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07-06-2011, 03:07 PM   #1
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DA35 vs DA18-55

Today I bought a new lens: the DA 35mm AL. As my only alternative for 35mm is the original DA18-55mm, I did a little indoor benchmarking with that particular lens. This test is rather limited, but nevertheless I wanted to share my results.

My conclusions: The DA35 is not sharp wide open, but as expected it beats the DA15-55 at F/4.5. At F/8 both lenses seem to give comparable results.

I bought this lens as a cheap but better alternative to the DA 18-55mm for taking some landscape pictures. Somehow I'm getting the feeling this lens is a waste of money for that purpose. I need to do more tests though (CA, distortion, focus on infinity).

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07-06-2011, 03:19 PM   #2
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I think your test is a little bit inaccurate. At exposure times of 1 second the blurriness could have to do with movement. Im not saying the da35 is the sharpest thing in the world but my own tests i foubpnd that the da35 wide open is still sharper then the kit lens in most cases. I guess trying the lens in better light to really see the difference. As for landscaping purposes id rather go with the 16-45 zoom over the 35mm. But that is just my opinion.
07-06-2011, 03:29 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by epqwerty Quote
I think your test is a little bit inaccurate.
You're right about that, I just wanted to get a first impression. Next week I'll go on holiday and shoot a bunch of pictures with this lens under different circumstances. That should give me much better insight
07-06-2011, 04:18 PM   #4
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I don't understand why you want to compare crops of something that is not the object in focus? It would be virtually impossible for the AF point to pick that crumb as the thing to focus on in that scene. There's also almost no detail anyway in that crop to use to compare even if it was in focus.

I think you test is a good idea, but I'd be choosing a different scene to shoot. There's a reason why the old newspaper page on a wall test is recommended. Also make sure you're on a tripod and using LV to focus.

07-06-2011, 05:00 PM   #5
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Just a thought: if you bought the lens for landscape photography, the most accurate test you can do is to get out there and take some landscape pictures with it. If you want to compare it to you zoom, take the same pictures with with both lenses, and set the zoom to the same focal length and aperture as the prime. If you have any doubts about focus calibration for any of the lenses, just do the test with liveview and contrast detect autofocus.
07-06-2011, 06:29 PM   #6
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I have to say i've been impressed with the DA35 sharpness wide open. For instance I took a photo of my mum and the thread veins were all too clear on her face! I haven't compared but it seems at least as sharp as the kit lens, and of course it's a lot faster with lovely transition to oof areas. That nice shallow dof makes the in focus parts of the shot really stand out and seem all the sharper. The kit lens is very limiting for creative use of dof.
07-06-2011, 06:32 PM   #7
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The DA35 is an odd choice for landscape though, more of a street/candid portrait focal length.
07-06-2011, 07:14 PM   #8
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The DA35 is way sharper than the 18-55 at the sharpest points. DA35 hits its max sharpness at the center at F4 (and generally is sharp all the way around), while the 18-55 hits it's max sharpness at F11 for 18mm, F8 for above.

DA35 - F2.4

DA35 - F4.0

18-55@35MM - F4.5


DA35 - F8.0

18-55@35MM - F8.0


Longest exposure was about 0.6s, on a tripod, with the paper held down and no air movement. At F4, and even at F8, the DA35 trumps the sharpest of the 18-55 (F8). At F2.4, the DA35 still beats out the F4.5 of the 18-55 (look at the O in CINO).

The color difference is partly the lens - the 18-55 renders color waaaay different than the 35mm (my DA35 is more accurate to color than the 18-55, which is pretty important to me).


Last edited by JinDesu; 07-06-2011 at 07:37 PM.
07-06-2011, 07:14 PM   #9
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I think the least you can do when comparing sharpness is compared the in-focus portion of the pictures. It's hard to compare too because your 18-55mm is at max, f3.5, and you can't really compare that to the 35's f2.4. But the 35mm is a great lens that I am always struggling to not buy.
07-06-2011, 09:52 PM   #10
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how about using with a flash setup?
07-06-2011, 10:43 PM   #11
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While I'll agree that you need to do some different testing in comparing the 2 lenses, I have found the the 18-55 kit lens holds it's own pretty well. It usually takes me a month or so to figure out a new lens. I never do lens chart tests but I have some favorite places that I have photographed many times with all my lenses and I compare my results that way. Before writing the the 35 off as a waste, spend some time with it. Try some people shots, some low light shots and some wide open shots to compare bokeh, etc. If all you're going to do is shoot landscapes at f/8, then you aren't likely to see much difference in IQ between the 2 lenses. The 35 is going to get you some stuff you won't be able to do with the kit. I could make the same comparison with my DA 40. An f/8 landscape with the kit isn't going to be much different. Taking candid portrait shots of friends in a poorly lit pizza parlor after a ball game reminds me why I bought the DA 40.
07-07-2011, 08:48 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by vinni Quote
Today I bought a new lens: the DA 35mm AL. As my only alternative for 35mm is the original DA18-55mm, I did a little indoor benchmarking with that particular lens. This test is rather limited, but nevertheless I wanted to share my results.

My conclusions: The DA35 is not sharp wide open, but as expected it beats the DA15-55 at F/4.5. At F/8 both lenses seem to give comparable results.

I bought this lens as a cheap but better alternative to the DA 18-55mm for taking some landscape pictures. Somehow I'm getting the feeling this lens is a waste of money for that purpose. I need to do more tests though (CA, distortion, focus on infinity).
I'm sorry, but everything about this test is wrong. You are comparing an out-of-focus area @ f/2.4 compared with f/4.5. With any lens, the f/2.4 will be less sharp, because that is the point of using f/2.4 in this application.
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