My Contax G Vario Sonnar 35-70 would like a word. :-)



I'm glad that this kind of diversification exists, and that lens sure is pretty to look at, and I'm sure the optics will be excellent. I'm glad that Pentax is trying to serve distinctive markets, and I'm sure somebody will be happy with this lens, and I'm glad it's there fore them.


1. Although this is a nice compactness proposition if you love zooms and you're invested in the (excellent) Pentax SLR system anyway, it's not terribly convincing generally. It's still on the big side (though not really the heavy side) for those of us who favor a 'small primes' approach, and it's just 15mm shorter (compare ~25mm difference in flange distance) and 100g lighter (compare a greater typical difference for SLR vs. mirrorless) than the (also metal, also cult-ready, specificationally more versatile) new Olympus 12-40mm (which has the same list price), so for the 'compact kit with fastish normal zoom' crowd, in general it's not clear that it stands out enough.

2. Releasing a Limited series weathersealed lens without some really big conspicuous naming convention to make it really, really clear that it is differentiated from the other Limiteds in this way stands to aggravate existing customer confusion between the two different series premium lenses that Pentax has offered for digital: DA Limited (compact, metal, retro-looking, not sealed) and DA* (less compact, faster, sealed, more extreme range). Keeping these two distinct is important because it prevents people from mistakenly assuming their premium Limited primes will be sealed and then taking them out in the rain and getting angry when things go wrong (a category of incident one does hear about on fora from time to time). It seems likely that the naming conventions of this lens are not going to help with that.

Still, hurrah for diversifying in new directions, and hurrah for any sign of life from Pentax K.

I think this will be a very desirable lens, if and only if it is sharp, flare-free and bokehlicious from wide-open. Any need to stop down other than for depth of field, and I lose interest, especially at $1000.

Oddly, I really want this lens for when I'm not being a photographer. I have other lenses, other systems, for dedicated landscape, portrait, even sports photography. I think this will be the perfect lens for family events, travel, hiking, and attending weddings as a guest.

I like the way it channels a classic Takumar (or a 50 mm Summicron) too.

The closest historical lens to this is probably the old SMC Pentax-M 28-50mm f/3.5 - 4.5

Although based on my experience of other Pentax Limited lenses, this one will be quite something.

Lots of 12-24mm zooms for the APS-C market in the early days (they do tend to be both wider, and wider range, today); mine was a Tokina 12-24/4. I've also got a Sigma 12-24 full-frame.

But yeah, the high-quality zooms have gone up to 3x, often 24-70 and 70-210.

11x is still right out!

The construction of this DA Limited zoom, it seems, has two points. First is to cover the wide gap in between the DA21 and DA35/DA40, a gap which contains most useful traditional focal lengths, from 35mm to 50mm. That is now covered.

Second is styling of this lens. You have noticed Takumar-style focus ring on this DA Limited Zoom? Together with the fact that from recently all Pentax DA Limited lenses come in both black and silver, this rises the suspicion. What about a possible camera design just made for these smallish and light lenses, one that isn't necessarily a K5/K3 type of a DSLR?

Food for thought. Also, re this new HD coating and red thing matter; although I was suspicious too, it seems the new coating is indeed better than the SMC, which was proven in somewhat extreme circumstances. And of course, it was a good excuse to raise the prices overall, but let's not spoil the moment :-)

No doubt about it, Pentax does interesting stuff. Their eccentricity always makes me more curious about their products.

Pentax DID, however, bring out the Pentax-M 24-35mm zoom - very compact and good quality.

"... Until now?!?"

Add a couple more ?!?! What the? I had to look at this again to believe it -- but it is real. Hard to find sample photos it has taken, but it certainly looks very, very attractive.


Lovely lens. But I do wish it was an FA Limited (full frame) with an aperture ring. It would be great on my LX or MZ-S but they are feeling well and truly left behind these days...

Oh, my god.

That knurled focus ring. Thought this was a spiffed-up Zeiss Jena Flektogon!

So very good.


I am surprised that you didn't also mention the M 24-35 f3.5 among your historical references. Only abt. 1.5x zoom range, not very large, and it was produced.

If the new limited zoom works as well as seems likely, it should be a very nice option. One not too large weather sealed zoom, or switching between 21 and 40 limited primes. Hmmm.

To be heretical, start mumbling about tri-elmars and this new zoom in the same paragraph.


I'm sure there'll be detractors who say it doesn't go out to 28mm-e!

Looks like a great idea, though.

I have the Sigma 20-40 f/2.8 for my Pentax. Shoots lovely except for the bokeh. But it is a monster. 23 oz and an 82mm filter. I think I might trade it in for this.

Odd to see a DOF scale on a zoom. How does it remain valid at varying focal lengths?

If I had to weld a lens to my camera I would weld the 18-36 Olympus (9-18 of course in the inferior sensored micro 4/3 world :)) to it.....sort of also a 2x zoom....

Greets, Ed.

If it could be done at a small size and without overly limiting maximum aperture, it would be interesting to have a 28-35 in a fixed lens compact a là Ricoh GR with a m4/3 or APS-C sensor.

Well, I think it is an awfully handy alternative to what's out there, and intend to splurge for one. I'm almost feeling like there is a movement afoot to make me believe that unless I'm shooting with an EVF mirrorless I'm a hopeless fogey. Don't get me wrong, cameras like the Pany GX series are great-- I used a GX1 for a month in Hong Kong and came back with a publishable series. But, but, but... once you get to the new, big-bodied 16MP cameras that, admittedly look cool, you're left with... a biggish body, biggish zooms and an EVF. Yes I've used a good EVF, in a NEX-7, and yes its nice, but no, it's not yet better than a decent OVF.

I just don't get why that is a preferable setup to an APS-C DSLR. Look at the dimensions of the EM-1 and the Pentax K-5 or the new K-3, which are essentially within a couple of milimeters. Pentamirror VF, better sensor, better continuous AF. Weathersealed with a battery that holds probably 300 more shots per charge, and now a much more compact useable zoom. And don't even talk to me about the Fuji XPro, which seems useless at most every task.

If folks haven't shot with the Pentax Limiteds they don't know what they're missing. IMO these are lenses with more character than just chart talk. And there is a real pleasure from using finely machined metal lenses for the closet aesthete. I have no doubt that optically this new one will be bags of good. Now I just have to convince myself not to get the K-3 too, and truly blow the holiday budget.

Interesting, as the 20mm "low" end of this lens reminds me of the lens I'm always yelling at manufacturers to make: an APS-C lens in 20mm-60mm!

It could be made small, because of it's limited zoom range. It covers 99% of my work, which is mostly done in the 35mm-85mm range. And they could make just a killer version of it that wouldn't be that expensive. I don't even care if it's a f/2.8-4 floating f-stop.

This is a good start, tho, it could be paired with a 60-100 portrait biased lens.

People ask: "why 20mm (30mm equiv.)?". Because most of my wide work is done at 35mm, when I need wide, I need really wide, like a 20mm or 24mm, and that's rare. (BTW, ditto for long, anything over 85mm and I need a 300-500!). A lens at 20mm (30mm) gives you just a little more than 35mm, but most importantly, it makes sure the lens can be made both sharp and small.

Most people don't understand that when it comes to zoom design, every millimeter you add on the wide end, grows the lens in size and trouble making it sharp. That's why most video zoom for years only had a wide equivalent of about 38mm, and most video shooters used a high quality 2 or 3 element glass wide filter to go wider (and marginally sharp results). A zoom thats' limited to about 30-35mm on the short end, can be made much smaller, and sharper with less elements.

I still remember my great Tamron 35-85mm adaptall zoom, barely bigger than a 50mm, and sharp all over the place, altho it had a floating f/stop.

Zooms of limited range are an interesting subject, and it was neat to read the historical perspective in this post.

In my time on Flickr I often took an interest in what lens photos were taken with, and one of the lenses I became particularly interested in that way was the Pentax FA 20-35mm f/4 AL. From what I've seen certainly possible for a zoom to have some "magic", and hard for a zoom to attain legendary status on the internet, and I think of that lens as being a reputational underdog.

It is great to see Pentax continuing to make full-featured lenses for APS-C. This new one seems like it would be an appropriate standard lens for many people.

I wonder if there is a trend to smaller zoom ranges? That would be a good thing.

Two other examples are the Nikon 1 kit lens 11-27.5 (30 to 74mm eq) and the Panasonic 12-32 (24 to 64mm eq) kit lens for the GM1.

Curiously both seem designed for size (the Nikon lens omitting VR) and as kit lenses for price too but optically both give excellent results.

A similar thing has happened in eyepieces for spotter scopes. Smaller 2x zoom ranges are now being offered. They remove range both at the wide end and the long end of the zoom. This results in a wider FOV at all focal lengths and good eye relief both of which are useful in the field.

The design idea appears to be based on an observation of use for most people that they use just two zoom settings: a wide(ish) but not fully wide setting for finding and observing interesting birds and a longer setting when you need to see a particular detail. The two zoom settings also match different types of habitat e.g. for sea watching with seperate distant birds you'll use the long end of the zoom even when searching.

The problem with the "very long" end of 3x zooms is the images at 50x or 60x gets larger but dimmer so they're not always as useful in distinguishing contrasts. So they tend only to be used infrequently.

Sometimes less is more. Literally.

Found a web page with nice pictures of this new lens. The red rubber seal ring on the mount flange indicates that this is, indeed, a weather-sealed lens.

This might qualify as a (vaguely) related artifact, by the way ;-)

If I were to ever go on holiday somewhere then this partnered with a DA15Ltd would make an extremely compact kit. Yes f2.8 would be nice but then it would be much bigger wouldn't it? which rather defeats its purpose. Catch22 though, if I buy one of these I can't afford a holiday. If I buy a holiday then I can't afford one of these.

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