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11-20-2010, 01:57 AM   #1
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FA 31mm or DA 35mm

Hi everyone, I have seen many FA 77mm vs DA 70mm threads around, but never a FA 31mm vs DA 35mm f2.8 Macro (perhaps I have not looked hard enough). So, taking everything into consideration, which is a better buy? I have heard the FA 77mm having that extra magic to it that the DA 70mm lacks, how about the 2 in the 30+ mm range? Thanks!


Last edited by gtl; 11-20-2010 at 04:49 AM.
11-20-2010, 02:34 AM   #2
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I own neither lens, but if given the option, I would, hands down, choose the FA 31mm. It's slightly faster, better built (metal body and mount), has a distance scale, but most of all is said to be tack sharp at even f/1.8 with little distortion or vignetting. The FA 31mm is on my wish-list for Pentax lenses.

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11-20-2010, 02:42 AM   #3
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I didn't have money for FA 31mm so I bought FA 35mm.
That says that FA35 is (was) a poor mans FA31. FA35 is still nice lens
11-20-2010, 03:09 AM   #4
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lol you have to specify which DA35 you are referring to these days.

DA35 Macro or DA 35 f2.4?

Well I only have the macro and chose it specificly for the 1:1 macro magnification, but that's ME, others may appreciate the advantage of the extra speed of the FA31 and the reported superior colour rendering and bokeh, or the performace offered by the very reasonably priced DA 35 f2.4.

There's no thread comparing the two(trio?) because they are different lenses for different purposes, and I think most people get that.

11-20-2010, 04:50 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by elpolodiablo Quote
lol you have to specify which DA35 you are referring to these days.

DA35 Macro or DA 35 f2.4?

Well I only have the macro and chose it specificly for the 1:1 macro magnification, but that's ME, others may appreciate the advantage of the extra speed of the FA31 and the reported superior colour rendering and bokeh, or the performace offered by the very reasonably priced DA 35 f2.4.

There's no thread comparing the two(trio?) because they are different lenses for different purposes, and I think most people get that.
Oops. Edited. I meant the macro. The f2.4 no doubt is a fine lens, but I doubt it could hold up to either the FA 31mm or the DA 35mm f2.8 for its price.
11-20-2010, 06:58 AM   #6
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Every Pentax shooter should aspire to getting a 31mm. Thats its role, its why its still here. The other options are the FA35 f/2, the DA(L)35 f/2.4 and the DA35 /f2.8 macro.
The FA35 is now discontinued and comes in FA horrible format, it is sharper than the DA35 macro, faster but more prone to CAs.
The DA(L)35 is our new bargain lens currently, slower than the competition but ultimately sharper and from what I've seen capable of a great image. Minus points would include all plastic mount and build but that might be a bonus to some. It may well go places the other lenses may never see purely because it is almost disposable.
DA35 Macro Limited, a worthy limited. Full alloy build. Macro ability if you get real close. It is capable of magical shots, for some maybe its a bit slow at f/2.8
FA31 Limited. Have a look at the FA Limited thread to see what it is capable of. Impeccable build.
You pays your money and takes your choice The FA, DA(L) and DA Limited are but stepping stones to your final destination.
11-20-2010, 07:34 AM   #7
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I think the 31mm is the more "magical lens"

but with results like these

https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/pentax-slr-lens-discussion/32664-theory-d...-ever-tag.html

and for half the cost, the 35mm macro is a beast!
11-20-2010, 08:22 AM   #8
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I like the photographic discipline provided by a prime kit. As such, I own the FA 31/1.8 and DA 35/2.8 Macro and have been shooting them for about three years (first paired to a K100D and now a K-5). The 35 Macro came first. Both are great lenses and I will be surprised to read that either disappoint.

If I was given a 'do over', I'd get the 31, first. Like all lenses, it has a 'go slow' learning curve so I'd shoot it exclusively everyday paired to a K-5 for a year in order to fine tune my shooting style to its personality. After that year, I would add the D FA 100/2.8 Macro WR for longer/closer subjects and shoot this pair everyday for another year. A 31/100 combo should satisfy 98% of your everyday situational needs. Lastly, I would add the DA 15 limited for UW settings. Of all the lenses in my kit, these three are my 'go to's'. Since I also like to shoot birds, I have a DA 300/4. I enjoy the 300 immensely, but consider it a niche lens.

Anyway, the 15/31/100/300 is my most used lens group. Given the flexibility, power and satisfaction offered by the K-5 (I'm having a hard time imagining what Pentax can do as an encore to the K-5), a 15/31/100 pairing is a basic kit of solid performers and should serve you well into the future.

...my 2 cents..

11-20-2010, 08:31 AM   #9
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Thanks for all the responses. Pity that the FA limiteds are overpriced in tokyo, while the DA limited is surprisingly cheaper. Robbiec you mentioned that the FA35 f2 is sharper than the DA35 macro? Any links to comparisons? Thanks!
11-20-2010, 09:38 AM   #10
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I have the choice of FA35/2, FA31/1.8 and DA35/2.8.
I haven't touched my 35/2 or 31/1.8 since I got the 35LTD, so I guess the 35LTD would be my recommendation.
11-20-2010, 10:36 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by gtl Quote
Thanks for all the responses. Pity that the FA limiteds are overpriced in tokyo, while the DA limited is surprisingly cheaper. Robbiec you mentioned that the FA35 f2 is sharper than the DA35 macro? Any links to comparisons? Thanks!
Photozone is probably one of the better online resources for lens testing. Be aware though that Klaus only tests from a technical perspective first and foremost.

FA35 f/2 Test Report
Pentax SMC-FA 35mm f/2 AL - Review / Test Report

DA35 f/2.8 Limited Test Report
Pentax SMC DA 35mm f/2.8 Limited macro - Review / Test Report

The (in)famous DA35 Macro Limited review or discussion document.
An Optical Paragon - photo.net

DA35 f/2.4 Review
http://erphotoreview.com/wordpress/?p=511

Last edited by robbiec; 11-20-2010 at 10:46 AM.
11-20-2010, 01:07 PM   #12
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I haven't shot any 35 in my time in DSLR world, but 31ltd is THE lens to own IMHO. The IQ is mindblowing, but it's tricky lens to master IMO. It's quite unforgiving when bad exposure and focus come to it. But if you get things right this lens is practically incapable of producing bad pictures. Sharpnes - check, bokeh - check, AF - check, good (for AF lens) MF - check, build quality - check, contras - check.... I could go on and on like this.... Just shame my eyes haven't adjusted (yet) to the FOV. I do rather prefer 24+43(50) combo but I'll force myself to use this one more often. It's superb lens and very well worth every penny, whatever they are asking for...
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