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12-02-2010, 04:44 AM   #1
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Pentax F 35-70mm f3.5-4.5

Hi Folks,

I have found a second hand 'Pentax F 35-70mm f3.5-4.5' lens in my local camera store. The price is 70 euro. Its reviews seem to be good (especially here on Pentax forums). Is it worth getting for 70 quid?

I plan to get Pentax SMC 16-45mm lens at some time in the future (in the next 6 months probably) mainly because its wider end (I cannot justify a separate wide angle lens purchase in the near future), good sharpness, constant aperture and ok-ish price.

I wonder can retro Pentax F 35-70mm f3.5-4.5 be a good supplement to Pentax SMC 16-45mm? Do they compare well in sharpness?

For general walk around things I have the kit lens (18-55 DAL) for now.

Thanks,
elg (Erika)

12-02-2010, 04:48 AM   #2
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I cannot give you a definitive answer, but I have the 16-45 and just picked up a F 35-70 used on a deal that I couldn't pass up! So, I will (within the week) have the same combo (along with the new DA-L 35 for lower light situations). The F 35-70 seems to sell for somewhere between US$50 and US$75 here, so a bit less. Not sure what the going rate used is in Europe. If the 60 Euro is feasible, I'd pick it up and give it a try - sounded good to me. You can always sell it and you shouldn't lose much in the transaction if you decide it isn't right for you.
12-02-2010, 05:54 AM   #3
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well luckily I own both 35-70 and 16-45. besides 70 euro is a bit high for that lens (I've got mine for about 60 bucks shipped) the lens is very good.

cons: it's made of plastic, hunting for focus in low-light, and often misses focus @ 35 mm

pros: it's cheap but auto-focus, is very good at 50-70 mm, sharp, focuses accurately at longer end and with good light, gives nice bokeh.

I use 35-70 at 70mm for studio shooting. At f/6-8 it's better than some zooms and even equal with some primes (definitely better than 18-55).

As for 16-45, both lenses are sharp about the same at 45 mm. IMO 16-45 is better at 35mm than 35-70, but it's kinda subjective - too much misses of focus on my K10.

Finally: the 35-70 is definitely not a walkaround lens (the 16-45 may be), it's nice only at 50-70 mm and at f/5.6-11 in good light, and it looks like a weird cheap toy detail ;-) - but! it's the best auto-focus lens you can get under 100 bucks.
12-02-2010, 07:02 AM   #4
elg
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Thanks, NoMaD_PS,

That was very informative.

For a walk-around (when I want to use just one single lens) I plan to use Sigma 28-135mm. It is a bit too long on the wide end, but it has 1:2 macro on the far end. Being FF lens the quality from it must be reasonable on APC-C sized sensors. Its user reviews are quite good (knowing that it is optically a bit slow at F3.8-F5.6 and really inexpensive). It is relatively small as well, which is important to me.

For multiple lens package - 18-55mm + 35-70mm may do well (for now), as they both are small and light, plus 35-70mm one is supposed to have a macro feature.

I wonder is this macro any better than 18-55 kit lens close-up focusing ability with roughly 0.3x reproduction ratio? Any experience with this?
Oh yeah, Pentax F 35-70mm is a FF lens. this seems like advantage to me as well (What if Pentax will introduce FF someday?).

Cheers,
elg (Erika)

12-02-2010, 07:03 AM   #5
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I bought my F 35-70 used from the forum. I find the "macro" at 70mm very handy to have. The focus distance from the front of the lens is about 8" [20.3cm].

Auto focus is fast on this lens.

Even though it is an "F" series lens with a small manual focus ring, the length of the lens puts the focus ring right at my fingertips. So, I find using manual focus easy with this lens while in the "macro" mode.
12-02-2010, 07:45 AM   #6
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The magnification is greater in the 18-55 kit lens. I did not realize that until you got me looking into it. The PF lens database shows .34x vs .25x for the 35-70mm.

12-02-2010, 10:38 AM   #7
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Well. I got the lens. Now will anybody tell me the secret how to enable macro on it? The zoom ring does not turn past 70mm. Should I press something, or just to try to turn harder?
The closest it focuses is around 0.7-0.8 m.
12-02-2010, 10:58 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by elg Quote
Well. I got the lens. Now will anybody tell me the secret how to enable macro on it? The zoom ring does not turn past 70mm. Should I press something, or just to try to turn harder?
The closest it focuses is around 0.7-0.8 m.
When you turn clockwise on the zoom ring, it will be in zoom mode; if you turn anti-clockwise past 35mm, it will be in macro mode. Just a bit of resistance, turn a little harder you will get it, nothing else.

12-02-2010, 11:56 AM   #9
elg
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Nope. It does not turn past 35mm.

Found it, finally. It turns past 70mm once one goes past that little resistance.

Last edited by elg; 12-02-2010 at 12:12 PM.
12-02-2010, 12:01 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by elg Quote
I have found a second hand 'Pentax F 35-70mm f3.5-4.5' lens in my local camera store. The price is 70 euro. Its reviews seem to be good (especially here on Pentax forums). Is it worth getting for 70 quid?
It must be, because you bought it, but maybe rather abruptly. The F35-70 was the kit lens on many SF-1's. I bought that setup on eBay a few weeks ago, then put another good cheap lens on the SF-1 and sold it for a small profit, so the F35-70 cost me US$11! Others here will tell similar tales. Ah well, 'tis only money, eh?

What you bought is a gem. At least, mine is. I describe it as sharp and agile. Agility: It is the fastest-focusing of my 11 AF lenses, and I've had no problem with it hunting in low light. At a recent indoor gathering in a fairly dim house (family holiday dinner) the F35-70 performed better than my FA50/1.4. It's now permanently in my carry kit.
12-02-2010, 12:30 PM   #11
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First impressions:

Focus is really fast. Maybe as fast as DA 35mm F2.4 AL, and a little bit faster than DAL 18-55mm AL (kit lens for K-x).
It is smaller than the kit lens and little bit bigger than DA 35mm F2.4 AL, and quite light. It appears to have no visible scratches on the glass. The color of the plastic is strange dirty-dark gray. The lens itself looks a bit funky and retro style. The focal length inscriptions on it are still in red and not orange. The rubber looking half ring on the other side of the scale is not peeling off. The lens has old yellow sticker on it saying:
"Passed
JCII 72
C/D JMDC"
I have no idea what does it mean as I never owned Pentax F lenses before.

I decided to pay 70 euro for it, as I figured out that prices in Europe for lenses are similar (figure wise not the absolute price wise after the currency conversion is applied) to USA prices just in different monetary units (i.e. what costs around 50 USD in USA, will cost around 50-55 euro in Europe), plus VAT of course.

I hope I did not overpay, as I got one year warranty with it from the reputable camera shop where I bought it.
12-02-2010, 01:43 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by elg Quote
First impressions:

Focus is really fast. Maybe as fast as DA 35mm F2.4 AL, and a little bit faster than DAL 18-55mm AL (kit lens for K-x).
It is smaller than the kit lens and little bit bigger than DA 35mm F2.4 AL, and quite light. It appears to have no visible scratches on the glass. The color of the plastic is strange dirty-dark gray. The lens itself looks a bit funky and retro style. The focal length inscriptions on it are still in red and not orange. The rubber looking half ring on the other side of the scale is not peeling off. The lens has old yellow sticker on it saying:
"Passed
JCII 72
C/D JMDC"
I have no idea what does it mean as I never owned Pentax F lenses before.

I decided to pay 70 euro for it, as I figured out that prices in Europe for lenses are similar (figure wise not the absolute price wise after the currency conversion is applied) to USA prices just in different monetary units (i.e. what costs around 50 USD in USA, will cost around 50-55 euro in Europe), plus VAT of course.

I hope I did not overpay, as I got one year warranty with it from the reputable camera shop where I bought it.
That sticker is an indication that it was made before 1990.
12-02-2010, 01:45 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by elg Quote
First impressions:

Focus is really fast. Maybe as fast as DA 35mm F2.4 AL, and a little bit faster than DAL 18-55mm AL (kit lens for K-x).
It is smaller than the kit lens and little bit bigger than DA 35mm F2.4 AL, and quite light. It appears to have no visible scratches on the glass. The color of the plastic is strange dirty-dark gray. The lens itself looks a bit funky and retro style. The focal length inscriptions on it are still in red and not orange. The rubber looking half ring on the other side of the scale is not peeling off. The lens has old yellow sticker on it saying:
"Passed
JCII 72
C/D JMDC"
I have no idea what does it mean as I never owned Pentax F lenses before.

I decided to pay 70 euro for it, as I figured out that prices in Europe for lenses are similar (figure wise not the absolute price wise after the currency conversion is applied) to USA prices just in different monetary units (i.e. what costs around 50 USD in USA, will cost around 50-55 euro in Europe), plus VAT of course.

I hope I did not overpay, as I got one year warranty with it from the reputable camera shop where I bought it.
That sticker is an indication that it was made before 1990. That system was stopped in 1990.
12-02-2010, 02:21 PM   #14
elg
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Thanks for all of you, folks, who gave me advice about this lens.
12-31-2010, 12:05 PM   #15
elg
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After attempts to use this lens for actually taking pictures I noticed things that I did not like:

1. Quite a lot of pictures taken with it were not sharp, as if the lens did not focus correctly;
2. Some pictures taken with this lens where flash was used exhibited strange artefacts around white objects - white letters on the back of the book, for example. These white letters had slight white furry looking contour around them as if the white color leaked from them.
I re-shot the same objects using two other lenses - Sigma 28-135 IF, and DAL 18-55mm (Pentax K-x kit lens) with the same settings (aperture, focal length, ISO, distance, flash, etc.). While the kit lens exhibited some similar artefacts in some pictures (but they were less pronounced, and there were less of them), the shots with Sigma came out fine. I checked with Sigma again- they were fine.

I wonder maybe these artefacts is result of interaction of lens mis-focus + SMC coating? I noticed that my kit lens mis-focus some times (not often), while SMC F 35-70 mis-focused a lot more.

Initially I thought that these artefacts were result of overexposure, however, re-taking the same pictures with Sigma lens negated this (btw. Sigma lens is slower to focus and heavier than my Pentax lenses, but it focused correctly during the experiment).
Maybe Pentax SR had influence on this as well? Though I checked EXIF - all shots were marked as stabilized.

As a result of these findings, I decided that it is not worth to spend time for empty testing and investigation, instead of enjoying taking pictures and returned SMC F 35-70 back to the shop where I bought it from.

Cheers
elg (Erika)
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