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12-08-2010, 01:06 PM   #1
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DA 35mm macro limited vs. DA 43mm limited

Pentax seems to have a traffic jam of great prime lenses in the 30-50mm range. After much researching and daydreaming, I have narrowd it down to the 35mm limited or the 43mm limited. Both are excellent lenses, obviously. The 35mm limited is very appealing, especially for it's close focusing ability. I see reviews where people say it is very good for portraits, but I have had a hard time actually finding pictures of portraits taken with this lens. If you have any you could post, I would be grateful to seem some, preferably wide open. The 43 appears to be great for indoor portraits. I mainly will do indoor portraits of my family, but at the same time I love macro and currently do not own a macro lens. I don't currently have a low light AF lens either. I would also like to get a lens that will allow me to stitch panoramas together. So,

-- Is the 35mm macro limited fast enough for indoor candids of kids? Are the rumors of poor bokeh for normal shots true? Can this really be a good portrait lens with nice bokeh?
-- Is the 43mm limited that bad for macro? 1:1 doesn't matter to me, but I would like to be able to get in close, for example, not have to crop to frame a small subject. Is the distortion of this lens too much for stitching panoramas?

Anyone that owns both, I would love to hear your opinion of these lenses, and maybe which one you use more and why. I am relatively new to Pentax DSLRs. I have enjoyed my new hobby of photography with the K-7 its kit lenses, and an M50mm 1.7. I am very excited to build on those over the next several years. I would just like to say that this forum has been a great resource to me, and I thank you in advance for your responses.

12-08-2010, 01:38 PM   #3
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Right, FA, not DA! I have had too little sleep this week. I have checked most of those threads, but not all. Thanks.
12-08-2010, 02:14 PM - 1 Like   #4
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I used to have DA 35mm, sold it and bought FA 43.
While DA 35 was wicked sharp and great for manual focusing in macro distances, it was painfully slow to autofocus and had difficulties with achieving focus near infinity i.e. for landscape shots. Mind, it was with istDL2 which is IMO the slowest focusing Pentax DSLR ever. It didn't get much better when I bought GX20 though.
Slow focusing combined with my daughter growing and getting faster make me look for better option.
FA 43 is much faster to autofocus and IQ is great and slightly longer focal length is better for portraits. I miss sometimes the biting sharpness of DA 35. I don't think FA is quite as sharp. But it only matters when you pixel peep, the prints look great from both.
Anyway FA suits better my needs but DA is great as well. Whatever you choose will make great shots.
Sorry if it isn't very helpful,


12-08-2010, 02:56 PM   #5
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As for portraiture, you will do better with the 43 IMHO because it is faster, and longer. Howevr my personal preference is in the 70 range, with a bare minimum being 50. I quite like 55.

However the 43 is very flexible and will be great for many things besides portraits. The 35mm FOV is more of a "snapshot" feel, honestly. It's a great lens, but you mentioned chasing around kids and portraits... neither of which are particular strengths of the 35mm IMHO.

You can get very close with the 35mm for a portrait feel, but it would be quite an uncomfortable shooting distance, I would think...
12-08-2010, 04:05 PM   #6
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You're right about the traffic jam- it's hard to choose.
The 31mm, 35mm, 40mm, 43mm, and the fast 50s are all too close.
It would come down to your specific needs, compare them with reference to what you will be really using them for. They're all fairly small and lightweight (some more than others, 40 comes to mind), which is great. The 43 is a fantastic option, though. Its f/1.9 is a big bounus. if you will use it.
I'm not helping much- just too much good glass to choose from, go for what is best for what you will use it for.
12-08-2010, 06:46 PM   #7
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Here are two DA 35mm macro portraits for you:

12-08-2010, 07:06 PM   #8
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one vote for the DA 35mm

12-08-2010, 10:50 PM   #9
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Thanks everybody for comments, pictures and votes. It seems that getting close for the DA 35 can make nice portraits. This may be uncomfortably close for some, but I think indoors shots get uncomfortable when you have to stand to far back. I have found 50mm to be too long for many indoor shots so maybe standing close with the 35 isn't a bad thing. Then again, maybe the 43 is a nice compromise.

I have to say that this is the one thing that drives me nuts about pentax-- they have so many good choices, but there is no chance of trying anything out until it arives at your house in a package. Unless you know someone personally with a collection, all decisions are made from reading online. There are no Pentax dealers of any kind in my whole state or the neighboring states. This decision would be a lot quicker if I could go to a store and try the two lenses on my camera! Ironically I read about this issue online before I went with Pentax! Still worth it.
12-08-2010, 11:34 PM   #10

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I don't have the DA35ltd, but I do have the FA35. While a fantastic lens in its own, the DA43 just seems to give better subject isolation and 'pop'.


12-09-2010, 02:36 AM   #11
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few shots with DA 35 macro ltd
I think that FA 43 would be better for portraits only, but I needed more versatile lens
Attached Images
12-09-2010, 02:40 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by stanic Quote
few shots with DA 35 macro ltd
I think that FA 43 would be better for portraits only, but I needed more versatile lens
true enough. although if one would use the FA35 for portraits, highkey or lowkey shots would be advisable to work around the background.
12-10-2010, 07:29 AM   #13
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I just bought a 2nd hand 35mm ltd and oh boy am I impressed. Showed some landscape shots to hardcore Canonians and they were awed by the quality of the optics and how that is built. Both wanted to take shots with it.

I've been thinking of a af prime lens (I have Pentax M 50mm 1.4 and Panagor 28mm 2.8) and was checking between 31mm and 35mm and went with the 35. One of the reasons was quick shift and at some degree the close focusing abilities, would've liked the bigger aperture but life is full of choices. Just got it yesterday morning so no pictures to share, yet.
12-10-2010, 10:18 AM   #14
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Sorry, but I can't offer a fair comparison because I don't own a 43mm, but I can add to what others have said about the 35mm. It is an excellent lens, and I'll bet a weeks wages (oh wait - I'm retired!) you won't be disappointed with one. Just remember that due it's short length, when in macro mode you are going have to get very very close, which can present some lighting issues.
12-10-2010, 12:48 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Vote4Pedro Quote
-- Is the 35mm macro limited fast enough for indoor candids of kids?
It's f/2.8, and usable wide open. Although faster would be nicer, the narrower depth of field becomes an increasing problem and you can be better off increasing ISO instead. So I think f/2.8 is acceptable.

35mm is a bit short for outdoor or studio portraits, but for indoor candid ones you can't always get far enough away to use longer focal lengths.

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