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05-23-2011, 07:03 PM   #1
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35mm FA F2.0 vs. the 35mm DA F2.4

I was looking to buy a 35 mm prime when I saw that the discontinued 35 FA 2.0 was suddenly again available at B&H photo (Full-Frame Pentax 20-35mm/4 and 35mm/2 Available! - Pentax News - PentaxForums.com). Iím newer to Pentax so Iím reading a lot of reviews and spending time in the forums here and on DPReview.com.

The FA 2.0 seems highly regarded, but many people donít think it was worth the just-under $500 price tag at B&H.

I also kept reading about the newer 35mm DA F2.4. It seemed fairly inexpensive, although I have also read itís overpriced and not fast enough. Most of the reviews and opinions suggest itís a nice lens although nothing special as far as build quality. I have seen some people thinking itís actually faster than 2.4. Most reviewers thinks itís great wide open.

I decided to buy both, but Iíll only be keeping one. Iíve shot a bit with the 2.4 and Iím pretty happy with it. Iíve never had a prime lens before so I donít think Iím the best judge.

I havenít seen any direct photo comparisons between the two lenses. Are there people out there with both? Is the FA 2.0 that much faster, is the bokeh nicer, distortion, color, etc etc.

I guess Iíd like some fresh thoughtsÖ

05-23-2011, 08:37 PM   #2
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05-23-2011, 09:25 PM   #3
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You may find some comparative data at Photozone.de since there are some objectives reviews of the lenses at:
Pentax SMC-FA 35mm f/2 AL - Review / Test Report FA35mm f2.0 - Highly recommended

Pentax SMC DA 35mm f/2.4 AL - Review / Lens Test DA35mm f2.4

Photozone .de likes obviously very much the FA35mm f2.0. If finance is not an issue, I would possibly follow that advice. Although I think that the FA31mm f1.8 is a better alternative...

The FA31mm f1.8 Ltd is an an amazing lens that mihgt be worth to consider instead of buying the two 35mm lenses.

Hope that the comment will help.
05-23-2011, 09:39 PM   #4
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If you're looking at both the DA 35/2.4 and the FA 35/2.0, why not also consider the Tamron SP 17-50/2.8 - it's about the price of the FA, it's competitive with the primes at f/2.8+, and it gives you a lot more focal lengths for the price - in fact, you'd spend a lot more to cover its focal range.

05-23-2011, 10:05 PM   #5
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Hey Lochlyn, good to see you here! Haven't heard much from you over on the other forum. (EX-500.com)

I had the FA 35/2, bought it back when for under $300. Can't comment on the DA 35/2.4 though. The FA 35 is one of the sharpest Pentax primes. I used mine mostly for night scenes, usually at f5.6, although it is also pretty sharp even wide open. I don't think you can go wrong with it. HCC's suggestion is a good one if you have the $$, although again I've never owned the FA 31 so I (thankfully!) don't know what I'm missing! FWIW I sold the FA 35 to fund the FA 43/1.9, and have been verrry happy with that one, no regrets at all. The 43 has become one of my favorite lenses, and I use it a lot. (And at the current price of the FA 35, the 43 isn't that much more!) Not to throw another monkey wrench in your thought process, but have you considered the DA 35/2.8 Limited? Maybe not as fast but then you get true macro, and that one is also a Limited. Whatever you choose, good luck with your decision!
Regards,
Paul (A.K.A. "RedEX")
P.S. Here's a shot from last fall, those Givi cases are still going strong!
Saturday in the park | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
05-23-2011, 11:20 PM   #6
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it depends. for the budget, the DA35/2.4 would be enough. for the built, aperture ring, and extra speed and if you can afford it, the FA35/2. anyway, if you could live with something slightly longer than a 35mm, I'm in agreement that for the same price, the FA43 would be better.

my preference on the FA35 is more about the focal length and intended use, so don't let that deter your decision.
05-24-2011, 03:20 AM   #7
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I sold my FA35/2, but still have my FA43/1.9.

I think you'll find there's not much difference in the results you get between the DA35/2.4 and the FA35/2. I didn't like the results from the FA35 at faster than f/2.5 anyway.

The DA35/2.4 may be all those other things you mentioned, but I don't think overpriced should be one of them. It's rare to find a reasonably priced prime that's that good wide-open.

I have the FA31 and FA43 now - they're both really good. I think it's good to go either for the DA35/2.4 or the FA31 - not somewhere in the middle.

Even if you start getting better lenses you may find you still want to keep the DA35/2.4 as an inexpensive walk-around, much as I've kept my FA28.

I don't think you'll rival the IQ of the DA35/2.4 with a zoom unless you go for a * lens such as the DA*16-50/2.8. However, 'rivals' is still not the same as 'equals!' My experience is that zooms, even the DA*16-50, are just not as good wide open - even less so with a Tamron or Sigma. In fact the DA*16-50 is just barely good enough that I don't feel like I'm being cheated out of good IQ just because I have to use a zoom sometimes.
05-24-2011, 03:46 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
I don't think you'll rival the IQ of the DA35/2.4 with a zoom unless you go for a * lens such as the DA*16-50/2.8. However, 'rivals' is still not the same as 'equals!' My experience is that zooms, even the DA*16-50, are just not as good wide open - even less so with a Tamron or Sigma. In fact the DA*16-50 is just barely good enough that I don't feel like I'm being cheated out of good IQ just because I have to use a zoom sometimes.
The Tamron 17-50 is better wide open than the DA* 16-50. Unfortunately, photozone doesn't review it in Pentax mount, but check the Nikon review and look at the MTF curve - it's great from wide open and it looks very similar to the profile of the DA. I don't have any hesitation in using the Tamron wide open.

05-25-2011, 10:29 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Laurentiu Cristofor Quote
The Tamron 17-50 is better wide open than the DA* 16-50. Unfortunately, photozone doesn't review it in Pentax mount, but check the Nikon review and look at the MTF curve - it's great from wide open and it looks very similar to the profile of the DA. I don't have any hesitation in using the Tamron wide open.
I still like the overall image rendition of Pentax/Tokina glass better than Tamron glass. The DA*50-135 and DA10-17 FE are even better examples of this. In terms of using it wide open I think the DA*50-135 does it better than any K-mount zoom I've used.

Tamron still makes some nice glass, but it's not my preference.

The main point is that only the top primes are really that good wide open. This would be lenses like the FA31, FA77, FA*85, and K50/1.2. The DA35/2.4 is the least expensive lens I can think of that also does it well - because it's really an f/2 lens that only opens to f/2.4 now - in my opinion a great compromise to make a very nice, cost-effective prime. Only the Nikon 35/1.8 comes to mind as a lens that can provide similar value.

The main drawback of both the Pentax DA35/2.4 and the Nikon 35/1.8 is that neither can match the performance of more expensive primes in the out-of-focus areas.
05-25-2011, 11:06 PM   #10
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FA35/2 without any doubt - rendering at f2 is beautiful. Personally I wouldn't recommend f2.4 unless you need to have a prime at reasonable price. For me I use FA35@f2, else I use Tamron 28-75.
05-26-2011, 05:51 PM   #11
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I appreciate all the replies.

Hey Paul, nice pic. No, I havenít been on the forum much or any moto forum for that matter. I put my bike away in November 2009 and never even got it out last year. My life moved away from riding because it got very busy in other areas. I did recently start it and made a promise to myself that Iíd ride this year. After all, motorcycling is how I got interested in photography.

Anyway, I had seen the Photozone reviews. The FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited looks amazing, but very expensive. I liked the reviews of the FA 43mm f/1.9 Limited and 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited, but itís still a bit more than Iíd like to spend right now. I looked at the zooms mentioned too. I do plan to pick one of them up later. I guess I'm only interested in the two lenses I asked about... for now.

I decided to unbox the FA 2.0 today. I shot a bit with it like I have been shooting with the DA 2.4 and I ran into an odd focusing issue while shooting outdoors. It would not lock focus on a grey wooden fence about 50 feet from me. It also would not lock focus on my neighbors black shutters and/or window about 300 feet from me. I switched out the lenses from the 2.0 to the 2.4 and the 2.4 had no issues at all. The camera was set exactly the same for each. Is the 2.0 know to have trouble with locking focus? I never came across any discussions of this when I was reading about the lens.
05-26-2011, 09:57 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lochlyn Deckard Quote
I appreciate all the replies.

Hey Paul, nice pic. No, I havenít been on the forum much or any moto forum for that matter. I put my bike away in November 2009 and never even got it out last year. My life moved away from riding because it got very busy in other areas. I did recently start it and made a promise to myself that Iíd ride this year. After all, motorcycling is how I got interested in photography.

Anyway, I had seen the Photozone reviews. The FA 31mm f/1.8 Limited looks amazing, but very expensive. I liked the reviews of the FA 43mm f/1.9 Limited and 35mm f/2.8 Macro Limited, but itís still a bit more than Iíd like to spend right now. I looked at the zooms mentioned too. I do plan to pick one of them up later. I guess I'm only interested in the two lenses I asked about... for now.

I decided to unbox the FA 2.0 today. I shot a bit with it like I have been shooting with the DA 2.4 and I ran into an odd focusing issue while shooting outdoors. It would not lock focus on a grey wooden fence about 50 feet from me. It also would not lock focus on my neighbors black shutters and/or window about 300 feet from me. I switched out the lenses from the 2.0 to the 2.4 and the 2.4 had no issues at all. The camera was set exactly the same for each. Is the 2.0 know to have trouble with locking focus? I never came across any discussions of this when I was reading about the lens.
you need some contrast part of the scene inorder to lock focus. otherwise, it is most likely you are trying to shoot a bird while blindfolded. anyway, I never encountered any problems locking focus unless it is pitch black or shooting a blank wall, or a clear blue sky.
05-26-2011, 11:05 PM   #13
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I never had any focusing problem with my FA35/2. If you are facing problem with 2.0 and not with 2.4, there might be something wrong with 2.0. May be stop down your 2.0 a bit and see if that makes difference.
05-27-2011, 08:25 AM   #14
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I would say the FA35 focusing distance is pretty close... allowing greater bokeh.
I would like to get a DA35 2.4 with a unique colors (sliver), but they are way too expensive than the black one, hope Pentax will have them in the US market (hence lower price) instead of having to buy from e-bay.

Lee
05-27-2011, 08:30 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by LFLee Quote
I would say the FA35 focusing distance is pretty close... allowing greater bokeh.
that's correct, I chose it over 30/1.4 due to focusing distance as I use this mostly for casual food photography.
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