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03-02-2011, 08:03 AM   #16
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I know we're going straight to the bottom, but if all you want is a "good normal" and you are considering the DA 35 with no preference for macro, you should really look at the DA L 35 unless you are smitten by the FA 31.

The DAL is just a good lens and it's pretty cheap. f2.4 is faster than the macro, it focuses faster than the macro, it's sharp from wide open, good bokeh... for normal photography applications, the only 30-something that clearly outshines it is the FA 31.

Think about this... you could buy the DA L and use the other money for another focal length.

Cheers,

03-02-2011, 08:19 AM   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by DAKS Quote
The photo is a little misleading in that the FA31 uses a 58mm filter while the DA 35 uses a 49mm filter like the other limited lenses so the size difference is more noticeable in person than is apparent from the photo.
Having said that, I own the FA31 and love it.

David
True, the 31 used a filter that is 9mm (less than half-an-inch) larger than the 35, but I don't really see how the picture is misleading in that regard. When you hold both at the same time, however, the weight is the more obviously difference as the 31 is over 50% heavier than the 35 (345 vs 215 grams).
03-02-2011, 01:01 PM   #18
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yes, I agree, I just meant that you can't judge the physical difference from the photo alone.
03-02-2011, 01:06 PM   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by DAKS Quote
yes, I agree, I just meant that you can't judge the physical difference from the photo alone.
I understand what you mean. A better comparison might actually be shots of them mounted on the same camera body.

03-02-2011, 01:29 PM   #20
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Go for FA31 MIJ, buy in $850 and you can sell it for $950 when you don't want it.

However, for DA35 AIV, you can hardly keep the value.

If you regard the whole thing as an investment, it is obvious that the more expensive, the better, and the best choice is always LEICA.
03-02-2011, 05:43 PM   #21
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These are two very different lenses. DA35ltd/2.8: dedicated 1:1 normal macro, fairly slow, which is typical for a macro normal, optimised for sharpness and 1:1. FA31ltd/1.8: Originally designed as a fast moderate wide angel, in digital age functioning as a (moderately) fast normal. Both among their best in respectively group, both full metal. You need to figure out first what you need most, a fast normal, or a macro normal.
03-02-2011, 08:06 PM   #22
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I actually had an FA 31 on order when I got wind that Pentax was going to jack-up their prices by 50% in Canada (2 years ago). Since my order had been outstanding for 6 weeks and the seller was unable to guarantee that they could even get one, I snapped-up the DA 35 Ltd at the old price. Do I regret not waiting on the FA 31? Not really. Occasionally, I wish I had the option of F1.8, but it's usually because I need a faster shutter speed rather than shallower depth of field. Hence, my really lament is that I haven't upgraded from my K10D to the K-5.

The easy one to call is build quality. Both are outstanding. Both put polycarbonate lenses from Canon, Nikon, Sigma and others to shame. This is clearly a draw between the DA 35 Ltd and the FA 31.

In my opinion, the DA 35 Ltd has the FA 31 beat hands-down in terms of ergonomics. It's smaller, has a built-in sliding hood (making filter usage easier), and Quick Shift focus override.

In terms of handling in the field, the DA35 Ltd also has a lot going for it - effectively no minimum focussing distance, and it's focus ring barely has to move in the 2 ft- infinity distance range, making it faster to AF, as long as there is enough light for the camera's AF system to tell it where to focus. So, when it comes to "bringing the lens to bare" on a subject, the DA 35 Ltd has some distinct advantages as well. The FA 31 does, however, have the advantage of having an aperture ring, which means it can be used on older (better built, reliable, mechanical) camera bodies (LX, MX, K1000, etc). Unless (or until) Pentax releases a full frame DSLR, that difference only matters for film photography.

Finally, there's the debate over optical quality. The FA 31 has a reputation for superlative sharpness, bokeh and "rendering", although no one has been able to convincingly define that last point for me, despite it's prolific usage in this and other forums. I can't speak to sharpness directly, but I've never found the sharpness of my DA 35 Ltd to be lacking when shot on my K10D. I may have a different opinion if I were shooting a K-5, but I doubt any differences would be visible in my 12x18" portfolio prints. I also think that the discussion over bokeh is rather silly for a 31-35mm lens. Even at F1.8, it's difficult to get almost anything enough out of focus for the difference in bokeh to be noticeable in real images; certainly not enough for any slight differences to visibly detract from image quality. Remember, good bokeh is meant to avoid distraction from the subject (which should be sharp), it's not normally the subject of the photo itself (except, it seems, when debated on web forums). In my experience with the DA 35 Ltd, I haven't seen any "bad" (distracting) bokeh that would be visible to anyone who wasn't looking for it (by zooming to 100%, like Photozone did).

So, IMHO, I think that the DA 35 Ltd has some very tangible advantages in terms of size, ergonomics, handling and price, whereas the reputed advantages of the FA 31 (sharpness and bokeh) are much more subtle. That said, if I had received my FA 31 order on time, I would likely be looking for reasons to justify spending twice as much myself.

I hope this helps!
03-02-2011, 09:15 PM   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hello_Photo Quote
The FA 31 has a reputation for superlative sharpness, bokeh and "rendering", although no one has been able to convincingly define that last point for me
When you shot the FA 31 with a wide aperture, it renders like a much longer focal length (really creamy backgrounds / borders), this is a rare thing in a 30 mm lens.

03-02-2011, 09:25 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Hello_Photo Quote
So, IMHO, I think that the DA 35 Ltd has some very tangible advantages in terms of size, ergonomics, handling and price, whereas the reputed advantages of the FA 31 (sharpness and bokeh) are much more subtle. That said, if I had received my FA 31 order on time, I would likely be looking for reasons to justify spending twice as much myself.
I fully agree that the 35 wins in terms of size, ergonomics/handling, versatility and price. I'd give the edge in IQ to the 31 overall, which takes nothing away from the 35, I just prefer what I get out of the 31 the vast majority of the time. Also, I do shoot between f/1.8 and f/2.8 on the 31 enough that I would miss it if I only had the 35. Bottom line, as almost everyone has suggested, is that you can't go wrong with either lens (or both ).
03-05-2011, 08:42 AM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by paperbag846 Quote
When you shot the FA 31 with a wide aperture, it renders like a much longer focal length (really creamy backgrounds / borders), this is a rare thing in a 30 mm lens.
Should I read this as "the FA 31 offers a higher DOF for comparable apertures than the DA 35 does"?

That would be helpful, as with the more shots I take with the 35 macro, I learn its DOF can be too thin at times...

Last edited by maciek_w; 03-05-2011 at 08:43 AM. Reason: typos
03-05-2011, 08:54 AM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by maciek_w Quote
Should I read this as "the FA 31 offers a higher DOF for comparable apertures than the DA 35 does"?
No, f2.8 is f2.8, but different lenses render differently.

The FA 31 is a sharp lens, but that does not make it special. The out of focus areas are VERY creamy (much creamier than the DA 35 macro, or the FA 50, for example).

It's a specific look, that is often associated with 85mm lenses for classic portraiture. The fact that they got the portrait look in a wide angle makes it an incredibly unique lens.
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